Kirsan Nikolaevich, could you, please, dwell upon your statements made on June 21st at the closing ceremony of Ukrainian Chess Championship concerning the planned full-scale changes in chess?
Why did I start talking about rapid ratings and so on? The Chief Arbiter of the event (Ukrainian Championship) reported that percentage of scoring at the tournament was very high – 48% whereas in Kazan it was only 3% (10% - whychess).
In fact, chess has touched the bottom when we take chances to roll back and lead a dog's life.
That’s why yesterday in Kiev at the closing ceremony of the championship I declared for the first time that three and a half weeks ago in Al Ain, the UAE, there had been held the FIDE Presidential Board akin to that historic one of 1995. Then 16 years ago in Singapore there was made a decision about applying a new knock-out system for the World Championship what I reported about at 10 a.m. after the night discussion with Alexander Roshal, the chief editor of “64-Shakhmatnoye obozrenie”. Similarly, this time in Al Ain on the first day of the Presidential Board after 7-hour discussion with Sheikh Sultan Al Nayhan and Jeffry Borg of events happened in Kazan, problems concerning computer-assisted cheating, and the situation in whole I stated that chess had come to the end of its tether. Either we together with other sport federations moves towards the market or we languish in poverty and chess becomes parlour game. Besides, I stated that we established the Commission for Chess Modernization. We decided to consult chess-players, organizers, journalists, and make a pause so that this time nobody could pounce on me and call Ilyumzhinov a dictator who enforces his own rules. We decided, like in chess, to play a three-move combination, i.e. not in one move as it was in Singapore but in three.
Move 1: we create the Commission for Modernization, which is headed by me. To enable the performance of this Commission there established a financial foundation which I’m going to invest my money in and attract investments to.
Move 2: we have officially declared the discussion, specifically at www.whychess.com, open till September 1st, 2011. During the next three months we’ll accept all the proposals on ratings for rapid chess and blitz, dress code for chess-players, media activity, and changes of rules. Starting from September 1st we’ll publish the collected proposals and bring them up to discussion until October 20th.
Move 3: On October 20th at the FIDE General Assembly in Krakow I’ll sum up the results of the world discussion of submitted proposals and present to the delegates the final project on modernization. Within the frames of this scheme there will be made some alterations to FIDE Charter which after the delegates’ approval shall be implemented.
One of the proposals already brought up to public discussion is introduction of official separate ratings for active chess and blitz on January 1st, 2012. Moreover, it is proposed to formalized and include in FIDE Calendar the World Rapid Chess Championship and World Blitz Chess Championship with subsequent tournament matches for the Absolute Champion title between winners thereof. Nobody kills classical chess, it remains. Since we live in the market conditions two championships will be bring up to public discussion: so-called World Classical Chess Championship and World Absolute Chess Championship. And we’ll see for which one sponsors will give their money. According to financing, if, for example, absolute champion draws one million dollars and classical champion draws only ten thousand it turns out that it’s the price of their crowns. Let market define it. There won’t be any state regulation.
To say the truth, as FIDE President, I’m sick and tied of gathering money for champions. There are a lot of examples when we tried to find money and they didn’t do anything but then after getting this money they started carping both on me and FIDE. Therefore, they’ll get what they’ll earn. If one million men come to the hall of the Conservatoire named after Tchaikovsky the queue of which reaches the Red Square and each of them pays 100 dollars per ticket, then chip on your shoulders! FIDE will support it since we’ll have 20% from any championship. If Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Anand and others attract to the Grand Sports Arena of Luzhniki Olympic Complex 100 thousand people who pays 100 dollars per ticket as for Madonna’s concert and thereby earn 10 million dollars, then go ahead! I mean now we give them a sailing permit and will see what they can do. Accordingly, ratings, prize money, contributions – the whole industry will change its policy in one direction or other, If in 2 years when the regular cycle is over we’ll see that neither rapid nor blitz attract spectators, nobody in media and internet buy the rights for games broadcast, then…
So, the time-control for rapid chess is 25 minutes without increment, plus 10 minutes for ads. Thus, we can sell 1 hour of airtime to any TV channel. It’s like in football where everybody knows that they play for 45 minutes. And blitz with the time-control of 5 minutes without increment – 10 minutes can be sold plus 2 minutes for ads. Now we bring up this clear structure to public discussion.
Last year I was in Linares, met organizers, and saw the situation in the playing hall when there were no spectators… Whom do we play for? Do chess-players play for themselves? When at the important tournament the game between Kramnik and Grischuk is drawn in 8 it’s not worth a row of pins. “I’ve got this position at home till move 25, so what’s the good of playing it now?” – It’s no good at all either.
At present we discuss the idea of tournament matches for the Absolute Champion title between 16 best chess-players who will be divided in two groups of 8 people and will play 2 games a day as Black and White. Since FIDE carries out a gender policy we are also going to hold a similar championship for women with possible subsequent match between winners of men’s and women’s competitions.
In two or three weeks there will be held the second Commission meeting in Athens. As I’ve already said we are open to all proposals. According to the results of internet voting and opinion polls, for instance, on your website, we’ll make decision on all this issues on October 20th. According to people’s votes we can even return to adjournment.
Regarding your question, there will be set a certain dressing, maybe, not a tuxedo but, at least, not slippers and T-shirt at formal events. I suggest designers should send us their chess clothes models best of which will be selected and a winner will become a face of FIDE for one year.
The same applies to “Kaissa”, the Chess Beauty Contest among women chess-players. A winner will become a chess envoy throughout the world for a year. Besides, I think it’s necessary to hold a Chess Beauty contest among men chess-players. You can officially declare that. We’ll be working on a positive image of a chess-player.
Besides, I was greatly impressed by the trip to Cusco (Peru), the ancient city of Inca. Chess-players still have a happy lot – getting prize money and traveling to such interesting places at the same time.
- Oksana Rumyantseva (sex columnist):
Spurt to the market economy