Excited for Mexico Print E-mail
Ask GM Joel
By Joel Benjamin   
September 11, 2007
 Dear Joel,

What do you think of the World Championship coming up in Mexico? I know you wrote in another column (Championship of Joel's dreams) that you think the U.S. Championship should be run as a combination round robin/knockout for more excitement. Isn't it even more important to ensure excitement in a World Champs match? Who do you think will win, who do you want to win and will we finally have an undisputed world champ after this match?

Excited for Mexico

GM Joel responds
The rest of the world does not have the same problems attracting sponsorship and fan interest in chess competitions that we have in the U.S.  For the World Championship, I think it is more important to have a system that produces a legitimate Champion.  Most fans and players seem to feel a final match is most appropriate, though I don’t have a problem with a round robin to determine the Champion.  Long matches sometimes produce tentative play, but you can’t predict how many points you will need to win a round robin. 

But I don’t like the way FIDE changes its rules to benefit individuals from time to time.  It is odd that Topalov was not seeded into Mexico, but that was how the rules were written and it was well understood he could be out in the cold.  Giving him the right to an automatic rematch seems like two wrongs that don’t make a right.

FIDE has also ignored the expressed wishes of many of the top players as to how the Championship cycle should work—after asking for their input!

I think Anand would be a great and worthy Champion.  I’ll make him my pick, though I think just about anything can happen!

I was under the impression that we already had an undisputed Champion.  Whether we will have a titleist that everyone agrees is the best player (the way Kasparov was perceived) is another question.

-GM Joel