Reports | June 18, 2012 12:38

Vishy Anand: "Both of us had the right to win this match" | Interview, part 2 of 2

Vishy Anand: "Both of us had the right to win this match" | Interview, part 2 of

After our lengthy interview with challenger Boris Gelfand, obviously we also took the time to speak to Vishy Anand, who was, and still is, the World Champion. In this second part, he speaks about the second half of the match, the tie-break, the opening choices, his controversial draw offer in the last game, the criticism that he and Gelfand played "boring chess", his ambitions and his impression of Andrew Paulson, the man who bought the rights to organize all major FIDE events in the World Championship cycle in the coming years.

Read the first part of this interview here.

Part 2 of 2

The loss in game 7 put me in a position where my white game was suddenly much more important. In game 8 I would at least have to start putting pressure. If I didn't win game 8, there would not be many games left and only two whites. Suddenly the pressure is a lot higher.

But the good thing was that after a very bad night, when I couldn't sleep, the next morning when I went to work, the guys told me that they had made some important breakthroughs in his Grünfeld and that's why I at least had some confidence that I could make a good show that day.

And then he didn't allow you to show your preparation.

Well, that's the point. When I got to the game he in fact played 3...c5 I was actually slightly disappointed. It's not like we neglected 3...c5 completely or something, but we spent more time on the Grünfeld. When he went 3...c5, I thought: o, it's a pity, we don't get to use our stuff. But still, I was happy for any kind of open struggle, because you need to come back. And obviously it went like a dream, what can I say.

If you found something against the Grünfeld, why didn't you return to 1.d4 in later games?

Honestly, I don't know. We considered 1.d4 for many games, but in the mean time the guys had managed to develop some good ideas in the Rossolimo. Besides, we thought they might repair the Benoni structure. The problem is: there are only two games, so it's not like you have that many games to try everything you wanted to try. And we actually started to like the Rossolimo. We found these ideas with e4-e5, and this pawn sacrifice, and things like that. Frankly, we liked them, and that's it. We could have gone back to 1.d4, but it's a bit of a call. You don't know if he moves to his second opening; you don't know what to expect. We thought that against 1.e4 it was more likely that he would stick to the Rossolimo. These things, you don't take such decisions with full information, you're always sort of guessing and this is the decision we took.

You also switched with Black. You played the Nimzo-Indian after you lost the 4th Chebanenko/Semi-Slav. Was this similar to the Grünfeld loss against Topalov two years ago? That there was nothing wrong with the opening, but that it just didn't 'feel right' to continue playing it?

Well, we had prepared a second opening complex and we just thought: why not move there. It's normally a good question how long you should stay in the same area. I think Boris likes this approach more. He didn't like to move, at least during the match. For me, I felt already after three games you start to wonder: should you keep continuing in the same area over and over again, or should you move to the next thing. It's an open question. But game 9 seemed like a good moment to shift.

The other thing is, of course: we hoped to surprise him with what we had prepared in the other complex, but in a way he tried to keep the surprises to a minimum by playing the 4.e3 Nimzo. That's an area that white can control and say 'no, I insist we play this'. If he goes 3.Nf3 there are so many things we could do, and he wouldn't know what to expect. The Nimzo is an easier complex.

But it's also typical of the way Boris in this match kept control of the direction of the openings. With white he was always playing 3.Nc3 and 4.e3, so he tried to minimize any sort of big surprises that I could have prepared.

It's also typical of the way Boris in this match kept control of the direction of the openings.

It was a bit surprising that you only went for the Sveshnikov once. Was this also because you felt he spent so much time on it, and you'd never be able to catch up?

Well, we liked the Rossolimo more, so we went with that. During a match, you evaluate lots of options and we simply liked the Rossolimo more. I liked the nature of the play there, so I went for that.

Was it mainly his opening choice that avoided you from getting into your play, your type of positions, or was it more the way Boris played?

