FIDE's latest unification plan

by ChessBase
2/28/2005 – Word has come out from FIDE's recent Presidential Council in Tbilsi, Georgia. FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is now calling for a unification tournament to be held in Elista, Kalmykia. FIDE also appointed a new General Secretary and criticized the Spanish federation. Available details.

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"A historical decision"

We assume he meant "historic," but let's not quibble. An Associated Press story out of Georgia – site of the FIDE Presidential Council Feb. 27-28 – quotes FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as wanting a double round-robin tournament to unify the world title.

"Under the latest Ilyumzhinov's plan, grandmasters Kasimdzhanov, his runner-up Michael Adams of England, Leko, Viswanathan Anand of India, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Russians Kramnik, Kasparov and Alexander Morozevich will play two round-robin rounds to decide the world title.

The eight chess players had no immediate reaction.

Ilyumzhinov said that the likely venue for the event would be Kalmykia's central city of Elista, but several other options are also being considered. "The minimum prize-money for the event is set at $500,000, but it will most likely rise," he said.

All the participants will have to sign up for the match by March 15. In case any of the eight grandmasters refuse, they will be substituted by their follow-ups in the FIDE rankings."

Of the eight invitees, the reaction that matters most belongs to classical champion Vladimir Kramnik. He has stated several times that he wants to see a new qualification cycle to find a challenger for his title. It seems very unlikely that this event would fulfill his requirements.

There was no mention of Feb. 26 deadline Ilyumzhinov gave Kasparov to agree to play Kasimdzhanov despite a lack of financial guarantees. Perhaps that has been replaced with this new deadline? FIDE seems to spend a lot of time presenting deadlines to players but a poor job of meeting them itself!

Other FIDE news included a condemnation (Word format) of the Spanish Chess Federation for its handling of the Mallorca Olympiad last year.

"The Presidential Board unanimously expressed the view that it no longer has confidence in the leadership of the Spanish Chess Federation. The Presidential Board is also of the view that it can no longer endorse with confidence the awarding of official FIDE events to Spain under the current leadership of the Spanish Chess Federation."

No specifics are given, but this almost certainly is a reaction to the treatment of FIDE VP Zurab Azmaiparashvili at the hands of security at the closing ceremony. We're sure the response of the Spaniards will be swift.

Long-time FIDE veteran Ignatius Leong of Singapore was made the new FIDE General Secretary. Leong is a well-known organizer and arbiter and was himself the center of several controversies at the Mallorca Olympiad. Leong replaces Tunisia's Noureddine Tabbane in the position.

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