13.04.2005 Sergey Rublevsky's opinion

What do you think about the situation with Fischer receiving the Icelandic citizenship? Is it good, bad or neutral news for chess?

I believe the best thing about this story is that Fischer is not imprisoned. I think he would have received a public whipping for the match in Yugoslavia and tax evasion in the US court that would negatively affect the image of chess. Certainly, it doesn't make sense to comment the conduct of mentally sick person, and I have no doubts of Fischer’s insanity. However, the insane chess player won’t damage the game's status. Luzhin, Fischer – it’s all the same. Being a convicted criminal is different.

What changes of the present situation with the world championship are the most probable in your point of view?

In my opinion the longer we won’t have a decision about “match-tournament of the eight” the worse it is. This uncertain situation should be resolved officially in one or another way. The number of people invited may grow up to 28 within a year – as initially the number of participants was chosen arbitrary, and new worthy candidates will certainly appear over time. It’s difficult to say whether the ACP will manage to organize the Masters. We'd really love to see any event taking place.

Unfortunately, the determination of the best chess player has become too subjective. Kramnik defeated Kasparov, made a draw with Leko and loses in all the tournaments. On the contrary, Anand wins almost everything, but doesn’t have an official status. Kasparov is, probably, still the strongest in the world, but now he is in the “Committee-2008”... He withdrew from chess because of despair, as it was impossible to play for the champion’s title. He has nothing to prove in the ordinary tournaments. Kramnik doesn’t want to play the rematch and the time is against Kasparov – I could feel it in our last game...

Kasparov’s situation of the last years is not typical for the strongest chess player of the world, but it’s well known for a grandmaster, say, of my level. There are almost no tournaments to participate. You play in two or three events a year, and, as a rule, quite poorly, because of the lack of practice, and the rest of time you analyze your games with distaste and wait for something... Though I think he will return if there is a reasonable offer.

Determining the number one according to rating? It’s quite evident that the present rating system is imperfect. But I don’t think that tennis system, the ACP-Tour, will solve all the problems – chess players participate in different tournaments, and the calendar is not stable at all.

It’s quite possible that the title of the chess world champion has become outdated. Everybody speaks about traditions, but I agree with Tkachiev – we have nothing to be proud of anymore and there is no point being attached to old customs. We can sacrifice traditions to resolve today’s chaos. Though it’s almost impossible to predict how this situation will develop.

Who of modern young players could in your opinion feel Kasparov's shoes in the future? Who could break to the elite?

I’ve not been coaching, so I can hardly make a professional forecast. The youngsters improve very quickly and unpredictably. For instance, Nakamura played very poorly two years ago, but now he’s making a great progress. It’s a shame he was not selected in the US chess olympiad team. Three years ago great overtures were made to Karjakin, but I think he started to work them off just recently. Carlsen? Of course, he is promising, but who can tell what will happen in a couple years? Ponomariov's play, for example, is not improving, but deteriorating.

Photo ChessBase

Questions were asked by Misha Savinov.

This article is published with permission of Association of Chess Professionals

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