Kramnik keeps chess classical world title

Posted: 10/19/2004
Defending world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia retained his title on Monday by drawing with Hungary's Peter Leko in the Classical World Chess Championship.

Twenty-nine-year-old Kramnik, nicknamed "Mr Iceberg", won the 14th and final game in the southern Swiss lakeside town of Brissago to narrowly draw the classical championship against Leko -- known as "Marathon Man" -- by seven points to seven.

"I am very disappointed I didn't get the title. But I am 25 years old and I will have other chances," said Leko after the match.

Kramnik paid tribute to his opponent, saying "The match was more difficult than with Kasparov," while wishing Leko "great future success".

"I am sure he will be a challenger again" for the world title, he said.

Kramnik first seized the classical title four years ago from fellow Russian Garry Kasparov and may face off against his former nemesis to decide who will be the one and only world number one in chess.

The match in Brissago, which has been recognised by the rival World Chess Federation FIDE, was billed as the first move towards reconciliation following an 11-year row that has torn the chess world apart.

The classical championship was formed by the Association of Chess Professionals which broke away from FIDE in 1993 in a schism similar to the one that dogged the boxing world for many years.

The ACP organisers and FIDE said in recent weeks they had agreed to recognise the classical world championship.

Russia's Garry Kasparov and FIDE's official world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan will first face-off in Dubai in January 2005 to decide on the official opponent who will play in a decider against Kramnik, FIDE said last Wednesday.

The ebullient Kasparov, who was at the heart of the chess schism in 1993, heads FIDE's points rating just ahead of Indian Grand Master Viswanathan Anand.

Agence France-Presse
Brisago, Switzerland, October 19