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Sutovsky: Proposal for the Candidates Matches

7/22/2010 – "On July 20 I was invited to meet FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov," writes Israeli GM Emil Sutovsky, "in order to discuss the situation with the Candidates Matches 2011. I was given few minutes to submit my proposal, and it was agreed, that I will publish an open letter on this very important matter." Here is Sutovsky's open letter.
 

Open letter by GM Emil Sutovsky


Israeli GM Emil Sutovsky [Photo Frits Agterdenbos]

The election campaigns are approaching their climax, however, there are some issues related to professional chess which should be discussed now. Luckily, despite being a member of the World Championship and Olympiad Committee (WCOC), I am not involved in the political fight. So I took my time to analyze the situation from the professional point of view. Unfortunately, it took me some time to be heard, but hopefully, it's not too late.

According to the current regulations, the Candidates are supposed to play quaterfinal (four games), semifinal (four games) and final (six games) matches in a succession, presumably in March-April 2011, and the winner of this marathon will challenge the World Champion in 2012.

This format has drawn serious criticism. Indeed, it is very strange to determine the strongest player in such short matches. And, obviously, the chess world would prefer to see the real battle between the top players, while the present format hardly provides players with a possibility to show their best chess. Actually, there are many more drawbacks to the present format, but instead of specifying them all, I'd rather pass to my suggestion.

I propose to play quaterfinal and semifinal matches of six games each, in a succession (March-April 2011), while the final match should be organized separately and consist of eight games (September-October 2011).

The advantages are obvious:

A. A six-game match represents a much more objective way to determine a deserved winner.

B. The two best players would have enough time to rest and prepare for the final match.

C. The final match would get much bigger publicity, and its financial value might be much higher than 180.000 Euro, which stands in the current regulation.

D. It is much better for the spectators – as we know, the attention span is now much shorter than it used to be – staging the final match as a separate event will ensure maximal public attention.

Of course, there is a serious drawback – my proposal contradicts the current regulations. However, I know that most of the players would prefer to play longer matches. Still, in order to change the regulations, we need the consent of all the Candidates. That's why, I ask the players to express their opinion, and if you support the proposed changes, I will submit an official proposal.

Sincerely yours,
Grandmaster Emil Sutovsky

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