Teimour Radjabov: 'I'm not going to be a Don Quixote'

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Radjabov is not going to be a Don QuixoteTeimour Radjabov will not dispute FIDE's decision to replace Magnus Carlsen with Alexander Grischuk for the upcoming Candidates matches in Kazan, Russia. Earlier the Azeri grandmaster had stated that this replacement might be against current regulations, but he is not going to "take on the role of a chess Don Quixote, tilting at windmills", as he said today in an interview for the Azeri website Extratime.

After Magnus Carlsen announced that he would not participate in the upcoming FIDE Candidates matches, in an interview ECU President Silvio Danailov had questioned whether the Norwegian should be replaced at all.
[A]ccording to my knowledge, nobody can replace Magnus by regulations. Article 3. 3. 3 says that “Any player who withdraws after the 15th of May 2010 shall not be replaced and his opponent in the first round is declared as winner.” This means that according to the regulations Radjabov has to move directly to the second round. But maybe I am missing something, FIDE should know better.

Back then, in November 2010, Teimour Radjabov seemed the hold the same opinion. In an interview with Chess-News (translated into English here) he said:

But that raises big questions as according to the regulations players who refuse to play after 15 May should be treated as having lost…

To some extent this was all speculation, but in the meantime it's official that Carlsen won't play: just before Christmas FIDE announced that all players, including Grischuk, have signed their contracts.

Today, in an interview with Teimur Tushiev for, Radjabov said that he will not dispute FIDE's decision to replace Carlsen with Grischuk:

The approach of certain FIDE officials to this professional question struck me as a little amateurish. However, the silence and agreement of all the championship cycle participants to the endless changes in the regulations for the Candidates Matches prompted to me to stick to the principle that “one’s as good as none” [literally “alone on a battlefield you’re not a soldier” - translator's note]. Therefore I didn’t take on the role of a chess Don Quixote, tilting at windmills.

Interestingly, later in the interview Radjabov supports Carlsen in his decision not to play:

I think that Magnus Carlsen was absolutely right to act as he did. He’s number one on the world rankings, he’s won a large number of super-tournaments (often with a big gap over second place), so he has the image of the strongest chess player in the world. The FIDE regulations mean that he’d have to expose his image to great risk, playing only four-game matches against strong opponents, paired off not according to the actual strength of the players at the current moment in time. In such four-game matches the element of chance is dramatically increased. I think it would be fairer to hold a double round-robin Candidates Tournament, in which the randomness of the result would be reduced to a minimum. I think Carlsen would play in such a Candidates Tournament.

The quotes from above were translated into English by Colin McGourty from Chess in Translation. You can find the full interview with Radjabov there.
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