June 09, 2012 11:33

Boris Gelfand: "Kasparov offered his help, but I said no" | Interview, part 2 of 2

Boris Gelfand: "Kasparov offered his help, but I said no"

One week after the end of the World Championship match in Moscow, challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel speaks out. In the second and last part of this interview, the Israeli tells about the second half of the match, about his favorite player Akiba Rubinstein, about his coaches whom he invited to Moscow, about chess in Israel and... about saying no to Garry Kasparov, who offered to help preparing for the match.

Photos by Alexey Yushenkov & Anastasia Karlovich

Part 2 of 2

Read the first part of this interview here.

Then, you win game 7. Everyone quoted the same statistic: that you didn't beat Vishy since '93. Were you extra relieved because of this?

Not at all. First of all I don't believe in statistics. I think it's very often misleading. It's very nice, but it doesn't have big value. For example, if you look at our games, from the year 2000 Vishy and I only played five or six games. So what does it mean that I didn't win any of these game? He won one game out of this five. What does it mean?

I was very happy that I played a really good game, really in Rubinstein-style, in the style of my favorite player, and it gave me a very good feeling.

Rubinstein is your favorite player?

Yes, sure, definitely.

So it must have also given some pleasure that you were able to play his 4.e3 move against the Nimzo-Indian in a title match.

Yes, indeed, I had it in mind.

That's nice.

But also from the Black side, all Meran is Rubinstein's system, even though it's called Meraner system. Most of the modern openings are based on Rubinstein. Sorry that I divert...

That's no problem! Let's divert just a bit more: do you think that at some point in history, Rubinstein would have had a good chance to become world champion?

It's hard to say. From the chess point of view of course he was much ahead of time. But as a practical player, I'm not sure if he'd be good enough to beat Lasker. Unfortunately we never had a chance to test this. Definitely the match would be extremely interesting, but history didn't let us see this match.

What was it that you won this game 7, I mean, you played a fine game, but it also seemed that Vishy didn't have his day. Especially ...g5 was criticized.

Yes, but there he's already in serious trouble. The problem is that computers always give White's advantage in very moderate terms, while from a practical point of view, White has a long-term plan and Black doesn't. That's why White's advantage is pretty big. Of course, probably it was possible to defend more stubbornly, but White has a serious advantage, much more serious than computers suggest.

Maybe this is something computers still not understand these days: if one side can still find a lot of (useful) moves while the opponent has nothing to play for.

Exactly, and I'm happy because it was actually... I think Lasker said about Rubinstein that in his games, I don't remember exactly, I could be misquoting him, but that from the first move till the last move it's like "one game", and in this 7th game it was the same. The same concept was executed from start to finish.

Based on Black's queen's bishop.

Yes, the b7 bishop was not so good.

And then the next day of course everything changed, again. What happened? How do you look back at this oversight, two weeks after?

It's hard to say. I think I played according to the demands of the position. After the [king's] knight went to c3 I had to play on the kingside. I calculated some deep and beautiful lines, but OK, one line escaped my attention. I calculated some unbelievably complicated lines and they were correct, but... OK, it happens.

At the press conference, Vishy wasn't very happy after his loss but you seemed quite down-to-earth after that blunder. How do you cope so well with such things? Or do you only look cool from the outside?

No, I felt totally confident. The match goes on. It doesn't matter if you have +1 because there are still four games to play. You can lose the next game or something. I took it as I said: each game you should be ready to play your best, and go on like this. So I thought OK, we go on with an equal score, you can miscalculate something.

Do you have such a strong personality? Do you cope with losses like this all the time?

Well, probably. I don't know about personality, but I do think that probably I cope with these things better than most of my rivals. Probably it's my strong point.

Probably I cope with these things better than most of my rivals.

Has it always been like this?

I wouldn't say so, but I learnt it over the years.

An important moment in the match was, I think, your decision to play 19.c5 in that first Nimzo-Indian, game 9...


...do you regret it? I mean, some grandmasters said White's advantage was quite big after 19.a3 or 19.h3...

