Carsten Hensel, from London to Bonn and beyond

by André Schulz
2/6/2018 – Carsten Hensel was manager of Peter Leko and Vladimir Kramnik and was directly involved in the most important chess events during a very tumultuous time for chess. Now he wrote a book about the life of Vladmir Kramnik which will appear soon. In an interview Hensel talks about the book, his work with Kramnik and various World Championship matches. | Photo: Vladimir Kramnik on the cover of the book

My Path to the Top My Path to the Top

On this DVD Vladimir Kramnik retraces his career from talented schoolboy to World Champion in 2006. With humour and charm he describes his first successes, what it meant to be part of the Russian Gold Medal team at the Olympiad, and how he undertook the Herculean task of beating his former mentor and teacher Garry Kasparov.

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Interview with Carsten Hensel

Dear Carsten Hensel, for many years you were manager of Vladimir Kramnik and now you wrote a biography about him that will be published shortly. As you are not a top player I would think it is it safe to assume that you will focus less on the games and more on the life of Kramnik. Is that so? And when will the book appear?

Well, I am chess player enough to write the story of Vladimir's life, and to have an opinion about certain chess moments in the big matches. But sure, of course I am not a top player. That's why I asked the German International Master Olaf Heinzel for help. Later, during the editing process, Peter Köhler, who is the author of several chess books, also helped. But most important was the cooperation with Kramnik. At the end of each chapter he annotates crucial games of his career.

Let's focus on your career first. How did you enter the world of chess and when did you become manager of Peter Leko?

I discovered chess in 1991. I was asked to help to develop the "Schachtage Dortmund", now every year an important and big tournament. Back then the tournament was played in a dancing school, with almost no spectators or media representatives. I then went to the computer fair CEBIT in Hannover, Germany, to meet with Andrew Page — at that time manager of Kasparov.

Signing Garry was the international breakthrough for the tournament in Dortmund. In 1992, 10,800 spectators and 158 media representatives from all over the world came to the tournament. It was a first proof that chess could be marketed in Germany as a media sport. 1992 was also the year I met Leko. He was only 12 years old and in the following years he was often a guest of my family. He was obviously very talented but at a certain of time he needed support to make it to the very top. In 1998 I started to manage his career professionally.

And when did you start to manage Kramnik's career, too? How did that come about?

Vlad and I also met in the early 1990s, in Dortmund, of course. This turned into a friendship that still lasts today. On this basis I occasionally helped him with certain issues. For instance, in organising a training camp before his World Championship against Kasparov in London 2000. After winning against Garry things were just too much for Kramnik. He had no organisational structures at all. And this during the most conflictual time in professional chess. In 2002, I became Kramnik's manager. I first asked Peter for permission. He immediately agreed.

As manager of Kramnik you took part in a number of important events.

Yes, much more than I can list here. Of course, there were his World Champion matches, the duels against the machine or his ten wins in Dortmund. But a lot of other events were also important. The Candidates Tournament 2002 comes to mind, or Linares 2003, where Kramnik and I were under a lot of pressure. Leko was challenger and everybody asked us where and when the World Championship match would be played. At this time our holder of rights, the Einstein group, went through a time of economic turmoil. But Kramnik shook all pressure off and won the tournament together with his challenger Leko, ahead of Kasparov and Anand.

How did the man-vs-machine fight, Deep Fritz against Kramnik, Bahrain 2002, come about? How did Kramnik feel about playing against a machine? How did he prepare?

The agreement between Braingames, at that time the holder of rights, and the Kingdom of Bahrain, was already made before the World Championship match between Kramnik and Kasparov took place. But because of 9/11 the match was deferred twice. At least, this was the official reason. We had basically abandoned the whole issue when I met Yousuf Al-Shirawi at the airport in Düsseldorf. After that things worked out after all.

ChessBase has never rceived the prize money that had been promised for the match. Did Kramnik get his money?

The 800,000 US-Dollars came with delay but they came.

In 2004, at the World Championship match in Brissago, you were manager of both players, of Kramnik and of Leko. Wasn't that rather diffcult, much more so because Kramnik fell ill during the match?

The greatest difficulty was to organise the match at all, to provide equal conditions, and to give the public, which likes to focus on scandals, no reason for speculation. With Christian Burger, the boss of Dannemann, who unfortunately died much too early, I managed to handle these issues well. But believe me, this was the most difficult melange of my career. And the reports about Kramnik's problems during the match in particular and his chronic illness in general have only been superficial and sometimes even wrong. Such a book is a good opportunity to reappraise these things.

