Alexander Khalifman: Ilyumzhinov said he was relieved of the problem of eternally feuding Kasparov and Karpov by making Khalifman the champion

Grandmaster from St. Petersburg Alexander Khalifman won the title of FIDE world champion in 1999 in a grand knockout tournament that was hosted by Las Vegas. Then the former president of the International Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said: “I was relieved of the problem of eternally feuding Kasparov and Karpov by making Khalifman the champion.”

Khalifman is still very authoritative in the chess world. He is known as an erudite and theorist, author of popular chess manuals and a wonderful commentator. His students give a fitting rebuff to Magnus Carlsen over the chess board. Before the championship match between Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi, Khalifman spoke about his expectations from the upcoming battle.
- Alexander, is Magnus the greatest champion in history? Or are the successes of Kasparov and Fischer no less significant?
- All world champions are great, and I don't see any point in comparing them.

- Does Nepomniachtchi have a chance to win? How would you rate the balance of power before the battle?

- He has a chance, of course. It is important to use it correctly. Although, of course, Carlsen is the frontrunner.
- Is the match in Dubai similar in terms of internal intrigue to the old match between Kasparov and Kramnik in 2000?
- Something, of course, is similar, but there are many differences. Then one of the implications was a change of generations, which doesn’t exist now. The downfall of the frontrunner was because the match proved that Kramnik was the best chess player in the world.
- And what is the most interesting and striking fight for the world crown in chess history in your opinion?
- Although all this is quite subjective, I think the first match between Mikhail Tal and Mikhail Botvinnik was the most striking in the creative sense.