Kramnik v Anand World Championship countdown

  • SonofPearl
  • on 23.07.2008, 11:49.

Kramnik starts the psychological war

The first game of the World Chess Championship match between India's Vishy Anand and Russia's Vladimir Kramnik is only 82 days away, but the mind games have started already.

In a recent interview Kramnik questioned the value of Anand's title because it was won in a tournament and not a match.  Such sniping is not new from Kramnik, but the manner of his comments are, if anything, more strident than before and could easily be interpreted as deliberate gamesmanship to unsettle his opponent.

Asked if he considered Anand to be the World Champion, he would only prevaricate, saying "It is not a question of simply yes or no.  Anand won the tournament, which was called the World Championship Tournament, and I competed in that tournament as I have no right not to consider him the World Champion.  A question is however, what is the value of such a title?"   Ouch!


Anand was questioned about the comments in an interview with the Indian newspaper DNA.  Despite some obvious attempts by the interviewer to provoke a war of words, Anand refused to be drawn any further than replying that in his view "As a champion, you should learn to play all formats and accept the results".

It seems likely that we can expect more mental sparring contests before the match proper begins, but this writer judges this first skirmish a draw - Kramnik may possibly have unsettled Anand, but Anand chose to rise above the provocation and ended up looking the 'bigger' man.

Of course, other people may have different opinions...


Czytano 7785 razy 47 komentarze
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  • 7 lat temu


    @demetrious18 - Anand is the undisputed champion and beat all the best players to achieve his title - with the exception of Topalov, who was excluded since he had just lost a match to Kramnik.  He is not a weak player.

    Have you really never heard of Kramnik?  He beat Kasparov in 2000 and was the world champion for many years until Anand beat him.  Defintely not a weak player either - and he beat Topalov in their match too.

    I'm sure Topalov would never let anyone else win without fighting his hardest.  Kasparov was the greatest player of the last quarter century.

  • 8 lat temu


    Kasparov was the best both in match play and in tournaments. He consistently finished first in MOST tournaments in which he played. Just because he didn't ALWAYS finish first never meant that whoever won any specific tournament suddenly became world champion.

    My conclusion, therefore, is that tournaments need to be taken as a GROUP. no individual tournament should decide a world champion. Players can have one or more bad days and go on to not finish first in any given tournament but still be the best player.

    The culmination of the decision process should therefore be match play between the best in a format similar to the old system of interzonals followed by knockout matches even though this sytem would take longer.

    Have a great day everyone.

  • 8 lat temu


    If we are going to have the championship change hands by taking third parties and seeing who can score the most points against them (as is done in a "tournament championship") I think we should just have everyone play the same computer or set of computers.  That would be more fair.  Player A may have to play player B in the first round.   Player B plays the round tough and it ends in a draw. 

    But then Player B goes on and is -4 before the last round.  So naturally he goes and figures hey I'm in this new country and the tournament is lost why not go out?  He comes back really hung over for his last round against player C.  Well that is great for player C but not really fair for player A.  You see by having everyone play computers we can at least say they are all playing the same competition. 

    Also if the world championship can be decided by a DRR tournament then why not have it decided in Linares and Sophia and Dortmund when it is DRR.   I agree with Aljeshin you can't really prepare for a tournament as much as for a match so it really doesn't make sense to say these tournaments aren't the same because of name only.  Its hard to say "well if they knew it was a world championship they would have tried harder."   What do you say a new champion every month or so?  How exciting!

  • 8 lat temu


    I like Kramnik not taking anyithing away from Viswanathan Anand as he is versatile ,but I am worried with what Kramnik just displayed during the recently ended Dortmund! Also the the criterion used in chosing and determining the World Champion has got loopholes.


  • 8 lat temu


    Wierd comment. If Kramnik is questioning Anand's status then, if Kramnik wins, I assume he won't be calling himself World Champion??

    In England, there is the FA Cup - a knock-out competition - and the Premier League - a round robin. Of the two, the Premier League is far and away the most prestigious. It takes a whole season to win the Premier League, whereas it only takes seven games to win the FA Cup. The best team wins the Premier League, which is not the case with the FA Cup.

    Anand is the "Premier League" World Champion, and has my total respect.

  • 8 lat temu


    Kramnik is the legitimate champion until someone beats him and I really don't think Anand is up to the task.

    Anand fans are funny, because they say that he is better than Kramnik, but are already admitting that Kramnik is a better match player. 

    It gives the impression that they are already making excuses for his loss to Kramnik and they haven't even played yet.

