Top-seeded Armenian Grand Master Levon Aronian scored facile wins in his first Ivana Furtado, the reigning world under-eight girls champion, is back in lead with a fine win in the ninth round over Nguyen Thanh Thuy Tien of Vietnam at the World Youth Chess Championships in Antalya, Turkey.
The tiny girl from Goa, who first won the title last year in Georgia, has just one loss in the tournament, which came at the hands of another Indian, C.H. Meghna, in the fifth round.
Ivana will now clash with co-leader Gunay Mammadzana of Azerbaijan. Both Ivana and Gunay have 7.5 points and in the tenth and final round, the Indian girl will have black pieces.
Meghna, who started the tournament as the second seed, is lying sixth.
The only other Indian player in the top-three is Asian junior champion Mary Ann Gomes, currently third with 6.5 points in the girls under-18 section. After winning the first six games, Mary Ann, who won a bronze at the 2006 World Youth Chess Championships, lost two games in a row and then managed only a draw in the ninth round against Nargiz Umadova of Azerbaijan.
In boys under-14, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, who was leading after eight rounds, dropped back with a loss to Wang Chen of China. Vidit has seven points, while Wang and Niles Grandelius of Sweden have 7.5 points each. Vidit meets Armenian Samvel Ter-Shakhiyan in the tenth and final round.
Prince Bajaj, silver medallist last year, is lying fifth in the boys under-10 section.
two games against a much lower rated opponent, Juan Pablo Hobaico of Argentina as the Chess World Cup got off to an exciting start in Russian Khanty Mansiysk on Sunday.
Levon Aronian is the winner of the 2006 Chess World Cup.
Two other Armenian players, Vladimir Hakobian and Zaven Andreasian, scored 1 point each after playing against Anton Filipov of Uzbekistan and Alexander Onischuk of the USA.
However, there were some notable upsets. The biggest surprise of the day was former World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov’s loss to Egyptian International Master Essam Al Gindy. The other prominent casualties of the day were Grand Masters Evgeny Alekseev, Konstantin Landa and Alexander Shabalov.
Super Grandmasters Ni Hua and Zhang Zhong head more than 20 foreign players seeing action in the Second President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Cup International Open chess championship starting Thursday at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall in Parañaque City.
With China’s top guns, including defending champion GM Zhang Pengxiang, competing in the World Chess Cup, Ni assumes top seeding with his ELO rating of 2641. Zhang, another Chinese now representing Singapore, follows with his ELO of 2634.
Another Chinese, GM Li Hao, is ranked third with his ELO of 2548.
Southeast Asian Games powerhouse Vietnam, Indonesia, and Iraq are also fielding entries, crowding out the Filipinos in the chase for the $6,000 champion’s purse of the $40,000 event.
The Philippines’ bid in the nine-round Swiss system tournament will be spearheaded by GMs Joey Antonio, Eugene Torre and Mark Paragua and rising star International Master Wesley So.
Also expected to fare well are IMs Oliver Dimakiling, Jayson Gonzales and Ronald Dableo, who is returning to competition after a nine-month lull.
Vietnam is sending GMs Nguyen Anh Dung (ELO 2537) and GM Dao Thien Hai (ELO 2530).
Other Singaporeans in the fold are WGM Li Ruofan (ELO 2417) and WFMs Liu Yang (2056) and WFM Victoria Chan Wei-Yi (1879).
Leading Indonesia’s charge are Tirto, Taufik Malay, Nathaniel Situru, Surya Wayudu, Farid Firman Syah and WIM Irine Kharisma Sukandar.
Iraq will field IM Saad Abdullah Sarsam, FM Noah Ali Hseein and Dilshad Emadal-din Muhammad.
National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero Pichay Jr. and Duty Free general manager Michael Kho will make the ceremonial moves during the 3 p.m. opening rite.
First round action starts right after the ceremony.
“As in the international tournaments that we have already hosted, we expect this year’s competition to be just as successful,” said Pichay, who is determined to produce more Filipino grandmasters.
Already, Pichay has produced one GM in Darwin Laylo, who’s the country’s lone representative to the World Chess Cup set to start Nov. 24 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
“It’s a strange situation: ‘chess on ice’ is an Olympic sport. But classical chess isn’t,” Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the world governing body for chess (FIDE), told the press as he threatened to sue to get chess included in the Olympic Games.
Curling is an Olympic sport and is promoted as ‘chess on ice’, but the real chess is left out in the cold, he said.
