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

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


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Former world chess champion Kramnik focused on ratings to get into Candidates cycle!

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

Hi everyone,

After his win at the Unive Crown Chess Group in Hoogoveen, former world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik gave an interview to the Russian Chess Federation website. He said he was focused on his ratings as the current ratings would determine the places in the next Candidates Tournament. Kramnik was talking to Vladimir Barsky, the new editor of the RCF website.
 The guys: Anish, Vladimir and Maxime (Judit was the other participant in the Unive Group)

Q. Vladimir, congratulations on your win! How do you manage to perform “to schedule”: winning with White, drawing with Black?

A. Well, it doesn’t always work out that way. This tournament was actually very similar to the Bilbao I won. There I also started off with two white games and won both of them. The only difference here was that I managed to win once more, but the tournament was weaker than Bilbao. They ended up being some kind of “clones”; it seems I should now play exclusively 6-round tournaments, as they turn out the best!

In general I think that in a short double round-robin tournament it’s less than ideal to start with two white games, as you’re not yet warmed up and you might play too sluggishly and calmly, and then you’re left with only black. I’ve discussed it with other chess players; generally no-one wants to start with two whites. It’s often even better to have two blacks, and only then to play white. But on both occasions I’ve managed to win the two games at the start. Over such a short distance that goes a long way towards winning the tournament, as your mood is immediately improved and you’ve got more desire to play as everything’s gone so successfully.

Q. Were you in the mood to fight? Against Vachier-Lagrave, for example, you rejected a repetition of moves in an unclear position…

A. Well yes, but what of it? At the end of the day, it’s not a matter of life and death! (lit. “we’re not playing for a cow”!) For me the tournament had more of a training character – I wanted to get warmed up a little. I’d already agreed to play in it a long time ago, and to an extent it was training before two major events – in Moscow and London, so that I didn’t have too long a break in play. Therefore I travelled to Holland, above all, in order to play fully-fledged games. Anything can happen. Sometimes you get short draws, but overall the goal was to play, so I tried to take advantage of any opportunity to get a game.

Q. How would you characterise your opponents?

The young guys are very talented. In my view Vachier-Lagrave keeps underscoring a little. I think he plays better than his rating suggests – he’s really at something like 2750. He’s had a bad run, he’s played a little sluggishly and he’s always “swarming around” the 2710-2720 zone, but it’s clear that he’s a strong player: he calculates well and his understanding is pretty good. In my view he’s already a chess player of the “sub-elite” level. For some reason he hasn’t yet managed to fulfil his potential, but he’s a very strong and dangerous opponent.

Giri’s also very talented, but for now he’s weaker than Maxime, despite his higher rating. Anish is making progress, and I like the way he does an awful lot of work, learning new openings. In the second game he amazed me: we were playing some totally “offbeat” variation: 1.c4 e5 2.g3, and quite quickly I was already creating at the board, but it turned out that he’d analysed the position very deeply. Such hard work is a guarantee of future success, because he’s undoubtedly talented. Capable young players often start to shirk work, and that immediately lowers their results. In my view Giri also has a good coach – Volodya Chuchelov. So Anish, I think, will slowly but surely improve.

And Judit Polgar, of course, is of a high class, though in comparison to the young it seems as though she doesn’t quite have the same motivation. That’s why her results are unstable. She plays some tournaments very well – for example, the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, but here things somehow didn’t go for her. You can’t say she played very badly, but things didn’t come together. She missed a win in the game against Vachier-Lagrave and that, of course, affected her mood. The tournament’s short – one failure and you immediately slip down the table. So Hoogoveen didn’t work out for her, although she can play very decently, as she’s proved more than once of late.

Q. After the tournament you reached the 2800-mark. Did you set yourself such a goal before it began?

A. No, of course not. It’s true I’m a little more concerned about ratings just now than before, because it’s necessary to get into the Candidates Tournament, but otherwise I don’t pay much attention to them. Now, to an extent, I’m trying to monitor the situation, but overall… I’ve got two major tournaments ahead of me – in Moscow and London, so you can’t say I’m taking great care of my rating. 2800 is simply a number. If I had 0.2 points less my rating would have turned out to be 2799 and I wouldn’t be in the 2800 club. Of course I didn’t seriously think about that but just played as I played.

You can read the complete interview in English at WhyChess and in Russian at the Russian Chess Website.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

Labels: ,


  • At October 27, 2011 at 11:55 AM , Anonymous Alexis Cochran, New Zealand said...

    Just when I was wondering where's Kramnik. Yes, at number four now in live ratings. All the best Vladimir from your fan.

  • At October 27, 2011 at 12:32 PM , Anonymous Sebastian Wolff, NY said...

    Go Kramnik Go

  • At October 27, 2011 at 12:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    1Carlsen 2825.8
    2Anand 2811.0
    3Aronian 2805.9
    4Kramnik 2799.6

  • At October 27, 2011 at 12:36 PM , Anonymous Elohim Andromedais said...

    The chess gods shall lead the new revolution to the new revelation

  • At October 27, 2011 at 12:39 PM , Anonymous Sainath, Colombo said...

    Why they had only four participants in Unive Crown Group - usually it's at least six isn't it or was it cause of the time required for a round robin among six and more players? I like the tournament. Best wishes to Kramnik. He is always such a suave, sober, strong champion.


Post a Comment

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

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home