Ruslan Ponomariov | October 30, 2011 15:58

Losing in style

Hello, everyone!

At last, after so many tournaments, I have a small break before the next competitions. Now I can take some time to relax and share some impressions with you.

In the last two months I have played 33 rated games plus 12 tie-break games in the World Cup. During this time I have lived in four different time zones. I don't know whether anyone played more than me, but I can say this is my personal record in chess activity :)

Unfortunately, I cannot say that my results were the best, but at least I hope I cannot be blamed of inappropriate clothing. Some of you may not know, but after I won the Ukrainian Championship earlier this year and I was photographed receiving the prize in jeans and a t-shirt (a Tommy Hilfiger polo, more specifically), I was told in an interview that people in Ukrainian forums hadn't liked this and that they said I should dress more formally. So, always willing to please my fellow-countrymen, I went and bought a new suit and some fancy shirts. This time I probably looked much more professional when offering my hand in resignation, because no one has complained yet :)

At times, this recent overload of chess activity made me feel that the time between tournaments was just physically insufficient for the organism to recover and prepare for new opponents. But the game is like a drug! Refusing to fight or to face an opponent is something I cannot do either. Who knows when such a great opportunity might present itself again?

This year I was unable to play for Ukraine in the World Team Championship in China because I was playing in Dortmund. However, we will bring our strongest line-up to the upcoming European Championship in Greece, the same line-up with which we won last year's Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. The president of our federation has the highest expectations from our team, and up to now Ukraine has never been European Champion, so we will try to do our best. Of course, there
will be other very strong teams, so we'll see what happens.

Thinking about this past year, things didn't go all that smoothly for chess. I can give the example of the club I played for in Spain. In 2006 I joined the club Linex-Magic from Merida. We were Spanish Champions a few times, though we came out second last year. Once we were even European Champions! But this year, due to lack of funds, the club is not even participating in the Spanish league. I hope it's only temporary. Good news is I am now playing for “Gros Xake Taldea”,
from San Sebastian, and I recently found out that Alexey Shirov, who used to play with me for Linex-Magic, will also play for Gros, so we will keep on fighting together for first place!

This club still “hasn't caught stars from the sky”, as we say in Russian, but their work and results are very stable. This year it has moved into a new building with fantastic facilities, and they give lots of time and attention to training children. They are now working on a project towards the end of the year with which they will outshine the rest in creativity: a very unique open tournament in San Sebastian. How exactly it's going to work, I still do not know myself, but the main idea is to have a KO tournament like the one in Khanty-Mansiysk, only the two games (with white and black) will be played simultaneously! Also, for those who drop out in the first rounds, there will be a B and a C tournament they can keep playing in. I am not sure how all this will turn out, but I am wishing the best to the organizers and I hope this will lead to more innovative ideas in chess! For more information on this tournament you can visit

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Ruslan Ponomariov's picture

Ruslan Olegovich Ponomariov is a Ukrainian chess player and former FIDE World Champion.


S3's picture

Why are these GM columns so hard to see/find on the main page of chessvibes? Quite interesting stuff in it; f.e. a very creative tournament in Spain (not bad prize money either!) and it's always interesting to hear from Ponomariov.
I wish him luck in Greece!

Anonymous's picture

+1 , the whole site needs bit of reshuffling.

And @ Pono , take a rest - you deserved it well . Get yourself together and recover your playing strength (and some of the ELO , I believe you ruined it by playing like maniac ... bloodthirst after being so close @ WCup ? =)

muzio's picture

great article. about the simultaneous white & black games: if you're paired against someone you don't think you can beat can't - just play their moves on the other board! ;-)

nil maglas's picture

i didn't know ponomariov can write english so well...

Babar's picture

Wow, this is a fantastically written column ! Thank you very much M. Ponomariov for sharing those thought with us at chessvibes.

I also join the chorus of people asking for more visibility. This is a high-class affair, it should be treated as such.

I wish M. Ponomariov the best in chess.

segler's picture

I like your blog too, thank you very much Ruslan Ponomariov.
It's always nice and intersting to hear from you.

Congratulations on winning the Honorary Division in the Spanish Team Championship with your new team 'Gros Xake Taldea'! That's excellent news :-)

All the best to you!

stevefraser's picture

Do any of the blogs have games?

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