FIDE makes another attempt at unification

The World Chess Federation said it would hold a tournament this year in an attempt to unify the chess world.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:50 IST
  • Total Shares


The World Chess Federation said it would hold a tournament this year in an attempt to unify the chess world that splintered nearly a decade ago with the world champion's walkout. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of the federation known by its French acronym FIDE, said the world's eight top chess grandmasters would play a tournament in October to name the world champion. World title match Under the latest plan, grandmasters FIDE Champion Kasimdzhanov, his runner-up Michael Adams of England, Leko, Viswanathan Anand of India, Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and Russians Kramnik, Kasparov and Alexander Morozevich will play two round-robbin rounds to decide the world title. There was no immediate reaction from any of the eight chess players. "A historical decision was made which will ease the nervousness in the chess world," Ilyumzhinov said yesterday after the federation's Presidential Council meeting in Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. 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 US$ 500,000 (euro378,000), 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. Reunification bid The planned match is the fifth attempt to reunify the chess world since then-world champion Garry Kasparov broke away from FIDE in 1993. The most recent attempt at unification failed last month, when Kasparov withdrew from a world championship match with FIDE champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan scheduled for this spring. Kasparov said he had suffered financial and psychological damage from the match's repeated postponement. In 2003, FIDE champion Ruslan Ponomarev of Ukraine refused to sign a contract with FIDE to play against Kasparov. The rift in the chess world grew after Ilyumzhinov, the president of the impoverished Russian province of Kalmykia, became president of federation in 1995. While Ilyumzhinov was praised for pouring millions of dollars into chess, he also introduced numerous controversial changes, including a new knockout format for the world championship and a new, faster time control. Under a 2002 plan to reunify the chess world, known as the Prague Agreement, Kasparov was to play a FIDE champion. The winner of that match was to face the winner of a contest between Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Peter Leko of Hungary. Kramnik beat Kasparov in 2000 to become the Classical World Champion, a title not recognised by FIDE. (AP)