Frank K. Berry

About chess in the USA

Lately you are the major sponsor of US chess competitions. What got you attracted to investing in chess PR?

I wanted to put Oklahoma on the chess map. Usually the championships are
held on the West or East Coasts…rarely in the Midwest or Central USA. I am
lucky to be in a $$ position to support my favorite hobby to the benefit of my
friends in the Oklahoma and surrounding area.

Your expectations about the FKB Women US chess champonship?

Since Stillwater is 60 miles from the Tulsa or Oklahoma City airports it will be easier
to provide transportation for 10 women as opposed to 36 players as in the FKB USA
Championship held here in May and won by Shabalov. Best would be to hold event
in Tulsa or Oklahoma City near an large city airport where the hotel has shuttle service.

What will be the next Frank K. Berry event after the FKB Women US chess champonship?

We will hold a 5-SS two day in the same location next day after the FKB US Women’s Ch.
We hope some of the women will stick around for that. Local players like to play against
strong women players with FIDE titles. It’s different. Spices up the event.
We will also hold a 10-SS six weeks later in Stillwater spread over 4 days. 2-3-3-2.
That would be Aug 31, Sept 1, 2 3.
It remains to be seen if I will sponsor the 2 championships again next year in Oklahoma….

How do you see the future of chess in the USA?

Unfortunately the long term trend is down regarding number of USCF memberships due to the internet
and lack of success in keeping kids interested in chess as they reach their late teen years.
There may be no easy solution to this problem.

Interview with GM Kiril Georgiev

Exclusive for Chessdom, after the 2nd round of Gorenje 2007

Kiril Georgiev Valjevo

GM Kiril Georgiev

Tell us for the start, what you think about the Gorenje 2007 lineup.

The tournament is very strong, the players’ ratings are well balanced. The games will be very interesting and I hope it ends up well for me.

You are seeded 2nd favorite, according to the rating. Do you feel it as some sort of burden?

No, it’s not a burden. Rating doesn’t mean much, the game is decided by playing good moves on the board and everything depends on the player’s concentration.

You are a frequent visitor in Serbia, you even speak the fluent language. What is your opinion about the Serbian chess?

I noticed solid development in Serbia. As I understand, your Olympiad and European championship medalists (Gligoric, Ivkov, Matanovic etc, 20 in total red. note) are awarded with big pensions by the government. Besides, chess is entering in the schools as electoral class and you already have many young and talented Grandmasters. I see your future is bright.

And in Bulgaria? You are experiencing chess boom.

Our top players are achieving fantastic results, but unfortunately, we have little or no support from the government. I still hope this will change in the future.

You are very active player, already 20 years among the world’s elite. How do you manage to keep your shape on such a high level for so many years?

For me, chess is not only profession, but also a hobby, and this has helped me. I have always enjoyed playing chess and I also worked a lot. I guess that’s the reason why I stayed on the top for so many years.

How many hours daily you dedicate to chess study?

It’s not every day and it depends on how I feel, but basically, it’s about 3-4 hours. It can be longer if I’m preparing for important tournament.

Kiril Georgiev 2

Kiril in action

Whit what kind of difficulties you face as chess professional?

First of all, there are only few invitational round robin tournaments, of say 14th category. Therefore, Grandmasters are forced to seek to play in team events, where we can for certain earn from contracts. Another possibility is to enter open tournaments, with solid prize funds, but those are attracting many strong players, and it’s basically a lottery.

But playing open tournaments requires certain delicacy – you try to beat lower rated players and hold off against stronger, because losing one game might make it impossible to catch up for the prize fund etc. Do you think this tactics is damaging games’ quality?

Well, no. We employ certain tactics in every tournament. To win a prize in open tournament, one has to make plus five or sometimes plus six score. But okay, when playing strong player with Black pieces, it’s okay to make a draw, and against weaker players we try to win, that’s all normal. Still, we have to win a large number of games, and that’s our main tactics (laughs). It all goes on case-to-case basis. In general, I don’t think open tournaments are reducing the quality. Are you referring to those short draws?

That too.

Well, nobody likes short draws. Organizers for sure, and also the audience that came to watch. They expect few hours of interesting games, and if someone draws within one hour, it’s very disappointing. If game lasts 2-3 hours and 20-25 moves, I believe that should be fine.

Valjevo 7 Georgiev-Nikolic

Kiril Georgiev vs Predrag Nikolic

Are there any tournaments in Bulgaria for you to play?

I don’t play in Bulgaria. Prize funds are ridiculously small, even for the national championship… I haven’t played it for almost 20 years. And I wasn’t invited for the Mtel Masters, which is probably the only tournament in Bulgaria suitable for my strength.

You’re also playing over the Internet?

Yes, I frequently play on the Internet Chess Club (ICC). I prefer the 3-minute time control, but I’m also highest rated in 15 minutes pool (laughs). I find playing on the Internet to be very useful. I can match strong players anytime, practice my tactics and possibly some new openings. I feel big improvement in my play and I would recommend it to everyone.

