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WCh Interviewzzz

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The official site of the San Luis FIDE world championship is doing its best to provide some buzz and build-up. They've posted three player Q&A items so far, each more boring than the last. Blame the questions, not the answers. As if we're all waiting for one of them to slip up and accidentally reveal all their preparation secrets. "Well, I'm training with these four players and doing a lot of work on this opening and that defense and... whoops!"

Anyway, here are Anand, Leko, and Topalov, not that you can tell them apart by the answers. I'm guessing the event will be "tough."

How about we go them one better? Post some interesting questions and we'll put together a shadow interview collection. I'm fond of "why" questions myself, harder to just give a rote answer. Understand that they won't much like gotcha stuff about Kramnik and unification at this stage because they are under contract with FIDE right now and can hardly give an answer other than, "This is the one true championship. Kramnik who? These aren't the droids we're looking for."


Hardly penetrating journalistic questions, but for color:

1) Why do you want to become world chess champion?
2) How do you define success in your career? (Quality games, winning tournaments, higher rating, etc.)

While the roster of players is impressive, it would have been better if Kramnik was included. And it might have been better to have Grischuk or Shirov instead of Kasimdzhanov ... IMO.

I'd like to know what other careers they would have pursued if they hadn't become professional chess players, and why.

For Leko, does he credit his recent success – past few years – to a change in his style?

The title made me laugh out loud.

"Kramnik who? These aren't the droids we're looking for."

Excellent Star Wars reference. Yes, the questions were bad indeed.

Even people who don't play seem to feel that a World Chess Championship is a significant title. Why do you think chess gets so much more respect than most other board games?

If you had been playing chess during the 1950s, the era when Smyslov and Botvinnik were world champions, do you think your style would have been as successful?

It seems that many talented players just don't put in the time and effort it takes to break through to the titled level. What made you decide that it was worth the sacrifices necessary to become a Grandmaster?

Who was your first chess teacher? Do you still use any of the things they taught you, or have you moved beyond the point where those early lessons can help?

What do you think about Karpov as Fide-President?

A few question suggestions to the San Louis interviewer’s :

Does castling (still) sometimes confuse you?
How do you feel about square b4 ? and if it were an animal –which one ?
Has the metrosexual man reached the chess world? And if so how does it affect opening preparation.
Would chess be closer to joining the Olympics if everybody was blood tested during rounds?
And finally a 50 /50:
What will happen first:
Kalmykia running out of money (and of journalists) or the classic world championship turned into an weekend bullet tournament to attract the local news in Libya?
(“will happen” can be changed to “happened” without loosing the essence of the question.)

sorry sir very sorry why did the official web site first announced a world cup event and now a world championship event do they know what the players are supposed to be doing tennis or bowling or something

Yes, please. An interview with questions that actually say something. Thank you Mig for an attempt at quality journalism, i was bored through my head reading those on chessbase.
(For the record, all the questions i thought of off-hand were already posted, even the one about Kasparov :/ )

would be nice to ask Kasparov about who has a greater claim to the WC title - San Luis winner or Kramnik?

Kasparov shd be a reasonably unbiased observer: after all, he shd be equally pissed at Kramnik's ducking and FIDE's inability to put together his match ...

Personally I think it's a bit too much to require each player to say that Kasimdzhanov and Morozevich are "more difficult rivals" than Kasparov and Kramnik.

gansy, Kasparov has already said that Kramnik's title has expired and that now "Kasimdzhanov has the real title".

Sure, if Kramnik's title was already expired, then why did Kasparov struggled so hard get a title match with Kramnik? Kramnik is the only reigning classical WC.

When did he say that, acirce?

It's always possible that he was misinterpreted, but http://www.64.ru/2005/1/gk2.html has him saying "Kasymdzhanov has the real title. If you play within the recognized system, then your title is much more legitimate. Certainly, many strong players didn't participate in the last world championship in Libya. However, the caliber of Kasymdzhanov's opponents strongly backs up his position."

And http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2309 "In my book, Kramnik’s title expired no later than 2002. He had to defend his title and did not. More importantly, I won a few tournaments in a row in 2001 and he failed to perform at the highest level, to prove he was the best in the world. This meant expiration by higher standards." Mig of course knows this, but why not remind others. He has said similar things before as well.

I just thought it notable that Garry's usual "Kasimdzhanov has a legitimate title" morphed into "the", and wanted to see where it was. But the Russian to English at the 64 site explains that. Indefinite vs definite articles are always a nightmare, not that it's such a huge difference in light of all his other comments on the matter. He's probably used both himself in English.