Yes, White's advantage is big but the problem is that Black is simply waiting, Black has nothing to do, and I didn't see how White can break through. Probably I miscalculated something, I didn't have time to look at it yet. Maybe it was not practical to calculate it till the end. I tried to find a forced win and I found this queen against rook and knight, and I believed that if I'd play on both flanks... I saw that I would get my pawn on a6 and I believed that I would create a second weakness on the kingside and that would be enough. Of course I realized that the risk that he would be able to build a fortress would be big, but still the risk that he would simply wait, if I played 19.a3 and he would play like Kh8, Kg8, that the risk that I wouldn't find a way to break through was also big.

It's difficult, because if you play slowly and you don't win, than people will say that "he could force matters and win, and if you force matters then people say "he should have waited and he'd have good winning chances." This is the kind of positions where you don't have a perfect solution. Whatever you do, you may be making the right decision, or you make a mistake.

Did you, or your seconds, try to win this ending afterwards, in your hotel? Maybe by playing this g4 earlier?

They told me... Yes, I understand that the only try is to play g4 earlier. I considered this, but I didn't see how I would break through there. They told me that they looked at it and that it gave good winning chances, but we decided to go back to it after the match, to be focused for the tasks which were ahead of us.

Then you showed fantastic preparation, in a sideline of the Rossolimo. Was this an example of how hard you worked on your openings?

Probably. I got this idea to play ...e5, not to follow the main, theoretical couse. It seemed like a good idea and it worked well.

In the last two games it seemed that both of you were even more cautious than before.

No, I don't think I played cautiously. Again, I had the same problem as in game 9. I think after I played Bf4 in the opening, he played Rc8, I do believe that I have a certain advantage, but it's probably not good enough. Probably Ne5 was a bit premature, but it's hard to say.

About game 12, you cannot say we played cautiously, because I got caught in the opening and I think it's maybe the nicest moment of the match, this c5-c4 move. Even some great guys in the commentary room didn't see it.

Yes, it was praised by Vishy too...

It's really a great move. The computers don't even show it. It's beautiful, and such moves make a real difference. If, in a drawn position, you make ten more moves, it would add nothing to chess, if you look at the whole picture. Probably you would get some entertainment for twenty more minutes. But such moves like ...c4 I think would go to each book would be studied all over the world for many years. This move is more important than, let's say, a few more moves in game 4 or Vishy playing a few more moves in game 12.

Such moves make a real difference. If, in a drawn position, you make ten more moves, it would add nothing to chess.

You took some time on it. Did you spot it very quickly, or only after excluding alternatives?

It took a while. I immediately realized that I'm in trouble and that urgent measures are necessary. If White would manage to develop his pieces and castle long, my position would be really dreadful. I first looked at all the possible moves with my queen, but I couldn't make them work. Then suddenly it occurred that I have other ways to disturb White's piece composition.

If you look back, is there anything that you would do differently?

Well... maybe certain technical things, but the attitude, the opening choice... they would be the same.

What technical things?

Maybe I would analyze some lines deeper and pay less attention to others. And maybe in my preparation I would change time management. I would spend one more week on this, and ignore something else. Certain openings I analyzed for three weeks, and about certain openings I thought: OK, it's very unlikely to happen so I'll ignore those. But I probably spent too much time on things which were unlikely to happen, but I wanted to be on the safe side.

Vishy said that you always greeted each other warmly backstage before the game. In general the match will probably go down into history as the one between good friends. To what extent this influence the games? Is it easier or more difficult to play against someone you don't like very much?

For me I think it influenced in a positive way. Different people have different opinions, but I think a World Championship match is also a cultural event and we should set an example for children who watch it, for the public who watches it. This is a different thing: people who love chess want to see the best possible games, while people who want to see a show would prefer to see scandals, low-level accusations, et cetera. We should see to whom we apply. Do we apply to public whom we respect, to children whom we want to learn chess, or do we want to apply to the same public who want to see the same show as they watch on TV every day?

I think a World Championship match is also a cultural event and we should set an example for children who watch it.

Could we say that you see chess more like a play in a theater than as a sport?