Thank you very much for the interview and all the best in your future chess career!

Susan Polgar

About the future of chess, FIDE, USCF, and US Open

Our good friend Susan Polgar shared with us her views on the future of chess, FIDE, USCF, and US Open.

Hello Susan! You recently came back from Las Vegas where you were a major part of the US Open. Tell us more about the Susan Polgar events.

This is the second year that I joined force with the Las Vegas International Chess Festival organizer to add a major scholastic chess component to this prestigious event. They are the second annual Susan Polgar World Open Championship for Girls and the first annual Susan Polgar World Chess Challenge for Boys. These events are open to young players from all over the world. The idea is to give opportunities for young American players to compete against each other as well as foreign players. The players have chances to win wonderful prizes.

Last year, the winner of each section received a Dell Notebook computer. This year, each winner got a state of the art Sony Digital Camera package. In addition, many more players got a lot of useful chess prizes. Some even got scholarships to Texas Tech University. I hope to continue these events for many more years to come and I hope to attract many more players from around the world.

In addition to the main championships, there were also the Blitz Championships and Puzzle Solving Championships. Parents and coaches can also compete and we combine family / team scores for other prizes. The idea is to get everyone involved. I also conduct free lectures and seminars to help the players, their parents and coaches. I want to make these events fun, informative, competitive and beneficial.

How do you see the future of chess in the USA (Nakamura, Kamsky, Zatonskih and Krush)?

The future of chess in America will greatly depend on the future direction of the USCF. In the United States, it is very difficult for young talented players to afford proper chess training to be able to compete against the best players in the world. This is why this country produces a lot less grandmasters and top players than many others. There is no set system and the federation is incapable of changing this.

The Samford fellowship is the top chess award in the United States. It offers substantial monetary award for top American players to spend 2 years training and playing high level chess. It is a wonderful award but it can only help 1 or 2 top players each year. Other top players are on their own.

GM Gregory Kaidanov and IM Gregory Shahade have a very good training program for promising players and I have something similar through my foundation, the Susan Polgar Foundation. However, these programs are done by various individuals or foundations. There is very little or no help coming from the USCF itself. It is a pity for a major organization like this.

Kamsky, Nakamura, Onischuk, Zatonskih and Krush are of course top American male and female players. But they basically got there on their own. They do not get any help from the USCF.

Gata is still one of the best players in the world. However, if he wants to win the World Championship, he must work with a second to improve on his opening repertoire. It was different 10 years ago when he was in the top 3 in the world. Today, with computer technology and the Internet, he will not survive in important matches with just his middle and endgame skills. This was evident in the match against Gelfand. Boris got a wonderful position out of the opening too often. But the question is who will pay for this assistance? American professional players make too little money to be able to afford this luxury.

Nakamura has the opposite problem. His opening variety causes havoc to his opponents. He is fearless and he is willing to try any opening and this makes it very hard for his opponents to prepare against him. However, if he wants to be among the top 5-10 best in the world, he has to be willing to work with a competent trainer to help him with other phases of his game. If he does not, he will not be able to keep up with the progress of Carlsen, Radjabov, Mamedyarov or Karjakin. I am rooting for him and I would of course help him if he asks.

Krush and Zatonskih both have the ability and talent to be Grandmasters. The question is IF they are willing to continue to improve? Anna just had a baby. That will make things more difficult for her.

If Irina continues to improve and play, I expect her to become a Grandmaster and become one of the 5 women players in the world in the near future. But she has to work hard to get there. She has the talent to do it.

I am hoping to be able to help the younger generation of girls and boys excel in chess through my foundation and the Texas Tech SPICE program. This is my goal. I have accomplished all I want on a professional level. Now it is time for me to share my knowledge with the next generations.

How is the preparation for the USCF election going?

I do not campaign the traditional way. I do my campaigning through my blogs. I do not accept endorsement from anyone. I do not want to become a chess politician. I decided to run in this election because I owe it to my sport to make things better.

The USCF is in bad shape. It has been run for years as an amateur hobby organization instead of a business or professional one. We have board members who like to micro-manage and make political policies instead of sound chess or business policies for the best interest of the game. There is too much waste and it is operated very inefficiently.

Unfortunately, instead of recognizing the problems and creating plans to improve, we have people who will do anything and everything to hold on to the status quo to maintain their power. This is not a problem with just the USCF. Some other federations face similar situations. Even FIDE recognizes that it cannot successfully do everything. We need experienced and professional people to run the business end of things. This is why I am glad to see the creation of Global Chess.

The USCF lost millions of dollars in recent years and it is losing money in 9 of the last 11 years. This is completely unacceptable but the leaders of this federation still refuse to bring in the professional people to raise this sinking ship. If this is any normal company, every single board member would have been dismissed long ago.

