Kasparov pulls out of world chess championship, blasts FIDE

Posted: 1/20/2005
By: Agence France-Presse
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MOSCOW, Russia -- Chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov has announced he is withdrawing from a world championship to be held this year in Turkey because of frustration with the World Chess Federation FIDE that had led to financial loss and psychological hardship.

"In 2002, I joined with FIDE in Prague to try and unify the world championship," Kasparov said in a statement posted on the Chessbase News Internet web site.

"Over the past two and a half years, unification matches have been scheduled four times and each time the deadlines have come and gone while the financial guarantees were ignored," the statement said.

Last August, a match between Kasparov and Ukraine's Ruslan Ponomariov, current holder of the FIDE world championship title, was cancelled on Ponomariov's request.

“The loss of earnings is easy to understand, but the hidden damage is psychological. These postponed and cancelled events have been deeply unsettling to me both professionally and personally,” he said.

"Our global chess federation has rarely thought enough to even keep me informed, let alone compensate me financially or even apologize for these repeated frustrations," the statement said.

A championship tournament aimed at unifying FIDE and the rival Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) was scheduled to take place in Istanbul between April 25 and May 14 this year.

Kasparov's decision to pull out of the Turkey championship is the latest episode in a schism dating back to 1993 between FIDE and the ACP, a rival organization set up after Kasparov and others defected from FIDE.

The rival bodies now crown their own champions and previous efforts to produce a world chess champion unifying both organizations have collapsed in bitter recriminations.

In his statement, Kasparov said he had reached a "state of exhaustion and disillusionment" with FIDE but would nonetheless continue to compete in chess outside the body.

"As for unification, I cannot see an avenue to contribute further. For those who saw me as an obstacle, I will be one no longer. I am not giving up on chess. I will compete as well and as long as I am able to play my brand of chess," the statement said.