Parsvanath Commonwealth Chess Championship 2007
This international event could not have come at a better time in India. Anand
has recently become the undisputed World Chess Champion and crossed the magical
figure of 2800 to retain his position as the numero uno of the World Chess.
However, the talk of a match early next year (which Kramnik is entitled to if
FIDE sticks to its plans) has dampened the spirits here in India.. This so-called
re-match, which FIDE appears to have formulated to garner the vote bank, has
been ridiculed by Anand and the Indian Chess Fraternity as a whole.
Nigel Short, President of the Commonwealth Chess Association
Expectedly, the Indian media, which is still hung over after the win of the
Indian Cricket team in the World T20 Championship at RSA, have failed to highlight
this absurd FIDE rule and come out in support of the finest sportsman the country
has ever produced. However; a 'wake-up' call has been given by none other than
GM Nigel Short, who, as we say, has taken the "bull by the horns!"
In a free-wheeling email interview with Indian Sports Correspondent Praful
Zaveri, Nigel Short, President of the Commonwealth Chess Association,
airs his views about Commonwealth Chess Championship, Anand's win at Mexico,
the re-match, the performance of his protege GM Parimarjan and, as also his
own. Time to set the things right!
Praful Zaveri: Before we come to the Commonwealth Chess
Championship 2007, the triumph of Anand at Mexico – your views on his
performance and what it means to the chess fraternity?
Nigel Short: I thought Anand played very well. He thoroughly
deserved his victory. I am not sure though it has any major implications for
the chess fraternity. Perhaps, observing the excellent performances of Anand
and Gelfand, organisers might now be less ageist? That would be something to
hope for. I also hope that Anand might use his position of immense influence
to push for long overdue reforms.
Your views on the performance of Kramnik? He had nothing to lose, as
he has a re-match on hand early next year.
Perhaps subconsciously that had an influence. There can only be one winner
though, and in such a star-studded field Kramnik's slightly lacklustre result
was not particularly striking.
The FIDE rules gives the benefit of re-match to Kramnik, which has been
criticized by one an all. Your views?
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.
If you think that re-match is not fair to Anand, why is FIDE not in tune
with modern times? They have retained the same rules, which were prevelant
60 years ago, of giving an unfair advantage to the defending champion who
fails to defend his title. Is it that they do not want to change, or they
do not want any World Champion outside Russia and its other break-away countries?
I do not think that overt nationalism is behind the current debacle. 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.
If we look at the other world sports, say football, cricket, hockey
or individual events like table tennis and badminton, they do not have such
rules. Why in chess? Aren't the FIDE think-tank aware that this is hurting
Either they don't know or they don't care. Or both, more likely.
What can be done to remove this malady?
They could start by removing some personnel: the head-butting, move-retracting,
tournament-rigging, Zurab Azmaiparashvili for instance. He is a disgrace to
the organisation. But never let it be said that he is a dunderhead.
What should be the ideal format of the world chess championship according
I don't know.
Now to the Commonwealth: during the press conference of the Commonwealth
Chess Championship 2006 at Mumbai you had declared that the next edition (2007)
of this event would be held at South Africa. What is the reason for SA backing
out and the event allotted again to India?
South Africa were awarded the 2007 Championships at the CCA meeting in Calvia
2004 – i.e. before my time in office. Unfortunately insufficient energy
was put into securing sponsorship and a lot of time was initially wasted. Then
was put in charge of the project, but his failure to produce any sort budget
for Chess South Africa led them to terminate the relationship. His reputation
is now under a dark cloud after the notorious Kogan
Were any steps taken by the members of the Commonwealth Chess Association
to help SA in hosting this event?
Not really. I was in regular contact by phone and e-mail with various people
in RSA, but without a CCA budget or a federation to support me there is a limit
to what I can do from such a distance.
Hosting the event at South Africa would have been great for chess as
smaller commonwealth countries from Eastern Africa can take part. Will it
affect their participation as the event is Delhi because the players from
these countries do not have sponsorship or financial support?
RSA would have been an excellent venue. There are a large number of Commonwealth
countries in Africa, most of whom, I believe, would have sent representatives
to the competition. I would be surprised if more than a handful of African countries
will be in Delhi though.
What is the financial condition of the CCA. Is their any co-ordination
between the executive members to spread chess amongst the Commonwealth Countries?
The financial condition of the CCA is quite easy to describe: we have no money
at all. Efforts to collect funds from federations in the past have failed. There
have been just a handful of contributers. It would make sense to charge the
host federation of the Commonwealth Championship some small fee for organising
the event so that we can start a website among other things.
Would you be defending the title?
Probably not. It clashes with Khanty-Mansysk, although theoretically I can
play if, as is likely, I get knocked out early enough.