I am hoping to make serious changes to help US Chess and the USCF. I have some of the most qualified people willing to help me including my husband who is a premier chess marketing, promotion and PR person in the United States. Several other professionals such as Dr. Mikhail Korenman (a major organizer and promoter) and Randy Bauer (a very experienced and successful financial person) are also willing to help. But it is not an easy task when your political opponents are willing to go to any length to destroy the reputation of anyone standing in their ways. This board lost 3 potential million dollar sponsorship deals in the last 6 months alone and no one wants to talk about this.

When I spoke up, I received anonymous physical threats to me and my family. I also received legal threats. I am being attacked, insulted, ridicule and trashed every single day for the past 5 – 6 months. And the board members just sit back and not say a word or do a thing to stop it. This is politics at its worst. They claim this is what people do in an election.

I disagree. This is wrong and this is unproductive to chess. It is not in the best interest of chess to continue electing incompetent people while chasing the best talents away. This is why good people do not want to be involved. Very few are willing to subject themselves to this kind of abuse.

Just look at GM Yasser Seirawan. He tried so hard to change many things for the better for the USCF and they did the same thing to him. Imagine how much more he could have helped US chess and the USCF if he was allowed to. He was not the only one.

I am willing to work with everyone for the best interest of the USCF. I welcome the cooperation of other chess leaders. But I am not willing to compromise my personal integrity and the welfare of this federation. The best interest of chess should always come first and before personal interests and accolades.

Some of the things that you would change in the USCF?

a) Improve its respectability, integrity, efficiency, professionalism, image and reputation.

b) Set up a state of the art marketing, promotion and PR system. This will help bring in additional revenues and sponsorships.

c) Establish a sound and balanced budget to ensure the viability of the entire federation.

d) Increase the cooperation and support for adult, scholastic, collegiate, correspondence and military chess which in turn will raise the membership level which equals to more revenues.

e) End of chess politics. Every decision should be made in the best interest of chess and the federation and not for political reasons.

The achievements of the Polgar sisters are really amazing. Will Polgar sisters be the only ones to break the men’s monopoly of top 100?

I hope that others will eventually do even better than us. This would be good for chess. But no one will get there unless they are willing to work as hard if not more. Our secret of success is our willingness to work harder and be more diligent. There is no short cut and there is no miracle. Natural talents can only take players so far.

We recently saw the 13 year old Hou Yifan win the national chess title. Is she the future star of women chess?

Hou Yifan is the real deal. She is very talented and it seems that she is fearless. She reminds me of the young Judit. It is nice to have early successes but her game still has some weaknesses. The key is what she is willing to do in the next 5 years. If she is willing to continue to work very hard on her game, she has good chances to be the best. But it will not come without hard work.

Do not count Humpy Koneru out though. She is also very talented and diligent. In my opinion, they will be two of the top female players for years to come.

How do you manage to keep updated your blogs and prepare for the USCF election at the same time?

I approach it the same way as I approach my chess career. My blogs are very important to me. It is my gift to the chess world. I want people to see how chess should be positively promoted EVERYDAY! They are maintained and updated by my husband and me.

I believe in positive promotion. I believe in promoting all the players, organizers, supporters and sponsors. If players, organizers, supporters and sponsors get the proper promotion and recognition, it will help the entire sport. It is good for chess. There should be no jealousy. We must work together to help our sport. We will fail if we work against each other. I am sure chessdom.com and countless other groups can testify for this. All people have to do is send me the info and I will do everything I can to promote them if it is good for chess. There is no charge for this.

This is one of the dozen things my husband and I do each day. But we can manage everything because we work very efficiently. We are also very mobile. We can check messages, post or update things from just about anywhere in the United States. This is what I try to bring to the USCF. Imagine what the USCF can do with 30 people instead of 2. The same goes with other federations.

I also hope that this will inspire others to do the same. With the incredible technology today, there is no reason why chess cannot be better promoted. If someone with no technical or computer training can do it, why not others. Again, it all comes down to hard work and diligence.

Tell us about Tommy and Leeam. Can we expect to see them winning junior competitions soon?

I have no interest for my children to be world champions or top players. That has to be their choice and not mine. I wanted to teach them chess because it helps develop their minds and various skills for school and life. If they want to proceed and be the best, my husband and I will help them all the way. If they just want to be hobby players, it would be fine too. It is more important for them to be happy, wonderful and productive human beings.

Let’s talk about the upcoming World Championship in Mexico City.

I believe that it will be a fantastic event. We have a combination of the experienced ones such as Kramnik, Anand, Leko, Svidler and Gelfand, the young guns such as Aronian and Grischuk, and the always unpredictable Morozevich. It is a wide open event and it should be very exciting.

I also know the organizer Mr. Jorge Saggiante personally. He is very professional and generous and I am confident that this will be one of the best promoted World Championships ever.

How do you see the future of chess?

