Kasparov denies plans to meet Karpov for match

Date: Sun, 14 Jul 1996 14:50:04 PDT

Copyright 1996 by Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuter)

World chess champion Garry Kasparov denied a statement by International Chess Federation (FIDE) chief Kirsan Ilyumzhinov Sunday that he had agreed to play his rival, Anatoly Karpov, Radio Ekho Moskvy said. ``I haven't spoken to Ilyumzhinov,'' Ekho Moskvy's faxed news release quoted Kasparov as saying. ``I think FIDE should resolve its problems first and then come up with proposals for a match.''

Ilyumzhinov, president of the ethnic republic of Kalmykia, said earlier he won Karpov's agreement Saturday after the 45-year-old Russian retained the FIDE title he first won 21 years ago against young Russian-born American Gata Kamsky. He also told a news conference Kasparov, who founded the rival Professional Chess Association (PCA) in 1993, was approached by his close friend Andrei Makarov, president of the Russian Chess Federation.
``We have got agreement in principle to meet for a prize fund of not less than $2 million,'' Ilyumzhinov said. ``The match will take place in 1997.'' Kasparov was not immediately available for comment. Kasparov is still regarded as the world's strongest player and heads FIDE rankings. He did not take part in the FIDE competition, whose final was played in the sleepy Kalmyk capital which Ilyumzhinov is promoting as the capital of world chess.
The feud between Karpov and Kasparov has been reflected inside the Russian Chess Federation where Makarov, a politician and amateur player, is detested by much of the game's establishment. Ilyumzhinov, the 34-year-old millionaire politician was elected president in succession to long-serving Florencio Campomanes of the Philippines last November after several years of internal turmoil in FIDE.

He promised to solve its financial problems. He was criticized by some member federations earlier this year when he flirted with the idea of staging the world championship in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. He said Sunday he no longer intended to present his own list of candidates for the top eight jobs in FIDE at a congress of the organization in Armenia at the end of September, because some of those he wanted to propose had also been nominated by his opponents.

He made clear he was still prepared to run again for president if his candidature had overwhelming support. ``I am no longer presenting my own presidential ticket. But I shall present my report and plans for FIDE until the year 2000,'' he said. ``If the delegates think it is right to carry out this program and if they offer me overwhelming majority support I will stand again.''