A bit of both. Boris kept some strategy control with his openings but he was also playing well. He spent a lot of time getting to know the structures, and really become an expert in the systems he had chosen. During the match he reacted very alertly and very resourcefully on many occasions. Of course, sometimes it went horribly wrong, like in game 8, but mostly it went well. For example game 12, we were very excited about this pawn sac idea, and still he manages to find ...c4 over the board. That changes the nature. It's not that the ...c4 idea didn't cross our mind but we still didn't expect him to play it just like that, when you're surprised. Boris was very impressive with many of his decisions, I would think.

Did you look at ...c4 in that position during the preparation?

I considered the idea, but we didn't analyze it much. We had a lot of specific things to work on. But Boris sat down for 40 minutes, understood the strategic problems Black was facing and found ...c4 and it was actually pretty impressive.

Boris sat down for 40 minutes, understood the strategic problems Black was facing and found ...c4 and it was actually pretty impressive.

And even in the rapid games he was defending extremely well. In game 2 we hit him with a surprise as well, and again he found a lot of solutions over the board. But he needed time to do that and he ran low on time later.

How did you decide to make this Chebanenko/Semi-Slav your main weapon?

Well, we wanted to bring something new to the table. Of course you can learn a completely new complex that you don't play much, something like the Grünfeld, but I wanted to stick to my Slav/Meran complex but then do something slightly different. That's how we came to ...a6. This seemed ideal for the purpose of surprise. It's not easy to predict and we actually managed to get some depth there.

In game 9, an important moment in the match was, I think, his decision to play 19.c5 in that first Nimzo-Indian. Were you relieved? During the game, how big did you think White's advantage was?

I thought that it was plus minus, simply. The problem was, I couldn't remember exactly what my preparation was in this line and then I started to get a bit confused. At some point I calculated a line with ...Bxf3 and ...e5 which worked, and then I took on f3, and he took on f3 and I realized ...e5, Bf5 is more or less resigns on the spot. Suddenly I realized that you make a ridiculous impression if you take on f3 and then don't follow up with something very specific. I was already feeling pretty embarrassed about all this, and then I saw there was hope with ...Qd6. I think c5 is a mistake because even if he found some way around this fortress, which is very hard to see far ahead, I think still it is a relief for Black to resolve this thing. It's better to just keep the bishops and continue.

How confident were you that it would be a fortress?

Well, it was difficult which fortress to choose from, because there are many fortresses. The fortress I chose held, so that was a bit of a relief. I don't really know if he could have broken through that fortress but at some point it felt vulnerable to me.

Then, also against the Rossolimo he had something, this early ...e5. Was there some kind of desperation when you got back to the hotel? A feeling of 'the guy looked at everything'?

In a sense, yes. It showed just how difficult it would be to get something against him. But between game 10, 12 and 14, the second rapid game, we ourselves were still getting the steam right. In game 12 we went for 5.d3 and then 6.b3 and then in game 14 we went back to 5.b3, so we were trying to get the idea working and I think we had some success in both games. In game 12 we did pose him some problems, even if he solved them. The same with game 14.

Boris was just very well prepared, but also very intelligently. His thing was not to be predictable but almost everywhere find something off the beaten track and to be unpredictable.

Then, Boris explained rather well that although a draw was agreed at an early stage in many games, in fact it was really quite drawish in most of them, more perhaps than people realized. But what about the 12th game. Svidler said he was "mildly surprised", Vladimir was "shocked". So what was it?

The problem was, his last move was a mistake. His rook to d8 is a mistake. Just before that I was thinking that if he plays Bxf3, gxf3 and then Rd8, we could more or less shake hands immediately. I don't think Vlady or Svidler would have disagreed there. But his last move was a bit inaccurate because I can maybe take and go Nd2 some Rc3 and play on. So in a certain sense Vlady is right and I also realized this as soon as I left. I had been waiting for him to play Bxf3 and Rd8 and somehow when he didn't, I didn't change. Of course it was a mistake not to play on for a few moves, not because there's anything in the position, I think Black still has full compensation. I strongly disagree that I had some hope in the position. OK, he has to find a way to at least liquidate the queenside or exchange a pair of pawns and double somewhere there. At least he would have had to show something.