If FIDE continues to run the main structure and Global Chess runs the business aspect, I see a bright future. Chess has the potential to be a major sport but in order to get there, we have to run it as an efficient business.

I know Mr. Bessel Kok for many years and with the experience and expertise of Geoffrey Borg, Ali Nihat Yazici and others, the future of chess is bright. I am always willing to help and cooperate in anyway I can if they need me.

I am looking forward to seeing the days when chess can compete for the headlines with other major sports.

Useful links:

Susan Polgar blog for girls

Susan Polgar Foundation

Susan Polgar chess photography

FIDE has broken unilaterally the contract with Topalov

Exclusive interview with Silvio Danailov for Chessdom

Danailov

Danailov, Paolo Coelho, Topalov

and Mtel CEO Josef Vinatzer

The case with the participation of the Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov at the Wolrd Championship in Mexico 2007 has been included in the agenda of the Presidential Board of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), as reported by Topalov’s press-agent, Mr. Jivko Ginchev. The meeting of the Presidential Board will take place June 22t-25th in Tallinn. As we know, the Bulgarian delegation on the head of the Minister of Sport Vesela Lecheva, Stefan Sergiev (President of BG chess federation) and Silvio Danailov will explain their position regarding the participation of Veselin Topalov in WCC in Mexico during the meeting.

Only a few days before the meeting, Silvio Danailov agreed to give an exclusive interview for chessdom.com. He was very direct with us and told us things we have never heard before. Here we present you the full version of the interview (with some grammar corrections). We leave the conclusions to the readers.

Mr.Danailov, what are your expectations before the visit in Tallinn ?

Well, I am optimistic. I am sure that the common sense will win and FIDE will let Veselin play. We have all the legal rights and will explain this to FIDE very clearly.

What do you mean by legal rights?

OK, let me remind you the history of the case. When Veselin won the WCC in San Luis he refused all his privileges and agreed to play in Mexico in equal terms with the rest of the players. He did this because FIDE asked him to do it, they had big problems with the sponsors for the matches at that time. San Luis was a big success and they decided to keep this format because it was much easier to find the sponsors. The only problem was to convince the World Champion to refuse his rights. Veselin did this just to help FIDE because they convinced us that this will be good for the interests and future of chess.

Then, thanks to the great popularity of Veselin during the tournament in Morelia 2006, I personally found and convinced the Mexican sponsors to invest in chess and to organize the WCC in Mexico City 2007. They invested more that 4 million US dollars for the organization, only the price fund is 1.3 million.

Danailov Topalov

Topalov & Danailov

But in the contract of the match with Kramnik you have signed that the loser will not play in Mexico?

Yes, this is true, but when we sign this contract there were official FIDE regulations and according to them every former world champion or player with rating above 2700 can challenge the world champion in a match for the title if he can present bank guarantee of USD 2 million. When Veselin lost the match in Elista we immediately made this challenge and presented to FIDE this bank guarantee of USD 2 million. The rest of the story is well known, FIDE declined our rights for this match with very poor arguments.

Like what…?

OK, first they did not accept the bank guarantee because according to them the bank was not reliable, which was not serious at all. Then, when we presented the guarantee from the other bank, they said that there is not enough time to organize the match. But in the meantime we lost about 45 days. Of course, there was no doubt that they were looking for an excuses to refuse the match.

Why don’t you challange the winner of Mexico?

This is the problem, we would like to do that, but in the meantime FIDE changed the regulations, which was not legal. They can’t change the WCC regulations during the same cycle. FIDE have broken unilaterally point 2.8. from the contract with Topalov for WCC match in Elista signed personally by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. And I will show them this contract in Tallinn because probably they forgot what they signed. But this is not the worse, FIDE changed the regulations for the second time giving the guaranteed rematch for Kramnik with the winner of Mexico, no matter what happens there. This is really incredible! They break the rules for the second time in the same cycle which is not legal at all, but the worse is that they obviously try to harm Topalov and give all kind of privileges to Kramnik. What kind of serious organization can do this? This is a unique case in the history of any sport, without any precedent!

On the other hand, this case has its moral side. The World Championship is the face of FIDE and can’t be hostage of political games and unclear interests. All the best players have to play there because everybody wants to know who is the best player in the world. FIDE has big responsibility in front of the world chess community and needs to think about the interests of chess before everything. If they exclude Topalov on purpose it will become obvious that something is wrong.

Topalov and Danailov at Mtel 06

Topalov, Danailov and Vinatzer

What are you going to do if they refuse to include Topalov? Are you going to sue FIDE?

Of course, we are going to defend our rights until the end. We have the government support and will sue FIDE in the Lausanne court. We have consulted the case with a very prestigious law company in Switzerland and they told us that we have all the rights. But, of course, this is the last and very unpleasant step. I believe that we can reach an agreement in Tallinn which is the best for both sides.