I think it's part of it, it's not only sport. With chess you also set a good example for the society. You see so many people trying to promote chess in schools nowadays. The agenda is that chess is good, chess is teaching important things. We should do something so that his will become true, that these are not words to the outside, but we should believe in it. We should set a good example instead of cheap scandals. The fact that in a World Championship match the players treat each other with dignity and respect, I think it gives a lot to chess.

You have stated several times that you hope that chess will become a bigger sport in Israel. Are there signs already that the popularity and importance are growing?

I do believe so. As I heard, from game 9 the whole country became "chess crazy". It was the first news on TV, they built a projection [of the live coverage - CV] in the prime minister's office, so during the games he was permanently watching what was going on... Basically the whole country has greeted me like I'm the biggest hero of the country, to my surprise. The budget from the government funds for chess is doubled. We have a very low position here, and it's a long way to go, but probably we'll go up.

Are you planning to contribute yourself in some ways in Israel? Maybe something with children, simuls...

I think my name gives a lot. I want to contribute with my results. I could have started with all this a long time ago, but in this case I wouldn't have reached a World Championship match, I wouldn't have played with dignity and chess wouldn't get such a big push. I think my main task is keep on playing well, keep my level and try to go even higher.

You have no less ambition.

No, no. My ambition is to learn day after day. This match taught me a lot of important lessons, the match and the preparation for it. I hope I will benefit from these lessons and my level of the game will get even higher.

At the closing ceremony, Vishy said some very nice words about you, but in your speech you did not mention Vishy. Was this on purpose, or...?

No, it was not on purpose. I have high praise for Vishy and want to thank him for his sportsmanship. You know, the last days after the match were very hectic, and I didn't know I would be called to make a speech. I want to apologize for Vishy if I congratulate him warm enough or didn't praise him enough. I think he was a big fighter and he showed his very best and I'm thankful to him for this match. As usual he behaved with dignity and with big respect and I want to wish him all the best of success in all forthcoming events.

Of course we have to speak about the comments made by Garry Kasparov, because he actually said that Anand was not showing his very best, that he was not playing at the same level as against Kramnik in 2008. What is your reaction to this?

You know, I want to tell you something. In September last year I was approached by people representing Garry, and they suggested that he would help me during the match. They asked my representative if we wanted negotiations or not. This was while I was playing in Rogaska (at the European Club Cup in Rogaska Slatina - CV].

Wow! What exactly did they offer?

That he would be my second during the match, and probably during the preparation. They wanted to have negotiations about the format of his collaboration.

And how did you respond?

I was really shocked. He had just been helping Vishy in the previous match, I knew he was working with Hikaru [Nakamura], so obviously I said no. For me it was unthinkable to receive help from somebody who has access to secrets of my colleagues.

In September last year I was approached by people representing Garry, and they suggested that he would help me during the match. (...) I was really shocked. (...) For me it was unthinkable to receive help from somebody who has access to secrets of my colleagues.

You would never have the guarantee that certain information might become accessible to others...

No, not only this, it's my personal point of view. I think it's unthinkable. Only two years have passed when you helped one player, and now you help against him. I would feel very bad' it's against my convictions to use this.

And you think this is why Kasparov made these comments?

From the moment I said no, only negative thing were said by him about the match, about me, about Vishy... I couldn't think that such a great player would take such a revenge, but nobody has managed to provide me with a better explanation so far.

During the match I asked my seconds to brief me about what was written in the media, and there were only negative things. Like now, it was also said that under any other system I wouldn't have qualified. You know, it's like Winnie-the-Pooh, wrong bees are producing wrong honey. OK, under Garry's system I couldn't qualify but he was picking up the challengers. But I think I proved enough, in a tournament like Mexico, in short matches, long matches, I can do well in any format. I think I proved this throughout my career, and I don't need any other proof. I don't think Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Spassky, Petrosian would ever think of such an attack at their colleagues.

I don't think Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Spassky, Petrosian would ever think of such an attack at their colleagues.

Vishy's response was that Kasparov should return to chess. Do you agree?

I would be very happy.


Yes. He's a great player, probably the greatest in history, so I think he does much better playing chess rather than being outside chess. I think he would please the chess world with his games much more than with his comments.