  • 8 lat temu


     Anands title is in my opinion more valid because of the tournament format in which it was won because said format puts more emphazis on the individual players skills as opposed to match play which is more dependant on the player to have a good "team" to spot weaknesses in the opponenets style and openings. You can do that in tournament play as well but it is obviously much harder with the greater number of opponents. In addition most people like it more to see games decidedmore over the board and less in the preparation room as it often is in match play. Of course some people like match play better because its more like boxing. Tournament is more like soccer in comparison. Kramnik is better in match play so he wants that to be the main format.

  • 8 lat temu


    This was all sufficiently accomplished in the older format that included the Zonal, Interzonal, and Candidates.  Players would play in a tournment format to determine the top players to move on to each level.  Once they got to the Candidates, they would play head-to-head knock-out matches and the ultimate winner would go on to play the champion in a lengthy one-on-one match for the title.

    This was by far the best system for determining the challenger for the world title and they should never have gone away from it.

  • 8 lat temu


    What about if they adopted a similar style to the World, or Euro cup, or other football tournaments?  They have a round robin group stage, with the most successful in this group stage advancing to knock out head-to-head rounds.  This way shows that the team who wins can compete well in both formats, which I think is important 

  • 8 lat temu


    The arguement for the WCC format will always be one of personal preference, but it sure makes for some enjoyable arguements.

    I much prefer the traditional match play format and consider the tournament option as very weak.  Match play gives you the better player without the shadow of a doubt, while tournament play can present variables that are out of your control.  Fischer proved this in the 60's when he accused the Russians of pre-arranged draws to help dictate the top of the leaderboard at Curacao.  While most thought he was just crazy, his accusations were validated years later.

    Match play also creates good theater and often attracts the attention of people that are not chess enthusiasts.  Kramnik's battle with Topalov in 2006 was very entertaining and received good press coverage for the game of chess.

    Nobody outside of chess followed the Mexico tournament.  Hell, I had a hard time getting excited about it, because the whole time it just felt like we were determining the number one contender for Kramnik's crown (which is essentially what it did). 

    Match play is more than just just a battle of skills.  It's about heart, mental and physical stability, making the better adjustments, and sometimes even gamesmanship.

    If tournament play was always the format, we would have been robbed of Steinitz-Lasker, Capablanca-Alekhine, Botvinnik-Tal, Fischer-Spassky, Kasparov-Karpov, etc.

    It would have been quite a shame if those matches never took place and the game of chess would be even more unpopular to the masses than it is today.

  • 8 lat temu


    toml - Most domestic soccer leagues (other than MLS) don't have any sort of culminating match or playoff system, and I don't find them boring in the least. (Though granted, there are domestic and European Cup tournaments running simultaneously.)

    To me, a round-robin style tournament is surely the fairest way to decide a true champion. It's the only way that everyone is guaranteed to play everyone a set number of times. Surely the best player in the world should be expected to come out of such a format with the most points.  

  • 8 lat temu


    Forget for a moment which of these 2 players you like better, and consider the question of the proper format for a sport's world championship. Take your favorite league sport be it basketball, hockey, football. Imagine that at the end of the regular season the team with the most points was just the champ. No playoffs, no 'big game', no showdown, no stanley cup match, no superbowl game. You can still have a champ without a showdown or match system, but it is boring and doesn't capture the imagination, or get the fans sitting on the edge of their seats, and doesn't really settle the issue otherwise. In short, it's boring. Let's make chess exciting again. Pick your player, and love him and hate the other guy, hope he looses and let them slug it out head to head, fight and drama. Fischer-Spassky, Karpov-Kasparov... fight, drama, beauty. Let the match begin!

  • 8 lat temu


    Why not have a world champion in match play, and then one in tournament play?  I don't think there is anything wrong with this idea.  A WC match player holds a title, and a candidates match is played to decide who will challenge him, and then they can play it out.  But besides that for the match WC, there could be a tournament WC.  May sound silly to some, but I don't think it is.  For that matter, you could have a WC in blitz, as well as Chess 960.  There's more than enough bone here for a dog to chew on :-).

  • 8 lat temu


    Sonofpearl must be new to following professional chess as this has been Kramnik's position for a quite a while. 


    Before the Mexico tournament  Kramnik had indicated that he prefers match play for the title and considers it more meaningful.  This is not a personal attack against Anand it is simply his position that is shared by many chess fans and is consistent with the history of the game. 


    The journalists for DNA have shown time and again that they are quite ignorant of chess and its history.  They want to try to make this into a personal attack so that "their man" Anand will look like some sort of martyr.  (If you read the DNA report they also try to paint Anand as a martyr because kasparov apparently slammed a door during their match.  Big deal!  But Anand properly refused to make that in to an issue)  Sonofpearl parrots DNA's illinformed views here and leaves one to wonder why. 

