Here is are excerpts taken from Chess Today Issue
CT-218(1367) Thursday August 5th 2004:
full interview can be found at www.chesstigers.de
here another link www.chess.gr/tourn/2004/mainz04/Anand_Interview.html
Question : Mr. Anand, how does one feel as the strongest
chess player in the world, as suggested by a lot of other GMs?
(interview may have said .. as suggested by current World Champion
Anand: It is of course a nice feeling, especially since I was also
awarded the Chess Oscar as the best chess player. It seems that people realize
that my results over the last two years
were pretty good.
have to agree that Anand is the best player in the world today. Anand has
established himself as the best rapid/blitz player in the world. He is the
current rapid world champion. But being the best does not make Anand the
World Champion. Anand
took 2nd place on the rating charts a few months ago. He is
one spot behind Garry Kasparov. Anand certainly deserved the Chess
Oscar for 2003. Anand has been hot these last two years. Since 2003 he
has won 2 Corus, Corsica, Cap
D’adge rapid world championship, Amber combined in 2003, and Amber
rapid portion in 2004. Had it not been for his two blind folded loses to
Morozevich he would have won Amber combined again.
Anand out speeded both Leko and Kramnik to take this year’s
Dortmund title. Anand especially has to feel good about defeating current
World Champion Vladimir Kramnik at the finals of Cap D’adge and at
Dortmund. Anand is certainly with in his rights to feel he is the best
player in the world right now. Even
though Kasparov is still the number one rated player in the world, he has
not been that busy playing in tournaments the last two years. However this
is not Kasparov’s fault. Kasparov has been busy playing two computer
matches in late 2003 and early 2004. Kasparov drew both of his matches
against the silicon monsters Deep Junior and X3D
Fritz. We have to remember that the first Deep Junior match was
postponed. Kasparov also had legal
issues with KasparovChess.com. Kasparov
was also twice victimized by 2 failed reunification matches with Ruslan
Ponomariov. Kasparov has not won Linares the last two years, 2003
Peter Leko won and this past year Kramnik won it. Kasparov has also been busy
promoting his My Great Predecessor book series on the past world
champions. He has also been deeply involved in Russian politics. Kasparov
announced that he would help form a challenge to Putin at the next presidential
elections in 2008. Kasparov did win the 2004 Reykjavik rapids. He
defeated his old 1993 world championship challenger, Nigel Short in the
finals. Kasparov certainly deserves his right to play in the semifinal
candidate match for reunification. After all Kasparov is the ex world
champion, one match removed from his title.
However he can’t claim to be the best player in the world today.
Now the current World Champion Vladimir Kramnik is having a very good
2004. He started building momentum late in 2003 at Cap D’adge where he
lost the final to Anand. Since
then Kramnik had a horrible Corus, but rebounded to take Linares. He also
shared first with Morozevich at the Amber combined.
Kramnik has been busy promoting the game; he played in two simuls
against the German men and German women’s national teams. He also got his world
championship match with Peter Leko organized. Kramnik had to do this
without the help of the Brains Games organization, which went bankrupt
in 2003. Kramnik also was runner up to Anand at Dortmund this year.
Even tough Kramnik won no classical games; he made some great saves
and Anand. In the rapid
finals against Anand, Kramnik played inspired chess with the black pieces,
however with white he accepts an 18-move draw. I guess he was afraid to
expose any of his secrets for his world championship match with Peter Leko
in September of 2004. Its good to see Kramnik experimenting with new
openings. But I think Kramnik missed an opportunity to show Anand whose
boss. I thought Kramnik
judgment in the final game by playing a defense he was not familiar
with. I don’t think it’s a good idea to experiment with openings
against Anand. I think Kramnik, after losing at Cap D’adge and dropping
to the 3rd rating spot, should have tried to reaffirm his title and put
Anand in his place and that's hard to do from the black side of the board. All things considered, Anand has won the important
head to head match ups against Kramnik. So Anand deserves to be called the
best in the world today. No question Anand is the hottest player in the world today.
: What is currently the difference between yourself and Garry Kasparov,
who is still leading in the official rating list?
Kasparov is one of the all time greats of chess history. During the last
two years, however, he has rarely played. He benefits from the fact that
the Elosystem, as opposed to other rating systems, does not reflect this
fact. It is sufficient to participate in one or two tournaments to stay
ahead. Of course,
he is a great player, nobody denies that, but in the last two years, my
results have been (suppressed laughter) – I play more frequently
Does that mean you
think you are stronger than him?