In 2006, Kramnik suffered a bitter defeat in the man-vs-machine rematch against Deep Fritz. In one game he overlooked a mate in one. How did Kramnik feel? What can you report about this match?

After the scandalous events in the World Championship match against Topalov in Elista 2006, Kramnik was simply worn out. After the match against Topalov there was hardly any time for anything. The match against Fritz in 2002 showed that he was still stronger than the machine, and in 2006 he perhaps might have still been able to draw all games. But he simply lacked the necessary energy and optimal preparation. He was tired and could only spend two weeks in training camp.

Press conference during the match Kramnik vs Fritz 2006 | Photo: André Schulz

How did the reunification of the two World Championship systems (Classical World Championship and FIDE World Championship) happen? What part did Kramnik have in that?

As far as FIDE is concerned, I would describe the system in the years from 1993 to 2005 rather as a mess and less as a World Championship. Basically, everyone knew that Kramnik, who had defeated Kasparov, was the World Champion to beat in a match. Even inside the FIDE some people thought so. I would even say, the majority! But there were also pronounced personal interests of powerful members of the board, to put it carefully. With regard to the unification of the chess world nothing would have worked without Kramnik, even though some top officials and the Topalov-party tried to ignore that back then. But from a present-day perspective things more and more clarify.

Carsten Hensel

Carsten Hensel | Photo: André Schulz

The reunification match 2006 against Topalov was marred by a number of ugly events. What happened in Elista?

Read the book! I think the whole story is clearly presented in it. 

In 2008, Kramnik lost his World Championship match against Anand in Bonn. Team Anand seemed to be much more professional, and better prepared personell-wise and from a technical perspective. Is this impression correct?

"Professional" is the wrong word. Kramnik has never before been as professional as he was in this match. But it is true, as far as opening preparation is concerned, Anand and his team got the better of us. And deservedly won!

When did the cooperation with Kramnik end? And the cooperation with Leko?

In 2009, in both cases. After that I became consultant of the UEP. We had founded this event agency in 2005 and achieved incredible things. I still believe that the match between Kramnik and Anand was the best organized World Championship of all time. Incidentally, after 74 years we also managed to bring a World Championship to Germany again. UEP was very close to reaching an agreement with FIDE to also organise and market future World Championship cycles. The contracts were ready to be signed. But in the last minute the president backpedaled. It was close but after this deal fell through I did not see any sense at all to continue my commitment in professional chess. I had seen everything and I had achieved everything which you can see and achieve as chess manager. I decided to focus on other things and that was the right decision. 

How long did you work on the book? 

A couple of months. It was quite a lot of work and took time. But I wanted to make a good book, no rush job. 

Did you work entirely on your own or did you cooperate with Kramnik? 

First, I asked Vladimir for permission. He provided pictures, answered questions, and annotated the most important games he had played in crucial moments of his career. On top of that he also gave me complete freedom to describe and evaluate events and himself as a person. 

At that time, between about 1998 and 2009, a lot of ugly things happened in chess politics. You experienced some of them directly. Do you call a spade a spade in your book or did legal reasons sometimes force you to silence?

I have been silent for many years, and just took note of wrong statements and even lies in a number of publications. Claims by people who sometimes had not even been present at the events. But of course you have to keep personal rights in mind. My publisher is very professional and took good care of me. But within this framework it was important for me to be as clear as possible. After reading the book and evaluating the events, circumstances and facts, you will be able to reach a clear verdict about the most conflictual time in the history of chess.

Do you still have a connection to chess today?

Yes, my heart is always in it. I still have many friends all over the world from that time and that is most marvellous. I just came back from visiting Wijk aan Zee together with Stefan Koth, the tournament director of Dortmund. On the way to Wijk we visited Albert Vasse (DGT, World Championship arbiter) on his farm in Holland, and during the event we had fantastic talks, not only with Vladimir Kramnik. With him, I am permanently in touch. He is in top shape now, physically as well, and I am keenly looking forward to the Candidates. My heart is in it again and I keep my fingers crossed. A World Championship match between Magnus and Vladimir, the 16th and the 14th World Champion, would be another of these incredible stories only chess can write.

Book cover

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer


Carsten Hensel: Wladimir Kramnik — Aus dem Leben eines Schachgenies

  • 304 pages
  • 13,9 x 21,2 cm
  • Hardcover
  • Photos
  • Annotations by Vladimir Kramnik

ISBN: 978-3-7307-0389-2
Prize: 24.90€  

Werkstatt-Verlag



André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 2/8/2018 12:19
@ celeje :

- "It's very common for A beats B, B beats C, C beats A cases to occur, so it's better to have players have to beat multiple players to be champion, not just one."