Eight years ago, the International Olympic Committee conferred recognition on chess but never took the next step of making it an official sport, stated a disappointed Ilyumzhinov.
But some multi-sport games, such as the Asian Indoor Games, which were held earlier this month, have included chess and the Chinese version of chess.
Ilyumzhinov noted that Olympic competitors claim they are playing mind games – but true mind games are not included.
‘Football players say, ‘We play with our legs but win with our heads.’ Basketball players say ‘We play with our arms, but win with our heads,’ ‘ he told the press.
Ilyumzhinov said FIDE is considering suing the IOC in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Lausanne-based court that handles international sports disputes. Ilyumzhinov said the chances of forcing chess into the Olympics this way may be small, but ‘as a minimum it would draw attention to the problem.’
Cuban Grand Masters Leinier Dominguez and Lazaro Bruzon are participating in the World Chess Cup 2007 kicking off November 23 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
As customary, the tournament will be played according to the KO system, with 128 contestants debuting in the eliminatory rounds, then the second round of 64 players, and successive rounds up to the final match for the title.
Dominguez and Bruzon are traveling with their respective coaches, IMs Aryam Abreu and Maikel Gongora.
In the first round, Leinier Dominguez (ranking 29 with 2,683 ELO points) will face for the first time Russian Alexei Iljushin (2528); while Lazaro Bruzon (2,607), will play against Croatian GM Zdenko Kozul (2,609).
Cuba’s best performance in world cups goes to Dominguez (3 times in world cups) who advanced to the quarter finals in Tripoli 2004 and finished eighth. Bruzon attends for the fourth time and made his best performance in 2005 when he advanced to the third round.
YOUNG chess master James Walsh is jumping for joy after being crowned the English Under-11 Chess Champion.
The talented nine-year-old, a Year 5 pupil at Whalley Primary School, returned home triumphant after sweeping the board at the English Under-11 Chess Competition, in Nottingham.
The annual event, organised by the English Primary School Chess Association, saw James make the right moves in five games, each lasting up to three hours.
He was over the moon to win all five games.
On the way to winning the fiercely-contested competition, he beat the current British Under-10 champion, the British Under-11 runner-up, and an England International Under-11 player.
James entered the competition hoping to achieve three wins out of five games, which would gain part qualification for entry into a trial for the English Junior Chess Squad.
Normally competitors have to win over half their games in two of these qualifying competitions.
However, thanks to James’s performance at the tournament, he automatically qualified for the trial, due to take place in Liverpool in April.
He said: “I enjoyed taking part in the competition. I think I played really well and felt really proud to be awarded the trophy for English Under-11 champion. I’m looking forward to the England team trial next year.”
James’s other hobbies are swimming, football, playing the keyboard and computer games.
World Champion Viswanathan Anand nearly pulled off a stunning title win as he took overnight leader Vassily Ivanchuk to the very brink at the World Blitz Chess Championships before blundering and losing a golden opportunity to add another world title to his kitty.
Anand ended second to Ivanchuk Friday evening in the strongest-ever World Blitz Championships.
The Chennai-born Anand, trailing Ivanchuk by two points after the first day, caught up with the Ukrainian with a string of wins on the second day. With 10 wins, six draws and just two losses Anand swallowed up the gap and the two players were tied at 24.5 points each after 37 games in the 38-game tournament, which had 20 players.
Anand with white pieces looked to be cruising to a win when he went two pawns up after 28 moves against Ivanchuk in the title-deciding game. Anand only needed to keep pushing his h-pawn but he misplayed and inexplicably lost with a rather strange 35th move Neg4. He resigned two moves later and Ivanchuk was the new world Blitz Champion.
Each of the 20 players played the others twice, once each with black and white. After the first day, Ivanchuk ran up a two-point lead and Anand was lying fifth.
On the second day, Anand began the great chase with four wins in a row over Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Morozevich, Alexei Shirov and Peter Leko – the last being a revenge for a first-round loss. By the end of the 29th round – the 10th of the second day – Anand had caught up with Ivanchuk.
Thereafter World No. 1 Anand World No. 2 Ivanchuk were neck and neck till they stayed tied at the end of 37th and penultimate round. Then Anand seemed to be running away only to lose in the end.
“It was great to chase Chuky (Ivanchuk) and I started well, but it was then disappointing to lose it after coming so close,” said Anand, who played safe draws with Alexander Grischuk, Gata Kamsky and Vladimir Kramnik, to whom he had lost in first round, which he called as a ‘bad day’.
