25 October 2007

Will Anand Play?

In an August 2007 post, Insider Interviews, I mentioned a Chessbase report on an interview with Viswanathan Anand. During the interview, which took place before Anand won the World Championship title in Mexico, he was asked whether the new FIDE regulations granting a special match to Kramnik and Topalov were 'unfair to the other participants'. His answer was
Of course it is unfair. But I have stopped fretting over the world chess federation FIDE. They always do the same. It would be so nice if they did not keep discarding their own rules. At some stage you become sick of all this and decide to just play chess.

When the Daily Dirt pointed to other sources with similar reports -- Anand Decries FIDE Favoritism -- the comments flooded in from fans of chess politics.

According to one report published after Anand won, Anand silent on rematch, the genial Indian is considering his options: 'the undisputed world champion said he has not taken a decision on the rematch, which is expected sometime next fall [2008]'.

When former title challenger Nigel Short was asked by Chessbase, 'The FIDE rules gives the benefit of re-match to Kramnik, which has been criticized by one and all. Your views?', he answered

Under the old system, a defending champion, with the benefit of a rematch, had a 75% chance of retaining his title. These were overwhelming odds which Mikhail Botvinnik, who in his later years was a shadow of his former force, ruthlessly exploited. The rigged system did not seem to trouble his conscience, if, indeed, he possessed one. With Kramnik it is slightly different . The current World Championship "system", if I may laughingly call it so, is a real dog's breakfast. Kramnik's advantage is not so obscene as Botvinnik's, and it is more difficult to blame him for taking his chances amidst the chaos. In general though, rematches, like feudalism, should be abolished.
FIDE simply possesses an extraordinary capacity for making bad decisions. Anand ought to use his enormous influence to try to do something about it, instead of adopting his usual passive, Mr Nice-Guy, fatalistic attitude.

Source: Nigel Short on FIDE.

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