In any case your mission in Tallinn is not easy at all, you have very powerful people against you now. In that sense how do you feel about Ilymzhinov and Kramnik? Are they your enemies?

Well, Kirsan and Kramnik are not exactly my enemies, we just have big conflict of interests, this is only business, nothing personal. They defend their interests, and I defend mine. There is nothing wrong here, this is OK.

Personally I like Kirsan a lot, he is very nice and funny person. Don’t forget that Veselin and I supported him openly before and during the FIDE elections in Turin. And I value the merits of Kramnik like a player, nobody can ignore his achievements in chess.

In his recent big interview in Chessbase Kramnik said that his opinion about your ethical code is not very high.

Well, it’s very strange for me that the guy who never qualified for any WCC cycle, and now is building with great enthusiasm cycles for the other players, can speak about ethical code. The man who always received the WCC matches like gifts, first from Kasparov and then from Ilyumzhnov, is speaking about moral? Mr.Kramnik, who harmed gravely the career of such a great player like Alexei Shirov in such a cynical way?

This gentleman, who by using his political connections in Russia was pressing FIDE and the FIDE President the last months to guarantee him a rematch with the winner of Mexico? And now this guy is teaching us about moral? Come on, give me a break!

In the same interview Kramnik accused you for lying that he visits the bath room 50 times during the game and this was a special strategy to damage his reputation and disbalance his performance in the match….

Oh really, this was a lie? Actually this is very easy to check, I have suggested that during the match. Just show the tapes to the journalists, put it on internet. Then everybody can count and check personally and we will see who is lying. If Mr.Kramnik is innocent what is the problem to see the tapes? But of course, the organizers will never show this tapes because Kramnik will never permit this. Guess why?

Kramnik at Corus

Kramnik

Do you really think that Kramnik cheated during the match?

Look, in the beginning when I saw the tapes his behaviour was only strange for me, slightly suspicious, nothing more. That’s why I present the famous appeal, just to avoid any doubts about the fair play in the match. But after his hysterical reaction during the famous game five we started to realize that something is wrong. This was the typical reaction of a guilty man who has something to hide.

Imagine the situation: You are an innocent man who is leading comfortably with 3-1, playing with White in game five. Play your game and then complain or whatever. Why do you need to react in such a hysterical way?

Then came the real evidences, our technical experts found the computer cables in both toilets. Do you have a computer cable in your toilet? The first Appeal Committee accepted our appeal because there was clear evidence that something was wrong, not because they were my friends. Then the FIDE President fired Makropolous and Azmaiparashvili (because they didn’t resign, they were fired and kicked out from Elista). Later on, the two new members of the new Appeal Committee immediately presented their resignation when they realized what was going on. You can see how big was our support in Kalmikia…

These are the facts, the rest is nonsense. I will not enter in personal qualifications like Mr.Kramnik, I would only like to remind the pure facts and everybody can judge by himself.

Kramnik said that he was very nervous and emotional, that you were driving him crazy.

Come on, I know Kramnik very well from years. He is cold like ice, calculating extremely carefully all his moves, in life and chess. He is a very intelligent person. He can sell these stories about his emotions to somebody else, not to me.

What about the rumours that there was a campaign against you in Chessbase?

Well, many people were asking me the same question. But you know, this is not exactly Chessbase, this is just one person from Chessbase – Frederic Friedel, who is trying to damage our reputation during the last few years. Manipulating the information, manipulating the facts. This guy is completely obsessed with Veselin and me and really wants to hurt us.

Luckily he made a big mistake by publishing the famous video in Commersant and lost a lot of credit, he is not reliable anymore.

Wait a minute, the video in Commersant was provided by Dutch amateur, isn’ t it?

Ha,ha,ha! Dutch amateur you said, this is a joke or what? Come on, the chess world is so small and everybody knows who was the producer of this video. But for his big surprise the effect was like a boomerang to him.

For example, Friedel was always calling Topalov FIDE world champion and nowadays former FIDE world champion. In the same time he is calling Kramnik World Champion or Absolute World Champion. Can you feel the deference? Actually he is right, Kramnik is Absolute World Champion of spending time in toilet during one match. And please, don’t blame me for that, I was not the one who spend about at least one hour during almost every game on the toilet in Elista.

It is hard to believe that Mr. Friedel had something personal against you and Mr. Topalov.

Yes of course, there was some commercial reasons as well. Do you know that Mr. Friedel invites almost every top player in his house in Hamburg? Like he used to say with pride, “Anand slept more than 60 times in my house. Leko and many others as well.” These guys comment some games, make some videos, etc., which he uses later on. Well, Veselin always declined his invitations and never visited Hamburg and Chessbase.

On the other hand, Chessbase needed to promote desperately the match Kramnik-Fritz 10 last year in Bonn. Unfortunately for them, Fritz 10 nowadays is much weaker program then Hydra, Rybka, Junior, etc. At the same time Kramnik was only the third player of the world, Topalov and Anand had much better results at that moment. So, how to promote the “World chess challenge” between Player Number 3 and Program Number 4? Discrediting Topalov at any cost and promoting Kramnik.