For me, this isn't too much of a problem ; with different forms of competitions, you will inevitably have (at least from time to time) different winners : for example, the best player in a absolute top-level match will not necessarily be the best in a Swiss system tournament, with the need to win most of his games against (comparatively) weaker opposition. Even a round-robin will not necessarily give the same result that a match ; it isn't at all the same thing to play against one single opponent for which you prepared for months and months or to play (as in the Candidates, for example) against seven other top-grandmasters.

So, yes, A can beat B, which can beat C, but no one can ever be sure of anything ; the only sure thing is that, in a (sufficently long) match, the winner played (globally) better than his opponent ; for me, this is sufficient... (and, sorry for, one more time, my historical references, but this was also the way things worked at the Steinitz - Lasker - Capablanca - Alekhine time ; I prefer a serious World Championship cycle, but Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine all became World Champions by "simply" beating the previous World Champion, and the result was quite good ; they were all three very worthy - and legendary... - Champions).

- "The caveman approach is also really undemocratic. In the end it favors challengers who have money and power (their backers/supporters have money and power). Some poor guy from a poor country with no political power just gets screwed over."

With this, I really completely and fully agree. Yes, I consider each player who would beat the Champion in a World Championship match as the World Champion, but I don't find this at all fully satisfying ; I MUCH prefer a serious World Championship cycle !... It is not because I consider Kramnik to be the 2000 World Champion that I find quite satisfying such an (objectively) poor level of organization !

(For example, I don't find the present World Championship system wholly satisfying - in particular, I find the idea of putting an Armageddon game at the end of the tiebreaks really absolutely dreadful, and I very much hope that no World Champion will ever come out of such a game -, but I don't conclude from this that the present-days World Champions aren't legitimate World Champions ; the system defects aren't in my opinion sufficently important to take away the legitimacy of the World Titles of today - it is possible to criticize a World Championship system without considering that the World Champions that come out of it aren't legitimate World Champions.)
celeje celeje 2/7/2018 11:44
@ Petrarlsen:

Yeah, that's fine. We don't have to agree on everything. We do agree that the mess around the Shirov match was really regrettable.

We just disagree on other stuff. My opinion is that even if we like the caveman approach, the caveman approach in the past has not involved having rules and suddenly abandoning them so that the loser who was knocked out suddenly is favored, so the 2000 stuff is not just the caveman approach.

For me, I don't find complicated or terrible the idea of a title being vacant at certain times because of what's going on in the world. That's happened before and will happen again.

The pure caveman approach you like does have drawbacks. It's very common for A beats B, B beats C, C beats A cases to occur, so it's better to have players have to beat multiple players to be champion, not just one. The caveman approach is also really undemocratic. In the end it favors challengers who have money and power (their backers/supporters have money and power). Some poor guy from a poor country with no political power just gets screwed over.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 2/7/2018 03:58
@ celeje : All this having been said, the core of my opinion about this stays the same as in my first post on this page :

"I'm quite for the "caveman" approach, on this matter : if a player plays a World Championship match against the World Champion and wins the match, he is the new Champion and that's all ; (...) Kasparov was beaten by Kramnik, and, after that, Kasparov wasn't anymore the Champion - the Champion was Kramnik."

For me, in fact, I don't find this complicated at all : a World Championship match was played, the World Champion was beaten, and the winner of the match is the new World Champion.

I readily agree that what happened around Shirov was really unfortunate and regrettable, but, for me, this doesn't change the fact that, after 2000, Kramnik was the World Champion for the reasons I stated in this same post.
celeje celeje 2/7/2018 01:25
@ Petrarlsen:

No, I meant something else with the Anand comment. I did not mean Anand had a claim to be world champion. I did not mean that at all. I meant that without a proper qualification process it all becomes a mess. I was responding to your arguments about results between three players and who is a strong player. There were many strong players and they all have different results against each other. That's all. I did not mean Anand in 2000 had any claim. Just that no one else did either.

Forget the drugs. Just substitute in something else that is in the rules of the competition. If it's not in the rules, you can't really complain about the person who doesn't follow it. You might complain that it should be in the rules, but not about the person. If it is in the rules and the person fails that rule, then by the competition rules, the player has failed. It's not about cheating. It's about the competition rules deciding that person failed to win the competition.
Euwe & Capablanca did not fail the rules of the competition at the time. Kramnik did fail the rules of the competition in his time.

