I was watching an interview with Kasparov which occurred before the Anand-Gelfand match was played, and he said:

"Nobody should be offended, it is just a fact, but it's the first time in a long period of time that a World Championship match, with the official champion and official challenger, doesn't have anything to do with fighting for the title of the strongest chess player on the planet."

Why exactly would he say that? Was it just because Carlsen was not playing, or are there deeper reasons?


3 Answers 3


Kasparov's reason for that statement may be no deeper than this:

Live ratings

The current rating list does give a concrete, factual basis for his assessment, though it is certainly something with which others might disagree. Current world #2 Levon Aronian, for one, made a point of contradicting Kasparov:

"I don’t think [what Kasparov said] is true. The player that made it through a very tough Candidates’ Tournament and the player that has held the title for so long are, by rights, the strongest players in the world."

Ultimately, how one defines the "strongest" players is clearly a subjective matter. As for what underlying personal motivations Kasparov might have for saying what he did, we shouldn't speculate; so if that really is what you're after, then I concur with the current vote to close the question. But if you take the rating list to satisfy the "why" of your question, then it seems OK to me.

  • 1
    Where did you get this? It's fascinating!
    – Daniel
    Jun 12, 2012 at 20:14
  • 1
    @Danielδ: Whoops, thanks. I forgot to say, that's just a screen grab from the unofficial live rating site 2700chess.com
    – ETD
    Jun 12, 2012 at 20:19

Kasparov has been known to make controversial statements. He's just not politically correct. But it is the fact that the match winner will not be considered world strongest chess player by most. According to May 2012 FIDE Elo list Anand was no.4 and Gelfand no.20.

The part about it being first time in long period of time is questionable, recent FIDE world chess champions like Khalifman, Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov were also not in the World's top few and Kasparov himself chose Kramnik for his "classical world champion" match who arguably was not the strongest player possible (but beat him anyway).

  • In case of Kasimdzhanov and Khalifman, they didn't play a World Championship match, so Kasparov comment doesn't apply. And I think the mention of "official champion and official challenger" de facto excludes, in Kasparov's mind, all fide-but-not-classical world champions (Ponomariov included).
    – Evargalo
    May 20, 2020 at 9:44

Kasparov is a great player but has one singular flaw. He wants to be in the lime light even after his retirement. If that means throwing a few of the contemporaries under the bus, he will happily do that.

FIDE has a system to select a challenger for the World Championship. The eventual challenger comes through after a well fought series of matches against other best players. Now, enters Kasparov who in his mind has already thrown FIDE and its system under the bus.

Emperor Kasparov declares he doesn't like the current choices. Now, all chess fans are supposed to do is to drop dead from the real world and enter the great Kaspi's mind. Kapsi will decide who should play against whom! What a deal!

All geniuses are a bit mad men themselves and you can't fault Kaspi for that!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.