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Thipsay against chess entering Olympics

Veteran Grandmaster Praveen Thipsay says the move is spoiling the essence of the game which is a test of mental skills and not physical stamina.
None | By Press Trust of India, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 23, 2007 02:54 PM IST

Veteran Grandmaster Praveen Thipsay has criticised FIDE's bid to include chess in Olympic Games, saying the move is spoiling the very essence of the game which is a test of mental skills and not physical stamina.

Thipsay, a former coach of Indian team, said the FIDE, chess' world governing body, was altering rules to fit the sport into Olympics norms which treat sport as a measure of physical stamina and endurance.

FIDE's rule of time control was one of the major factors why the quality of players around the world was deteriorating, he said.

"Today's Grandmasters are just not as thorough as they should be because in FIDE's time control policy, accuracy is no more a criterion to win the tournament," he told PTI in an exclusive interview.

"No organisation can run on a single-point agenda but they (FIDE) want to be included into Olympics and so they are increasingly reducing the duration of the game, thereby emphasising more on players' reflexes."

"To be an Olympic sport it has to be a test of endurance. But chess is a combination of sport, art and mathematics."

"They also included knock-out stages in some tournaments because according to Olympic rules there can be only one winner and one runner-up who should be decided by playing a final match. But that is against the nature of chess. It is ridiculous," he said.

Thipsay said the new crop of grandmasters and other players, both in India and abroad, were not as strong as their ratings indicated.

"Now-a-days players concentrate more on preparing openings because it helps them win tournaments but you need to learn all departments to be a complete player. Even the grandmasters are not able to grasp their games properly.

"Recently, I defeated a Russian GM, who was rated above ELO 2600, in 22 moves but it was not a fluke because in next two encounters with him I drew both the games as despite being in advantageous positions I made some mistakes," he said.

"Even (Garry) Kasparov has said one of his opponents did not know even the basic things."

"FIDE has become a factory of making money in various ways like in the form of title money," he said adding "the organistion has been deteriorating since 1982".

Asked if titles should be scrapped by FIDE as is the view of British GM Nigel Short, he said it should not be easy to earn.

"Norm making should be made difficult. Scrapping the title is no solution but it need not filter down so easily," he said.

The 47-year-old said the young generation was opportunist and played practical chess. "The younger generation is opportunist. They play practical chess."

"They prepare openings which are more important for playing in the tournaments. They do not try to learn all the departments of the game," he said.

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