Hi Everyone,

I'll sidestep the debate on the legitimacy of Kramnik , but say that whoever wins this event can regard themselves as a 'de facto' world champion.
It would be good if the winner of this event subsequently plays Kramnik, but Mig, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't all the contracts for the participants in Argentina forbid any such thing happening.

The FIDE contracts prohibit it, but that doesn't prohibit FIDE from tearing that clause up if they want. If there is big money for a match between the San Luis winner and Kramnik and FIDE can get a big cut of it, suddenly those contracts won't be such a factor. They just prevent (well, try) the players from seeking such a thing outside of FIDE.

Putting aside the argument that it is not Kramnik`s title, but rather just the World Champion title... I wish I could ask Kasparov if since he feels "Kramnik`s" title expired in 2002, why didn`t "Kasparov`s" title expire in 1997, two years after playing Anand?

Please no! Wrong thread. You can type Kasparov into the search and read all sorts of items on that. He's not playing in San Luis, or anywhere else. His opinions will be duly recorded, but this isn't the thread for an ancient discussion. Thanks.

Hey Mig,

We're agreeing on a thing?!

No seriously, on that point you're right. He's not playing, period. That's it!

Even after this event in San Luis and even if there is a match with Kramnik to follow, I'm not sure how I'll feel about the World Champion. I mean the winner will certainly be legitimate, but I will feel as though there is no dominant force as there were in the days when Kasparov was champion, certainly a huge change to the mentality of the champion where he truly has to defend his title in a close match, I feel this was the problem with the Kramnik-Kasparov mess and may be an issue again. The winner might not be able to secure "the right conditions" for a match, but I sincerely hope this will not be a problem so we can finally move past this whole political mess.


The title needs to have its own legitimacy. It may be that occasionally someone earns it through a particular combination of circumstances (including playing much better than they usually do, or a favorite dropping out due to illness), but still the title process should be felt to recognize the right person most of the time.

Euwe was hardly a "dominating force" on the world chess scene when he earned the FIDE World Champion title, but no one felt it necessary to put an * after his name, either. Was Smyslov head and shoulders above the rest when he became Champion? Probably not--but he was the recognized winner of a recognized process (even if a roulette wheel was involved at one point), and respected as such.

I don't think the FIDE World Championship has to necessarily recognize an overwhelming talent in order to be legitimate. In fact, if all it did was put an official stamp on an overwhelming talent, it probably wouldn't be needed--everyone would already know who the winner would be.

Instead, sports championships are used to provide structure and a goal when you have a lot of very good talents. I think it's fine if it produce a "best among equals" result, as long as the process itself is seen as fair to all.


"The tournament is a double round robin. Do you think that is better than elimination matches?"

"If you answered yes, do you believe that Bobby Fischer's concerns from Curacao 1962 no longer apply?"

"How soon after this tournament are you willing to play Kramnik for the reunified World Championship?"

Polgar interview up.

“Every game can be extremely hard”, she stated, revealing one of her training methods: “I am preparing against my opponents one by one with both colors”.

Well that's something at least. She's actually preparing against her opponents, and with both colors at that. Groundbreaking! And to think that she dares reveal that secret :-)

I'd like to ask Judit Polgar if becoming a mother has helped or hindered her chess and why?

Kramnik is a sissy.. he couldn't even beat Leko in thier match. With Kasparov officially retired, the winner at San Luis will be the World Chess Champion. Period

Just seen Quaitemes' post.

Why keep mentioning Kasparov? He couldn't even beat Karpov in Seville, had to win the final game to tie the match and retain his title, which means he must be a sissy too. And then he actually lost his match with Kramnik, so doesn't that make him a double sissy? Perhaps I don't understand.

yes the questions were lame. But perhaps leading up to this tournament where the sponsors may have been fed a load, in order to produce the cash, we cant expect any different. Anyway I would like to know what each of the players ideal format for the World champ woudl be, and why. I would also like to know if they thought allot about this or if they think that format questions are not really a question for them but for thier managers and organizers. Also how important do they think the format is for chess? Do they think it matters that this is a tournament rather than a match? Why do they think the prize fund they have to split 8 ways is only one third of the 1990 prize fund Kasparov and Karpov split 2 ways? (less than other later matches as well)

I would also like to know what politics caused Topalov to leave ACP. If he does not agree with having a democratically elected board what woudl he rather have?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 21, 2005 12:13 PM.

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