Anand: Not only in comparison to him. My performance over the last two
years has been very good. I'm happy that people realize that.
Is Anand stronger than
Kasparov now? I’m not sure;
too bad Anand did not play in the FIDE KO. He had a great chance to win
it. Had he played, this question would have been answered. I would have
loved to see that match and so would the rest of the world.
A Kasparov vs. Anand match would have fetched big bucks and would
have promoted chess around the world. The last time these two met in a
world championship match was back in 1995. Anand took the lead mid way
thru the match, however he self destructed and lost 4 out of the next 5
games. Kasparov won that match by a score of 10.5 –7.5. Based on the
analysis I did at http://www.chessgames.com/index.html,
Kasparov holds a big lead in the head to head matches up. My records
indicate that Kasparov in Linares won the Last decisive meeting in 2003. Overall
Kasparov beat Viswanathan Anand 22 to 8, with 33 draws. * Based on game
presented in our databases, may not be complete.
Anand (speaking about Libya and players refusals to play):
In my opinion, this has caused
too many refusals to call this a genuine World Championship. 15 to 20
players stayed away from Libya.
Anand: A unified World Champion would be
proof to the sponsors that we again have a reasonable chess organisation.
A sponsor looking at chess closely will find multiple world champions and
chaos. That is why a unified World Champion would help to find
sponsors – but I do not have a miracle cure for the current mess. We
simply need a World Champion who is
recognized by everybody as the World
Champion. Right now, this one and then that one claims to be the true
Champion – and this problem has not been resolved by the
agreements that were signed in Prague.
Well Anand could have contributed significantly to the reunification
process. But to the disappointment of fans world wide, he chose not to.
Why the confusion about who is the world champion?
There really aren’t many choices.
Anand is not the world champion, because he won the KO
in 2001 and has not won any of the 2 succeeding KOs.
Anand got eliminated in 2002 KO in the 6 round by Ivanchuk by a score
of 2.5 – 1.5. Anand choose not to play in the 2004 KO. Anand took the stand that Kasparov should have to play in it
Ruslan Ponomariov is not the KO champion any longer; his term
expired in Libya 2004. Even when Ponomariov was
KO champ, he
did not impress. Ponomariov lost his opportunity to factor in the
reunification process when he over pressed his hand and failed to sign the
contract to play Kasparov. Ponomariov decided not to defend his title in
We have a current KO Champion, Rustam
Kasimdzhanov. Rustam was 52nd on the FIDE rating chart just prior to
the KO tournament. But based on Anand statements, that a lot of top talent
did not play, namely Anand, Morozevich, Kasparov, Kramnik, and many
others, it was not a true world championship. Well that’s always been a
problem with the FIDE KO in terms of choosing a champion. But the main
issue is that the KO is not a true test. It's not worthy of world championship
selection. Rustam should be proud of his win in Libya; it was an exciting
tournament and nothing more. Rustam eliminated all the top seeds. He
showed the world that he is a very dangerous player. I am looking forward
to seeing the Kasparov vs. Kasimdzhanov semifinal reunification match in
Garry Kasparov, a chess living legend and still number one rated
player in the world, is not the world champion. He lost his title
to current World Champions Vladimir Kramnik in 2000 by a score of 8.5 -
6.5. Being the number one player
the world does not make you a world champion. Kasparov did hold the title
years, he shoulder the burden of the title well. As an ex world
champion, one match removed from his title, Kasparov deserves his seeding
in the reunification semifinal match.
Vladimir Kramnik did what no other human ever did against Garry
Kasparov; Kramnik defeated the greatest chess world champion in a decisive
match by a score of 8.5. 6.5. Kramnik’s title is the one based on the rich
tradition of man who beat the man who beat the man. I liken Kramnik's
victory over Kasparov in 2000 to Alekhine's victory over Capablanca in 1927.
Kramnik has shown in 2004 that he is worthy of being a world champion.
Based on Anand's comments, I think its clear that Anand does not back Kramnik
as the world champion. Maybe Anand feels Kramnik is not the champ because
Anand has beaten Kramnik in two important finals in the last year, namely
Cap D'adge and Dortmund. Anand also pushed Kramnik aside in the rating
charts. I hope that Kramnik reads Anand’s interview. The next time they
play, I hope Kramnik remembers Anand’s words. Kramnik, as a world
champion, should be looking to try to put Anand in his place.
Here are some stats I got from www.chessgames.com/index.html
record: Viswanathan Anand beat Vladimir Kramnik 15 to 9, with 71
draws. Based on
game presented in our databases, may not be complete.