Grand Slam logo

Let’s change the direction of the conversation. What is the future of the Grand Slam which start next year?

Well, the future is very promising. We contacted already some potential sponsors and they are very interested. One thing is sure, the winner of the final Master Tournament in Bilbao will be without any doubts the best player of the year, with much more value than the world champion.

When is the next meeting of the GSCA and what is the main topic?

The next meeting will be in Bilbao in October during the blindfold tournament there. We have two new candidates for members from Argentina and Kazakhstan and need to discus what to do.

Is the pointing system for the Grand Slam decided? Is it going to be in the format similar to F1?

For the moment it is clear that the four winners from Corus, Linares, MTel Masters and Mexico City will qualify for the Master in Bilbao 2008. We need to clarify how to proceed if the same player wins two or more tournaments and to invent a serious point system in that case.

See also short video interview with Silvio Danailov, taken during the Mtel Masters.

Peter Doggers

About EU tour and ChessVibes

Hello Peter! You recently came back from a tour around Europe. The last place that you visited was Hungary where you played the First Saturday tournament. Are you happy with your performance there?

Hi there. Well, actually I did not return yet. My tour will last till the end of August. I’m playing lots of tournaments and at the same time I’m making on-the-spot reports, interviews and videos.

Right now I’m in Berlin and as from Saturday the 23rd of June I will ocupy one of the seats in the press room of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, the next super tournament after Sofia.

Naturally I’m happy about my result in Budapest since I won 24 rating points there.

Did you like Budapest as a city? Did you jump in Szechenyi Baths and Pool?:)

Yes, I very much like Budapest. It’s a beautiful city and we had great weather despite some occasional showers. And the people are quite ‘into chess’, which can be seen at the Szechenyi Bath & Pool. I was able to shoot a photo of the famous image of people playing chess while being in the water. A big report on the First Saturday tournament, including an interview with organizer László Nagy, can be found at www.chessvibes.com.

Before that you were in Sofia. How do you compare Sofia to Budapest?

Well it’s difficult to make a good comparison since I haven’t seen that much of Sofia. There I’ve just been working a lot in the Mtel Masters press room and mainly saw the city during the nights. I think that Budapest is a bit more ‘western’ than Sofia, which you may notice for example by the prices in restaurants. Sofia is also quite nice and I’m looking forward to return there and explore it some more.

Mtel Masters was an exciting tournament. What is the feeling to be part of the team reporting it?

Being a journalist in Sofia is like taking a warm bath. The tournament organizers are doing everything to make you feel comfortable and are sending every information you need with daily emails. Besides, there are many side-activities, for example the soccer match between the chess players and the players from Levsky football club on the rest day, which is just great fun for both players and journalists.

Mtel compared to Corus?

Mtel is of course much smaller, but equally professionally organized, from the journalist point of view. Unfortunately the third edition was a bit weaker than the first two tournaments, but the fighting spirit wasn’t!

When is your next tournament? Is the GM title far away?

As a journo Dortmund will be next, but as a player my next tournament will be the Championship of Paris, 7-15 July. The GM title is out of the question for me, since I’ve been on a 2250 level for about six years now. It’s quite impossible I think to improve 300 points when you’re not a professional and older than let’s say 25. But the main reason for this “tour” I’m doing is actually to improve my chess. Many players told me that to improve in chess, the most important thing is to play often. And I’m inclined to agree with them. First Saturday was my third tournament, after Salou and Porto Mannu in May, and I’ve clearly been playing better in Budapest compared to the other tournaments. My performance rating was above 2300. If I can continue to play on this level, I will reach my first, modest goal which is to pass the 2300 border. Only after that I feel it’s justified to start thinking about a second IM norm (I scored an IM norm in Amsterdam, 2004).

What can we expect from ChessVibes?

More of the same, and more! Which means that we will certainly continue making lots of videos and articles about the chess news. (Do visit the site especially next week because the Dortmund coverage will be very intensive again). And at some point we’ll probably come with new types of content, for example material that helps to improve your game of chess, because this is a subject that I’m quite interested in. Hopefully I can visit lots of more tournaments, also after my tour, because what ChessVibes has been doing so far is greatly appreciated by both the team and the audience.

To this I’d like to add that we’re always open for new contributors. If readers of this interview think that they could contribute to the site, either by writing about things they like or just by making some photos (or even videos?), they should feel free to contact us . Thanks for the interview and good luck with Chessdom!

Interview with David Glickman

He is better known as DG of the BCC Weblog

David Glickman is maintaining the Boylston Chess Club Weblog. While his first intention was to provide information about the club and its players, the BCC Weblog has quickly evolved into the meeting point for all the chess bloggers in the universe. His sense to spot interesting things and present them in unique way, combined with wonderful humor, have made me the BCC Weblog daily visitor for already two years now.

