British grandmaster Nigel Short never hesitates to call a spade a spade. And when it comes to the affairs of world chess body, FIDE, Short is not one to mince words. Unable to bear the shenanigans of the world governing body Short, along with Garry Kasparov, broke away from FIDE in 1993 to set up the Professional Chess Association (PCA). Though the PCA didn’t survive for long, it did highlight the FIDE’s shortcomings and held the Classical World Championships for some years before it became defunct.
HT caught up with the Englishman on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Chess Championship here to get his views on the recent happening in chess.
FIDE has announced the Candidates Matches for the 2007 World Championship cycle. What is your take on this?
Kirsan Illyumzhinov has released the names and pairings for the candidates matches and thankfully, FIDE has stuck to the original prize money announced in January 2006.
Do you think this is the best format for World Championships?
I always believe in the classical method (where players qualify through the zonals and play one-on-one matches to select a challenger) that was in place earlier. You normally try to improve on something that is not working, but FIDE changed a system that was working fine, creating a mess!
You think FIDE erred by introducing the knockout format. That was supposedly done to cut down on time and….
The knockout was the worst format for the World Championship. It was a lottery and led to players like Alexander Khalifman and Rustam Kasimdzhanov winning. They are good but I don’t consider them champion material. Many people in the world too felt the same.
Who do you think will win the Man vs Machine match between Vladimir Kramnik and Deep Fritz this weekend?
I don’t believe in such matches. There is no point in watching a Grandmaster like Michael Adams being mauled by a chess programme like Hydra. It doesn’t excite me!
Whom do you consider the greatest player ever and why?
I rate Garry Kasparov the best because of his consistency. No one has dominated chess for so long. There have been players like Bobby Fisher but Kasparov is the best of all.