Nigel Short: 'Unfair to expect Anand to keep winning'

"He(Anand) is still in the top 10 in the world and to have such a relatively small decline shows what dedication, perseverance he has [shown] to stay at a very very high level,”Short said.

FIDE Nigel Short during a promotional event in Chennai on Thursday.   -  M. Vedhan

In the history of FIDE, there has been only two Grandmasters — Max Euwe (1970-78) and Friorick Olafsson (1978-82) — who have been presidents of the world chess body. And probably a handful of vice-presidents.

However, in the last two decades or so, the influence of player-administrator in FIDE has been minimal. Britain’s GM Nigel Short, who is the current vice-president of FIDE, is keen to change it forbetterment of the sport.

The 54-year-old who fought the last FIDE presidential election (in October 2018) on an anti-corruption plank, said at a press conference here on Thursday that the current body is walking the talk on a lot of issues.

Proxies abolished

He said one of the first things that FIDE, under new president Arkady Dvorkovich did, was to abolish proxies. “Since 2006, India has been casting the vote of Pakistan. So in the last four presidential elections, Pakistan’s votes were in the the pockets of India and the All India Chess Federation (AICF).

Bad reputation

The Grandmaster recalled how FIDE’s reputation took a beating when its bank account was closed by the Swiss USB Bank in February 2018 because of US Treasury's sanctions against the then FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

“I think FIDE is improving. It had a reputation problem for a number of years,” he said.

On Viswanathan Anand’s future, Short said it was unfair to expect the five-time World champion to keep winning. “Chess is a young person’s game. People reach their peak like in other sports in their 20s and 30s.

“Vishy will be touching 50 in a few days. You simply cannot expect the guy to go on indefinitely. He is still in the top 10 in the world and to have such a relatively small decline shows what dedication, perseverance he has [shown] to stay at a very very high level.”

The three-time Commonwealth champion and World Championship challenger was critical of AICF for its anti-player policy.

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