Referred to as – GM Blogger DG (by Man de la Maza), House Reporter (The Chess Wanderer), On-Quests-for-up-to-date-listing (Takchess), Knights Errant Historian (by many) – David, the man who knows how the chess blogosphere breaths, had kindly accepted an interview for Chessdom.

David Glickman

David Glickman

At the beginning, can you tell us what topics are of interest for Boylston Chess Club Weblog?

BCC Weblog is ultimately the synthesis of two perspectives – 1) what am I (and the other occasional posters) interested in writing about and 2) what do the readers respond to. I’ve experimented with a variety of different types of content and have had varied results. For example, coverage of the Knights Errant and the US Chess League has been very well received. So has the series of Caption Contests. On the other hand, when I tried to invite the blog readership to participate in a correspondence game the club was playing there was very little interest at all. Posts touching on the lighter side of chess in the news sometimes work and sometimes don’t.

Content specifically about the club, its events, its players, etc. has been a bit of an enigma. Going in to this effort, I certainly thought that this would be a major component of the blog. But frankly, people only seem interested if there is some controversy attached. It became clear to me early on, that the vast majority of the readership were not going to be club members and that therefore cross tables listing the names of people they’ve never heard of wasn’t likely to be of much interest. I still get complaints from time to time from members who feel that more club-specific content should be posted. My response is always the same, “Sign up as a poster and do it yourself.” Unfortunately, far too few take me up on the offer.

From an overall thematic perspective, I decided after a few months of blogging that BCC Weblog’s unique positioning would revolve around coverage of the chess blogosphere itself. There was no point in competing with Mig on International Chess coverage (I don’t have the contacts he has) or Dennis on Chess Analysis (I don’t have his skills or aptitude for the game). Maintaining a comprehensive listing of chess blogs is part of this, as is bringing interesting posts of others to the attention of readers. Where I can, I enjoy trying to find (sometimes esoteric) connections among the writings of different bloggers. There has also been pretty good response to my series of articles on Measuring the Chess Blogosphere.

It was certainly flattering when Michael Goeller wrote that BCC Weblog was “…the center of the chess blogging universe…”, but in fact, from a marketing perspective, that was exactly the unique positioning I was trying to claim.

Boylston 3

Bloggies Awards

You are maintaining an impressive list on your blogroll and bloglines. What are the trends in chess blogosphere?

Well, the first trend is the explosive growth of the chess blogosphere which makes it almost impossible to keep up. As of today (6/11/07), my listings include 259 Active blogs (which have posted at least one item in the last 45 days), 209 Inactive blogs, and another 132 blogs which were Inactive for more than one year, went 404, or were highjacked. In Bloglines, I am subscribed to over 520 chess blog feeds and receive between 100-200 posts per day (of course, Susan Polgar’s blogs account for 10-20% of the daily volume). It’s a lot of skimming to find the small handful posts worth a read, a comment, or that might make good fodder for a post of my own.

And the onslaught continues… I add new blogs every week and could probably do so daily if I wanted to. To make this point, I accepted a bet from About Chess’ Mark Weeks where he challenged me to find 5 chess blogs he had never seen before in two hours. I found about 5 times that many in only one. The good news is that there are many more interesting, unique, high quality chess blogs available to find; the downside, however, is that you have to weed through many mediocre ones, often covering the same old ground, to find them.

Another trend is the increasing use of video in chess blogs – both posting of content found on sites like YouTube and self-produced chess videos. I remember how unique it was when Chris Kilgore posted a homemade video on his blog a couple years back. Now dozens of chess bloggers do it. Chess Vibes has produced a very high quality, “semi-professional” blog largely based around their unique chess video content. There’s even a community site specifically focused on developing and sharing chess videos.

One other trend I might note is the use of advertising on chess blogs. In the early days (you know, 2004-2005!), we used to have long debates about the appropriateness of putting Google ads on chess blogs. Today, that debate is over; almost everyone has them. However, if my experience is a guide (and I think it is) then no one is getting wealthy from them (no one except Google, that is).

What is, in your opinion, the importance of the chess blogs?

The world got along fine for thousands of years without chess blogs, so I’m hesitant to suggest that they are important at all. On the other hand, a world without chess would be bleak indeed. But, that’s a story for another time.

Within the chess community itself, I think chess blogs often play a similar role to blogs in other areas. They offer a broader range of independent perspectives and they cover more niche topics than are available in the traditional chess media. Through blogs, anyone can be a tournament reporter, a game analyst, or a chess improvement theorist.

Interactivity, and the sense of community which it provides, is key. Readers continue the discussion by posting comments; others bloggers can respond in their own blogs. The result is a virtual community of people with shared interest who can experience a common set of information and continually extend it. Through chess blogging, I now have chess friends from all over the world (in fact, in places like Serbia, the only people I know are chess bloggers!). Within the chess blogosphere, there are even sub-communities, as we’ll discuss later.