When you left the stage you already regretted your decision?

Vaguely, I suddenly realized that he had not played Bxf3 and I short of jumped the gun and offered a draw. When I got back home the seconds told me that Vlady was very surprised that I had agreed to a draw, but according to them I had nothing.

So I have some mild regret and I can understand some of the criticism. Here you can really say there's no harm in us playing out a few moves. But like I said, I was simply under the influence of Bxf3 and Rd8, when there's nothing to play for.

And what about his clock situation?

Well, I don't think 12 minutes is too little for Boris, I don't think that is a factor at all. But, yes, it was a mistake. It was a wrong reflex as a result of just not adjusting in time. If fans complain that we stopped early, I respect that. I think it was a mistake.

If fans complain that we stopped early, I respect that. I think it was a mistake.

And wasn't it the same in the previous game? Morozevich told me that a3 wasn't the best move to offer a draw with, and that Boris should have played on.

Maybe, though I had seen the idea that I just simply stay passively and he can do nothing. I think Morozevich is right: in practical terms it's no fun to sit passively, but once you see that you have to, I don't see it's such a big deal.

Then, the tie-break. You more or less returned to the 'fast playing Vishy'. Was this a sign of more confidence?

Maybe I was simply getting into the mood. I knew you had to play a bit faster but still I was aware that you shouldn't get into this blitzing mode, which is the most dangerous thing. 25 minutes is closer to a classical chess than to blitz in a mental sense, because 25 minutes is actually 5 blitz games. There is no point in playing fast because someone is down to 5 minutes. If you gave me a winning position in a blitz match, I would take it. So you still have to be careful. Time becomes a big factor only when you're down to your last minute or seconds. So I kept reminding myself I had to be careful, but yes, generally I feel very comfortable in rapid chess, this is no big secret.

25 minutes is closer to a classical chess than to blitz in a mental sense.

And is this the result of all these tournaments in Mainz, that you just know how to adjust to a faster time control better than Boris?

I don't know. Boris gave the impression that he was prepared for every turn of events. So far I had no reason to expect that he would have any difficulty in rapid chess. In Khanty-Mansiysk and Kazan he showed himself to be able to handle all the different time controls, so there was no particular ground for optimism in that. The one thing that I was excited about was the first rapid game. I was very happy to get real winning chances, because it was the first time that I actually got some play with the black pieces in the match. That, I felt, was a very positive sign.

For the rapid, we actually switched back to the proper Meran, not the a6 Meran. It seemed that in rapid I would actually be getting interesting games with black so I was kind of excited about that. So at least I went to the second game with some positive feelings from that.

In that second game you showed good preparation, but Boris got back completely. What was the turning point?

Yes, White is better, he walked into our preparation. White wins a pawn, but his knight is misplaced on a5. Black still has a lot of play. Again I was not able to resolve this stage very easily and Boris actually made some very clever moves. I was very impressed by Bc8 and after that the only move I was really happy with was Re1, because it's tough move to make, hiding behind your king, but it's actually quite useful. After Rh6, Rh1, Rd6 is a very clever move, I hadn't noticed it. But slowly I managed to untangle; I don't think Black was better in any specific line.

And then in the third game you were hanging by a thread. To what extent did you actually see that even this rook ending was lost?

I was extremely surprised by Rh7, because somehow I was hallucinating that I was getting a Vancura. So I found it very funny that you had the same thought, at least from your question to Boris. In fact when I got back to the room, I told the guys. They said: "Nice escape!" and I said "Well, but I'm getting a Vancura," and they said: "No, you're not, you're not getting anything remotely, you're getting a Vancura like three tempi down, forget about it." Only later, when I got back to the hotel, I realized how lucky I'd been. It again strikes me that sometimes, even if you're deluded, it can give you confidence and confidence is the most useful thing in chess. But of course, Gelfand should have almost the same hallucination.

Even if you're deluded, it can give you confidence and confidence is the most useful thing in chess.

