Russia wins, Ponomariov talks

10/21/2003 – Round eight of the European Team Championship in Plovdiv saw an exciting power failure, in round nine the leading teams drew all their games, leaving the top unchanged – Russia first, Israel second. Meanwhile the still reigning FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov was quite outspoken at an impromptu press conference on the free day. More...

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European Team Championships

Plovdiv in Bulgaria hosts the European Team Championship October 10th-21st 2003. After the lights failed in round eight, with a 35 minute delay in the time trouble phase of the games, round nine was more sedate, with the leaders Russia and Israel playing draws on all four boards. The result was a clear win for Russia, with 17 team points, followed by Israel with 15. You can find all games and results at the links given at the bottom of the page.

Interview with Ruslan Ponomariov

On the free day reigning FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov took part in a press conference and answered questions about his canceled match with Garry Kasparov, his attitude towards FIDE, and his plans regarding the future. Excerpts:

I think that the role of FIDE is to organize the World Championships and to look for ways to save them. At the FIDE Congress in Greece in early November we must learn Vladimir Kramnik's view about the situation. When the match Ponomariov-Kasparov was canceled, the match between Kramnik-Leko is quite uncertain. Maybe the best thing to do is to get together and review once more the Prague agreement, in order to come out with the most proper and constructive resolution. It should be possible for all strong players in the world to contest the World Champion title on equal terms.

Who was responsible for the canceled match Ponomariov-Kasparov?

I have always wanted to play with Kasparov. I agreed with FIDE to find the common way of understanding. As a matter of fact I refused to look for any financial compensations for the spoiled match in Buenos Aires, which didn't take place because of FIDE. Our disagreements were about tigh-break in case of score 6:6, and we wanted one of the arbiters to be Russian. A meeting between me, Kasparov and Ilyumzhinov was planned in Kiev, in order to solve our problems. I didn`t know why Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made that decision to cancel the match. Obviously Ilyumzhinov has his own rules.

Garry Kasparov openly accused Silvio Danailov, your manager, that he bears most of the blame for the failure of the match. Were there any additional financial claims from your side?

I think this is ridiculous. My opinion is, that Ilyumzhinov canceled the match and he has the whole responsibility about that. I cannot understand, what were his real motives. He took this decision by himself. Perhaps when he was in Moscow he called Garry Kasparov to consult him how to act in this situation. Perhaps Garry Kasparov was afraid of playing the match in Ukraine. This could be the reason.

Do you planned to participate in the World Knockout System Championship at the end of this year? If you win once again, are you going to play with Garry Kasparov?

I think that searching for an opponent of Garry Kasparov in a World Championship sounds a little bit strange. This will not lead to any solution of the problem. In my opinion, the knockout system is completely regular. I personally won my title in such a competition. I assume it will be better if Kasparov, Kramnik and Leko also participate in such a tournament, but that will raise a number of questions. I myself don't have any plans to participate in such a competition up to now.

When Ilyumzhinov canceled our match with Kasparov it was quite interesting for me to read Kasparov's book "My Great Predecessors". I friend of mine gave it to me. The situation with the match, in question, is very similar to what Kasparov has written – then Karpov was playing for FIDE, and Kasparov was against it. Now it turns out that Kasparov is with FIDE, and I myself should struggle against FIDE.

In a few months there will be a new World Champion, who will replace you. Does it bother you that you will become the second champion to relinquish his title without struggle, after Fisher.

My only wish is to play chess and to protect my title in an appropriate environment. That seems impossible. Perhaps, an alternative competition should be organized. Maybe the better thing is to give Kasparov the World Champion title, after which an accurate and clear competitive system can be created. I aim at equal conditions for every chess player trying to get the precious title – a World Champion.

Here is the full interview.


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