09 April 2015

Keene on 1993 & 2000 WCCs

Continuing with Controversial Keene, here are a few more statements on everyone's favorite chess topic -- the World Championship -- where GM Keene had a front row seat in three matches. Re the 1993 Kasparov - Short PCA Match, a knowledgeable Chessgames.com member asked a direct question, received a direct answer, and followed up with another direct question.

kpage=27 (July 2004): WMD: Considering the turmoil in the chess world over the last decade, and with the benefit of hindsight, do you now regret the Kasparov-Short breakaway in 1993, and your part in the sorry saga of the PCA?

ray keene: 1993 - absolutely the right thing to do - and there was a flourishing world championship cycle which grew out of it culminating in kaspy v anand in 1995. after that and only after that something went wrong - i suspect it may have had something to do with tensions between different sponsoring computer companies ibm microsoft intel but i was not privy to what precisely occurred.

WMD: I suppose we must be thankful it lasted all of two years. In NIC 2/99, Kasparov was asked 'What was you biggest mistake?' He replied: 'The PCA. That was stupid. I should have played this match against Short in Manchester and then express my demands to FIDE.'

Keene replied,

ray keene: yes that remark of kasparovs has always puzzled me!! • 1 it wasnt just up to him - short had a say too! • 2 kasparov seemed to have completely forgotten all about the successful wcc cycle and the grand prix tournaments all sponsored by intel. in my opinion it was losing intel which was the mistake and only gazza knows how that was achieved. [...]

GOLDEN AGE FOR CHESS - about to clock off for the night - one last thing - i believe the period from 1993 to 1995 was in fact a golden age for chess - the wcc match in london attracted huge publicity - both channel 4 tv and bbc made an immense number of programmes about it - from that time date the daily chess columns in the times the telegraph and the independent - a wcc cycle grew out of the intel sponsorship and grand prix knockouts were held all around the world eg moscow london - twice - and i think paris.

channel 4 seemed committed to coverage and then -- but something @#$%* off intel. interest in chess continued with kasparovs two ibm sponsored matches v deep blue 1996 and 1997 - the pr was enormous but the upshot was that the world as a whole was led to believe that the championship was no longer so important since a machine had defeated the best human. this -combined later with 9/11 has made it very hard to drum up former levels of chess sponsorship.

and added,

kpage=28: ray keene: i wanted to add a point about the events of the wcc between kasparov and short in 1993. this was 11 years ago and some of our younger members may not even recall precisely what happened. the roots of the troubles went back even further to 1985 - almost two decades ago - when fide president campomanes stopped the first kasparov - karpov challenge - WITHOUT RESULT. it was the perception of many of us in the chess community at that time - some now sadly dead - ricardo calvo for instance - as well as im david levy - lincoln lucena - larry evans gm... david goodman im... and many federations as well that campomanes was corrupt and that something had to be done.

an attempt to unseat him electorally failed in 1986 - not least because the host country paid air fares for any nation that promised campomanes their vote. it will be recalled that this was another fide event which banned israel from competing. i think our actions and perceptions were vindicated when a filipino court recently convicted campomanes of corruption. nobody expects a man of his age - almost 80 - to serve his jail sentence - but the principle is clear, campomanes was officially corrupt and condemned by a court from his own country. any who followed the events of the bidding process for 1993 will see that fides own rules were flagrantly ignored when the match was originally awarded to manchester. this led to the joke - whats the difference between campomanes and the british empire - answer - britannia rules the waves but campo waives the rules!

Several months later the forum discussion centered on the 2004 Kramnik - Leko match.

kpage=69: iron maiden: < i feared before the start that there might be just one decisive game.> So did I. But already nearly half of the games are decisive, compared with just two out of fifteen in Kasparov - Kramnik. I don't think it was boring even when Kramnik was leading; we saw a lot of fight from both players in the fourth and fifth games.

ray keene: it depends if kramnik curls up and dies like kaspy did last time against him or whether he comes out fighting. what struck me aout the london match was that garrys downfall seemed to be connected to a desire to analyse to victory in advance. if he cdnt do this and his prep some how got upset he seemed to be creatively maimed. here kramnik is doing the same thing - he seems to be relying on heavy openings anlysis and when it doesnt produce the desired goods he falls apart. game 8 was a clear and obvious example - just look at the times - of leko being "caught" in opening prep that in fact didnt work.

the other interesting thing is that kramnik as white is a natural d4 player. he used d4 against kaspy and won the match. in the intervening 4 years he has convinced himself that d4 doesnt work and has switched to e4 to ginger up his play - the result - zilchissimo. leko used to be e4 but has won a d4 game and a fine game it was. in london 2000 kaspy used e4 most of the time - got nowhere. kramnik used d4 and won 2 games. so over the past 23 world title games 1e4 is minus two while 1 d4 is plus three. the grunfeld nimzo and qgd have all lost one for black while the petroff and marshall have both stymied white. one of the very encouraging things from this match is that black has won two games. after london 2000 i thought that black might never ever win another game in a wcc match!

Keene's stream-of-consciousness writing style is sometimes difficult to follow -- he says that he writes faster when he leaves CAPS off -- but I've resisted the temptation to apply more than minimum edits to his material. There is much more on the forum.

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