He told me he didn't really play Rh7 to avoid a Vancura, but he couldn't really explain why he played it.

It was inexplicable, because Rh7 is about the only move that draws. Even a king move keeps the win. So it seems that White can even afford to lose a tempo but losing two tempi is too much.

I had the feeling I had nailed the draw, and then I got myself confused. First of all, it's just a trivial draw if I play a Kh5 somewhere, it's just a trivial draw. There were just a lot of things wrong. Both of us were hallucinating a lot. But still at the end of it, if you ask me, I would have to say that I was lucky. You can't pretend that there's some logic to all this.

When I finished the tie-break, I felt that I at least had been resourceful, but when I got back home I realized that luck had played a much bigger part than I realized at the board. What can I say? Yes, I was lucky, I can't argue with that.

When I got back home I realized that luck had played a much bigger part than I realized at the board. What can I say? Yes, I was lucky, I can't argue with that.

About game 4, there's no point in saying that Boris was better because I was playing for a draw and these things go badly quite often. Of course if I had lost game 3, my play in game 4 would have been different. So I don't think you can just count the moments that I was worse, I think that's wrong. If I had lost game 3, it would have been a different match, and that's it.

But game 4 was really stupid. It shows that when sitting there, your emotions are much stronger than anything else. I kept on telling myself: don't play for a draw because that's the one thing that is exactly what you're not supposed to do in this situation and still, the desire to simplify was so strong that I went for this really bad simplification and I was worse. Then, at some point when I got in Re6 and Rf6, I thought I would escape and that's what happened. But my play in game 4 was ridiculous, there's no getting around that.

Was this maybe also the reason why you said these nice words about Boris at the closing ceremony? Were you still feeling that it could have gone either way, were you even feeling a bit badly for him?

Yeah, definitely. I understood that I'd been quite fortunate, even though in the rapid match I had played the first two games reasonably well. It had been a very close match. It was very easy to put myself into Boris's situation and I genuinely felt how he would feel, that he had been so close to winning the match... It was anybody's game. Both of us had the right to win this match.

Both of us had the right to win this match.

But also I admired his whole approach to this match. He was very sporting, he was very correct, he behaved impeccably and he played very well. It was genuine, it really came from the heart.

I also asked this to Boris: if you look back, is there anything that you would do differently?

Probably I would do a lot of things differently, but only if Boris promises to stick to his match strategy! Because that's the problem: I would do things differently, and so would he, and we're back into the same guessing game.

After six games, the debate was actually quite strong, e.g. on ChessVibes there were hundreds of comments: either chess was dead, or you guys didn't fight enough, and actually some of your colleagues also said that it was not interesting. Did you pick this up during the match? What would be your contribution to this debate?

I didn't really follow it too much, but even so in the press conferences you started to get this sensation, this frustration, and I could very easily imagine what the public was saying. I could even almost partly understand where it was coming from. But we were trying, we were just not getting very interesting positions because our preparation with Black was quite good. Neither of us was getting very interesting openings to do something with.

I could understand the criticism, but somehow I felt the main thing was to actually focus on the match. I mean, if you start playing for the gallery, it can get quite tricky.

Speaking about the press conferences, I sometimes had the feeling that your answers were rather short. To what extent do you have an obligation to the fans and journalists to actually make something of such a press conference? Or were you just disappointed about some of the questions you were getting?

Well, in my case, you know, right after a game you're so tense that it's very difficult to be very calm. And when you're that warmed up, it's very difficult to answer questions that are translated. This is very difficult for me, because you lose your continuity. If you want to say something, and then after every sentence they stop you, it kind of breaks your rhythm a bit. I think this format of multiple languages is always kind of... I mean, you know that when you see a press conference in just one language it's much more fun than in three, because the back and forth really drives you nuts. This has nothing to do with chess. In anything in life, if something is going back and forth, it's difficult to say something.

I also suspected that perhaps some of my idiomatic expressions might have been mistranslated into Russian. The translator was doing his best, I don't want to blame him, but you never know exactly what they understand. Sometimes you answer a question, then a journalist asks a question and you're not sure if he grasped what you tried to say.

