Zurab Azmaparashvili replies to Nigel Short

2/17/2007 – In an Indian newspaper the British GM called the FIDE Vice President a "dunderhead" who, as a member of the Appeals Committee during the world championship 2005 in Argentina, had spent most of his time away from the playing venue and was therefore singularly unsuited for the job. Now Zurab Azmaiparashvili fires back and Nigel short replies.

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To the Chess News Page Chessbase.com

Having touched on the main problem of chess in the 21st century, namely cheating by means of modern technology during the game, your site has published excerpts from an interview of the English grandmaster and the President of Commonwealth Chess Association, Mr. N. Short, given to the Indian newspaper “DNA”.

Having familiarized myself with the full text I was astonished at the wrong interpretation of facts. Situations are reflected in a distorted manner and without being rechecked, so that the readers have an impression that the cause of all troubles should be searched for in FIDE. He has paid particular attention to two names – Mackropoulos and Azmaiparashvili. [In case you are baffled by this, the passage in question was in the Indian newspaper DNA, but not included in the excerpts published in ChessBase.com – Ed.].

The eight years I have been engaged in chess politics have taught me that a chess player is always right, and that while performing the duties of the executive you are obliged to tolerate any insult from the player. I respect Mr. Short as a chess player, but currently Nigel is one of the officials in FIDE, the same as me. I am not going to enter into controversy with him. Undoubtedly, he is a great chess player, but as a person he has some negative features which are well known in the world of chess. I have told this truth to his face many times – I have never hesitated to tell him what I think about him!

FIDE Vice President GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili

As I have mentioned, Mr. Short considers FIDE to be the cause of all troubles. I am far from the idea that everything is ideal in our organization. What is happening in connection with the staging of the World Championship cycle (frequent alteration of the regulation, appointment of matches and tournaments, ignoring the number one chess player in the world, etc.) is the fault of inaccurate work done by the World Championship Committee. But responsibility must be shared by Mr. Opponent as well! Nigel used to receive monthly compensation in the amount of 500 Euros for consultations provided by the World Championship Committees to FIDE. The readers might be interested in how many proposals or projects he has offered to FIDE during his cooperation. Despite the fact that I am well aware of the answer I prefer Nigel to respond to this rhetoric question himself. It would be better for Mr. Short to actively work with the above-mentioned Committee instead of writing so many letters, so that our decisions would not cause harm to chess players like Anand, Kasparov, Ponomariov, Kasimdzhanov, Topalov and many others. I hope that the present world champion V. Kramnik will not share their fate.

Mr. Short mentions San Luis and informs the reader: we, the grandmasters, lived in a separate hotel, while the top FIDE leaders enjoyed themselves 16 km away! Nigel could have asked the organizers and would have learned that there were no free rooms in the hotel where the participants stayed. This is the reply I received when I decided to change accommodation and move into the participants’ hotel. To be frank, I did not wish to drive 30-40 km every day and stay in a hotel with no swimming pool, fitness facilities and Internet at all.

During the games we, the members of the Appeals Committee, sat in a separate room, from the beginning of the first game until the end of the last game. During this time Nigel tasted perfect Argentinean wine in the bar and wrote one sheet of poetic commentaries on the game daily which had little in common with chess. For comparison I would like to inform you that my compensation in San Luis was US $4,000 while Mr. Short was paid US $9,000 for the above-mentioned work (14 sheets of paper during the tournament)...

I will deliberately not touch upon Elista, as the FIDE Presidential Board briefly discussed this question and thanked both appeals Committees. On the other hand I personally feel we should have discussed the Elista organization and incidents more thoroughly and afterwards evaluated the work of the Organizing Committee, the team of referees and Appeals Committees, and the correctness of the decisions made by them. For my part I would add that I do not shirk responsibility and am willing to defend the truth of my decisions against any opponent.

"Azmai" playing blitz games on the Playchess.com server

As for referring to me as a “dunderhead” and claiming I won the European Championship by cheating, I will bring Mr. Short as one of FIDE officials to account before the FIDE Ethics Commission for dishonoring me as a chess player. I have already filed a statement to initiate the process. Nigel will not be able to pretend ignorance of English and say that he implied a “mistake” instead of “cheating”.

I am fond of my profession, and of chess players. For all my conscious life I have been trying to make everything favorable for them. I think that the Calvia incident is proof enough that I do care for the protection of their interests and for the prestige of chess!

I am one of FIDE’s leaders and a friend and a team member of FIDE President Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (who has done a great deal for chess), but I am free in my decisions. It is important to have a clear conscience. It has been this way until now and it will be the same way in the future. This is my credo, and I hope that the favorable progress which is observed by establishment of “Global Chess” will make FIDE’s decisions better and effective, and that its work will change to the benefit of chess.

As for the urgent problem which your webpage has been actively covering recently, I think that it should be jointly decided by all of us – it is that serious. As a lyrical digression I would like to add that there are many places in the world where people do not have electric power, not to mention the Internet and modern technology. So let us hold the most prestigious world competitions in such places – both we and chess players will calm down! Everybody will know that they are playing against an individual human opponent and not a machine or any group. Of course in this case a big show will be out of the question, and no prize fund will be offered, to avoid offending local population. But still – the end justifies the means!

GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili
FIDE Vice President

Nigel Short replies

Dear ChessBase,

I was going to write a light-hearted reply to Zurab Azmaiparashvili but, alas, I simply cannot match the unintentional hilarity of a man who proudly cites the head-butting of a Spanish security guard as "proof enough that I do care for the protection of ...(chess players') interests and for the prestige of chess!"

Zurab really excelled himself in this letter: the very idea of him taking his petty grievances to the FIDE Ethics Commission has given many readers a hearty laugh! I trust the Commission will begin proceedings by carefully examining his famous victory in Strumica. And Zurab, if you haven't realised it by now, "touch move" is one of the basic principles of chess. And if you are so careless as to write down your moves in advance and then play the second one of the sequence – bad luck.

Zurab's last big joke was his idea of holding the World Chess Championship in places where they have no electricity! I am sure the chess world is very grateful that he has applied his intellect to the greatest problem threatening chess today and come up with so brilliant a solution! And Kirsan, if future World Championships are to be held deep in the jungle or at the North Pole, please, please, make sure that Azmai and Makro are on the Appeals' Committee.

Nigel Short

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