Hangin's take on
 Kasparov's Post San Luis interview

 11/16/2005-   I read the following interesting Kasparov interview at ChessBase. The interview was conducted by Eugeny Atarov of Chess Pro.

Atarov: in other words, all these talks and hints that have been circulating about your return to chess are groundless?

Kasparov :If anyone wants to believe in such a thing, he is welcome to do so. Actually all these rumors amuse me. For many years a lot of people were waiting for the time when I would finally leave. Ironically, when I satisfied everyone and left, all these talks about my return started to pop up


Hangin's Take: Recently, I met Garry Kasparov, his agent, and wife in New York City. It was at the UN  on Monday, November 14th. He was attending a charity art auction for the Red Cross. I had a chance to meet and speak with all three. I asked all three if Garry was coming back to chess. They all said NO.



Atarov: it does not look like San Luis solved even a single one of FIDE’s problems…

Kasparov:  At least one is settled. FIDE has Topalov – a real, legitimate world champion. He has the highest rating, best play and the official title. However, this fact did not solve other problems.


Hangin's take: Well Fide has a legitimate world champion contender now.  Too bad FIDE didn't produce a Topalov-like challenger for Kasparov back in 2003. Had FIDE found a tougher challenge for Kasparov, I think the Prague Unification would have been realized.

Atarov: If you were Topalov, which path would you take: play in the new multi-stage FIDE cycle or pick up Kramnik’s gauntlet?

Kasparov: In my opinion Kramnik has no weight right now. He can’t influence the situation. He might have some questionable legal rights, due to Prague Agreement. But he has no moral or chess rights. Presently, it is up to Topalov. He is his own master. His match with Kramnik will trigger chaos, it won’t resolve anything! But go ahead, if someone who is ready to fork out millions for a parallel cycle appears on the scene, the situation might change. But for the time being that is just a hypothetical chance.


Hangin's take:

    Certainly Kramnik had a horrible year in 2005. But lets recall Kramnik won two major tournaments in 2004, namely Linares and Amber. Kramnik also finished 2nd to Anand at Dortmund 2004 and Cap De Age 2003. Kramnik did rally and tie his world championship match against Leko. At 30 years of age, Kramnik is certainly not over the hill.

   As far as chaos occurring from Topalov playing Kramnik, I don't think chaos is the right word. Should Topalov win, well the best player in the world would become world champion. Now if Topalov should lose to Kramnik, that will only increase Kramnik's stock; which would be a good thing. Naturally a Topalov loss would reduce some of his luster. But there are always new tournaments to win on the horizon. Either result will unify the chess world.

     I feel if Topalov wants to achieve true greatness, he must play and defeat Vladimir Kramnik in a match. If Topalov doesn't play or win such a match, chess historians will write that he was a dominating player, but HE NEVER WON THE BIG ONE. Lets face it, if you want to join the club consisting of Steinitz thru Kramnik, you have to win the BIG ONE. This is true for most sports. Every thing considered, Topalov has nothing to lose by playing a true world championship match against Kramnik. It gives Topalov the chance to become an immortal and a chance to go down in history as the champion who reunified the chess world.

Atarov: If Kramnik, who beat you in 2000, has lost his status, then who is the successor of the 120-year old tradition of world championships?

Kasparov: Troubling times have already come. It is not clear how to define the branch stemming from my 1993 match with Short. Many respectable people changed their opinion many times. Those who did not recognize me as the World Champion, did so with Kramnik. Unfortunately, for many people it was bias rather then principle. In my opinion we signed a very important agreement in Prague. The World Champions acknowledged that the title had to belong to an organization rather than to a person. The fulfillment of this agreement depended on public recognition, which rests on the results shown by a particular player in the best tournaments. It is now the end of 2005, not Prague 2002.

Kramnik’s results speak for themselves. He slipped down to the seventh position from the second one. Do you take his draw in the match with Leko seriously? After all Peter won no cycle. It was some sort of parallel reality, which could have materialized had Kramnik and Leko had impressive victories to their names. If Kramnik had won Sofia or Dortmund things would have been different! As soon as Kramnik started demonstrating stable result (unfortunately stably bad) the issue was over. It is clear that my claims to FIDE were founded not only on my victory over Karpov in 1985 but also on my top rating and tournament victories.


Hangin's take:

   I am not sure if I am a respectable person, but I have never wavered on my views about who is world champion. I will only respect man who beat the man contests. Its this rich tradition that gives value to the title.
   Well the Prague contract did give FIDE ownership of the title, however the Prague contract is now null and void. FIDE breached the contract by failing to live up to any of its important obligations. In three years, FIDE failed to meet its obligations.  FIDE's Prague responsibilities consisted of organizing two matches. One against the Greatest champion of all time, the 2nd was against the man who beat the greatest champion of all time. These were relatively simple goals for FIDE, who had been organizing such matches for over 50 years. Yet in three years, FIDE failed to organize one. FIDE's incompetence drove Garry Kasparov into retirement.  FIDE has no legitimate claim to sole ownership of the title. That being said, Vladimir Kramnik is still the true world champion.

 As far as Peter Leko not winning any cycle, well that's not Leko's fault. Leko met the obligations of the Brain Game sponsor. Peter won the 2002 Dortmund tournament. That gave him the right to face Kramnik. Well you could say the same thing about Topalov on winning San Luis. Topalov has never won a championship cycle. Topalov's San Luis win is the equivalent of winning an interzonal tournament.  In the 1960's FIDE perfected the world championship process. It consisted of zonals, interzonals, 3 candidate matches, and a match against the world champion. This process matched the best vs. the best of the rest. These matches brought many new fans into the sport. To the detriment of chess, FIDE inexplicably abandoned this process,

Chessbase interview -  http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2704
Garry Kasparov - Chess Reporter
Fide Reunification - Chess Reporter