In a sense I agree with Boris: in the first six games we felt there was nothing really to play on for. You could say that we could have played a few more moves to show the public why we agreed a draw, but I also think the commentators could have shown this to the public a little bit.

So, I imagined our style of play, you know, being well prepared and playing lines that are sort of solid in a certain sense, wasn't thrilling the public but once you're in a match and you're following a certain strategy you can't go back and forth.

Gata Kamsky was disappointed that in the match it was "80% preparation and 20% chess" and wants to promote Chess960 more. Do you agree, or are you still enjoying chess the way it is?

[Laughs.] There are arguments for 960; I don't think this is the only one. I'll put it this way: I think also Boris and me, our styles are particularly badly matched. We both tend to play in a certain way and prepare in a certain way which, if we're both well prepared, might not lead to very much. We showed this a little bit here. I tend to prepare my black opening well, he tends to do the same, we tend to defend well, and so on. I mean, with different players... I don't think chess is dead. If you have different styles, maybe things can happen. Probably even more than our styles, our approaches to the match were too similar and then it's difficult to do something.

I don't think chess is dead. If you have different styles, maybe things can happen. Probably even more than our styles, our approaches to the match were too similar and then it's difficult to do something.

But again, during the match you always have this thought: what is your priority? Should you think about these things or should you not? I concluded that it would be irresponsible to start thinking about these things. Let's say that one of us did something a bit irresponsible and lost this match. I don't think this person would even get a lot of credit for unbalancing the match. They would just say: what an idiot, doesn't he know that what he did was wrong?

And now? What are your ambitions?

The first thing is that I would like to do well in my upcoming tournaments. It's not only other people who have been disappointed about my tournament results last year. I'll play some tournaments this year and I understand that autopilot will not be good enough. I have to do something and in a way that's kind of my goal right now.

How will you change your approach?

Somehow I think, to keep on announcing your comebacks in the press all the time is a bit silly. If you want to show that you're a good player, you should do it at the chess board. It's much more satisfying, first of all, than to keep on repeating a hundred times 'o, I'm gonna play better, I'm gonna play better', it drives me nuts also. I understand that after three failed tournaments people are a bit fed up with my play but at least in this match I think I got the job done. I don't think I was playing particularly badly, I simply think Boris played well.

At least I don't want to retire, although Garry seems to spend most of his time announcing my retirement! Anyway, I'm now enjoying the Tal Memorial, and them I'm going to watch a bit of football as well.

What is your impression of Andrew Paulson, and his attempts to bring new life into chess?

First of all I would say that anybody who is making a commitment like this to the cycle, I mean especially the Grand Prix, this is a very good development in general. We shouldn't forget that there aren't that many tournaments this year. Even the top players have a very bizarre schedule where we play a couple of months, then we rest for five, six months and then again we play a little bit. If the calendar fills up a bit, this is good for everyone. Obviously the same players can't be playing everywhere and so a lot more guys will get chances. That is healthy.

Initially there are a lot of scheduling issues, especially regarding where all you can play and things like that. The first year it's always tricky to get this thing inside your schedule, then after that it's a bit easier.

A lot of what he says sounds very good so right now the important thing is to see how the execution goes, to see if the tournaments actually happen they way he says they'll happen. But in theory a lot of his ideas are very good I think.

And what if he'll make significant changes to the game?

The answer is always if it works. I enjoyed the ambiance in the Tretyakov but if there's some other approach that people want to try, and the execution works, it's fine by me. I think the main thing is simply that we have lots more events in the calendar. This is what chess players have been asking for for many years.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

Chess.com

Comments

Anonymous's picture

Viva Wch Viswanathan Anand !!!!!

RealityCheck's picture

Viva Wch Viswanathan Anand !!!!!

Jagadish  Dube's picture

Read both the parts of the interviews.Good that
Chessvibes has taken good step in arranging
interviews by Skype.I feel Chess-960 Tournaments
will increase.It is high time to popularise this by
FIDE & all countries.

