Press Conference:Linares 2000

Champions Defend Draws, Criticise Anti-Doping


The two joint winners of the 17th City of Linares Tournament
V.Kramnik and G.Kasparov criticised anti-doping measures and
defended the high quotient of draws which reflected poorly on the
tournament in a joint press conference after the event (on March 10, 2000).

On the large number of draws in the event Kramnik said first
everybody was playing for a win, nobody was trying for a draw.
"We could not win, because people defend very well at this
level," he said. "I think we had many exciting games," Kramnik
concluded. In his reaction, Kasparov said, "Nobody should be
mistaken by seven victories in 30 games. It is the lowest
percentage for Linares. I recall the fighting spirit that
dominated the tournament. To win a game in Linares you need more
than a good opening idea."

On his next Elo rating event, Kasparov said he will play at
Sarajevo which has a very high category and includes all top
players excluding Vishy Anand.

On FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman's performance Kasparov
said, "He definitely jumped over his head. Everybody in this room
predicted a much worse result for him. I think it is his best
result in his life compared to Las Vegas. He was lucky in some
games. Eventually full praise because it was very very

On a question that he (Kasparov) is the best player like Tiger
Woods is in golf and there was no need to have a world
championship, Kasparov disagreed saying "Chess unlike golf or
tennis has a tradition. It is not right to write off the nearly
120 years of tradition. You cannot ignore the fact that the world
championship in 1886 was established like an institution. It is
about finding the best player." He said there are two lines (of
world champions) and FIDE had its line and sometimes it
overlapped with the line he is in. His lines comes from 1886. He
discredited the FIDE line saying that once when Alekhine and
Bogoljubov played a match and nobody wants to remember that
score. (Alekhine won handily)

You may have any event, you go to CNN or sponsors, advertisers,
or public relations companies they know only one name because I
am still the best player. You may like me or dislike me - most
chess players dislike me as do most chess journalists - but it
doesn't matter. These are realities people have to respect. FIDE
event has no credibility outside the chess world. Because it is
not finding the best player. To be the best player in the world
you have to either win the tournament of all the best players in
the world or be the crowning champion, there is no other way.

Best Games

On their best games, Kramnik said he liked both games he won
against Khalifman and Shirov and said his second game against
Kasparov needs to be analysed more and was perhaps the best. "I
was in mild trouble in some games but not too much," Kramnik
said. Kasparov said, "With all these blunders I played with ups
and downs in many games and at one level against Vishy (Anand).
Against Peter (Leko) in the second game I deserved to lose, I was
lucky, and in one moment I was in trouble in the Shirov game,"
said Kasparov. I agree that the game I played with Vladi was the
most exciting game, it was not mathematically losing at any point
for me. I missed chances in both games against Khalifman. In the
first my intuition failed me and in the second I probably had a
technically winning endgame.

On ending Kasparov's dominance, Kramnik said, "I am thrilled to
make this achievement that nobody could achieve in the last one
and a half years. It is honourable to share first place with
Kasparov. This is the only traditional classical chess tournament
I did not win and finally managed to win on the sixth attempt. I
wanted to win it. It is something special."

Kasparov said he scheduled his Online Tournament for February
2000 when Linares was `cancelled'. Then he could not refuse
playing here saying "without Linares I would be empty." "Vladi
played very well. You can't win all the tournaments," Kasparov
said while confirming that he is not giving an excuse. Kasparov
hopes that this would give more excitement for the Sarajevo
Tournament in May. Kasparov expects a similar challenge from
Kramnik there and said Shirov and Leko could not be written off.

On doping controls in the recent Spanish Championship, Kramnik
said I don't care about them and I am not afraid of it either. "I
would like to drink my coffee!" If it should happen, they should
have other standards, not like in athletics, football or tennis.
Chess is different. It is much more important that no computer
helps a player than medicines. "I think FIDE went for anti-doping
controls because it is much cheaper than anti-computer controls."

Kasparov said it is important in top events to have protected
rooms to stop any communication between a computer and a player
because that can really change the result of the game. Any hint
that goes from a computer is enough. One word without a line can
save a lot of time on the line of thinking. Anti-doping is a
stupid policy of FIDE trying to equalise chess with other sports.
Chess is unique, you can't call it recognised sport. It has other
capacities. Any attempt to introduce doping will hurt the
ingredients of our diet. They said coffee here, there are anti-
biotics and everybody takes something. You open the door and it
is a Pandora's box. It is a door for trouble. There will be nice
ways to take revenge on somebody.

On his involvement in Russian politics, Kasparov said he is doing
the chess world a favour by not paying attention to it for the
past two years. "Like a good citizen I will caste my vote on
March 26." I don't see an optimistic future for my country but
would not throw support for any candidate. I would like to play
chess, write books and involve myself in the Internet. "Politics
is an endless game with no result," he said.

On deciding on the joint winner, Kasparov said his friendship
with Kramnik helped in arriving at an amicable result. "We
immediately agreed that toss of coin is a bad idea. We did not
want the other to leave Linares with bad feelings. I think we
deserved to win," said Kasparov. Blitz match will spoil the mood
and once when we played a blitz match it was a draw, Kasparov
reminded the press. Playing a blitz game after a regular game is
more or less like throwing a coin, said Kramnik.

It struck me in the closing ceremony that one thing Linares was
missing was two winners. Now you have it, Kasparov said.

(As it appeared in the April 2000 issue of Chess Mate magazine.)