The original number of players at the tournament was 18, but the organisers decided to increase this to include the finalists of the 2006 World Blitz Championship in Israel, Grischuk and Peter Svidler.
The rate of play is four minutes per game for each player, plus two seconds per move starting from move one.
The prizes were $25,000 for the winner, $15,000 for the runner up, $10,000 for third place and further prizes ranging from $7,250 for fourth to $2,500 each for 11th-14th places and $1,500 each for 15th-18th places.
Chess Vibes, an Internet chess news Web site, has reported that a player in the Dutch chess league has been banned from playing until the end of the 2009-10 season for using PocketFritz, a hand-held version of the popular computer program Fritz, which is made by Chessbase.
This is the latest example of cheating, or apparent cheating, that has cropped up in recent years. Last year, two players were suspected of cheating at the World Open in Philadelphia. One was expelled from the tournament, the other was thoroughly searched before his remaining games and could not repeat his performances from earlier rounds.
In India, a player who had a string of remarkable performances over many tournaments, and who always wore a cap during games, was given a 10-year ban from competition after a bluetooth device was finally found in the cap. An article about this incident and other rumors of cheating can be found here.
Cheating is, unfortunately, not a new problem in chess. For example, for years Bobby Fischer accused Soviet players of colluding during the candidates tournaments to insure that one of them would become the challenger for the title. Subsequent information that came out after the fall of the Soviet Union seemed to support his contentions. It was only after the World Chess Federation went to a system of matches, where collusion was no longer possible, that Fischer managed to break through and win the title.
Using electronic aides (correction, aids) is of a whole different nature, but given how powerful, and small, computers have become, it could potentially be a real problem. What, other than being more vigilent (correction, vigilant), can be done?
Asian chess is on the top of the world at the moment, but the future looks even brighter, according to the president of the Asian Chess Federation (ACF) Shaikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Shakhboot Al Nahyan.
“The ACF is proud with seven world titles and the highest men’s ranking now,” Shaikh Sultan said.
“We have the men’s World Championship and the highest men’s ranking – Indian GM Viswanathan Anand – and the women’s World Championship winner Xu Yuhua of China.
“It is only a few years ago when Europe, especially the former USSR, dominated the game on all levels. Now India has become the capital of chess as they can boast of no less than six world titles.
“I am delighted to disclose the European Chess Federation has asked for friendly matches in order to benefit from the Asian players. It is a major turn and a proof of the improvement of the game.
“It is remarkable how the All Indian Chess Federation have worked and improved the game. We, in the ACF, are proud of the Indian achievements and will use these capabilities to improve the game in the continent by friendly matches, seminars for coaches and training sessions in our quest to close the gap between advanced teams and the weaker teams.
“Also the game has improved greatly in Iran, Vietnam, China and Qatar and our plan is to use these countries in helping their neighbours to improve the game. Success brings more success and the achievements of the Indian chess players, especially Anand, have boosted the game in India. I expect more Indian champions in the future.
“We, in ACF, know that financial capabilities might hinder the progress of the game in many Asian countries, but we are working on a new marketing strategies bearing in mind that the main sport sponsors in the world are from Asia.
“We are also introducing new continental competitions like the universities’ championship and we hope to serve the game well.”
Regarding the fact UAE chess players are not taking part in the Asian Indoor Games (AIG), Shaikh Sultan explained: “The decision not to take part was the responsibility of the UAE National Olympic Committee and the UAE Chess Federation.
“It is my belief if the UAE players do not take part in international tournaments, lose matches against better players and benefit from them, they will never improve and our game will not achieve any victories.”
In 2005, after experiencing years of a growing police state and outright terrorism, a political group with the name “Other Russia” was formed by those who opposed Vladimir Putin and his regime. Three candidates put forward by the Other Russia group have just been barred from taking part in December’s parliamentary polls. Because the group is not registered as a political party, the election commission made a move to block the only opposition to the present Kremlin regime. They did this by instituting election ballot criteria that are virtually impossible to meet.
The main presidential candidate offered is none other than Garry Kasparov, the highly charismatic, energetic, often flamboyant (and a bit of a revolutionary) famous Russian chess master. He has chosen to be the leader of the opposition to the Kremlin’s ruling party. He knows open elections are not likely, but he believes the soul of a nation is at stake. He is willing to risk his wealth, security, and even his life in the struggle to rid his country of a fearful master — what he calls the KGB Corporation run by Putin.
