After making the first ceremonial move at the 1st board of the 3rd tournament of the FIDE Grand Prix in Elista Radjabov-Cheparinov, the Head of the Republic of Kalmykia, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov gave a press conference.
- I would like to first of all once again congratulate everyone with the start of the 3rd tournament of the FIDE Grand Prix series 2008-2009 in Elista. Let us hope that the participants will make us happy with their performance.
- Dear Mr. President, could you please inform us on the future of the FIDE Grand Prix series? As far as we know, despite the capital of Qatar, Doha, where from the 3rd tournament was moved to Elista, it is known that Montreux has also refused from organizing the 4th tournament. And it is likely that Karlovy Vary will also withdraw?
- Last year we have implemented the FIDE Grand Prix series in order to structure the World Chess Championship cycle and to maximize the opportunity for attracting as more as possible the top chess players to the top tournament. The Swiss city Montreux could only guarantee 180 thousand euros instead of the necessary amount. That is why we have excluded it from the list of cities-organizers of the Grand Prix tournaments. The next tournament will most probably take place in Kiev.
The municipality of Kiev sent an official letter, where they expressed their readiness and wish to organize this tournament. Soon, the inspection commission of FIDE will go to Kiev to check the facilities and I am sure the decision to hold the 4th FIDE Grand Prix tournament there will be made these days to come. The next, 5th tournament will be held in August 2009 in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan. At the World Chess Olympiad in Dresden, I met the President of Armenia, President of Armenian Chess Federation Mr. Serzh Sargssian and he expressed his readiness to host this tournament. He confirmed this personally also in writing.
As you know, it was planned that in August 2009, Elista was going to host this stage of the Grand Prix. But since Doha has cancelled, we have the tournament in Elista now. And one city cannot organize two tournaments of Grand Prix. The 6th final tournament of this series was planned to be held in Karlovy Vary.
So far, we have not received any official refusal from them. But even if we do, it is no problem for us at all, for we have received already two more proposals to host this stage. As for the capital of Qatar, it is most probably that Doha will host one of the tournaments of the next Grand Prix series. These series are already half the way towards completion: after Elista tournament, there will be only three left. I am happy to say that the FIDE Grand Prix series is going the right way. It was normally difficult to start the series, to open the way, but I do hope, in the future, all will be much easier.
- Which principle was used when the withdrawn players were replaced by the new ones? Why was not the FIDE Ex World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov included into the list?
- Ponomariov was indeed the first in the list of the reserve players. We have made an official proposal to him. The FIDE President assistant Berik Balgabaev and the Director of Global Chess Geoffrey Borg made some phone calls and talked to him several times. There were only two weeks left till the start of the tournament and Ponomariov could not participate at the last moment.
The matter is that he will also not be able to participate in the 5th tournament of the Grand Prix in August next year. He has some other obligations to participate in August in Switzerland. Taking into account that in accordance with the Grand Prix regulations, each participant should participate in 4 tournaments out of 6, Ruslan has no sense to play in Elista tournament, for he would not even have played in 3 tournaments anyway. The next reserve player from the list was Vladimir Akopian. But he was already included into the list of participants as a nominee of one of the hosting cities of the Grand Prix 2008-2009. Therefore, the place was given to the next players in the reserve list: GM Pavel Eljanov and FIDE Ex World Champion Rustam Kasimzhanov.
- As we also heard Michael Adams gave the following reason of his refusal to participate in the tournament in Elista: he is not happy with the prize fund. But he took part in one tournament in Baku. At that time, he liked the amount of the prize fund. Does it mean that the prize fund was decreased?
- No, it is absolutely not right. The prize fund remained the same. As for the refused participants, in particular Adams and Carlsen, who withdrew their participation at their own free will , it is their own business.
- Which rights will the winner of the FIDE Grand prix series 2008-2009 have?
- He will have a right to play an official match against the winner of the FIDE World Cup 2009. And the winner of this match will meet the winner of the match Viswanathan Anand-Topalov/Kamsky to further fight for the World Chess Champion crown. Therefore, it is obvious that the Grand Prix participants have good motivation to play. In this cycle of tournaments, more than 20 top-rated Grandmasters have participated, and in the World Cup 128 chess players from many countries have a chance to fight to the title.
- According to your statement, Mr. President, the Grand Prix winner will compete with the World Champion. It means that the previous conditions, declared before these series, are still valid? What about the decision of the FIDE General Assembly in Dresden, which states that instead of the match winner of Grand Prix vs. winner of World Cup, a Candidates tournament with 8 players will be held? Does it mean we misunderstood something?
- The FIDE General Assembly in Dresden opened a bid to organize the Candidates tournament started the discussions if this tournament should be organized or not. But the final decision on this issue will be made at the FIDE Presidential Board, which will take place in March next year. Now, we are collecting the bids.
Just to add, the World Champion Vishy Anand, the leading Grandmasters Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlslen are against the inclusion of the Candidates tournament in the cycle. Proposing to organize this tournament, we proceed from the fact that the losers of the World Chess Championship matches would still have an opportunity to fight further for the World crown, and will not be out of the boat at all. Besides, it is planned that the loser of the semifinal match Kamsky-Topalov, two finalists of the World Cup and four Grandmasters with the highest rating will be also included into the 8 players Candidates.
This tournament will gather the best chess players of the planet. This system is good from many sites and pursues many good objects: first of all, the tournament of the best chess players of the planet will attract the overall attention; it will also work for the popularization of chess in the world. Secondly, it will have a big sports meaning for the participants themselves and will be a great financial help for them: the prize fund of the tournament will be not less than one million US dollars. And third of all it is really profitable for FIDE: 20% of the money will be transferred to the World Chess Federation. And they will be used for development and popularization in the world.