Reply to Open Letter from Kasparov, Karpov and Kramnik

On behalf of the World Players' Council: regarding the open letter of Karpov, Kasparov and Kramnik

After having read the letter of the 3 Ks, we would like to accept the kind invitation of the authors and participate in the discussion regarding burning problems of modern chess. However, unfortunately, some passages from the letter force us to initially comment on the letter itself. We have been used to the fact that V. Kramnik calls himself the 14th World Champion, but it was the 12th World Champion who really surprised us. In early 1998, having won over V. Anand in Lausanne, Karpov declared himself World Champion and Mr. Kasparov - Impostor. On 10 January 2001, at the same venue, Lausanne, Mr. Karpov (in front of the Commission for Sports Arbitrage of IOC, for a reward of USD 50, 000) admitted the legitimacy of the titles of the 14th and 15th World Champions, A. Khalifman and V. Anand respectively. And now “ We, 12th, 13th and 14th World Champions, are writing this joint letter”!

Chess is not the only sport where the official International Federation has rights to organise the official World Championship. It is obvious that FIDE clearly has more rights than, for example, BGN (Brain Games Network), which had invited the participant who lost the qualification tournament (Mr. Kramnik) for the match, the source of the financing of which is now being investigated by the British police. It is not the first time one has to be reminded that ALL top active chess players have participated in the last official World Championship in New Delhi-Tehran, except the representatives of the arcane “top level guild”, i.e. authors of the KKK open letter.

We are ready to participate in the search for the ways to modify the World Championship cycle. But to turn the Championship into the selection process to play against Mr. Kasparov, which will in its turn, be the qualification to the match with Mr. Kramnik (or vice versa) we think unacceptable. The World Championship should become an honest sports competition of all the strongest chess players without any privileges for anyone whosoever.

We agree that FIDE Commerce (not FIDE) has come forward with a very shallow play of Grand Prix 2002 - both from the point of view of financial conditions and the Calendar. But if the project is going to be finalised, then Grand Prix tournaments might become a valuable innovation. Here we mean the tournaments for 32 players and not for 6, as in Linares and Dortmund. Of course, besides Linares and Dortmund there are (at least in the 2001 Calendar), Wijk aan Zee, Cannes, Monaco, Astana, Merida, Leon and many other important tournaments. And this is why, were the Grand Prix tournaments introduced, it would not be possible to avoid some dates clashes. And “the millions of fans” might on some occasion wish the top players play and not leave for the trainers’ teams of “the super stars”.

A few words on the time control. Every Organiser should have a chance to choose it for his own tournament. For instance, if the tournament in honour of the unfading chess classic of the 20th century V. Korchnoi, where, by the way, two from the undersigned will participate, is a rapid chess tournament, this only shows that there is an objective trend to accelerate the tempo of the game. And nobody is going to forbid the classic time control, though the quality of the game with such time control is likely to be a little inferior to the "advanced chess" game.

In conclusion – one more quotation from the letter of 3K: “The game of chess belongs to the world chess community”. This looks like a fresh idea: nobody has ever thought that chess can belong to anyone. But the interests of professional chess players are still there. And they should be subject neither to FIDE, nor the Messrs. Authors of the open letter.

22 April 2001, St. Petersburg.

GM Alexei Shirov, Vice World Champion
GM Alexander Khalifman, 14th World Champion
GM Viswanathan Anand, 15th World Champion
GM Vladimir Akopian, Vice World Champion of 1999
Mr. Boris Khropov, Vice President of the St. Petersburg Chess Federation
Mr. Boris Kurkhinen, Chess School Manager, St. Petersburg
Participants of the St. Petersburg Championship 2001:
GM Valery Popov, Champion of St. Petersburg 2001
GM Sergei Ivanov
GM Vasily Emelin
GM Sergei Ionov
GM Valery Loginov
IM Vladimir Karasev
IM Evgeny Alexeev
IM Sergei Sivokho
FM Ruslan Kashtanov
Mr. Alexei Polyaninov
Mr. Alexei Utkin;
GM Konstantin Sakaev
GM Evgeny Solozhenkin
GM Konstantin Aseev
FM Genrikh Chepukaitis
GM Valery Salov, President, World Players’ Council