PearlJam's picture

Is Chess-960 really necessary? The Tal Memorial contained a lot of surprises and exciting games, showing us that classical chess is as alive and vibrant as ever. Personally I don't think Chess-960 ever will be necessary. You cut away the opening theory, yes, but you lose the harmony of piece development which is one of major trumps of classical chess.

Anonymous's picture

Plus it could kill amateur chess tournaments, as most of us like to study some opennings with the idea it will pay off at the tournament. Eliminate all openning prep and it might have this unintended consequence. I suggest the openning piece placement slowly be added to on the pro level. After all, theory going deep into the middle game increases the likelihood of even more draws.

Jagadish  Dube's picture

Read both the parts of the interviews.Good that
Chessvibes has taken good step in arranging
interviews by Skype.I feel Chess-960 Tournaments
will increase.It is high time to popularise this by
FIDE & all countries.

Anthony Migchels's picture

Vishy knows his Confucius, who explained that a gentleman is known by not letting his words outstrip his deeds.

considering his record, this is easier for him than most of us...........

hakapika's picture

Oh Vishy, you are overstating the play from both sides. I think your characteristic "auto-pilot" also says a lot about (most of) your games in the match. Waiting for your chance, that's understandable, but none the less a little downturn.

hakapika's picture

Oh Vishy, you are overstating the play from both sides. I think your characteristic "auto-pilot" also says a lot about (most of) your games in the match. Waiting for your chance, that's understandable, but none the less a little downturn.

mar's picture

Very good interview and answers. It's nice to have such a detailed insight into the match. We see a seemingly uneventful 25 move draw, but we don't know about the "behind the scene". I'll be looking forward to seeing Anand in the tournament circuit.

arkan's picture
Anonymous's picture

mind your language

Anonymous's picture

calsen fanboy still smarting from his hero pussying out of the candidates

Nara's picture

After the next WCH-- Probably to be hosted in India.

ssd's picture

lol yeah is tht u kaspy?

anonymous's picture

and i suppose you/your dad will become the world champion

Chess Fan's picture

Arkan, what is wrong with you?
He is not a clown but one of the most all-round intelligent (try talking quantum mechanics or string theory with him), nice (numerous charities done silently), polite and humble (you could be anyone and he would give you the time of the day or reply to your email), not to mention the World Chess Champion.

Septimus's picture

Clown? Are you referring to Team Toilet by any chance?

Anonymous's picture

@Peter Doggers: Peter, do the rules allow such personal attacks on a champion player that you interviewed?

Anonymous's picture

Why the heck should he consider retiring when he is getting about 1.5 million usd per match plus endorsements? He's a professional and I'm sure his wife likes nice things.

Anonymous's picture

well its not about money alone, he is one of the best players ever, I don't understand this shrill demand for retiring, why would anyone wants to deprive chess of its one of the better players? He is definitely facing a very unfair and somewhat motivated criticism.

Yasif's picture

What a classy guy this Anand is!!!Respect to him, Kasparov and Danailov should learn manners from this amazing person

patzer's picture

Unfortunately, the world championship has been reduced to a cruel farce by the FIDE with this short format. Neither Anand nor Gelfand would speak against this system. But the fact remains that it does not allow players to play spontaneously and take risks.
The 24 game format produced great chess. One could think of the Botvinnik-Smyslov or the Kasparov-Karpov matches.
The idea that the highest title should be determined by a half-an-hour game or worse, blitz is absurd. None of the great champions from the past to the present would have accepted it.
Imagine, the present championship had come down to a blitz match. Both players are down to the last seconds. One of them is a queen down and should lose. But right at that moment his oponent has a sudden bout of sneezing or his fingers are stung by a bee. His hand does not reach the clock and the “flag” (figuratively speaking) falls. The game is over.
Congrats, FIDE! You have made the impossible possible.