    Both Kramnik and Anand have tremendous respect for each other, both chess wise and integrity wise.  Kramnik has long stated his view that he prefers a match format, Anand has been consistent that he is fine with a tournament championship.  Both have expressed these views before Mexico and so this is not news.

    My view is both players play the board and they both politely express their views on the championship. They both are great assets to the game and show integrity.

    Personally I do hope Kramnik wins because of this difference in their views on whether the WC should be decided by a match or a tournament.  IMO it is absurd to have the WCC decided in a tournament unless the champ dies or some other similar event happens.  It has only happened one time before and that was when Alekhine died. 


    Here are just a few reasons why I prefer matches:

    Ask yourself this question:  What are the top 15 events in chess history? 

    Then ask yourself: How many of those events were matches and how many were tournaments?

    Consider when Paul Morphy went to Europe to play the greats in matches.  Can you imagine if instead of playing a match with Andersen he said "Hey I have an idea!   Instead of playing each other head to head to sort out who is better, lets each play Harrwitz and Owens.  Who ever scores more against these guys will be considered better."  As absurd as it is, this is in effect what a tournament is. 

    Pro chess is terrible now.  It’s all tournaments and no matches.  Nothing is ever really decided over the board.  The good players hardly ever play head to head games and simply try to beat up the lower rated players in the tourney to get their points.  But that is what tournament play is.    The top players are apparently fine with playing one meaningless tournament after another after another.  They then wonder why people aren't interested in watching. 

    People can love or hate Kramnik but the bottom line is this.  There is only one reason we are not set to have a Tripoli style KO WC in October.  That reason is Kramnik.  Anand has expressed his view that he thinks these KOs are fine.  This is not a personal attack to say he is dead wrong.  Tournament champions are terrible for chess.  Mexico no more proves that Anand is the best in the World than  it proved that Kramnik and Gelfand are the second best in the world.

    If you want the World Chess championship to be a tournament then hope Anand wins.   If you want to have WCC matches, you better hope Kramnik wins.


  • 8 lat temu


    Aah the Kramnik-Anand match fever catches on here as well. Most people think that humility and sportsmanship should be the criteria for a real champ while others believe in ruthless annihilation of the opponents (even psychologically if it helps!). Personally I don't have any favorites as such among these two. I prefer Topalov's style and bravado. But, since he will be playing Kamsky instead..we are down to these two players. Kramnik is by far a much more mature player (chessically) than Anand while Anand is by far the more resourceful tactician than Vlad. So, it will be interesting to see who cuts the final ribbon..the format of just 12 games is ridiculous..I'd prefer 20 or even 30.

      Now about the whole Kramnik vs Anand warfare. I don't think either of them are true world champions by the definition put forth by Kramnik himself. Anand won a tournament not a match ..Anand never played a candidate selected from interzonals or any other qualifying system. On the other hand..Kramnik himself never scraped through a qualifying match to face Kasparov! Sure, he beat Kasparov in a match...but he didn't qualify to meet him, did he? That honor was of Shirov who crushed Kramnik in their match to face Kasparov and who never got to face Kasparov or even got the money ( if he did get the money later, I am not aware of it). So technically speaking Kramnik didn't even deserve to face Kasparov..and then he goes on talking about the veracity of Anand's crown ! lol what a hypocrite!

      Well politics aside I actually am a fan of Kramnik over Anand. Kramnik's games are truly marvelous and almost error-free (when he doesn't experiment with some crazy openings once in a while).

        But I still think Kasparov has been the last legitimate World Chess Champion..won over matches against someone selected from qualifiers. not to mention he was on the #1 spot since probably 1985 right until he retired..truly a phenom!!

  • 8 lat temu


    omg.. why are they fussing about who is better? They should work TOGETHER!! Kramnand vs all !!

  • 8 lat temu


    sorry but Kramnik is the better player.

  • 8 lat temu


    My money is on Kramnik, Kramnik is a better match player than Anand. Anand is only better in tournaments. Besides I really believe Kramnik loosing the title that way in Mexico is not fair. I am not a fan of Kramnik's psychological war, yet we all know chess is ruthless, you've to be prepared to kill people. Go Kramnik!

  • 8 lat temu


    In my opinion, let them compete in a world title match without their glasses on, and who'll ever wins, shall earn the title. LOL....

    But the competiton should have words like "WORLD CHESS TITLE"..... LOL 2.....

  • 8 lat temu


    To Kenji-Kun, I do not root for or against a player simply because of the country they represent.  I like Anands style that's all. Kramnik is very good whether he is Russian or Martian.  The only player I might not root for him against is Topalov.  Not that Topalov could beat him just a preference.

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