No interest in organising
Mark Crowther reports
|The proposed match between Anatoly Karpov and Gary
Kasparov is unlikely to go ahead due to lack of
sponsorship. The match would have produced an undisputed
World Chess Champion. The regulations for the match were
broadly agreed in
discussions between the two players during the chess Olympiad inYerevan last year.
There have been two title holders since 1993 when Kasparov took his World title match against Short outside the international chess federation, FIDE's control. FIDE responded with a title match of their own which was won by Karpov. For most of the time since Kasparov has been recognised as the strongest player in the World and Karpov the second strongest. In these circumstances a high profile and lucrative match seemed very possible especially as the only tournament that both played in, Linares 1994, was won clearly by Karpov.
However after the two players came to an agreement they also decided to play in a tournament together. The Las Palmas tournament in December 1996 brought together the top six players in the World. The result of the event cast doubt on the commercial value of a match. Kasparov was an impressive winner whilst Karpov finished last. The result was Karpov's second consecutive poor result. The impression that Kasparov was playing his best chess for many years was confirmed by his victory in the Linares tournament this year. Karpov did not compete as he was standing for election to the Russian parliament.
have been reports in recent weeks that the match would be
held in the Municipality of Compiegne in France. The
stories started in Liberation a French newspaper but
gained international currency through their reporting on
the Chess Planet www page. They added some plausible
details: the match would be in Napoleon's Palace with a
prize fund of $3,000,000 starting on October 21st.
However even cursory checking at the time of publication
(3rd March) convinced me that there was very little
substance to the story. Since then a number of chess
magazines have published the details. Raymond Keene of
the Times went as far as to say that these details came
from an announcement that the match was to go ahead. He
seems to have got a garbled version that had been
translated from French, to English, to German before
being returned to English. However after Keene's article
the chess correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, Malcolm
Pein, brought these stories to Kasparov's attention.
Kasparov said that the reports had no basis in truth,
going to far as to claim that they were a fabrication by
"friends of Karpov". He added that there were
no funds for the match.