Kasparov doesn’t believe that today’s Russia is a democracy at all, but a “police state.” While he has been able to organize street protests, he has also been detained, investigated, and is now under constant surveillance. Still, he refuses to be silent. Strategy sessions are held around his kitchen table with government dissidents in attendance, all labeled extremists by the government. Asked if he thinks he’s still protected somewhat by his fame and the fact he’s still considered a national hero, Kasparov answered: “It does help to a certain degree. But it is not an ultimate protection. No one is safe in Putin’s Russia.” He is well aware of the murder of over a dozen journalists in his country and doesn’t make a move without protection from two or more bodyguards.
When Kasparov is in Russia, he retains a security contingent that costs him tens of thousands of dollars a month. His wife, Daria Tarasova, and their baby often stay in an apartment in New Jersey. Oleg Kalugin, a former KGB general who was Putin’s superior in St. Petersburg twenty years ago and now lives in Maryland, is quoted as saying:
You can expect anything with this regime, and Kasparov has been very vocal and very personal in his criticism of Putin. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about something terrible happening to him. And where will the evidence be? Remember that Trotsky’s assassin, Señor Ramon Mercader, was sent to get him in Mexico by the KGB and was secretly made a hero of the Soviet Union. No one knew the truth for decades.
When asked if he feared for his life, Kasparov said:
I do. The only thing I can try to do is reduce my risk. I can’t avoid the risk altogether. They watch everything I do in Moscow, or when I travel to places like Murmansk or Voronezh or Vladimir. I don’t eat or drink at places I’m not familiar with. I avoid flying with Aeroflot [the Russian national airline]. It doesn’t help in the end if they really decide to go after you. But, if they did, it would be really messy. And not just because of the bodyguards. There would be a huge risk for the Kremlin if anything happens to me, God forbid, because the blood would be on Putin’s hands. It’s not that they have an allergy to blood, but it creates a bad image, or makes it worse than it already is.
In September, CBS’ 60 Minutes program traveled to St. Petersburg to film Kasparov. More than 1,000 turned out to voice their displeasure with their government at a rally, but there was also a strong police presence. Kasparov noted, “I can see that people respond,” to the American media coverage of the event, “and they are overcoming their fear. That’s how we can win.” The event was ignored by the Russian media, which Kasparov says is totally and completely controlled.
Kasparov knows that he has controlled opposition in the Young Guard. The Young Guard is the youth branch of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. Putin’s Kremlin orchestrated the creation of a series of youth organizations modelled on the Soviet-era Komsomol. The largest of them, with ten thousand active members and capable of delivering a hundred thousand bodies to any event, is called Nashi, or Ours. Nashi, like the Komsomol, organizes volunteers for staged demonstrations. They are dedicated activists whose specialty is to harass the opposition. One of the questions on Nashi’s entrance exam for its summer camp was to describe Garry Kasparov. The “correct” answer was that he is an American citizen who has taken an oath of loyalty to undermine Russia in the name of the U.S. State Department. “Nashi was created, first and foremost, for disturbing our activities,” Kasparov said.
Unfortunately, Kasparov is cozying up to the “neo-conservatives” (neo-cons) in the states. He recently gave several speeches stateside, one to the Hudson Institute, a neocon think tank, with Norman Podhoretz in attendance. He also received an award from the Center for Security Policy, another neocon think tank. The award, which is given to “individuals for devoting their public careers to the defense of the United States and American values around the world,” was previously presented to neocons Newt Gingrich, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld.
Still, one admires the enormous fortitude Kasparov exhibits against incredible odds and outright peril. “Look, it’s my country,” Kasparov says. “I believe that I have to try to change it for [the] better. And it’s following the motto of the Soviet dissidents that I learned [in] my childhood: ‘Do what you must and so be it.’ And I do what I must.”
India asserted its supremacy in chess by fetching the first gold medal for the country in mixed rapid team event at the second Asian Indoor Games in Macau.
India team comprising Grandmasters K Sasikiran, Surya Sekhar Ganguly, Koneru Humpy and Woman Grandmaster D Harika topped the table with 12 points from six rounds.
Indians defeated Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, China, Kazakhstan and Indonesia in the six rounds in that order.
Sasikiran and Harika have qualified for the individual Rapid event.
