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Sport - Chess Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

World still looking for undisputed king

By Stan Rayan

KOCHI, NOV. 28. Chess will have a new junior World champion in a couple of days in Kochi. And a few of the stars here, like India's P. Harikrishna, a strong favourite for the boys World title, and the aggressive Armenian Tigran Petrosian, could threaten the big guns in the men's World in a few years time.

But unfortunately, while the junior scene appears very promising, the world of men's champions is ridden with chaos.

The sport does not even have a proper men's World champion, a king who could be accepted by everybody. While Uzbekistan's Rustam Kashimdzhanov is the FIDE World champion, Russian Vladimir Kramnik was crowned as the non-FIDE World champion a few weeks ago.

Attempts to unify the World title, to produce an undisputed champion, also look absurd.

For the unification match, which has the backing of the world chess federation FIDE and which is likely to be held in Dubai some time next year, will have the planet's No.1 player Garry Kasparov playing Kasimdzhanov, who is currently ranked No. 47 in the latest FIDE list.

Sadly, since the series will be without some of the sport's biggest stars, like Indian Viswanathan Anand and Kramnik, the World number two and three respectively, the disputes are likely to continue, throwing the sport into a bigger chaos.

But the world chess federation is keen on going ahead with the Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match, said the FIDE vice-president P.T. Ummer Koya.

"The issue was discussed at the recent FIDE general assembly held during the Olympiad in Calvia (in Spain). Dubai will be the venue of the match and there is no change. But we have not finalised the new dates," said Mr Koya.

After retaining his classical chess World title recently in Switzerland, Kramnik came up with a proposal to unite the crown.

"Instead of the Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov match, we could hold a tournament with the participation of Kasparov, Kasimdzhanov, Anand and Ruslan Ponomariov with the winner playing against me for the world title," said Kramnik in a recent interview.

Both Anand and Ponomariov are former FIDE world champions.

"Kramnik's proposal sounds good. Unfortunately, such a thing working out is very remote," said Mr Koya. "And FIDE did not discuss Kramnik's proposal at the Calvia general assembly," he said.

The non-FIDE title came into existence when Kasparov, the then World champion, broke from FIDE in 1993 to create the now defunct Professional Chess Association (PCA).

Kasparov beat Nigel Short of England in 1993 and Viswanathan Anand of India in 1995, before losing to Kramnik in 2000.

The recent match Switzerland with Hungarian Peter Leko was Kramnik's first defense of the title.

Kramnik's proposal has a strong supporter in Poland's Radoslaw Wojtaszek, the lone current world champion at the Kochi Junior Worlds that resumes on Monday after today's rest day.

"The title will have value only if the world's top four or five players figure in it. And Anand is currently the world's best player. He's just fantastic," said Wojtaszek who won the under-18 World title a few days in Greece.

"But we should not give in to the players," asserts Koya.

"If the association does not assert its supremacy, the game suffers," he said.

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