Chess Champs Decline World Match

By LEONID CHIZHOV, Associated Press Writer
MOSCOW (AP) - Chess grandmasters Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik said Friday they would not participate in the World Championship that the International Chess Federation, FIDE, plans to hold in the Russian capital this year.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of FIDE, announced Aug. 30 that the next World Championship would be held from November through January in Moscow and that FIDE would invite Kramnik, Kasparov and another former world champion from Russia, Anatoly Karpov, to participate.

FIDE claims sole legitimacy as the sponsor of the world championship, but the world has had two world champions since 1993 when Kasparov, who was then reigning champion, broke away from FIDE to form the Professional Chess Association.

Kasparov defended his title twice under the auspices of the Professional Chess Association, which disbanded in 1998. Last November, Kramnik defeated Kasparov for the world tittle in a match sponsored by Brain Games Network, an Internet start-up company.

In 1999, FIDE switched from the traditional long match against a single challenger to an annual knockout tournament of 100 players. Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand won the event in December.

In April, Kramnik, Kasparov and Karpov released an open letter blasting FIDE for allegedly trying to monopolize the game and for attempting to speed up matches to make tournaments more popular on TV and the Internet. FIDE has rejected the criticism.

``Garry Kimovich (Kasparov) and I have principal disagreements with FIDE on their conception, if we can speak about any conception on their part at all,'' Kramnik said at a news conference Friday.

``As long as the current situation in FIDE remains as it is and with the current leaders in power, I think my participation is unlikely.''

Kasparov was more categorical:

``I'm even shocked. No one has asked me such questions for a long time. My answer is evident. My disagreement with FIDE has a long history,'' Kasparov said. ``I was the first chess player to protest against methods of ruling in FIDE. Nothing has changed so far, and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's latest statements ... gave no grounds to expect any changes.''

Kasparov, Kramnik and Karpov do plan to play together at a chess tournament in December marking what would have been the 90th birthday of the famous Soviet grandmaster and six-time world champion Mikhail Botvinnik, who died in 1995.

 

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