Do you think he could still compete among the very best players?

I don't know. It's hard to speculate, but I think he should give it a try. The chess public would appreciate it a lot.

It was wonderful to see that you brought your four coaches to Moscow: Tamara Golovey & Leonid Bondar, Eduard Zelkind, and Albert Kapengut. Please briefly describe what they meant for your chess development.

Sure, it's my pleasure because they did a lot and they're part of my success. I was very happy when they accepted my invitation and came to Moscow to see the match and to cheer for me. Eduard Zelkind was my first coach. I started to work with him when I was six and we worked until I was 11, when he moved to the United States.

So he was the one who taught you that rook ending?

Yeah, exactly! He taught me the rook endings. I still have notes with the rook endings. So it's kind of a disappointment for me that I didn't win this totally winning rook ending in game 3 but it has nothing to do with chess knowledge.

Tamara took over when he moved to the States, and she accompanied me to many events, in Soviet Union Championships, and she gave me some valuable lessons, like before each game you should not only try to remember what you'll play, but you should also move the moves at a chess board because then you'll remember them well. I still do this.

Leonid Bondar is her husband and he was my teacher at the Chess University, the same as where Andrei Filatov was studying, and Ilya Smirin, and Zsuzsa Polgar... He had a lot of prominent students. His passion for chess is incomparable. There we talked about cities, and he told me that Geneva is the best city in the world because in the city parks they have big chess sets! I learnt a lot from his passion and his love for chess.

And of course Albert Kapengut was my trainer for many, many years, till 1993. With his help I won the first Interzonal; I worked the whole first Candidates cycle with him. He taught me a lot of things. Most importantly, he taught me how to deal with information and the importance of information, and how chess players should work on chess. This is the most important thing, I think. You can have the best trainers, the best computers, but if you don't know how to work, if you don't have passion for it, nothing else can help you. These are the most important lessons I got from them. And of course all of them taught me that you should win with dignity and lose with dignity.

So... what's next? You'll probably take some rest now, and then... the Olympiad?

Actually I would be happy to play. I have so many ideas and I did so much work, so I'm rushing to put it into practice and to see what I learnt. But for the moment I don't have many invitations, so maybe the Olympiad will be the next tournament.

Actually I would be happy to play. I have so many ideas and I did so much work, so I'm rushing to put it into practice and to see what I learnt.

Of course there is only one question I can finish this interview with. How do you rate Holland's chances in the European Championship?

I really hope they do well. Holland is normally not doing so well the World Cup, but the European is our territory! I believe in, and I hope for a big success. The attack is fantastic, so if the balance can be found between defence and attack, all the chances are there. Of course the group is difficult [Netherlands faces Denmark, Germany and Portugal - CV] but as long as we get through the group, it should be easier. Of course I will root for Holland and watch each match.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Jan's picture

A great interview with a true gentleman whose many beautiful games have always inspired me. Thank you!

Another Jan's picture

Indeed, a great interview with a wonderful player and person, who always follows the highest professional and ethical standards.
On the other hand, it is pathetic to see how Kasparov takes every chance to become world champion again, if only indirectly by helping other players. He should better return to chess and play for himself.

Chessand Anand  Fan's picture

I agree. This GREAT player is also a GENTLEMAN.
A fine role model for everyone and for Chess, just like the World Champion. A class act.
I will continue to have the highest respect for this great player and continue to wish him the very best in Chess and everything.
Yes, I am a Chess and Anand's fan.

Chess Fan's picture

Thank you for the interview.
Every question was very interesting and almost joint-World Champion (saying this with respect) Boris Gelfand's answers were very informing. I like his talking about his thought process in various positions and moves.
Thank you Chess Vibes. This is kind of the thing that I come here and to Chess every day,

rjrajat's picture

Kasparov is lowering his own level by commenting against the world champion and the right challenger. in his days he was lucky to play only karpov whom he could beat but to me he doesnt even figure in the top 10 chess players of all time.. whereas Anand, Kramnik do figure in that list

Xeno's picture

He was lucky to play only Karpov, yeah, right

abhishek's picture

So the cat s out of the bag......Gelfand the gentlemen refused Kasparov s help.....that made Kaspy crazy and he started critisizing the match...Gelfand ...Anand.......and so on......I also tend to like the response...kaspy if you re still good enough why don t you come back and show us what you got that give cheap comments...:)

Chris's picture

GK helped Anand, now wanted to help vs Anand, next would offer help vs Gelfand.
Right decision by Gelfand.
Dangerous friend GK.