Once the competition rules are suddenly abandoned, then the competition no longer has any legitimacy. Doesn't matter what the competitors say. Competitors always say trash to suit themselves. It's not valid any more. You can't just abandon rules and pretend that the competition should be taken seriously. So at that point there is no legitimate World Championship. So the title is basically void until someone cleans up the mess.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 2/7/2018 11:59
@ celeje :

- "Please re-read what I wrote. Your historical stuff about Lasker etc. is not related to what I said at all."

Sorry, but it IS related. To repeat our exchange in a short form :

You said that, for different reasons, Kramnik couldn't be considered as a World Champion ; I answered that the general idea has always been that the World Champion is the player who beats the previous World Champion in a World Championship competition (match or tournament), and this was the case for Kramnik. These two ideas are related one to the other.

You said that I should take into account in my previous reasoning about the possible legitimacy for the World Champion title of Kasparov, Kramnik, and Shirov the Kramnik / Shirov match ; I answered that as, later, Kramnik beat the Champion in a World Championship match (and - cf. my previous point - this has always been considered as the very definition of becoming a World Champion), this previous match doesn't count anymore. These two ideas are related.

You said that the fact that Anand didn't have his chance this time to fight for the title took away (at least partially) the legitimacy of this World Championship title ; I answered that Rubinstein (around 1910 - 1915) and Capablanca (in the years following his 1927 match against Alekhine) were as legitimate in their times as Anand in 2000, but nonetheless, when Capablanca took the title from Lasker, even if Rubinstein couldn't compete, and when Euwe took the title from Alekhine, even if Capablanca couldn't compete, they were legitimate World Champions, in exactly the same way as when Kramnik took the title from Kasparov, even if Anand couldn't compete, he was a legitimate World Champion. And these two ideas are also related.

- Your comparison with drug testing isn't adequate : to take drugs means in effect to cheat. If you win when you are cheating, you didn't really won anything. For example, if there is a tennis match, and the winner took drugs, the competition wasn't a fair competition, and the result don't count. When Kramnik beat Kasparov, he didn't cheat ; he beat him 2 - 0 without anything to discuss in the match.

- "I'm not ignoring the match between Kramnik and Kasparov. I'm not ignoring ANY match, incl. the match between Shirov and Kramnik. You are the one who says that for some reason a match suddenly "doesn't count"."

If you are "not ignoring the match between Kramnik and Kasparov", what do you make out of it ? As I said before, the very definition of a World Champion has always been a player who beat the previous World Champion in a World Championship competition (match or tournament). This is EXACTLY what Kramnik did, by beating Kasparov. So I don't see what else we can conclude than that Kramnik became World Champion by beating Kasparov in this match.

And, yes, for the determination of the 2000 World Championship title, I ignore deliberately the Kramnik / Shirov match : as Kramnik later beat Kasparov (and, once more, this is exactly what becoming a World Champion is about), Kramnik could quite well have been beaten by half the chess players in the world, this wouldn't be anymore relevant for the sake of the determination of the 2000 World Champion. The only thing that count is that he beat the previous World Champion in a World Championship competition, which he did, so, for me, I don't see at all how it can be possible to conclude anything else than that Kramnik was the 2000 World Champion.
celeje celeje 2/7/2018 08:12
@ Petrarlsen:

Please re-read what I wrote. Your historical stuff about Lasker etc. is not related to what I said at all. I've already said it multiple times. If there was no qualification process, that is bad, but good things have to start some time, so before then it's not so good. But having no qualification process is not even close to being as bad as having a qualification process and failing it. For Kramnik etc. there was one and he failed it. Did Lasker etc. fail a qualification process?

It's like having drug testing. It may or may not be good to have drug tests for whatever. If there's no drug testing, it's not my fault for not passing a drug test. I never was made to take one. It's terrible if there is a drug test and I fail it. I can go on about how nice I am and how I don't even drink coffee usually, but that's irrelevant. I can claim that passing an even harder drug test in the future cancels out my past failure, but that's ridiculous.

