Khalifman criticises FIDE for time control

MERIDA (MEXICO), MAY 20. Former FIDE World chess champion Alexander Khalifman of Russia subscribes to the idea that the decreasing popularity of chess in Europe, its heartland, in the last 30 years is due to the switch of interest from the game itself to the personalities involved in the game.

Speaking at a meet the press, Khalifman who was crowned by FIDE as its World champion in August 1999 at Las Vegas criticised the parent body for imposing a time control on the players.

About the organisation in Mexico, Khalifman said, ``in principle, the tournament is organised at a very high level considering that Merida has not much experience in conducting many tournaments at this level.''

Asked if there was ways to improve the event, Khalifman said although it is a trivial subject he would say it. ``Between my moves I walk a little bit and here if I walk across the stage, the spectators cannot see the (demonstration) boards. Behind the stage there is no room at all.'' This is not that important but a little detail. It is also not as hot as it is sometimes in Merida. I never played the new FIDE time control and would never play it in the future,`` Khalifman said about the new time control which FIDE introduced in the last six months. ''I said already, rapid chess is rapid chess, classical chess is classical chess, each of these competitions has its values and audience.

I can't understand why FIDE should mix these two into the same?``

Khalifman said he liked the seven-hour session which this tournament featured. ''I will play the four hour session only under the great necessity,`` Khalifman said. ''If they don't reverse the decision before the World championship, I will have to play under this stupid four hour session.``

''It is a very strange idea and I am very glad that this controversial FIDE decision has not found suport from organisers of major chess tournaments including this one. Nobody has shown any hurry to organise a tournament in the four hour time circus.``

Khalifman said unlike last year he had no invitation to play this year. His next event will be a rapid tournament in Latvia in August.

About his web site, he said it was a success and it was going step-by-step unlike some other sites. ''We (Grandmaster Chess School) have already achieved something, we have students from all over the world.``

Unlike other multi-locational web sites he said his site was only based from St. Petersburg in Russia. As a professional chess player, Khalifman said his desire would be to play chess even at old age and try to improve. ''I am not only a chess professional. I have my Grandmaster chess school and it is a serious part of my work. I give lots of energy and skills to make it a success.``

He thinks these activities will help him to return something back to the game chess which he likes very much. Khalifman brought it out with concern that the number of professional tournaments is decreasing year by year. People in Mexico will not be able to feel this but it is reality for European players. Many good professional players have problems because every year there are more and more players without a corresponding increase in tournaments.

This is bad for all of us. One of the reasons for this is, the interest which really existed 30 years ago in the game switched to personalities. The attention of the clever interesting game etc that chess is lost out to personalities.

About computers in chess, he said computers and humans should not compete in tournaments. The inclusion of Fritz in the Dutch (Human) championship is rubbish. Computers and humans can play in exhibition matches. It should be made to study chess, not to play against humans itself.

About the recent research which showed there are more rated players in Germany than Russia Khalifman said, ``in case of Russia it goes well into the past and also Russia is a very big country. What makes the Russian Chess School a success is there are good coaches. Germany is another example because it has very good organisation. This study of the rating, which I saw it as well prove to us that more rated players are in Germany and Russia.''