Chris's picture

GK helped Anand, now wanted to help vs Anand, next would offer help vs Gelfand.
Right decision by Gelfand.
Dangerous friend GK.

Eiae's picture

Hmm, patience is a really nice synonym for passion when talking about chess, good one! ;)

I loved following the match. I would have loved it even more if it had been random chess, though. All this opening prep with teams and computers is ruining 1/3 of every single game for the spectators.

Peter Doggers's picture

Oops. :-)

Chess Fan's picture

Very cute Mr. Peter Doggers. Very human.
I like the fact that the person who manages this site reads the comments and personally comments when appropriate. Love this site.

Anonymous's picture

I agree...But perhaps chess should add a few new starting positions rather than go directly to full blown random chess...My impression is that the vast majority of chess players like studying openning positions as a way of getting a competitive advantage....BTW, Kasparov has agreed that this is the future of professional chess in a recent interview.

Eiae's picture

Now my comment looks really stupid! :)

That's OK, though. Just forgot to say that this was a really nice interview with some good questions, well done.

Anthony Migchels's picture

Lol, poor Kasparov, he must be kicking himself for quitting, and he doesn't know how to get back in honorable, without everybody poking fun at him.

Gelfand must have had difficulty holding this back until after the match.

Great interview, I'm happy Vishy pulled through but clearly Gelfand gave him a very hard time at it.

Hopefully the candidates matches will be organized in such a way that in the future the very strongest prevail again.

bondegnasker's picture

"OK, under Garry's system I couldn't qualify but he was picking up the challengers" - great stuff! A simple and precise refutation of Kasparov's unsound attack :-)

Chess Fan's picture

Very good point.
GM Gelfand kept it simple and effective against Garry Kasparov's unfair attack.
I think Garry Kasparov should go back to fighting Putin and "democratizing Russia" if he does not have the stuff to play top level chess and become the World Champion. His envy and interference is becoming unbearably annoying to me as a life long Chess Fan.

chesshire cat's picture

Not a drop of bitterness, excuses, anger, looking for people to blame. Some ex World Champs could take note!

MH's picture

Guys, come on. Kasparov is the greatest. And he will do anything (allowed) to win his games, He is a true fighting chess ambassador.

Kasparov's critisism at the match, was caused by boring games, not by the refusal of Boris to work with him.

I loved Anand's Na5 by the way in the 2nd tie break. He prepared this very well, moving Gelfand into unknown territory, getting enormous development advantage. It was great to see that from such a standard opening, he was able to pull that off.

RealityCheck's picture

Kasparov shd go crawl under a rock. Now. Stay there forever.

Chris's picture


Anonymous's picture

Professional chess has never recovered from the retirement of GK, the games greatest player/competitor.

Chess Fan's picture

Why don't you be in the eighties (in the 90s, he would have lost to Anand if only chess was played, fairly), and celebrate Kasparov. We are in the present and celebrate the great players of now. If Kasparov talks real chess I would also be one of the first to listen. But his negative attitude and tactics makes me puke. Let me go and dare fight against Putin if he wants to and leave sanctity of Chess alone.

Chess Fan's picture

Kasparov WAS ONE of the greatest.
I consider Bobby Fischer the greatest, like Anand does.
Kasparov can contribute positively to chess if he wants - not involve in such negative wall street like tactics. As a life long chess fan, it bothers me.

Thomas's picture

Lasker about Rubinstein (assuming that Gelfand quotes him correctly): "from the first move till the last move it's like "one game" "

Kramnik (in the preface to Gelfand's 'My most memorable games') about Gelfand: "What impresses me most is his ability to create games, where all the moves, from the first to the last, are as though links in a single logical chain. This inexorable consistency in the realisation of his strategic conceptions is, in my view, the main trait of Boris Gelfand the chess player."