Indians also had a good day in hockey as the team thrashed Hongkong by 6-0 in their second match of the event.
Diwakar and Hardeep Singh score a brace apiece while Kulwinder and Dinesh Mujtaba also sounded the boards once each in the preliminary six-a-side match.
Bulgarian national chess team achieved convincing victory 3,5:0,5 against the team of Montenegro, chessdom.bg informed. Ivan Cheparinov gained the first point for Bulgaria at second chessboard against Milan Dashko. Veselin Topalov scored the second point after long equal game against Nikola Djukic. Delchev also win the game session against Dragan Kosic. The longest game session was between Kiril Georgiev and Dragish Blagojevic where Bulgarian chess player gained half more point. After this victory Bulgaria has 4 game points and is among the first places in the list.
Russian schools would possibly obtain new discipline to teach their pupils, say Russian officials. New subject will acquaint children with the skill of playing chess.
This subject is already being taught in regional primary and secondary educational institutions. For instance, schools of Kalmykia have introduced the discipline of “playing chess” ten years ago and now report about good progress of pupils in several subjects which is due to chess developing logical thinking of those, who play this old game.
From learning chess to learning from chess, World champion Viswanathan Anand has come a long way. All along this fascinating journey, Anand has overcome challenges, stayed away from controversies, and charted his course to success by staying focussed on the job on hand.
Having regained the World title and reinforced his position at the top of the world rankings, Anand is now on a “vacation” in India. Now, the game’s finest ambassador has some time to acknowledge what chess has given him and also see how it can be promoted as a spectator sport in the country.
Anand also shared his views with Sportstar on next year’s World Championship match against challenger Vladimir Kramik of Russia; the complex rules, his preferred championship format, the possible return of the team of “seconds” and more. This “pretty practical” practitioner of the cerebral sport has lots to say.
On the influence of chess on his life: Chess has had a huge influence on how I’ve turned out as someone, who has travelled to a lot of countries. I like visiting countries and I think, at least, I retain little pieces of the many countries that I’ve been to. That experience wouldn’t have come to me without chess. Probably, there are a lot of lessons I’ve learnt from chess. Like, if you want something, you have to work hard and so on. The easiest analogy you can draw is from my chess experience. Probably, the reverse is also true but in this direction, it is much more. And a lot of my friends, perhaps a majority, have something to do with chess because of the nature of the sport. I’ve discovered some nice countries and made lots of friends which I would never have otherwise done. Chess has clearly opened a lot of doors for me.
Whether chess can be a spectator sport: It definitely can be a spectator sport. If you have seen chess online, then you see that it has all the ingredients to be a spectator sport. In fact, it is in a certain sense. The question is how we can translate that to say, television or something. The first thing is, we have to organise a classy, nice event here (in India). You need commentary. More than even time control, I’d say that commentary is more important. If we can have a short time control, then just highlight the main moments, what’s happening. I mean, I’ve seen spectators blown away by chess. It’s no longer that I am worried that chess can’t be a spectator sport, but we also have to break the perception at some point that chess can’t be a spectator sport because a lot of people say that ‘there is no point, I can’t watch chess’. So we have to get past that. I think, once you have one successful event and a few people can see what’s going on, then you’ll have something to build on. But in many places, they do pretty good events. I mean, at Wijk aan Zee or Linares, you have a lot of spectators. But I think commentary is the main thing that you have got to do.
On India holding a mega chess event: Basically, the Federation that will probably organise the event will need to get a big sponsor and just have a top tournament. I don’t know what’s the profile of the players that you need. But have an event with players with interesting styles and just try and promote it well. But you have to make all the arrangements — live broadcast, room for the spectators, etc. You really have to do a good event, especially the first time. You are not only showing chess as a sport but also fighting the perception that it can never be a spectator sport. Definitely, in India, the time is ripe now. You have all the ingredients around so I hope that someone can pull it off.
Whether the growing economy will impact sports in the country: Generally, a stronger economy means every one will have more resources. But thereon, I don’t see any correlation. I mean, you have extremely rich countries which don’t do well in some sports but do exceptionally well in others and the profile is different. It also depends on what people are interested in and so on. But all other things being equal, you would clearly prefer to be born in a country with more resources. That’s clear.
