ALEXANDER KENTLER. CROSSROADS
Today at 3 p.m. begins the Superfinal. It turned out so that it starts immediately after the World Cup. Those who have to play in both are feeling like astronauts who have to bear g-loads. Alexander Grischuk did not want to become an astronaut - that's his right. On the other hand, one could not have predicted when the Cup was going to take place, and such a non-stop is not the fault of the organizers of the Russian Superfinal. Moreover, thanks to them, the dates of the Cup were changed, and the Superfinal will be over before the New Year. And finally, the reconstruction of the House of Chess Players on the Gogolevsky boulevard, performed on a large scale, deserves any human «sacrifices». I am sorry for Evgeniy Najer, who fell ill at the wrong time. But we can feel glad that his very young namesake Tomashevsky will take part in the competition. And I will also like to wish luck to Petersburgers Peter Svidler and Alexander Khalifman.
The already finished World Cup is an outstanding event. It is quite possible that its results will influence the future of chess more than the championship in San Luis. In Argentina Topalov soloed and Svidler came to the fore. In Khanty Mansiysk we can note a number of events: Aronian and, possibly, Bacrot entered the world elite, Ponomariov and Kamsky returned, and a new star, Carlsen, rose. The World Cup defined ten of those 16 players, who will struggle for entering the four that will take part in the World Championship 2007. However, it is hard to understand who will take part in the candidates matches.
According to the FIDE regulations, this tournament will consist of the aforementioned ten players, five players with the highest ratings and the ex-world champion R.Kasimjanov. The top fifteen in the rating on 1.01.06 contains, the non-playing №1 Kasparov aside, four grandmasters that already have the right to participate in the coming world championship (Topalov, Anand, Svidler, Morozevich), five players that became the candidates according to the results of the Cup (Aronian, Grischuk, Bacrot, Ponomariov, Gelfand); remaining places belong to Leko (No 6), Kramnik (7), Ivanchuk (13), Polgar (14) and Shirov (15). It is quite clear that Kramnik will not participate in the candidates matches. And it is impossible to understand whether someone except for Leko will get into the list. There are 5 players whose ratings are higher than the one of Ivanchuk and who qualified from the Cup at one time. It can be interpreted in the following way: as some of them had qualified to the candidates matches by rating, their places are taken by those who finished behind them in the World Cup. So, here is the list of players, whose chances to qualify to the tournament are significant: Russians Malakhov and Dreev (11th and 13th places in the Cup) plus Vallejo (12th place), and maybe even van Wely (14th place). It can explain why the grandmasters were forced to decide the places right up to the 16th. And, unfortunately, the question whether it is fair to Ivanchuk and Shirov is not raised again.
Possibly after the election of the FIDE new (and most likely the same) President, something concerning the world championship will be changed. For example, nobody remembers now about the Last chance tournament, which appeared in the documents recently. I would like to add one more thing: why should we mix different systems on the stages and in the final of one competition? The World Cup was a knock-out; the candidates matches will be like that also. And the World Championship can follow this system, but classical time control should be added and the number of games in the matches should be increased! I suggest the following thing: eight participants of the world championship are divided into four pairs (according to achievements and ratings) and play matches consisting of six games. The semifinal matches consist of eight games, and the final match, in which the champion is defined, consists of ten games. Rapid (or blitz) chess appears only in case of a draw in the match. So the finalists play at most 24 games, quite a familiar number! The tradition of match system will be preserved, and nobody would blame the pairings (the finalists will lose no matches!). And finally, as there are a lot of countries represented in the World Championship, it is quite possible to get good prize fund and organize everything in a fine way for every stage (quarterfinal, semifinal, final), or maybe even for every match. With more time given to every stage, the number of the games in the match can increase.
In the end, I would like to use my status: my best friend Mikhail Asinovsky, actor of Gesher theatre (he played in the Theatre of Young Spectators and played the guitar in LenConcert) died on the 14th of December in Tel Aviv. He was not a chess player (he went in for checkers in the Palace of Pioneers, and his trainer was famous L.Ramm), but he loved chess and played chess with his friends from art world. Misha was a wonderful, kind and fascinating person. No one could say a bad thing about him, everyone was glad to meet him; he was a cordial person.
Victor Golyavkin had a story, in which narrator's neighbor dies. And when the narrator comes to his room in the morning, the latter sits on a sofa reading some book.
«I told him, - But you are dead.
-It was yesterday, he replied».
And I also cannot but wait that Misha will call me and I will hear his voice.
I grieve that such people die without having lived enough.