FIDE cancels world championship match

by ChessBase
8/29/2003 – In a press conference in Moscow FIDE president Ilyumzhinov today cancelled the Yalta world chess championship match, effectively disqualifying its world champion Ruslan Ponomariov. A new cycle will be staged as a classical 128-player knockout tournament in December. The unification process remains in place. Here are all the details.

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We reported on the developments of the last two days. FIDE gave its world champion Ruslan Ponomariov a deadline until noon on Au8gust 28: sign and fax an agreement to the conditions for the FIDE title match against Garry Kasparov, scheduled for September 18th in the Ukrainian city of Yalta, or face disqualification. The Ukrainian GM did not comply but instead invited representatives of FIDE, the Organising committee and Kasparov's team to meet in Kiev for further negotiations.

Today at a press conference held at the Interfax News agency in Moscow FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov called the match off. In its stead he announced a 128-player knock-out tournament, at classical time controls, to be held in November-December 2003. The winner of this official FIDE World Championship is to be crowned World Champion (Ponomariov retains his title until then) and will play Garry Kasparov next Spring.

Unification, Kramnik vs Leko

FIDE has not abandoned Prague unity agreement. In fact it has taken responsibility for staging the rival Kramnik vs Leko match, which has been faltering after the Einstein Group, owners of that title, went into liquidation. Apparently FIDE has taken over the organisation from Einstein and will arrange a Kramnik-Leko title match in Buenos Aires, with a $500,000 prize fund, in November this year.

Assuming this match is carried out as planned then the winner of the Spring match between Kasparov and the new FIDE world champion will play the winner of the Kramnik-Leko match in a final unification match some time in the coming year.

Garry Kasparov

In Moscow Garry Kasparov said that he was shocked by the turn of events. "I am shocked. I expected my opponent to try my nerves, expecting various provocations. However, I could not imagine that my opponent would simply escape! I suffered moral damage, and my material damage is comparable to the prize fund of the match. For half a year I had to decline various invitations and I invested a lot of time and money into the preparation for Ponomariov."

Kasparov said that he was not currently contemplating legal action but would concentrate on preparations for his upcoming match against X3D Fritz in New York.


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FIDE Press Release

Cancellation of the Ponomariov-Kasparov Match

FIDE delivered the Players Undertaking to World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov and Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, to sign before August 12, 2003. Kasparov returned his duly signed contract before the deadline but Ponomariov signed the contract with reservations.

At the Presidential Board held in Abuja, Nigeria, FIDE reiterated that the contract shall be signed without reservations and extended the deadline to August 25, 2003. FIDE again extended the deadline to August 28, 2003. Without the signature of Ponomariov on the Players Undertaking, FIDE is unable to move ahead with the planned Match which was due to start on September 18, 2003 in Yalta, Ukraine.

Since the signing of the Prague Agreement, FIDE has tried patiently to meet with the recommendations of the players involved. However, as the governing body of world chess, FIDE will not give in to unreasonable request or pressure from any player involved in the unification process.

In place of the FIDE World Cup earlier scheduled for December 2003 FIDE shall organize the World Chess Championship (Knockout) Tournament to determine the next World Champion and FIDE shall not allow the selfishness of any one player to cause a hindrance to the unification process as already scheduled and approved by the FIDE General Assembly in Bled last year.

It is with deep regret therefore, that FIDE has to cancel the Ponomariov-Kasparov Match. However, FIDE shall endeavour to proceed with the unification process. A proposal shall be placed to the forthcoming FIDE Congress in Halkidiki, Greece, 27 October – 3 November, 2003. The winner of the FIDE World Championship in December 2003 shall be crowned World Champion and he shall play Grandmaster Garry Kasparov next year. The winner of this match shall then play the final unification match.

In the coming days, FIDE shall give a full account of its negotiations with the players in the now cancelled Ponomariov-Kasparov Match.

Fédération Internationale des Échecs
Lausanne, Switzerland
[No date given – received on August 29, 2003]

FIDE press release Russian version

Отмена Матча Пономарев-Каспаров

ФИДЕ предоставила Чемпиону Мира Руслану Пономареву и гроссмейстеру Гарри Каспарову Контракт, который должен был быть подписан до 12 августа 2003 года. Каспаров подписал Контракт своевременно до указанного срока, в то время как Пономарев подписал его с оговорками.

На заседании Президентского Совета в г. Абуджа, Нигерия, ФИДЕ повторно заявила, что Контракт должен быть подписан без оговорок, и установила срок до 25 августа 2003 года.  Затем ФИДЕ вновь продлила срок до 28 августа 2003 года. Без подписи Пономарева в Контракте, ФИДЕ не может провести запланированный Матч, официальное открытие которого намечено на 18 сентября 2003 года в г. Ялта, Украина.

С момента достижения Пражских Соглашений ФИДЕ терпеливо прилагала усилия для того, чтобы удовлетворить рекомендации вовлеченных игроков. Однако ФИДЕ как руководящий орган мировых шахмат не будет идти на уступки в ответ на необоснованные просьбы или поддаваться давлению со стороны любого игрока, заинтересованного в процессе объединения.

Вместо Кубка Мира ФИДЕ, ранее запланированного на декабрь 2003 года, ФИДЕ организует Чемпионат Мира по шахматам по нокаут системе с целью выявления следующего Чемпиона Мира, и ФИДЕ не позволит эгоизму любого игрока воспрепятствовать процессу объединения, который был намечен и одобрен на заседании Генеральной Ассамблеи ФИДЕ в г. Блед в прошлом году.

С чувством глубокого сожаления ФИДЕ вынуждена объявить об отмене Матча Пономарев-Каспаров. Однако ФИДЕ будет делать все возможное, чтобы продолжить процесс объединения. Предложение будет представлено на предстоящем Конгрессе ФИДЕ в Халькидиках, Греция, 27 октября – 3 ноября 2003 года. Победитель Чемпионата Мира ФИДЕ в декабре 2003 года будет объявлен Чемпионом Мира и сыграет с гроссмейстером Гарри Каспаровым в следующем году. Победитель данного матча затем сыграет в объединительном матче.

В ближайшем будущем ФИДЕ представит полную информацию о ходе переговоров с участниками ныне отмененного Матча Пономарев-Каспаров.

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