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Open letter from Boris Gelfand

In recent interviews of Garry Kasparov on and in Russian daily "Sport-express" Mr. Kasparov made few statements about my role in his match against Vladimir Kramnik and I would like to clarify few things. Unfortunately original English version of one of these interviews isn't available in print, so I am forced to retranslate it from Russian, when quoting Mr. Kasparov. Mr. Kasparov claims that as we had together training session in 1998 it should have prevented me from working with other players in the world. However I never was his trainer (or somebody's else), but just a sparring-partner, as well as he was mine. During my career I had a lot of sparring-partners (this is the most common way of working on chess for majority of top players, as it allows chessplayers to enhance each other with new ideas and besides, very few can afford to have a personal second.) Clearly, it goes without saying that any ideas found in the joint analysis can never be shared with any third party and a possibility to break this rule never crossed my mind.

Mr. Kasparov said: "When people are working for money - there is no disgrace in doing that. So Kramnik had worked in my team during my match with Anand. However some of his [Kramnik's] colleagues were helping him apparently because of "especially warm feelings" towards me. This is beyond my ethical code. In my opinion Gelfand has a different one." This statement clearly shows that great ex-champion obviously lacks understanding of what friendship is. I can only feel pity to him in this respect.
In another place he states "He [Gelfand] broke all the moral grounds". I want to reply to these groundless accusations.

For the last 8 years we have been regularly exchanging ideas with Vladimir Kramnik, helping each other in preparation for different tournaments as well as during the tournaments if we play together. Whenever one of us is playing in the event, we help each other through telephone. Taking this chance, I want to thank Vladimir for countless ideas he shared with me that helped me to win a lot of games. This is well-known to everybody in chess world, including Garry Kasparov. Garry Kimovich himself in his interviews added myself to a team of Kramnik's advisors during Kramnik-Shirov match, whereas in fact I was not Kramnik's second during that match and didn't take part in any of training sessions which were held before both Kramnik-Shirov and the match just finished . As far as the differences in ethical code are concerned, Mr. Kasparov indeed proved his thesis in Novgorod 1997, when Vladimir had to beat me in the last round to catch Garry and win tournament on tie-break. After drawing quickly his own game Kasparov started to make statements in front of press and public that our game with Kramnik is a fix and I am going to lose the game to let my friend win a tournament. Fortunately, after 7 hour long defense I managed to draw that game. Yet we are still waiting for apology.

Also in the above-mentioned interviews Kasparov attributes novelty in 6th game and Be2 somewhere ( I guess in 12th game) to me. I take it as a compliment, as I would be proud to invent such novelties. However this is a fruit of preparation of Vladimir Kramnik and his 3 great seconds and I first time saw these ideas when analyzing these games of the match.

At the end of his interview to the "Sport-Express" Mr. Kasparov says: "The time of pragmatical market has come. What is your company worth? How much do your stocks cost? And now to chess world came champion who symbolizes this cynical and pragmatical approach. Many don't like style of Kramnik's games which give no pleasure to people." Cheap attacks, but still I would like to have at least a few names of those, who confessed to Garry Kimovich that they don't enjoy Kramnik's games. I personally do, as well as Kasparov himself did just few months ago.

Boris Gelfand 20.11.2000


© 2000 Boris Schipkov