Kasparov to play Kramnik?
Mark Crowther reports

There will be a news conference in London on Wednesday 5th April 2000 at
Home House in London. Raymond Keene who is fronting a consortium to bring
about a match between Garry Kasparov and a challenger for the "World Chess
Championship" as claimed by Kasparov. The match will be over 16 games and
according to GM Keene it will the first in a series of annual challenges
for the world champion some of which may be against computers. All matches
will be broadcast live on the internet. The venue is not fixed but I
understand the favourite is London. The winner of the title match, to be
played in October will receive 1,333,000 dollars and the loser half that
much.

Malcolm Pein and John Henderson will be there and photos and recordings
should be available afterwards. If you have any questions you'd like asked
at the press conference with Kasparov, Keene and possibly the challenger
then send them to me and I'll forward them on to Malcolm and John.

Kramnik has been offered a chance to play Kasparov but the latest reports
suggest he hasn't yet signed.

Alexei Shirov has said in an interview with El Pais that "I believe that
Kramnik must reject the offer because I gained the right to challenge
Kasparov over the board". Judging from letters to TWIC there is a great
deal of support for that point of view from the general public.

The organisers are a new site called braingames.net. A site covering Chess,
Chinese Chess, Japanese Chess, Draughts and Go. Braingames has signed
exclusive five year deals with Garry Kasparov, the World Chess Champion and
Ron King, the World Draughts Champion, and will be hosting the World
Championships in everyone of the Braingames.

Ian Rogers reports:

Anand has been talking on the record about the reasons why he declined the
world championship contract. (In addition there are further comments by
Aruna Anand in the Hindu at
http://www.the-hindu.com/2000/03/29/stories/0729020b.htm

Anand was unhappy with many clauses of the contract, including:

(i) Anand would be required not to compete in any other World Championship
for the next five years.

(ii) Kasparov is guaranteed $US1m if the match does not take place. Anand
was not sure of receiving anything unless he relied on Kasparov's goodwill,
which is why he asked for $300,000 up front.

(iii) He was given until April 21 to consider the contract. On March 21 the
organisers claimed that this was a typing error and that he must make a
decision immediately!

(iv) At one point in the negotiations Anand offered a list of changes to
the contract which were accepted by the negotiator. Then that same evening
he was told that all these conditions were not acceptable. He was later
told that his changes would be considered only after he had signed the
contract!

(v) The contract was to be signed with a new organisation which did not yet
exist, but this would be the party Anand would have to sue if things went
wrong.

(vi) Anand was told to keep the plans for the match completely confdential
but then in Linares he discovered that information about the match had been
leaked to 'The Times' of London.

(vii) The source of the funding was never named.

Anand and Aruna were also very unhappy at the way they were harrassed in
Monaco, the match organisers hassling the Anands early in the morning and
late at night. Eventually Aruna was forced to disconnect all the phones in
their room, but the match organisers still kept trying, with 'urgent'
messages delivered by the concierge at 7am.

Anand is quite upset that he was given such an unfair contract and that all
his suggested changes were rejected. He said he would happily have accepted
a fair contract for a match against Kasparov but was unwilling to invest
time and money for seconds and training without any guarantees that he
would have compensation if the match collapsed.

Raymond Keene's response.

1 My understanding was that if he lost he would be obliged to compete in
our next qualifier but if he was not challenger or champion then he could
play anywhere else he liked.

2 Nonsense! the prize money of 2 million dollars was in escrow and if the
match was cancelled then he and gazza would simply have shared the pot
equally-though quite why we should cancel with 2 million bucks in escrow is
unclear to me!

3 Asking for 300k upfront when the money is secure is odd-if the money was
not secure -which it was-then i could understand his demand-perhaps he does
not understand the word escrow!

4 April 21 was a genuine misprint-however earlier communications had made
it clear that March 21 was the deadline.

5 I know nothing of these changes

6 The organisation exists braingames plc-check it out if you like.

7 We did not authorise the leak-in fact we did not have the money at the
time the leak occurred and it annoyed me greatly.

8 Of course the source was named-brain games plc.

9 They were not harassed-that was ridiculous.

10 The contract was exactly the same as gazzas-that was the point.

11 The guarantee was that if the match did not take place Anand got a
Million bucks - I cant say fairer than that!!