August 05, 2011 3:06

Alexander Morozevich: 'I think I must be boring'

Alexander Morozevich: 'I think I must be boring'Alexander Morozevich. Not too long ago he was the world's number two player, but the last two years he almost disappeared from the chess radar. Then, out of nothing he participated in the Higher League of the Russian Championship, and won it. After another excellent result in Biel, the grandmaster from Moscow, Russia sat down with us for a video interview.

In the video interview below, conducted on Friday, July 29th in Biel, Switzerland Alexander Morozevich first talks about the Higher League of the Russian Championship. He won this strong tournament with 8/11, half a point more than Artyom Timofeev and Alexander Galkin. Together with them, Morozevich qualified for the Russian Championship Superfinal, which will start in a few days from now. Talking about Biel, it becomes clear that Morozevich mostly feels like a sportsman, but also like an artist to some extent. "In general I think that it's good that we're playing on stage, that people are coming and watching. It's quite nice actually, here." Asked about the importance of creative play, Morozevich reacted vehemently: "I think I must be boring, because I was trying to find my name in some books. Recently I read a book by John Nunn, like '125 best chess games ever', and I was desparately looking for a single game of mine but OK, of course none of them. And I was looking at some other anthology of the best chess games ever played and I was desparately looking for some games of mine, but none of the books." Morozevich agreed that he gets enough recognition from the chess fans, but "professionas find my play extremely boring."

Alexander Morozevich: 'I think I must be boring'

Alexander Morozevich in Biel during a post-mortem

Naturally we asked the big question: why did he play so few tournaments? Morozevich: "I think it's quite easy. 2009 was already tough year. In Wijk aan Zee I played extremely poorly and then in Biel and Zürich I played extremely uneven. Then I showed some results in the European Championship for Russia when I took the gold medal on board 2. But then, since that bright moment, something wrong happened to my, I started to play really badly. Tal Memorial plus Khanty-Mansiysk plus Bursa was really too much. Not only because I was losing all these games, but also the way I was losing these games. So that's why I decided to make a break and just to see how it goes. This break was probably too long but OK, my next tournament was half a year later in July in Pamplona, but I was still playing like a total idiot there. After that of course I was forced to deny some invitations, for example the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, because with such a level I can't play for the national team." From October last year until April this year, Morozevich worked in Qatar, as a coach for GM Zhu Chen. She is a former Women's World Champion and married to Qatar's number one grandmaster Mohamad Al-Modiahki. In between this coaching period, Morozevich played the tournament in Reggio Emilia, but again with a disappointing result. About training Zhu Chen, he said: "The most interesting thing is that she's Chinese. She has a totally different understanding of everything. I was learning the way Chinese people are understanding chess." From a long period with few events, Morozevich suddenly finds himself playing in four tournaments in three months. Not only will he participate in the Superfinal, but afterwards he'll also play the Word Cup. "Of course it's a tough schedule, but what can you do?" Here's the full interview:

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


adam's picture

You really wrote the words Ivanchuk & stability in the same post? :D

A Player's picture

Moro would go a lot further if FIDE didn't keep changing rules halfway through events.
A smart guy, and you can tell that he does not tolerate idiots, that's why he often uses sarcasm to test people out.
He seems to be interested in chess still, instead of the politics of chess. This is a good thing.

R.Mutt's picture

Actually, IIRC Crouch uses Morozevich's games from Lloyd's as examples in _every_ chapter of the (very nice) book...

WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for puva therapy
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Septimus's picture

No way Moro! Your play is exciting and entertaining. If your peers think your style is boring, then they are probably smoking crack.

Maco's picture

Don't talk that way about Chucky! Sure he likes to smoke some sweet rocks once in awhile, but it doesn't mean we should forcibly out him.

fen's picture

Great interview - both the questions and the answers. It would be wonderful to have more interviews like this featuring top rated players as well as interviews with players not so well known.

Johnny's picture

The ubiquitous and prolific chess-media producer Dennis Monokroussos opined that Morozevich's games are neglected by published anthologies because they are too strange and incomprehensible.

Johnny's picture

According to Kramnik (an authority on boring chess!), Moro's chess is not boring:

"Morozevich is a bright player; I like how he plays. This is active chess: only forward! Sometimes luck is on his side, sometimes it is not. It is not boring to watch his games." – Vlad Kramnik

Olorin's picture

And I remember Yussupov commenting on Morozevich as well (as I remember it):

Yussupov was passing by and looking briefly at Morozevich's board he thought that Morozevich had to play an only move, but Morozevich was having a deep think nevertheless. That rose curiosity in Yussupov and he decided to take a closer look at the position. He then came to the conclusion that there was a second hidden resource, and that's what Morozevich must been thinking about. Then Morozevich played another move (!) which proved to be equally interesting as the hidden possibility that Yussupov discovered!

