Garry Kasparov spent three days in Greece to launch the first volume of his book series "My Great Predecessors", which is being published in Greek by KEDROS Publications. Kasparov gave a press conference at the Hotel Intercontinental in Athens, following a brief presentation of his book and his overall writing activity. Kasparov answered questions from a group of Greek chess journalists. Here are some excerpts:
After my retirement the chess world and chess players have to deal with their problems without the intervention of the player who was there for 20 years. In my opinion it helped them clear the horizon. It is as if you had a big rock that prevented them from seeing the perspectives. So they are now responsible for the world of chess and hopefully many difficulties that we met in the past will be resolved. I'm still following things but only as an interested outsider.
There is always such a shortage of time and I have to do things on such an intense schedule that I really have no time to miss my playing competitive chess! I do a lot of lectures, traveling from place to place, I continue writing books, I have another big one, non-chess book, about decision making which should be released some time next year, and of course my being actively involved in Russian politics also consumes a great deal of my time.
[If the Topalov-Kramnik will take place eventually?] When you are dealing with promises made by Kirsan Iliyumzinov you should always be aware that after the elections they might not materialize! Although I think that this match probably will take place... I don't have the precise information but as far as I can understand, this match was the condition on which the Russian Federation agreed to support Iliyumzinov's candidates.
I wouldn't say Topalov is clearly No 1, because he and Anand are about equal. When Topalov won in San Luis, that was a resolution of the crisis because he was the best player at that time, he played better than others. So it has to be seen whether he can remain on top of his form for a certain period of time, since so far in Sofia his performance is far from being impressive.
I'm not very happy with FIDE's decision to eliminate the World Championship matches. I still think that in the end No 1 should play No 2. You can have tournaments, qualifications, but in the end chess has always been about No 1 playing No 2! The two best players compete. That was the greatest flavour of the title that had been created in the 19th century. Without this match I think that any tournament lacks its climax, so it's not that exciting. But this is FIDE's decision and so far players haven't seriously objected to it.
Today, for instance, I would prefer to see a match between Topalov and Anand if I had to make my choice. Nevertheless I think that FIDE's qualification system, based on this strange mixture of knock-out and short matches, isn't very sophisticated, and current leader Topalov isn't very stable, so it has to be seen whether he can remain on top of his form for a certain period of time, because his performance is rather far from being impressive.
The only good thing about the upcoming FIDE elections is that for the first time, probably since 1982, we have a sort of genuine fight. Although I have my doubts whether the elections will be held with fair and clear standards.
The full interview is available at the Hellas Chess Club portal