World chess champion Gary Kasparov will forfeit his title next week if he does not agree to a rematch with former champion Anatoly Karpov, an official of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) announced yesterday in Switzerland.
"If either of the players refuses to play a scheduled match, it is automatic that the other person becomes world champion," said FIDE Secretary General Lim Kok Ann. A rematch has already been scheduled and, according to FIDE rules, should begin by Feb. 10, only three months after the last grueling 24-game match ended in Moscow.
Kim's announcement recalled the dramatic situation 10 years ago when Karpov won the world championship by default. Bobby Fischer, who was then the champion, protested FIDE rules on championship competition and forfeited his title rather than defend it on FIDE's terms.
Lim said Kasparov had until Jan. 6 to notify FIDE about whether he would play and whether he preferred London or Leningrad, the two bidders, as the site of the rematch.
Since winning the title last month, Kasparov has been complaining about the requirement for an early rematch with the defeated champion. Most recently, in an interview published Friday by the Soviet news agency Tass, Kasparov called the idea of a rematch "nonsense." He also attacked FIDE President Florencio Campomanes, whom some Kasparov fans have accused of bias in favor of Karpov, and urged his replacement.
In Moscow, Karpov said he preferred to play the rematch in Leningrad rather than London. Leningrad has offered prize money totaling $480,000, while London has offered $865,000.