Friday, July 20, 2007

The Press Conference

Before the beginning of the second round, Grandmasters Nigel Short and Pascal Charbonneau, along with several of the organizers, gave a press conference.

Question for Nigel Short:

How does this tournament compare to tournaments you normally play?

Nigel Short:

It’s a strong event. I am less obsessed with categories and numbers than some people. I am much more interested if the players are interesting, combative, players, and whether they are interesting personalities. For me that is what makes a good tournament.
The numbers go up, a dollar today is not worth what it was 20 years ago. There is inflation in chess. Though make no misunderstanding, this is a strong event. For me Vassily Ivanchuk is the man to beat. He is the man in form. Although anybody else has a chance.

Q for Nigel Short:

What did you learn from your match with Kasparov?

Nigel Short:

That Kasparov was a stronger player than I was (laughter). It was a long time ago, I played a lot of matches in my time. Nothing really compares with that match because, first of all, it was a match for the world championship, and it was such a high profile event. Followed all over the world. It’s all in the past, and I worked very hard for it, and it was perhaps a closer match than the score suggests. I was up against a much stronger force. Anyway, Kasparov is playing a different sort of chess game these days, against Mr. Putin (laughter). I think it is a game that Gary will find much more difficult. At any time Putin can put some extra pieces on the board, whenever he feels his position isn’t strong enough.

Q for Nigel Short:

You played a bitter match against Gata Kamsky in the early 90s. You are due to play him (Gata) on Thursday. What are your feelings about this?

Nigel Short:

What can I say? I have been playing chess for a very long time. My match against Gata Kamsky was by far the most unpleasant experience I ever had in my career. In essence Gata Kamsky won this match by cheating. His father threatened to kill me during the match. It was a very ugly incident. It had to be reported to the police. He (Rustam Kamsky) had to be pulled off me actually. So, quite frankly, I would rather not see him (Gata) But its not up to me, the organizers decide who is to participate. This is not my business. Gata Kamsky, if you talk to him now, I am sure you will find him to be a polite person. But its like someone who was part of a gangster group, and he would very much like to forget about these unpleasant parts of his past when he went everywhere with his father – who is nothing more than a thug. In other sports if you had a situation where a member of a delegation threatened to kill one of the players, and don’t forget Rustam Kamsky was a boxer, and, as far as I understand, had been in prison for such offenses, you would have an automatic disqualification, but for various reasons that didn’t happen. I am sure Gata Kamsky would like to forget about the influences of his father, but he benefited from it at the time. If I win this game it will give me more satisfaction than anything else.

Q for Pascal Charbonneau:

You haven’t been playing much lately. Are you planning on increasing your chess activities?

Pascal Charbonneau:

For personal reasons this has been a tough year for me. But I do intend to continue to play and to continue to improve, and not stagnate at the level that I am at now. I believe there is a lot of room for improvement. There are some things that I do well, and some things I haven’t don’t well in the past that I want to fix, mainly technical opening preparation.

Q for Pascal Charbonneau:

Is this the strongest event you have ever played in?

Yes definitely. I did get to play a lot of strong players in the past. In things like chess Olympiads. But if the Olympiad is a big can of juice, then this is concentrate.

Q for Pascal Charbonneau:

Do you still consider yourself to be a chess professional?

I never considered myself to be a chess professional.. I think I am a chess lover, and a chess fanatic, maybe, but not a professional because that is not where I make my money.

The preceeding account of the press conference for the Montreal International Chess Tournament is the property of Robin Lindsay, all rights reserved. Please contact Robin Lindsay at if you wish to reprint this account in whole or in part.


patzer said...

Nigel Short should be commended for his frankness on how he feels about Gata Kamsky. What he should however not lose sight of is that, even back then, the scoundrel was Rustam and not Gata.

Anonymous said...

This is true. But it shows that maybe behind Gatas present politeness, there are an uglier side. Especially since Gata has not apologized for his fathers actions and been frank about his fathers lack of decensy and moral values, one has to wonder.

Anonymous said...

It's not for Gata to apologize for his father's actions. It's Rustam's responsibility to apologize for his actions. It would be nice for Nigel to forgive and forget, but it's understandable how he feels. Pity Gata having to go through life with ignorant people associating him with his father's actions.

Petrovich said...

"Pity Gata having to go through life with ignorant people associating him with his father's actions."

Nonsense. Gata has had ample time to disassociate himself from his father's actions. He has not.

Indeed, at the time he could have said something, anything; he did not - he was not a child at the time.

He was quite happy to profit from his father's actions as long as they advanced his chess prospects.

Understandably, one could not a small child to stand up to a brutish father, but Gata has had plenty of time as adult which he has spent silently.