Chess Fan's picture

Vishy Anand won the FIDE format in 2000, the round-robin format in 2007, defended his title against the great Kramnik (Kasparov's white washer in 2000) impressively, Topolov in very difficult environmental circumstances, and now against a phenomenol Gelfand. You are still questioning his meritocracy as a World Champion? Wait how he handles his future challengers (if they are not Gelfand). Maybe Kasparov should use his corporate connections and challenge Anand to a 24 game format. I am sure that Anand would agree.

foo's picture

Why do people insist on forgetting 1997, Lausanne. Anand Won period in 1997 as well. Karpov being seeded to another final (after Anand had alread won) cooked by the crook Ilyumzhinov. So I count it as 6 and NOT 5.

kingFisher's picture

phenomenol Gelfand???? You are kidding, this is not baseball or american football

Bias buster's picture

This applies to you....

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Abraham Lincoln

Chess Fan's picture

As a Mensa member I am inclined to agree about the quote. But please use it in the right context (though I know you think that you are rightly using it against me). Next time please address specific facts that I say and try to disprove them.

foo's picture

and I suppose your provide going to provide sponsorship cash for a 24 game match?? Dont be silly. Those days are gone. 24 games is not marketable. 14 is probably max as Kramnik points out and I am sure vishy would be fine w/that.

bronkenstein's picture

Indeed, IIRC some interviews few years ago, they both considered 14(16?) to be the maximum (and,again note the word Maximum, ie not optimal. I guess Vlad even used the expression such as ´nothing longer would make sense nowadays´). 24 game matches belong to history - and maybe distant future.

KK's picture

" None of the great champions from the past to the present would have accepted it.":

Are you sure? They accepted the clause that in case the challenger was as strong as the champion, the champion will retain his title. It was heavily in favour of the champion. Still more games are called for.

SetNoEscapeOn's picture

"But the fact remains that it does not allow players to play spontaneously and take risks.
The 24 game format produced great chess. One could think of the Botvinnik-Smyslov or the Kasparov-Karpov matches."

One could also look more recently and see that Kramnik-Topalov, Anand-Kramnik, and Anand-Toaplov show that your 'fact' is nothing more than groupthink mixed with a little hot air.

patzer's picture

In a short match if a player takes unwarranted risks he would lose like Topalov did in his matches with Kramnik and Anand. So Gelfand and Anand took the opposite course and played ultra-cautious chess, drawing several games.Again in Anand-Kramnik match just two TNs in Meran proved to be decisive.The short duration of the match did not allow Kramnik to demonstrate his preparation or potential. Probably Anand could still have won the match. But the chess world missed some great battles. The same has happened now. If one compares the previous encounters between Anand and Gelfand with the games in this match, the difference in quality is quite apparent.
Botvinnik-Smyslov (1954-1958 and Kasparov-Karpov encounters (1985-1990) have stood the test of time and are judged to be classic world championship matches. Would history accord the same rank to these short matches? A world championship should be a genuine marathon and not a 200-metres race.

God Father's picture

Never let anyone else know what you're thinking.

anonymous's picture

vishy anand is a true world champion.
these days it is very difficult to dominate .
great players like kramnik are finding it tough.
loot at the latest tal. none of the players have managed to play in any spectacular faishon / dominate.

patzer's picture

It appears that any one commenting on the world championship should be for Anand or against Anand. This is a subjective way of looking at the issue. I did not question Anand’s merit as the world champion. All that I wrote was that a 24-game-match would produce higher standards of play in world championship. It would also reduce the element of plain chance and accident.

RealityCheck's picture

Increasing the number of wch games to 24 will not guarantee a "higher standard" of play. It will amount to more games played, which we don't object to, nothing more.
The contestants are responsible for the level of play. The Anand-Gelfand Wch Match was played at the highest standard.

Chess Fan's picture

Absolutely. Good point.

patzer's picture

Andrew Paulsen, the official sponsor of the world championship cycle has made a commitment of 5.4 million Euros for the prize fund. And this for a global audience.
A 24-game-match between the world champion and a challenger like Carlsen would be worth waiting.

What's Next?'s picture

There must be sponsor money somewhere to continue the best World Championship tradition of all: playing 24-game-matches.

