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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Top chess interview: Why Grischuk likes the knockout format over round-robins!

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

Hello everyone,

We would like to share excerpts from Alexander Grischuk's interview with the Russian Chess Federation website. As you would remember, he recently made it to the finals of the World Chess Cup which was eventually won by Russian compatriot Peter Svidler. Enjoy. He gave this interview to Maria Fominykh. You can also find a nice translation in English at the website

Q. Do you compare your success in Khanty-Mansiysk with other performances till this point in your career?
A. You can, of course. I attribute this to the World Cup among my biggest successes. It can be compared with the semi-finals of the FIDE World Championships in India in 2000, winning Linares, winning the World Blitz Championship.

Q. Did you like the format of the World Cup?
A. Yes, I love the knockout. The extra rest days after the second and fourth rounds would be good. In round-robin tournaments you sometimes lose any chance of finishing in a top position, and the end of the tournament turns into torture. But here you’re always fighting to win.

Q. The finals were held separately in 2002. What do you think such a system? You were quite tired by the end.
A. Fatigue, of course. But in 2002, it was the World Championship. If we added two more extra rest days, like I said, it would be easy on the players. By the way, I was most tired before the match with Navara than the final.

Q. The match with Vladimir Potkin took all your energy?
A. Yes, I prepared right up till breakfast which started at our hotel at 6 am and then went to sleep.

Q.And what went wrong in the final? You played too sharply in the first game?
A.No, in the first game we got a position where you had to play aggressively. In general, as in the match against Potkin, I was too relaxed before the first game. It’s very hard for me to play against friends. In the final I had chances to win in the third and fourth games, but not super realistic ones. It wasn’t a case of needing to make a few accurate moves and I’d have won.

Q.Do you think Peter was in mega-form?
A.Yes, unquestionably. He played better than everyone at the World Cup.

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  • At September 29, 2011 at 12:24 PM , Anonymous Alexis Cochran, New Zealand said...

    All said and done it's tough to play your friend at that level. Good show. But of course Svidler was on a roll.

  • At September 29, 2011 at 12:34 PM , Anonymous Amrit Puri Knights Chess Club New Delhi said...

    Maybe eventually we will see a world title clash between Russians alone. No matter what, Russian chess remains the strongest in the world. It is most admirable.


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