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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Carlsen Withdraws

NY Times Article

Carlsen announced his decision to withdraw from the world championship cycle in a letter sent on Friday to the World Chess Federation. Carlsen said the current system is not “sufficiently modern and fair, to provide the motivation I need to go through a lengthy process of preparations."

He listed a number of complaints, including: the system favors the reigning champion, the cycle has taken too long, the rules for the cycle have changed multiple times since it started and complained that the seedings in the matches are “puzzling.”

That’s too bad but I seriously doubt it will make any difference. Top level players have refused to participate for various reasons going all the way back to Dr. Reuben Fine in 1948 but the FIDE didn’t care then and they won’t care today. They wouldn’t care if players all the way down the rating list to 1400’s refused to play. Just look back at those horrendous knockout events of a few years ago when we had guys like Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov as “world champions.”

Some very good players have been advocating reform for years and few even tried it but for some reason ego and greed always gets in the way no matter who is involved.

A couple years ago a national TD called me a name and swore at me and…are you ready for this…said it was because of people like me that chess in the US is not doing as well as it could. What did I do? I said I would only be interested in playing for fun and suggested that entry fees are too high. I also added that I might play in small weekend events with low EF’s and nominal prizes if they were available. He screamed (cyberspace speaking) that there was no money for him to make in those kinds of events.

I guess very few people play for enjoyment anymore. When I played OTB, EF’s were small and there were no class sections or accelerated pairings; everybody played in one big event and if you were a Class C (1500) player your first round opponent was likely an Expert or Master (2000-2200+). If you were lucky you may have gone home with a cheap trophy or a book prize. Experts and Masters were playing for $50 or $100 first prize. Ask some kid to play for that today!

I pretty much quit following GM chess with the first Fischer-Spassky match. I no longer devote any time to study, don’t care about my rating and am not trying to improve. I just play server CC games for fun these days. I really don’t care that Carlsen withdrew. So, shoot me.

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