Kramnik: "I did not give up the title!"

by ChessBase
6/3/2002 – After the confusing press conference held in Moscow last Thursday (see Mig's report below) Classical World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik has felt a need to speak out. He reaffirms his commitment to the Prague agreement, describes Einsteins involvement and denies that the qualifier tournament in Dortmund has run into financial problems. You will find Kramnik's statement here.

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A Statement of Classical World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik

Less than one month after signing the Prague agreement I find it necessary to clarify my position in order to avoid misunderstandings and to comment on certain statements made during the last few days.

  1. I reaffirm my intention to fulfill the agreement made in Prague on 6th May supporting the idea of reunification to be achieved after both the Einstein Classical World Chess Championship Match and a FIDE World Chess Championship.

  2. I again declare my willingness, under reasonable conditions, to participate in a reunification match as described in the Prague agreement which would be against the winner of a possible FIDE cycle (or against the winner of the proposed match between Ruslan Ponomariov vs Gary Kasparov) provided that I am successful in my own World Championship Match.

  3. Contrary to some statements and reports which have misinterpreted the Prague agreement I did not give up the title of Classical Chess World Champion which is based on 116 years of chess history and which is also respected in the Prague agreement. My match against the winner of the Candidates Tournament in Dortmund will be a Classical World Championship Final and not a semifinal. I made some concessions at Prague which have never been made by a Classical World Champion before in order to support the unification process. These were; accepting Ruslan Ponomariov as a Chess World Champion and therefore giving up draw odds from the unification match onward and giving up my right to be seeded automatically into the finals of future cycles.

  4. Einstein Group and I are ready for unification as described in the Prague agreement. However, I am fully aware that it will be not easy for any proposed new organisation in professional chess to raise the necessary sponsorship and to develop a business plan acceptable to FIDE. According to the agreement made in Prague the pre-unification Einstein events are to be excluded from the business plan. My partner – Einstein Group plc London – is responsible for the staging of these events and for securing the budgets. Einstein Group will organise the Dortmund Candidates Tournament (6 to 21 July 2002) and the resulting title match between myself and the winner of the Dortmund qualifier in April/May 2003. Therefore our side clearly relieves the proposed new organisation of these costs and responsibilities.

  5. I hope that the FIDE cycle will be more inclusive than currently proposed and consist of more than one match between Ruslan Ponomariov and Gary Kasparov. A solution which included more players would be better suited to the principles FIDE has followed in recent years. This is in principle my opinion but I also understand that this decision is not in my responsibility. Furthermore I support the proposal to found a Grandmaster Steering Committee to be elected in a democratic way as a part of a professional management body.

  6. Statements which were made during the Moscow press conference on 30 May 2002 about financial problems in Dortmund are groundless. This can be seen clearly from the press release of the Einstein Group dated 31 May 2002. The same I would like to say about statements that I would be an obstacle to the unification process. Such statements made during the above mentioned Moscow press conference and before are incorrect. I believe that such comments are not helpful to the unification movement. Rather these are the real obstacles in raising the necessary global sponsorships. I would like to express the hope that all sides will be more cautious in their future statements.

It is clear that endeavors to realize unification will be only successful if all sides will be able to fulfill their promises in this process. Therefore I believe it is time to start with the agreed steps in a constructive and fair way which will be then for the sake of the Chess World.

Moscow, 3 June 2002

Vladimir Kramnik
Classical Chess World Champion

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