In addition to the above, I understand that the AICF have also scheduled two
games a day. One should no more play two games of chess a day than one should
play two games of cricket or football. I am a serious chessplayer and I don't
support any degradation of the game.
Are you happy with the venue of the event? It is the same event where
the Commonwealth Games 2010 would be held.
Which country has been allotted the 2008 edition?
How is your protege Parimarjan Negi doing? Any reason for such a dismal
performance at the Asian (41st place among 72 participants).
He is a young player and is still learning. During the course of our training
I have gradually become more aware of his deficiencies. Instead of talking about
them in a public forum, I would prefer to concentrate on helping him and trying
to eliminate them. He is a good player and will go far. It is not very helpful
to compare him with a genius like Anand though.
His future tournaments? Is he playing in the Commonwealth and Asian Junior?
I am not quite sure. I am supposed to see him before the end of the year.
In fact I am awaiting an e-mail from his father on this subject now.
Before we conclude, how is your performance after Montreal?
My chess is ok, I think, although I have lost a huge number of rating points
this year. Unusually I have been dogged by ill-health. I was informed by a doctor
during Baku in May that I should not be playing in my condition. I was told
the same thing by a different doctor in Sarajevo. I then had quite severe dental
problems in Montreal (which are still being fixed, incidentally) and then suffered
a spinal disc hernia in Spain. When I am in normal condition there is little
reason to think my chess has deteriorated. I will be back!
Parsvnath Commonwealth Chess Championships
New Delhi, 2-10 December 200
Venue: Sirifort Sports Complex, Khel Gaon, New Delhi.
- Arrival 2nd December 2007 at 12:00 hrs
- First round: 03.12.2007 1000 hrs. Round 1
- Final round (10) 10.12.2007 10:00 hrs
- Prize Distribution Ceremony 10.12.2007 17:00 hrs
- Departure 10th December 2007 at 20:00 hrs
System of play: The tournament will be conducted as per FIDE
Laws of Chess and FIDE Swiss System. 10 rounds will be played. In case of a
tie, the latest FIDE Rules shall come in to effect. The cash prizes however
will be shared.
Prizes: Total Cash Prizes: Rs. 800,000 (US $20,000 approx.)
Medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded in
Open, Seniors, Women, Under-20 (Boys and Girls), Under-18 (Boys and Girls),
Under-16 (Boys and Girls), Under-14 (Boys and Girls), Under-12 (Boys and Girls)
, Under-10 (Boys and Girls), Under-8 (Boys and Girls) categories. The medal
winners will be referred to as Commonwealth Medallists.
Entry Fee: Official entries Rs 3,000 ($75), GMs/IMs / WGMs/
WIMs free. The last date of entry: 21st November, 2007, entries after that with
late fee of Rs. 2,000 extra. Entries may be sent by DD (Delhi Cheques will also
be accepted) favoring Delhi Chess Association, payable at No.1874, Outram lines.
Phulwari block, Kingsway camp New Delhi-110009, India.
Entries: Each Commonwealth country is eligible to field one
man, one woman, one junior girl (Under-20), one junior boy (Under-20) player
and one boy and girl each in under-8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 as official entrants.
Their boarding and lodging will be provided free. Other entrants will have to
pay for boarding and lodging (Rs. 2,500 = USD 60 per day.
Registration: All Foreign Participants and accompanying persons
will have to pay registration 100 Euros per head. This will include their transportation
from airport and back. The AICF registration fee for 2007 is compulsory for
all Indian participants. The registration fee of Rs. 250/- will be accepted
at the venue for the convenience of the players.
Accommodation: All foreign participants and accompanying
persons are required to stay in official accommodation. The Indian players will
be given lodging only in hotels in Central Delhi at Rs. 2,000 (for 10 days)
on a triple sharing basis.
Weather: The weather in Delhi during December is expected
to be between cool and pleasant. The minimum/maximum temperatures will be around
Facilities Available: 12 tennis courts including 8 synthetic
courts, tennis practice wall, indoor multipurpose stadium, badminton, glass
back wall squash courts, table tennis, billiards/snooker, basketball, hockey,
cricket, cricket practice pitches, football, jogging track, children park, skating,
golf driving range, pitch and putt course, olympic size swimming pool, toddlers
pool, air rifle/pistol shooting range, aerobics, yoga, taekwondo, fitness centre,
naturopathy centre, health and nutrition centre, reiki, sports shop, snack bars.
a multipurpose lndoorstadium has been recently added.
Contact: Delhi Chess Association, Room No.1874, Outram lines,
Phulwari block, Kingsway camp, New Delhi-110009, India. Telefax: 91-11-24360035,
Email: delhichess64 (at) yahoo.com or delhichess64 (at) gmail.com.