I'm not ignoring the match between Kramnik and Kasparov. I'm not ignoring ANY match, incl. the match between Shirov and Kramnik. You are the one who says that for some reason a match suddenly "doesn't count".
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 2/7/2018 06:42
@ celeje :

- "There has to be a respectable, functioning World Championship competition in order for there to be a legitimate World Champion. That's basically what the term "World Champion" means. It does not mean someone and their supporters just declaring themselves World Champion. It does not mean the person who's best in the world. That would simply be "person who's best in the world". That's why we shouldn't call e.g. Philidor the World Champion. Many people talking about many sports just confuse the words. It's just wrong to do so."

No, since Steinitz, the general idea is that the World Champion is the player who beats the previous World Champion in a World Championship competition (match or tournament, as in 2007). And Kramnik DID beat Kasparov in a World Championship match. So he was the Champion.

And I will remind you that, before Botvinnik, for a match to be a World Championship match, it was only necessary for the Champion and another player to decide so, so there really isn't any reason to consider that the 2000 World Championship wasn't a World Championship match.

- "You should also add to your list of results:
Kramnik: Had just lost 0 - 2 a World Championship Candidates match
against Shirov."

I don't agree ; in my opinion, as Kramnik later beat Kasparov in a World Championship match, his previous loss against Shirov didn't count anymore ; once again, he won against the Champion - this overrules everything else.

- "And don't ignore Anand, given the lack of a proper World Championship qualification cycle."

Between 1910 and 1915, there was nearly certainly a time when Rubinstein would have been Lasker's most worthy Challenger ; after the 1927 Alekhine / Capablanca match, Capablanca was very probably Alekhine's "natural" challenger. Nonetheless, neither Rubinstein nor Capablanca could play a World Championship match against the current Champion in these two periods.

Following your reasoning, Lasker wouldn't have been a legitimate Champion after more or less 1915, so Capablanca wouldn't either have been a "real" World Champion after his 1921 match against Lasker (because Lasker himself wouldn't have been anymore the Champion). And Alekhine wouldn't have been a legitimate Champion after more or less 1931, so Euwe wouldn't really have been the World Champion from 1935 to 1937, because he would have previously beaten a "non-Champion".

Obviously, it is much more satisfying to have a proper qualification cycle, but, nonetheless, Lasker never LOST his title against anyone before the 1921 match against Capablanca, and the same is true for Alekhine : before the 1935 match, he never lost either his title against anyone. So, logically, they were still the Champions in 1921 (for Lasker) and 1935 (for Alekhine). And their opponents, having won against the Champion, became the new World Champions.

And it was the same for Anand ; he would have been perfectly legitimate as a Challenger, but, at this time, he didn't obtain any opportunity to play against the World Champion for the title, and thus he didn't become the World Champion.


In fact, your reasoning is more or less a fiction : you do as if the 2000 Kramnik / Kasparov never has been played. But the problem is : this match HAS been played. And won by Kramnik. And it isn't possible to ignore this fact ; Kramnik won against Kasparov, and became the Champion ; it is as simple as that...
celeje celeje 2/7/2018 05:40
@Petrarlsen:

There has to be a respectable, functioning World Championship competition in order for there to be a legitimate World Champion. That's basically what the term "World Champion" means. It does not mean someone and their supporters just declaring themselves World Champion. It does not mean the person who's best in the world. That would simply be "person who's best in the world". That's why we shouldn't call e.g. Philidor the World Champion. Many people talking about many sports just confuse the words. It's just wrong to do so.

You should also add to your list of results:
Kramnik: Had just lost 0 - 2 a World Championship Candidates match
against Shirov.

And don't ignore Anand, given the lack of a proper World Championship qualification cycle.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 2/7/2018 04:59
@ celeje :

A comparison between Kasparov, Kramnik, and Shirov, after the 2000 match :


- Kasparov : Had just lost 0 - 2 a World Championship match (with 13 draws) against Kramnik.

- Kramnik : Had just won 2 - 0 a World Championship match (with 13 draws) against the World Champion, Kasparov.

- Shirov : Hadn't even participated at all in a World Championship (be it a World Championship match or a World Championship tournament, as in 2007) against the World Champion, Kasparov.


Frankly, for me, in view of these elements, to say that none of these players can be considered to be a legitimate World Champion seems simply absurd...
celeje celeje 2/7/2018 03:39
@Petrarlsen
In a proper system, Kramnik would never have got to play Kasparov.
The point, which I already stated previously, is that Lasker, Capablanca, and Alekhine did not fail a qualification cycle. There just wasn't one. There was one for Kramnik and he failed it.

