Reports | October 13, 2008 19:01

Anand-Kramnik: Opening Press Conference (video)

Opening Press Conference VideoWith a slight delay we're now presenting the first video from Bonn - and it's a big one! Please enjoy the opening press conference of the 2008 World Championship, held yesterday in the Art & Exhibition all in Bonn, Germany.

Exactly 48 hours before the opening move of the World Chess Championship 2008 Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik were present at the opening press conference yesterday.

Both players were in a very good mood. Although Anand seemd a bit tense at the start, he soon made a very cheerful impression and so did Kramnik. The ones who were most timid at the start, were the journalists! After press officer Rolf Behovits let us know that it was time to start asking questions, apparently nobody wanted to be first. At some point I decided to "break the ice" by asking both players how they were feeling, two days before the match.

Anand and Kramnik made clear they're eager to play. After so many months of preparation they are happy that it's finally all going to start. They also announced the members of their teams:

Anand (4 seconds):
Peter Heine Nielsen (Denmark), Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan), Radoslav Wojtaszek (Poland) and Surya Shekhar Ganguly (India).
Kramnik (3 seconds):
Peter Leko (Hungary), Sergey Rublevskyi (Russia) and Laurent Fressinet (France).

The biggest surprise in the Anand team is of course the young Polish GM Wojtaszek. Anand explained that when they met at a Bundesliga weekend last year, Radoslav made a very good impression on him. They kept contact with each other and at some point Anand decided to invite him.

It's a bit of a coincidence that it was exactly the Bundesliga weekend where ChessVibes was present last year, and so you can watch a small video interview with Wojtaszek that I shot there:

Peter Leko is of course the member of Kramnik's team that catches the eye. In 2004 Leko was leading by a point in his world championship match against... Kramnik. By winning the last game, the Russian kept his world title he had won by beating Kasparov in 2000. Leko and Kramnik go along very well and Kramnik admitted that it's of great value to have a team member with match experience on the highest level.

Here is the full press conference on video for you:


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, 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.


Simon GRIVET's picture

Do we know if M. Carlsen is Anand's 2nd?

SetNoEscapeOn's picture

True Kramnik looks relaxed- that's to be expected as this is his fourth one of these in eight years. But Anand has already popped his cherry in NY in 1995 so he'll be all right.

The question about Kasparov was completely inane, I liked Anand's response.

FP's picture

Miss Evonik, will you marry me?

Theo's picture

Anand looks VERY nervous!
Kramnik looks very relaxed and confident...

karakin's picture

Anand is stonger than Kramnik & i think that Anand will make decisive difference in the first 6 games with white!!

Ben's picture

I assume this is rated - any confirmation?

semipatz's picture

"Miss Evonik, will you marry me?"

No, she's marrying ME! BUTT OUT!!!

rik van ingen's picture

I have not a favourite but I like the both player as a person, the strongest will win!!!!

Manu's picture

Anand is underdog here , im getting really worried about him.
Go Vishy go

Bas's picture

Hey.... Didnt magnus Carlsen be in the team of Anand?????????????????

I thought few weeks ago this question was asked to Carlsen in a press conference (on the tournement in the glass chamber). Carlsen gave the impression to me he was in anands team. ......

Christos (Greece)'s picture

Kramnik: "I will try to comb my hair better"!

virginmind's picture

no, carlsen simply had a light hesitation at first (as if looking for a joke or something) when answering that question ,but then he plainly said: no. anan'd answer to the same question was also a clear negative. so i think such rumours have no real basis.

me's picture

All those articles I read all over the place, and neither one of them answers a very important question:

Who starts with white tomorrow?

bernd's picture

I actually prefer Miss Gazprom.

Rinzou's picture

FP on 13 October 2008 12:54 PM Miss Evonik, will you marry me?

bernd on 13 October 2008 22:20 PM I actually prefer Miss Gazprom.

I will take Alexandra Kosteniuk.

By the way, I think Kramnik needs to win in the 12-game regulation. If it goes to rapid/blitz tie-breaks Anand will keep his title...

Ark's picture

It's alright, there are always the toilet-breaks

Merijn's picture

Not so sure about Anand having an edge in the tiebreak, its about NERVES

Rubinstein's picture

Kramnik will have white in the first game.

teimour's picture

how do you know who plays white? link?

Rubinstein's picture

is says so on Chessbase - German version.

Rubinstein's picture

There is even pictures from the opening ceremony, where you can se Kramnik draws the white king and thus will start the mach with white.

teimour's picture

indeed, i see it. thanks. good news!

Rubinstein's picture

That means that Kramnik will start and finish the match with white. Unless one of the players runs away with it.

Simon's picture

at 10'45, the Carlsen question is asked, and Anand keeps the secret...

Eiae's picture

At least two great e4 players in Kram's camp.

C. Springs's picture

"That means that Kramnik will start and finish the match with white."

No, Anand will have white in the final game.

Teimour's picture

?¢‚Ǩ?ìThat means that Kramnik will start and finish the match with white.?¢‚Ǩ? --> correct, since colours are reversed after game 6

inky's picture

Someone posted earlier that Anand was nervous. It seemed he was barely even listening, he looked like he was concentrating the entire time on a board in his head.. when it ended he was ready to walk out immediately. I think he's gonna come in and crush him. No smiling, no jokes. He looks like he really wants to win, and he didn't want to talk about it beforehand.

kishore's picture

Anand is nervous because he doesn't take a pint of vodka before a press conference.

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