MUMBAI: Nigel Short is known for his strong views. A reputed columnist and a commentator, the British Grandmaster, once a world championship finalist, says the rematch privilege to the champion is grotesquely unfair. Excerpts:
Is Vishy Anand, in your opinion, undisputed world champion?
There seems to be a world championship almost every year? Are you ok with this?
I believe the champion should be compelled to defend his title regularly. It is not a personal possession.
Should the world champion necessarily be decided through a match?
Yes, I believe so. It is the only true test of strength.
What about the privilege of rematch? Is it not too primitive? Or do you think the champion justified in asking for such privilege?
The champion should have no right whatsoever to demand a rematch. Assuming both he and his challenger are of equal strength then this gives the champion a 75% chance of retaining the title – which is obviously grotesquely unfair.
What about future world champions? Do you see matches being played to decide a world champion?
I hope so, although one can never predict anything with the governing body that we have now.
Fide now says the new champion will have to play with the winner of Kamsky-Topalov match. Do we require such lengthy cycle?
No. In fact I cannot even remember what Topalov and Kamsky have to do with it.
You once broke away from Fide. You later went on to become the president of Commonwealth chess. Now do you accept the supremacy of Fide?
I resigned as the president of the Commonwealth Chess Association in January 2008, for personal reasons, although the CCA was always affiliated to Fide anyway. I have accepted that Fide is governing body. It is, of course, a hopeless organisation, and one that is almost unreformable.
Who do you think is the best player of all time?
How do you rate Anand?
There is a perception in India that Anand can beat Kasparov. You have played both and seen both play. You think it is possible?
I don’t know the statistics off hand, but I don’t think Vishy enjoyed such a great career record against Kasparov. Whether he would beat him now is a purely hypothetical question, because Kasparov has retired and has no intention of coming back.
Do you think world chess is finally united?