Something vaguely resembling a world chess championship

It’s going on in Mexico right now. This eight-player tournament is actually the final qualification stage; the winner gets to play world champion Vladimir Kramnik for the title.

Oddly, Kramnik himself is one of the eight players in Mexico.

If Kramnik wins, he will play for the title against Bulgarian Veselin Topalov in a rematch of the toiletgate scandal. (Cliffs Notes version: Kramnik went to the bathroom a lot during the games. Topalov accused him of hiding a computer in the john, nearly derailing the match. No mention of Belichick’s video camera but it was probably involved somehow. Upshot: Topalov, whose aggressive style of play I greatly admire, is nontheless a sleaze.)

If Kramnik doesn’t win Mexico, he will play the title match against whoever does win.

Does that make any sense? Only if you follow the tortured and corrupt machinations of FIDE, the game’s international governing body.

Humorously, if Kramnik is playing well a scenario could arise in which he gets to decide whether he wants a Topalov rematch or not – by tanking a game or two, Kramnik could let someone else win Mexico and ice Topalov out of the championship match picture.

Which would be an eye for an eye, though less admirable than turning the other cheek.


8 thoughts on “Something vaguely resembling a world chess championship

  1. He should just play well, win Mexico, then take Topalov apart in the Championship. I think Kramnik has a psychological edge in any case.

  2. David – indeed.

    Harvey – you’re absolutely right. Of course Topalov on form is a force to be reckoned with, but Kramnik showed his mettle last time.

    I don’t necessarily need a long-reigning, dominant champion along GK’s lines, but I would like to see the WC process stabilized, and I think having Kramnik win Mexico and win another match would further accomplish that. (Next, obviously, Illumzhinov would have to be out of the picture.)

  3. Hi Derek,

    I have been disconnected from these matters for a while, and I was unaware of the stipulation. It does make very little sense in fact. It’s as though Kramnik is playing for hire by Topalov.

    If I were kramnik, I would game the system and ask for a hefty sum to Toppy on the eve before the last game, to lose it. And then give it to a charity of choice and denounce myself a day after the end of the match with topalov, just to show how silly fide was. Oh, wait. That would be unfair to the other players. Yeah. As if playing to win the tournament isn’t :)


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