Gelfand about Rubinstein: "He's my favorite player"

All fits nicely together ...

mishanp's picture

Gelfand's extremely consistent in his approach both over the chessboard and in his interviews, e.g. he previously wrote about Rubinstein: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/05/gelfand-at-crestbook-part-i/

"I’ve tried to learn from all players but, no doubt, I was most impressed by Yury Razuvaev and Valery Myrachvery’s “Akiba Rubinstein”. I read it again and again in my childhood. And even today when I meet Yury or we talk on the telephone we often return to that book, to Akiba’s games. The striving to play deeply in the opening, and the so-called “long plan”, that is when a game’s played from the beginning to the end in one key… That’s what I like in chess, and it comes from Akiba."

The same also goes for e.g. really thinking about each move even in rapid and blitz (something he said he got from training sessions with Tigran Petrosian). There are drawbacks to those approaches - you might miss "accidental" tactics, or be unable to convert won positions due to a lack of time - but on the other hand it got him to a World Championship match, won him a game in that match and gave him winning positions in most of the tiebreak games.

Martin's picture

Wonderful interview, thanks!

AK's picture

Kasparov is the greatest player ever . But he has one of the most difficult characters among players. And I'm being very polite.

And indeed... those who complain that Gelfand qualified don't remember the 90s. That was a true dark era of World Championships chess, which was reigned by the mighty emperor Kasparov. Emperor who called all the shots and had all the privileges one could have.

RealityCheck's picture

@AK Wrong word!! TYRANT. DICTATOR. The only word; that word crude DICTATOR best describes Garry Kasparovs' rule during the 90's. Let us not confuse matters.

RealityCheck's picture

shd be crude DICTATORSHIP...

Anonymous's picture

Yes, GK was the dominant player in the 1990's, a true chess genius.....at that time his "arrogant" personality was part of his appeal to the larger public (sort of like Fischer, a real nutcase).

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Fischer was no nutcase, but idiosyncratic... and bitter. He knew exactly what he was saying and while his views may be repugnant to many, they don't make him a nutcase. They are a number of very high-profiled and respected people who hold similar views on American foreign policy. However, Fischer used gruff and profane language and he lacked depth... he was unschooled in foreign policy.

As far as chess, Fischer made stringent demands, but was said to be a perfect gentleman at the board. He didn't take moves back during games, scowl, play with his watch during games, constantly leave the room, come late to games, etc. He certainly was not arrogant in the way of Kasparov. Fischer turned down hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise products and gave his money to causes that he believed in (whether we agree or not). Yes... he did offer "knight odds". Not buying the nutcase argument.

Anonymous's picture

OK,...we can disagree, but RF was well known for arriving late to his game....To me the great tragedy is RF quit chess in his prime...and robbed us of innumerable beautiful games and masterpieces.

noyb's picture

Amazing how many people pass judgement on Garry Kimovich based on others stories and without any personal knowledge themselves...

Thomas's picture

If we could only comment on (former or current) world top players whom we know personally, there would be little to write and/or few people participating in discussions. But we can still comment on the impression they leave on the public, i.e. what they say and write in interviews, press conferences, on twitter etc. . That's how we know them ... .
And Gelfand himself has every right to comment and to reveal what might have been Garry's motivation.

cmling's picture

It is, I think, entirely legitimate to judge a person by the statements he makes.

RealityCheck's picture

@noyb I first met Garry in Baden Baden. Remember... his pretty wife, his first wife-- the blonde, was waiting for him in the wings. Stage left. I cut the small talk short. Didn't want to keep her waiting nor hold him up too long. Always on the move.
He'd just won himself a nice 7(?) or 5 series BMW for beating the German national team: Huebner. Hort. Somehow I vaguely remember Lebron being one of his victims....

You'd be surprised how many people pass judgement on Garry Kimovich based on there personal experience with him.....

Good Day,

PircAlert's picture

Shocking revelation! Topalov warned Anand last time after their match was concluded.

