11.03.2005 Joel Lautier talks about Kasparov's retirement

Have you heard Kasparov's statement about his retirement from chess? What do you think about it?

First I read about it yesterday at the ChessBase site. They did not give any details, so I thought: could it be just an emotional reaction on a painful loss in a concluding game? I did not believe, or perhaps didn't want to believe that Kasparov quits chess. The details appeared today, and it turned out that his decision was taken before the Linares and considered carefully.

Kasparov's retirement is a big loss for chess; it is sad news personally for me as well. There are many different opinions about Kasparov as a person, but there is no doubt that he is one of the brightest chess players of all times. He also did a lot to promote chess. Only Fischer in 60s and 70s could be compared to Kasparov in this field.

Whatnow? It is difficult to say. After Kasparov's retirement a whole unification process loses much of its appeal. As the idea was to gather the strongest... Actually, Prague agreement was meant to return world's strongest player Kasparov to the process of determining the world champion: since the return match with Kramnik could not be organized, we tried to reach it in some other way. Now the situation is simplified, but it is a kind of simplification that nobody wanted.

Kasparov's passion for chess is known to everyone. In fact, he talked about it at the press-conference, too. Perhaps he might change his mind, who knows? And meanwhile we should try to organize a championship cycle. Will see...

What do you think about Ilyumzhinov's idea about the world championship match-tournament? How realistic such plan is?

It is completely clear that this idea is doomed. Kasparov would never accept to play under such conditions, the same applies to Kramnik. Participation of Anand and Leko is questionable. The announcement appeared without any talks with the players, so it is nothing more than empty words. We all are getting sick of it. Such practice, which became typical for FIDE, led Kasparov to his decision. Ilyumzhinov's irresponsible attitude to chess is very regrettable.

Right know the first thing we have to do is to organize the next cycle, no matter with or without FIDE – people continue playing chess! FIDE undertakes certain actions, and we will also work along our lines.

What do you think about a new cycle suggested by Ilyumzhinov: each year a knock-out winner plays a match against the reigning champion?

Exactly the same was planned before. Generally, these are all details, which are of no importance...

Is there any collaboration between the ACP and FIDE?

Some time ago it seemed that such collaboration could indeed be possible, but at present FIDE avoids any contact with us, does not respond to our mails, and we don't expect any positive changes of the situation.

It's been some time since we heard any news regarding the future of the ACP Tour. Could you tell us about the recent developments in establishing the ACP Masters tournament? Are there any conditions for potential organizers, deadlines of any sort? Or you are mostly trying to persuade individual sponsors?

Right now we work with individual sponsors. The official statement regarding the results of this work will be issued when the situation becomes clarified. It is not easy to organize such tournament: it is not just a few weeks' work.

Who at the association is responsible for the ACP Masters negotiations?

I am, for the most part.

Sveshnikov said in his recent interview at the ACP website that his major demand to the ACP is organizing tournaments. If you plan only to establish the Masters, will it be accepted by the majority of professional players, who do not risk qualifying for it?

Right now we need to concentrate on the ACP Masters. It is much easier to start with such tournament, which is attractive for sponsors because of its very strong lineup. There are plenty of open tournaments, I doubt we should and could add anything to that. AndthereisnotournamentliketheMasters. So let'sbeginwithit.

Questions were asked and translated by Misha Savinov.

This article is published with permission of Association of Chess Professionals

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