On the 2008 World Championship match against challenger Kramnik: Okay, at some point, I’ll have to defend my title. And now I’ll take a look at what my obligations are and see what my options are. I don’t want to comment more on that till we’ve actually done the negotiations. I am not taking it beyond that. This clause (of dethroned champion Kramnik getting a one-time right to challenge Anand) is ridiculous and I hope that it never comes back in the future. But we’ll deal with that. You’ve been in chess long enough to know that anything can happen any time. So hold your breath.
On the complex rules of the World Championship: I read something that was funny. They were talking about the tax code in the US and said, “It should look like something actually designed by humans, instead of this sort of complex thing it has become.” It will be nice in the World Championship at some point if it looked like something good. Somebody had started out a design and hadn’t changed it too much along the way. Right now, it looks like it is put together by a Committee. That makes no sense for the sport. I mean, if you are trying to attract people from outside the sport, or at least to take a casual interest in it, you need something they can understand easily. And we are making it so complex.
The choice of the World Championship format: I think you should accept whatever comes and play in it. Okay, I personally like the match format. It’s a much better format.
The preferred duration of the title match: I don’t know. I have not given that a lot of thought. I mean, I played Kasparov, actually, a 20-game match. If I had to say, which format is the best (for World Championship), then I think, what we had in Mexico (2007) and San Luis (2005) are the best. (In these championships, eight qualified players played on a double round-robin format). First of all, it’s attractive to have four games (involving all eight players) a day. If you have one game and that fizzles out, spectators have to come back two days later. Not a dream format, in my opinion.
Whether the team of “seconds” would be back for the World Championship: I already do a lot of work informally. I’ve grown from this phase of carrying three or four people for a match. Clearly, you need one permanent guy. Peter Heine Nielsen (a Danish Grandmaster) is clearly important in that sense. I’ve worked with a lot of people in the past few years. Specifically in India this time, I hope to do a lot of work. In May, I worked with Sasikiran for three days, then Sandipan (Chanda) came for about 10 days. Then I liked the idea so much that I asked Saravanan, Konguvel, Ashwath, Deepan and M. R. Venkatesh and so on to join me for a day. Every time someone comes along, you work a bit and I think the main thing is to build a pool of ideas and to work spontaneously. I cannot work like I did in 1995 (ahead of the World Championship final match against Garry Kasparov). In 1995, we worked for about a month and a half for the match. Nowadays I find that I like to work in different sessions. Like to work for 10 days, break for a week, work for a while, informal collaborations continuing all the time on emails. The nature of working has changed. I don’t know. Maybe next year (for the World Championship match against Kramnik), I’ll take a team of four. Maybe I won’t. But I am already working with a lot of people beyond Peter. But Peter is the sort of core.
The goals ahead: Actually, this is one of the trickiest questions to answer today. Before Mexico (venue of the World Championship), I was very motivated to play there. But at the same time, this implies that you sort of need a desire to play chess in the first place. That’s not the case for me. I mean, every January, I think, I should be in Wijk aan Zee, unless I am very tired or have some reason for not being there, or at Linares in February. I don’t need an extra motivation or to find a reason. In fact, may be, I am doing it subconsciously but I am perfectly happy to turn up and play a good game of chess. And I don’t seem to need a special motivation. Now that I’ve crossed 2800 (in world rating), I would like to park myself there. 2810 is nice, 2815 is even better, but I have not put it into any concrete goals yet.
Clearly, I would like to retain both the world title and the world number one rank as long as possible. At least, with the World Championship, it’s a more specific goal. (As for retaining) the world number one spot, you have to just play sensibly in every tournament.
But the worst part… well, I just think, I’ll get to Wijk aan Zee, (Veselin) Topalov will be there. If I am black, I’ll do this. If I am white, I’ll do that. In fact, I’m looking forward to getting there (in January 2008), meeting all my friends. The chess scene is good enough for me. Let’s put it that way.
What he would suggest to aspiring sportspersons: I would basically tell them to do something that they like. If you are doing something because it’s glamorous, or because it’s fun or you think that’s what you should be doing…, to me you have to do what you like and that’s what work is all about. Of course, many other sports can improve their situation. There is no doubt about that. There will also be these unfortunate situations for many people where they first give up the sport they really like because circumstances aren’t working. That’s the part and parcel of being a sportsman. If you are not doing something you like then that, for me, is crazy.
On being intimidated by anything in sport or life: I don’t have many things. In general, I am pretty practical. Like the World Championship, the format and all this. The concessions to Kramnik and Topalov. It bugs me but at some point, I am practical also. I realise that, okay, either I have to play or I have to be bugged. It is difficult to do both.