Just imagine for a moment Anand's seconds working in secret with Kasparov during his 95 match and a bit a later on?? That is why you don't judge a player's greatness simply by his victories obtained through pure opening advantage. Role of human seconds diminished and computers started to take up that role, Kasparov disappeared fromt eh scene! Kasparov is no way equal to Anand!

Ashish's picture

Wow. Gelfand, like Kramnik, is the definition of class. Wonderful interview. Now to get myself one of those books on Rubinstein.

Anonymous's picture

If you're a tournament player, forget Rubenstein...He played at a time when almost every openning was symmetrical...With Black he ALWAYS moved to set up a symmetrical position (1. e4, e5 and 1 d4 d5) If you are an attacking player, study Kasparov and Topalov...if you are a positional player, study Karpov , Carlsen and Kramnik.

sab's picture

'If you're a tournament player, forget Rubenstein'.
Lol! Wonder why Gelfand studied Akiba Rubinstein's games; he's probably not a tournament player according your words.

h8dgeh0g's picture

no, his tournament records aren't particularly impressive.

bronkenstein's picture

I am very pleasantly surprised about the lack of trolling and BOO-ing @ Gandalf on this page.

Boris belongs to that very fine and dedicated breed of chessmen represented by players like Rubinstein and Boleslavsky, with whom he also shares the destiny of being close to the crown...

prasad's picture

It's hard to boo someone who behaved so wonderfully during the match. I support Vishy and am glad he won, but became a Gelfand fan too after that game he blundered his queen. His conduct of the press conference after what must have been a deeply disappointing loss was exemplary. Definitely one of the good guys.

hansie's picture

Holland lost to Denmark!

Purple Calx's picture

Only one thing to say: respect!


Kasparov and Karpov belong to an era when you got ahead by hook or crook. In the 70s and 80s anybody who was creative (including former world champions) in the USSR was deputed to Karpov's team to assist him. Karpov kinda expected everyone from the USSR to help him. After Spassky's failure against Fischer, the USSR government had already chosen Karpov as its blue eyed boy and even arranged a defection of Geller (Spassky's second) to Karpov's camp just prior to their match. Karpov was so used to all the Soviet players helping him, he was even pissed when Gurevich helped Kasparov and later helped Anand in the 1991 match.

Kasparov learnt a lot from Karpov about being demanding. Like a daughter in law who becomes a bad mother in law because of what she faced from her mother in law. So he has no qualms about the ethical issues involved in switching loyalties to a different player. He is so desperate to be relevant in the chess world - he tried to hang on to Carlsen's coat tails, then Nakamura's. He is already concerned with Anand's growing legacy and will do anything to stop Anand from winning. That is why he offered to help Gelfand.

We already know about Kasparov being unethical - the move take back vs. Polgar, going to the hotel room in the middle of a game etc. If you are unethical, you start thinking everyone else is too - remember how Garry criticized the IBM team for years despite the fact that IBM published all the logs clearly showing there was no human intervention.

Fortunately, the next generation of soviet / international players - Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Kramnik, Grischuk, Anand, Svidler etc. have much higher ethical standards.

Great interview with a great "almost" World Champion.
""OK, under Garry's system I couldn't qualify but he was picking up the challengers"
What a line!

Why isnt he getting any super tournament invites?

slonik's picture

Why he doesn't get invited to top events? He's been invited to more top events than any other player around his rating, Linares and Wijk numerous times, for exempel the last times they were played, as well as Tal Memorial last year etc

Thomas's picture

He received top invitations when he was higher-rated or higher-ranked than currently: When he played Linares 2010 (his only invitation there since 1998) he was world #6. When he played Wijk aan Zee in 2002, 2006 and 2008 he was #9 or #11. Only the most recent invitations you mention were "only" because he won the candidates event.

slonik's picture

He did play Linares seven times and was last the last time while for exempel Morozevich was invited once and then finished shared second, he has been invited to Tal Memorial more than once while Radjabov got his first invitation this time, and in Wijk etc he has also gotten his fair share of invitations for someone his fans say doesn't even do his best in tournaments and doesn't care about them etc


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