FIDE's reply, Kamsky's rejoinder

by ChessBase
10/27/2005 – Yesterday we reported that FIDE had changed its rules for the next World Championship cycle, and that top players like Gata Kamsky and Alexei Shirov had protested. Today we received a reply from FIDE Vice President Morten Sand and a rejoinder from Gata Kamsky. There is conflict in the air.

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FIDE replies

Shortly after publishing the above report we received a message from Morten Sand, FIDE Vice President and member of the Presential Board.

Dear ChessBase,

I have read with great interest, the article published today on your website concerning the World Cup regulations and the remarks made by GMs Kamsky and Shirov. With this opportunity, and in order to avoid confusion among the players and the chess fans worldwide, I would like to clarify some points:

  1. With the updated regulations, FIDE has increased the number of qualifiers from the World Cup to ten (10) instead of five (5). These 10 players will qualify directly to the Candidates matches. Therefore the updated regulations of the World Cup cannot in any way be "detrimental" to the players participating. In fact, the participants of the World Cup have gained considerably compared with the previous version of the regulations.

  2. Even in the previous regulations, five (5) players were qualified by rating to the stages after the World Cup. The only slight difference is that previously they would first enter the Last Chance Tournament before the Candidates, together with the players placed 6-10 in the World Cup. So the "guaranteed selection into next step" of the 5 top rated players was effective with the previous version of the regulations as well.

  3. Most of the regulation updates were made after FIDE consulted the ACP and the participants from San Luis. Therefore, there was no "demonstration of complete lack of respect to all players involved" by FIDE in any way. On the contrary, FIDE adopts many of the proposals made by the chess professionals and not only in this case.

I would finally like to note that in order to continuously improve the attractiveness of our sport, FIDE is implementing necessary updates to its regulations in accordance with the demand of its member federations for a fair, viable and transparent World Championship system. By following this principle, FIDE has consequently succeeded in securing more than 5 million USD for its World Championships during the last two years. The interest of the national federations and the majority of chess players is always our highest priority.

Thank you for publishing our reply.
Best regards,
Morten Sand
FIDE Vice-President

To which Gata Kamsky fires back...

Dear Chessbase,

I've just had an opportunity to read FIDE Vice-President's Mr. Morten Sand reply and would like to make some short comments to clarify my previous post.

Former world championship finalist Gata Kamsky

First, and with all due respect to Mr. Sand, I would like to point an internal inconsistency within his remarks, as in one sweep he claims that World Cup players "gained considerably" by having 10 qualifiers getting direct places into the Candidates (instead of based on previous rules, where 5 were directly qualified and the other 5 came from the Last Chance Supertournament, where they had an additional chance to qualify) while there was a "slight change" with the 5 top rated players who now advance directly into Cadidates, compared to the situation where they had to fight it out for the 3 qualification spots with the other 5 world cup players. This is a strange logic, at least as it seems to me.

Second, I would like to point out, with all due respect to the ACP, and again with all due respect to the San Luis participants, taking a moment to congratulate them on the spectacular show of fighting chess that they have shown to the chess world, there were only eight San Luis participants, who are not all at the top of the chess world ranking, compared with 128 world cup players. The ACP currently does NOT represent all chess professionals. For example, I'm not a member and highly doubt that the 127 other world cup players are all members of the ACP as well.

What I fault FIDE with is that they did not take care to consult directly with everyone who is actually going to play in the World Cup. These players are clearly in the majority here. This is what I mean by a complete and total lack of respect that was demonstrated to us. I don't even want to mention that these world cup players represent countless other players from zonal tournaments and federations they represented originally. All those thousands of players have the right to know the rules and to rely on the rules staying consistent before they agreed to start playing in the qualification steps.

With regards to the improvement of chess as a sport in general, I strongly believe that we all, as the current and future professional players, rely on FIDE as the organization that brings stability to chess, and not to change rules in the middle of the existing world championship cycle, a cycle that is a culmination and hope of every player that will bring him the dream of his life, the title of the world champion. Many people have tried and still keep trying to fulfill that dream that only a few from the millions of us can ever fulfill.

Personally, I believe it is clear that there are changes that are necessary to make our sport more attractive. However, FIDE, as a sole responsible organization to protect everyone's interests, must temper this desire to make fast changes for the better, with fair and just approach, in which there will be no room for favoritism. for high Elo or anything that will jeopardize the faith of players who would like to have an equal opportunity for the shot at the title.

Gata Kamsky

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