Shirov is one of the most dynamic players in the world. He is also never afraid to express his opinion. Here are his comments on Chessvibes regarding the world championship cycle.

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Hello everybody,

I believe there is still one thing Mr. Hans Arild Runde [who also left a comment under my column – PD] and Mr. Henrik Carlsen miss – the way the cycle 2008-2011 was presented lacked fairness as well. It meant the match between winner of the World Cup and the winner of Grand Prix, fine. Then the winner of their match against the World Champion, fine. But what about the loser of the World Championship match?

As it was more or less clear that the World Championship match would not happen before 2010, the only chance for both contenders to be in the next cycle would be to play in the World Cup 2009. But then what if none of two players even qualifies for the final? What sense it makes their WC match then and the subsequent match of the new World Champ with the winner of the cycle?

It’s really very difficult to find a perfectly fair and transparent system, therefore an attempt to create the Candidate’s torunament wasn’t so bad itself in my opinion. As long as there are no further intrigues such as Topalov/Kamsky’s privileges and obscure potential privileges to Kramnik.

For Kramnik’s privileges there is one more thing to add. At the moment it seems that the only potential offer for the Candidate’s tournament is Bonn and they would want to include Kramnik. So sad is the reality of chess that unfortunately the most players would still prefer to play the tournament rather than play nothing at all. And here it comes – the Bonn tournament was possibly already in Ilyumzhinov’s mind when he offered the privileges to Topalov and Kamsky. A typical one move calculation honestly believing that the move would make everybody happy. But he forgot that the organizers’ nominee (which normally shouldn’t exist but that’s a different matter) CAN NOT be confused with the sporting part of the system that shoul be fair otherwise. In tennis local nominees exist too, of course.

Still, I’d like to remind the chess world that when Carlsen joined the Grand Prix, Henrik didn’t seem unhappy about the local nominees (which, I for example strongly opposed to, in my opinion they could play one but not four events) neither the President nominees nor the general stupidity of the system. Therefore, I still can’t fully understand the decision to withdraw from Elista.

As for me, I didn’t play in Grand Prix from the beginning but I should admit I also had personal reasons for that, the issue of local nominees was only one of them.

Alexei Shirov,
Riga 09.01.2009

Here is a follow up email to Chessvibes:

I feel extremely strange defending Kramnik in a way but I also see that when he was considered World Champion everybody forgave him everything. They also put a lot of dirt on me for ‘refusing to play Kasparov in 1998′ and now all the dirt goes on Kramnik. That means that only number 1 and 2 (and for the public it is in a way Anand and Carlsen nowadays) are always right and the rest of the people are always wrong.

But in fact now Kramnik is only partly wrong suggesting that he should be in the Candidates Tournament if Topalov/Kamsky are there as well. If you look at his message from a different side, that he would be ready to play in the World Cup unless the loser of Topalov-Kamsky is directly seeded, then everything makes sense and this is what I am aiming for since my communication in early December. And Carlsen could accept such a situation as well, in my opinion, so there is not that much contradiction.

Here is the full article.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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