Cutting a long story short, that is definitely not boring. Morozevich is too difficult to explain is my guess, that's why every writer is avoiding him.
But on the other hand that means that there can be no better writer for Morozevich's games than himself! Maybe he should give it a thought...? ;)
I know I would buy it!

CAL|Daniel's picture

Your one of my favorites!

Francesco's picture

I think professionals do not publish his games because they do not fully understand them.

bronkenstein's picture

Ah , Moro got depressed because they forgot to mention him in some random anthologies ... cheer up , Moro and just play on =)

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Morozevich mentions his federations helped him to get into world cup. But I thought Morozevich qualified anyhow according to rating ... 20 players from FIDE rating list -- average of 7/2010 and 1/2011

So I am curious what was the help the federation provided ?

Thomas's picture

Morozevich qualified by rating, but only because several players declined the invitation (Anand, Gelfand, Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Nakamura, Topalov, anyone else?) - if three of them did play, Moro would be out. My theory is: When he wasn't on the initial list of qualified players, he asked/requested/lobbied for a wildcard. When he got green light (received the player's contract) he thought that he got a wildcard.

So it may be just in Moro's mind, after all he "lives on another planet". Likewise, "I think I must be boring" or "professionals think I'm boring" seems just his own impression. One former world top player, John Nunn, didn't mention him in his book - but current world top players don't even write such books, and (see other comments) at least Kramnik and Kasparov appreciate and enjoy his play. It's legitimate that Peter Doggers chose this particular headline, at the same time it may well be false alarm.

blueofnoon's picture

Morozevich is an extremely smart guy, but here he does not understand one thing (or pretend to not understand).

Those book authors are making money by analyzing chess games and teaching something to people.

How on earth could they pick up Morozevich's games on their book when they understand nothing of it and have nothing to teach their readers with them either?

I bet we will find at least some of Morozevich's games in books published in 22nd century.

redwhitechess's picture

hey I wonder what that different in Chinese to understand chess .......

rick's picture

I think moro will thought of that when he talk to another gm after long time missing, like the way he play chess.

Arny's picture

When will Moro publish his own best games collection? Then we may have some insight into his genius.

weng siow's picture

El Moro should have a look at IM Dr Colin Crouch's old book on Attacking Technique where an entire chapter is devoted to his triumphant games from the 1994 Llyod's Bank tournament.

onurengin's picture

Great report, thanx!

On the other hand, "professionals does not find my games interesting", or "I could not find any of my games in Nunn's Best 125 Great Games collection" etc. is a kind of sarcasm from Moro, I think.

I think I need to remind another opinion about Moro:

Garry Kasparov, watching the game on the server, said admiringly "Morozevich is playing chess – refreshing and interesting chess. In a time where people are playing fifteen or twenty moves from preparation Morozevich is forcing his opponents to start thinking at move move seven – they can't take that kind of pressure!"*

bhabatosh's picture

Moro you are great !!
It must be a joke if someone thinks that you play boring game.
Too good to see you are back !!!
We wish we can play like you , just attack attack and attack ....
Wish you all the best for your future games ....hope you would be on the luckier side couple of times that will be enough for you win tournaments ......

AK's picture

Morozevich has a good sense of humor.

Chess Fan's picture

Yes, Bozo, I mean Mozo.
You are personally boring with your whining, your always subtle criticism of World Champion Anand (now that sublte criticism is reduced to a whimper), and you keep playing losing chess. You are still regarded highly by people here and elsewhere who probably play personal loyalty above objectivity. - "Mozo WAS brilliant and played a brilliant game in 1994?!"
Stop the self-pity and play to play some good chess. Don't live in your long past little glory. Otherwise, little boy, go away suck on a lollypop.

chandler's picture

And the famous Watson duo SOMCS and Chess Strategy in Action feature Moro's games; not only the opening, but one of middle games as well I think....
CSIA is primarily a game collection, and Moro does feature in it - tell him someone.

Me's picture

I believe the strongest players, the highest elite club, include five players: Anand, Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Ivanchuk.

You can see it by the stability of their level. But since Morozevich is back again, we can see that he is really a player of their level, the sixth one, his skills are really comparable to those five giants: Anand, Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Ivanchuk.

Henk de jager's picture

Peter, you miss a golden opportunity when Morozevich says after his experience with Zu chen, it would probably be the last time he´d train a woman.In general you could be a bit more persistant in your lines of questioning (doorvragen!). Still nice interview and good to see the great Morozevich is back in action.

Alex's picture

GM Morozevich don't let GM Nunn's book influence you on your level of play. I find your chess exciting and creative. If you write your best games collection, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Dominique's picture

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Andrew's picture

Which game goes Moro cite as his an an example of his best? I can't quite make it out...

mark's picture

i head moro was sick for some time in 2009, as in the hospital and all.. he had a contract for a certain tournament in holland but he suddenly cancelled because of 'an illness'. anyone more info/confirmation on this?

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