I agree that what I wrote before was a great exaggeration, especially where I said that FIDE Commerce could organize the World Chess Championship as a blindfold tiddlywinks event, as they see fit.
The FIDE Commerce deal does not specifically give to FIDE Commerce the right to determine the format of the World Championship. At the same time, the FIDE Commerce agreement does not specifically retain for FIDE these rights, either. In short, either side could bring a lawsuit over this.
Regarding the issue of the role of zonal tournaments, it seems clear from the agreement that the zones will not play a significant role in the World Championship cycle. The agreement refers to continental championships.
Paragraph 2 of page 32 of annex 45 states:
"2 It is proposed that as from 2002 and thereafter annually the World Championship should be decided by a tournament to be held in late November/ early December between either four (or eight) players who have qualified via the Grand Prix."
Since the Grand Prix is something new, we have to look elsewhere in the agreement to see what that is.
Unfortunately, the Grand Prix is not well defined. Paragraph 3.1 states:
"3.1 It is proposed that FIDE should negotiate with a number of category 15 and above tournaments of 9 rounds or more to be included in the Grand Prix on the basis that FIDE Commerce contributes to their prize fund and they in return grant commercial rights to FIDE Commerce."
Thus, it appears that the current Corus tournament going on in Holland is one of those events that FIDE Commerce wants to be included in the Grand Prix. However, kindly remember that the representative from Holland at the FIDE General Assembly, Mr. G. Loewenthal, spoke strongly and vehemently against the FIDE Commerce deal and voted against it. I find it unlikely that Holland is going to be interested in having this tournament included in the FIDE Grand Prix, particularly since it seems to involve giving up commercial rights to the event.
Continents do have a role to play in the World Cup, which is some sort of vaguely described preliminary event for the World Championship. Paragraph 5.2 states:
"5.2 Continents should be given a choice of qualifying players from the World Cup via either a Continental Championship (restricted to the same number of players from each country as at present under the Zonal format) or alternatively via the zonals at present."
This clearly means that it is up to the continents to decide. The zones have no right to decide anything. In the case of the North American continent, the USA and Canada will have an equal vote. Thus, the USCF Executive Board has no right to decide anything about the World Cup or the world championship cycle. The Executive Board will have to negotiate with Mr. Phil Haley of Canada. Naturally, it is reasonable to assume that Canada will insist on equal representation with the USA in the World Cup.
I note that there is a tendency to use the term "World Cup" almost interchangeably with the World Championship. Mr. Omuku does so in his letter.
However, in his letter, Mr. Omuku states: "The Status of the Zones as the basis for our chess development will continue to be maintained. In other words, the Zonals will continue to remain as they are and their results will be used for title and rating purposes."
This language seems to make it clear that zonals are for title and rating purposes only and have almost nothing to do with the world chess championship.
Therefore, although my original remarks were incorrect, the bottom line is the same, which is that for practical purposes the zonal system has been abolished for the world championship cycle. If the USA does not like this, it has only its representatives to blame, since they voted for the FIDE Commerce deal, after I strongly urged them to vote against it, I might add.
On the other issue, however, I completely disagree with Mr. Omuku. The FIDE General Assembly never delegated the authority to change the time control limits. These limits can only be changed at the next FIDE General Assembly in 2002.
After writing this, I took a nap and when I woke up I realized that I had made a big booboo.
North America is not a continent under the FIDE system. The Americas is a Continent. North, Central and South America are all part of the Americas Continent. Pedro Barrera of El Salvador is the Continental President for the Americas.
In FIDE, North America (Canada and USA), Central America (several countries) and South America (many countries) are considered one continent. Therefore any "Continental Championship" would have to include representatives from all and would be extremely unwieldy and expensive to all federations involved.
I have the FIDE commerce deal in font of me. It is altogether 42 pages long. However, the actual signed agreement is only 23 pages. The part we are discussing is not in those 23 pages. It is in the proposals section which comes later.
As I read it only the 23 pages of the actual signed agreement are legally binding and those pages say nothing about the format of the World Championship.
As best I can figure out, the World Cup plus some other events not specified are qualifiers to the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix is a qualifier to the World Championship.
In his excellent speech to the FIDE General Assembly, Mr. G. Loewenthal of Holland raised these and numerous other issues. To me it was almost unbelievable that in view of the very valid objections which Mr. Loewenthal made that the FIDE Commerce deal passed.
I did not go to the Continental Meeting - America but I have the minutes. The minutes say that Haley, Doyle, Kelleher, Schultz, Redman, Eade and various Central and South American personalities were there. The minutes are only two pages long (one page plus a one page attachment) and contain nothing of substance and no reference to the Continental vs. Zonal issue.
In addition, as late as November 9, the FIDE Commerce deal was still being drafted and re-drafted. Nobody at the Continental Meeting - America would have known what the actual deal was going to be until it was unveiled the next day.
By the way, in a newsgroup posting, Tim Redman said that Jim Eade "did well" at the FIDE Congress. I asked in what way did Jim Eade do well and never got an answer (and who is Redman to judge?).
I am sure that no decision was made at the Continental Meeting for the Americas to retain the Zonal system. In any case, they could not have made such decision because that meeting took place on November 9 and the FIDE Commerce deal was not signed until November 10.
Also, Pedro Barrera, the Continental President, did not stay to the end. He went home after the meeting on the 9th. He was not present when the FIDE Commerce deal was debated and passed the next day.
At 12:00 PM 1/27/2001 -0500, Carol Jarecki wrote:
-----Original Message----- From: Sam Sloan [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Saturday, January 27, 2001 10:06 AM To: email@example.com Subject: Zonals abolished in World Chess Championship cycle
"5.2 Continents should be given a choice of qualifying players from the World Cup via either a Continental Championship (restricted to the same number of players from each country as at present under the Zonal format) or alternatively via the zonals at present."<
This clearly means that it is up to the continents to decide. The zones have no right to decide anything. In the case of the North American continent, the USA and Canada will have an equal vote. Thus, the USCF Executive Board has no right to decide anything about the World Cup or the world championship cycle. The Executive Board will have to negotiate with Mr. Phil Haley of Canada. Naturally, it is reasonable to assume that Canada will insist on equal representation with the USA in the World Cup.<
A couple of points here: Although Mr. Omuku is customarily vague and nonresponsive to specific questions I believe the World Cup and the World Championship are two different events, not the same thing.
There was discussion at the Continental Meeting for the Americas in Istanbul regarding how the Americas should handle the Zonal vs. Continental championships. In FIDE North America (Canada and USA), Central America (several countries) and South America (many countries) are considered one continent. Therefore any "Continental Championship" would have to include representatives from all and would be extremely unwieldy and expensive to all federations involved. I was't in Istanbul but I understand a decision was made at the Continental Meeting for the Americas to retain the Zonal system. I have written to Jim Eade asking him if he were present, as he should have been, and what his understanding was. I'm waiting for a reply and will send it to you as soon as it arrives.
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