Yes, there was a match Kramnik vs. Kasparov, when there shouldn't have been. At that point, there was clearly no longer a respectable world championship system. Kasparov lost, so basically the title is void. No one at that point can really claim to be the legitimate world champion. Ask Anand. Ask Shirov. That's the chaos that happens when rules and regulations are not followed.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 2/7/2018 12:25
@ celeje : For me, it is quite simple : if a Challenger wins a World Championship match against the World Champion, I don't care why he played against the Champion ; he won, and is the new Champion.

Kramnik won the 2000 World Championship with 2 wins and 0 loss ; it would just be ridiculous, in my opinion, to consider that Kasparov was still the Champion after this match. And what would have been the legitimacy of a later Challenger who would have won a later match against the "Champion", Kasparov ? None at all, in my opinion, because of Kasparov's loss in the 2000 match ; Kasparov couldn't be anymore considered as the Champion after this match.

I would obviously have found more logical that Kasparov would have played Shirov rather than Kramnik in 2000, but it was Kramnik and not Shirov who played Kasparov for the title, and Kramnik won the match, so he was the new Champion.

If Kramnik would have lost the match, I wouldn't be really interested in this match, because Kramnik wasn't the winner of the qualification cycle, but for me, when you win a World Championship match against the Champion, you are the new Champion, and there isn't any possible discussion ; the match result overrules all the rest.

For the same reason, I consider Lasker, Capablanca, and Alekhine to be legitimate champions, even if there wasn't any qualification cycle at the time, because they won a World Championship match against the previous Champion. And I am not much interested, for example, in the Steinitz / Gunsberg and Alekhine / Bogoljubov matches, because, on the one hand, the challengers didn't come from a qualification cycle AND, on the other hand, they lost their matches.
celeje celeje 2/6/2018 09:42
@Petrarlsen: I think that means you don't care for qualification cycles. The problem is there was one in this case and Kramnik did not qualify. He was knocked out. There was a time before there were Candidates matches when there wasn't a qualification cycle. That's bad because the challenger did not show he should be the challenger. This case was much worse because it wasn't just not showing he should be the challenger. It was showing he should not be the challenger.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 2/6/2018 05:48
@ genem and celeje : As for me, I'm quite for the "caveman" approach, on this matter : if a player plays a World Championship match against the World Champion and wins the match, he is the new Champion and that's all.

Quite a pity for Shirov not to have his chance to play a match against Kasparov - without going into the details of the situation -, but Kasparov was beaten by Kramnik, and, after that, Kasparov wasn't anymore the Champion - the Champion was Kramnik.
celeje celeje 2/6/2018 04:28
@genem

Can you point to references regarding your claim that Shirov refused to sign something Kasparov already had? I'm interested.

Your statements about strengths, etc. are irrelevant, though. We know Kramnik has been a very strong player. Irrelevant. Whatever Shirov did or did not do with contracts is also irrelevant. There was a qualification procedure in place and Kramnik failed it. There was nothing in the qualification procedure rules that said in the event of contract disputes the loser will be awarded the title match. We know that, because a rule like that would be stupid. We also know it, because Anand was the next one approached.

You do agree with the principle of having a qualification process with rules, don't you?
genem genem 2/6/2018 02:51
@celeje In the late 1990s regarding A.Shirov, you conveniently chose to not mention that Shirov refused to sign a match agreement that Kasparov had agreed to. Shirov knew he would likely lose a match against Kasparov, and so focused on the amount of money that the agreement allocated to the loser = $250,000. Shirov felt that he needed a bigger paycheck for all the effort the match would take him.
.
So either Shirov gets to block any match from occurring, or they move to the runner up Kramnik. As Larry Evans once wrote in Chess Life magazine, Kramnik more than proved himself to be a very worthy challenger.
In contrast, Shirov's record against Kasparov leave no doubt that Shirov would have lost.
.
Unfair to imply Kramnik's opportunity to challenge in 2000 was anything less than legitimate.
genem genem 2/6/2018 02:45
Hensel said: {A World Championship match between Magnus and Vladimir, the 16th and the 14th World Champion, would be another of these incredible stories only chess can write.}
//
There has never been a Match World Chess Championship title match between a current champ vs a former champ, where the two players have not prior already played a MWCChamp title match against each other.
So yes, a Carlsen-Kramnik MWCChamp title match would be an historic first.
celeje celeje 2/6/2018 02:37
Has anyone else ever 'unqualified' for a World Championship match?
Probably plenty got a match & maybe even won, without a qualifying procedure.
But when there is a qualifying procedure failing it??

I guess Carsten Hensel doesn't spend too much time on that inconvenient fact in the book.
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