"We often talked about duels. Silvio (let me call him so) never cut in... We supposed that he had some miserable victim of his dreadful art on his conscience"

A.S.Pushkin "The Shot", "The Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin".


Long-expected world championship in San Luis, its results, first interviews of the new champion could not but please – this chaos is over! The only thing left was to find out whether there are organizers (and whether they have enough money) willing to hold the unification match of the FIDE world champion V.Topalov and classical champion V.Kramnik. Their duel would have put an end to different versions and would have led to what world championships began with – there is a CHAMPION and a number of CHALLENGERS.

The rules of those willing to play Topalov were stated quite clearly: the prize fund, deductions to FIDE... An attempt to offer a smaller sum by the side representing Kramnik's interests was not met with understanding, and Vladimir's grief because of the upset negotiations was followed by boorish reaction of Bulgarian manager S.Danailov. He stated Kramnik is not a champion at all.

If we believe in what FIDE stated about further competitions for the world championship, then tournaments like the one in San Luis will be held every two years, and between these competitions the world champion CAN play commercial championship matches. If in such match the challenger wins then he will replace the previous champion in next championship.

Who can claim to play the match having two million dollars? Those who have 2700+ Elo. Today there are 20 such chess players (soon this number will increase if this standard is that important). Here is the current rating of top twenty according to the calculations of international arbiter E.Dubov:

Kasparov 2812, Topalov 2802, Anand 2792, Svidler 2763, Leko 2742, Kramnik 2739, Aronian 2737, Bacrot 2725, Ivanchuk 2724, Morozevich 2721, Grischuk 2719, Gelfand 2714, Polgar 2710, Shirov 2710, Adams 2707, Ponomariov 2706, Akopian 2704, Radjabov 2704, Bareev 2701, Tiviakov 2700.

So, theoretically any of them can play the match for world championship, except for Garry Kimovich who announced his retirement from chess. Let us mention in parenthesis that piety, with which Topalov and his circle are writing about 13th world champion, can pass: if Kramnik (having overwhelming advantage in games with Topalov) is not a champion at all, then who is the one defeated by him?

Generally speaking, everything is absolutely unclear with these matches. Imagine that several players express their wish to play the champion. Whom will FIDE and the champion prefer: the player who is weak or the one who is rich? Will there be some persons non grata that will be allowed to play under no circumstances? And what will happen if the second challenger is waiting, and the first one has already defeated the champion? Danailov promises that terms will be stated soon. There is such an impression that we will not hear Topalov, or he will be repeating after his manager about someone's low rating.

It does not matter what our attitude to historical chronology is, but its chess section will preserve only famous chess players, and sometimes outstanding chess theorists. Hour of triumph of such people as Danailov is very short, their influence on future development of chess is minimal (sometimes it effects negatively, as in case with Ponomariov, and sometimes positively as nowadays with Topalov). Only the play of Topalov will allow either to write his name in the same list with Kramnik, who defeated great Kasparov, or in the same list with knock-out champion Kasimdzhanov, and it is an honor also. Trying to offend someone can help to achieve momentary aim, but history will put everything on the places.

In December the Superfinal of the Russian championship in Moscow takes place. It will be nice if after summing up all present and previous achievements of the strongest players, our federation chooses one challenger for the world championship match and helps to solve all financial problems. Pay your attention to this fact: a single transfer of a promising football player (for example V.Bystrov's transfer from Zenit to Spartak) cost almost as much as TWO MATCHES for the world chess championship, including payments to FIDE! It cannot be so that RCF cannot support preparation and participation of a Russian representative in the match that can bring chess crown back to our country! If the federation makes this decision before the championship, the level of struggle could be even higher...

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