USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive

hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Saturday, April 30, 2011

For the love of chess... - Interview with Vassily Ivanchuk

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello everybody,

We found this nice two-part interview with the talented and one of the strongest Grandmasters in the world - Vassily Ivanchuk at Chess In Translation. He talks about all the beautiful aspects of a chess life and life otherwise. Here are some excerpts:

In one interview you compared chess to love. Doesn’t your wife get offended by such comparisons, and by the fact that almost all your thoughts are about chess? (Translator’s note: in a recent interview GM Mikhail Golubev asked, “I’ve got a question from a fan. How can you find and not lose a taste for playing chess?” Ivanchuk replied: “You know, a taste for chess is a kind of love… and who can answer the question of how to find, or not lose, that love? I don’t know.”

VI: Oksana’s got used to it, no doubt. It’s not our first year together, after all. Initially, of course, it was hit and miss, but such is the life of a chess player. At least between tournaments we try to lead a rich and varied life. Grandmaster Vladimir Malakhov once responded to a similar question by saying, “Yes, I often travel to tournaments, but when I get back home I’m completely at my wife’s disposal”. I don’t know about being completely at her disposal, but I try. I devote a lot of time between tournaments to domestic matters. I don’t have to be begged to do something. I try to assist my wife at home, offering to help. You’d better ask Oksana whether that works out or not. My wife doesn’t see me as a grandmaster, but as a normal man. Does she understand chess? She has some idea: she knows how the pieces move, the surnames of famous chess players and she reads the chess magazines I subscribe to. So she knows about everything that’s going on. Of course, my wife supports me and follows my performances. She’s very glad when I win, but at the same time she understands that it’s impossible to win all the time. Therefore she’s philosophical about my defeats.


You’ve had so many victories. Is there one among them which you recall more often than the others?

VI: In general, I’ve always believed that my greatest, and therefore also my most memorable victories, still lie ahead. But it’s true that I really do have a lot of favourite games. But you know how it is? After any game you play people start analysing it “to shreds”. Immediately after a won game it can strike you as truly beautiful and almost perfect. But then it turns out that at certain points there were mistakes, minor inaccuracies.

Have I played flawless games? Of course. But flawed games are usually the most beautiful and are dearer to me. If an opponent doesn’t put up much resistance then it’s much easier to play a flawless game. You remember games where, despite being positionally lost, you nevertheless managed to escape with a draw. One such example is the game against Gata Kamsky at the tournament in Armenia in 2009. I was saved from a loss by the 50-move rule, which states that if not a single piece has been taken over the course of those moves then the game is declared a draw. Kamsky almost gained the chance to take my piece, but only on the 51st move. So I put up as much resistance as I could: I calculated whether he’d be able to carry out the capture, and how long I could avoid it.(smiles) As for losses… They’re painful for me. Fortunately time heals wounds, and your memory washes away the feeling of losing.

Oksana and Vassily Ivanchuk

Here is the game:

You can read the full interview here.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

Labels: ,


  • At April 30, 2011 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous alexis cochran, new zealand said...

    chess and love - enchanting, engrossing, undefinable both. Thank god for his kindness. Am not part of the deprived lot who shall never know the joys of chess. Chucky is the best.


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home