Aditya's picture

On a different note, doesnt the still picture from the video shown on the Chessvibes home page look like Anand is being handcuffed by Kirsan? I hope the picture is not symbolic :).

RUSSIANCHESSFAN's picture

Nice refreshingly candid interview. While Gelfand deserves a lot of the close match, we have to see Anand's play in the next few tournaments to know if he really is playing well (since that is one of his goals). The problem is - when are we going to see him? Kings is cancelled, he is not playing the World Rapid and Blitz (the other 4 non-Romanians from Kings are). Do we need to wait till October to see him in Bilbao? Maybe someone will drop out of Dortmund or Biel and he can play - though I doubt it since his calendar must be pretty full with non-serious chess stuff (like the LA trip). Any chance he will play the Olympiad? Maybe the Indians can pay him to play for the team.

On the Russian chess front, there is no doubt Morozevich is back. He (and McShane) played the most interesting chess and if he can just learn to play the percentages a few times instead of living and dying by the sword - he can really challenge for the top Russian spot. He does not have to worry about hiding preparation etc. since he is not playing in the next cycle. Also cannot wait to see Karjakin play. With what Carlsen and Aronian displayed at Tal, I think Karjakin can hold his own against them.

I pick Grischuk / Gelfand / Karjakin to win the World Rapid and Morozevich / Carslen to win the World Blitz. Topalov will finish last among the 2700s in both.

Bias buster's picture

About Anand's next tournament it does look like he can participate in the Olympiad, though the last time he played for India it did not go down all that well. But who knows since lot of patzers keep howling about ELO ratings its not a bad place to pick up some.

Moro can easily be in top 5 any day. No surprises there. Though I don't know if he can hold against Kramnik in a match. Topa in rapid or blitz is a waste of time.

Septimus's picture

Very candid and refreshing to hear the WC be critical of himself. I don't think any top player can match this kind of humility.

Usually top players think they are entitled to everything so it is about time others learn a bit of humility from Anand.

patzer's picture

In terms of sport a world championship is like test cricket and in terms of art like a classical concert. It needs its own time and space. As Gelfand put it, you need genuine chess fans to appreciate it. There is no lack of them. Now that we have genuine patrons of chess like Filatov, Paulsen and Bessel Kok, sponsorship is not going to be a problem.
The world championship should be a proper marathon and it should not be determined by a 100 metres race.
Let us offer a better environment and healthier conditions of play for the world championship. Then there would be both fighting draws and decisive results.
Excellence is everything.

gelfand's picture

After reading this interview, my respect for Anand has increased. Its clear he is struggling but very few ppl can acept their own mistakes.

Anonymous's picture

Let's not compare Paulsen to Filatov. Filatov is a patron; he gives his millions for the love of the game. Paulsen is an entrepreneur; he is hoping that he can make money by running the World Championship. There is nothing wrong with that and I wish him luck ... but if he sees that it is not going to be profitable for him then he can pull out and limit his losses to just the money that he has already deposited with FIDE.

Chess Fan's picture

Good points.

patzer's picture

I see your point. That's a subtle distinction. We have to wait and watch.

RealityCheck's picture

@Patzer As regards Bessel Kok, he was deeply involved in organising the Anand-kasparov Wch match in 1995. The match was all set to go. There was money. There was a venue. Koeln. And, there was a serious challenger. Anand.
Suddenly. Overnight. Without prior warning, the Dictator Dirty Garry (aka garry kasparov), had announced a venue change. The match had been moved to Mannhattan. Anand found himself packing his bags, gathering his seconds booking last minute airline tickets, heading to the now defunct twin tower. Ground zero. The big Apple.
Sorry about that, did not intend to rant. But hitting below the belt, the dirty pool practised by garry gets ones blood boilin.

I meant to say that Kok and Filatov, already have made an Historik contribution to chess whereas Paulson's promises still have to be turned to deeds.

Just one more thing. Kirsan shd get his fair share of the credit for R E - U N I F I C A T I O N.

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