What are the motives behind one’s decision to start a chess blog?

One things for sure, it’s not for the money or the girls. And nobody cuts me any slack over the board because they’re playing the chess blogger. I haven’t been to one of the big open tournaments like Foxwoods in years, so I don’t know whether I’d be swarmed by chess blog groupies, but I doubt it.

I suspect there are a number of different motivations. Some people just want to share their games with others. Some want to collect their thoughts and ideas somewhere and don’t really care if anyone actually reads them. Others are looking to benefit from being part of the community (this is particularly true for the chess improvement crowd). Some have a niche interest they want to bring greater exposure to. Others probably just enjoy writing about chess.

There are other motivations as well. Certain club blogs seek to promote their clubs, while others simply share event announcements and tournament results. Susan Polgar uses her blogs to promote her chess-related activities and run her USCF Executive Board campaign. IM Ben Feingold has used his blog to solicit donations to fund his chess travels. There are purely commercial blogs seeking to drive traffic to sites which sell chess-related products (sometimes openly, other times surreptitiously).

As for BCC Weblog, I had several sources of motivation when I started. I wanted to:

- Learn more about blogging, blog-related technology, and the development of on-line communities

- Have a creative outlet to work on my writing and composition skills

- Bring additional exposure to the club and potentially even some economic benefit in the form of new members, new tournament participants, donations, etc.

- Create an interactive space for members of the club to share any/all chess-related information (this has turned out to be the most difficult one to achieve)

Boylston 5

Boylston Chess Club tournament

Can you introduce Knights Errant group?

Soon after I started BCC Weblog, I was trolling around trying to find other chess blogs to share links with. Unlike today when it’s almost impossible to avoid tripping over a new chess blog, back then it was quite a challenge finding them. In any case, I came across two blogs who seemed mostly to be talking to each other – Don Q’s Mandelamaza and Sancho Pawnza’s Tactics Tactics Tactics!?. Both were pursuing the intense tactical training regimen advocated by Michael De La Maza in his book “Rapid Chess Improvement”. They had chosen to blog about their quest using the story of Don Quixote as a thematic backdrop. I contacted them, offered to share links and they gladly accepted.

Within days I came across Pale Morning Dun’s Self Flagellation to the Goddess Caissa where he wrote that his blog was “…In the tradition of (Don) Man de la Maza and Sancho Pawnza…”. At that moment, I realized that something really interesting was going on, though I couldn’t have known how big it would turn out to be. I decided to document the goings-on of this little band of chess bloggers at BCC Weblog. Every few weeks or so, I put up a post summarizing some of their more interesting posts and as new blogs joined the group I sought them out and maintained a list of their members.

For a short time, the group stayed relatively small. I still retain a soft spot for the original six – those mentioned above plus Pawn Sensei, Generalkaia and J’adoube (who I named “the off-center knight”, despite the fact that he has since trademarked the phrase – I’m sure the royalty checks will be arriving soon :) ). Each was also pursuing the De La Maza program and posting about their plans, progress, thoughts on improvement, issues with CT-Art, etc.

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Knights Errant

And then, things just exploded. Suddenly there were 18 to 20 active Knights. We were finding new ones almost every week. Some blogs started strong and fizzled out quickly, but many have stayed active and strong to this day like Temposchlucker, Takchess and BlueDevil. Over time the Knights Errant group has evolved – while it is still focused on chess improvement, its members have broadened their approaches beyond De La Maza’s narrow prescription. As long time members have left, new “leaders” have emerged. As disputes among members have occasionally risen, it has been remarkable to watch how the community has self-regulated itself.

The Knights Errant is truly a remarkable example of the development and strength of a virtual on-line community existing in the blogosphere. It’s continued growth and prosperity is a testament to its founders.

The problem with Wikipedia is not solved?

I’m not sure I have much to add here. There have been a couple of attempts to include articles in Wikipedia on chess blogs or the Knights Errant and in each case the Wikipedia community (I affectionately refer to them as “Pinheads”) has decided to remove them. Clint Ballard ran into the same problem when he tried to post an article on his controversial BAP chess tournament scoring system.

It seems that the free, open Encyclopedia isn’t as free or open as we’ve been led to believe. I’m reminded of a quote from Orwell’s “Animal Farm”: “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.”

Looking at the links on your sidebar, Blogger.com appears to be the most popular platform. What is the reason?

It’s free, easy to setup and easy to use. This doesn’t mean it’s a particularly great service. In fact, Blogger has many limitations and several annoyances. There are alternatives, especially if you are somewhat technically savvy. However, if you just want to sign-up and start blogging in the next few minutes, Blogger certainly meets that need.

You use Haloscan, Ping-o-matic, Sitemeter. What are the other blogging tools?

Haloscan is a third party commenting and trackback utility. When I started BCC Weblog, Blogger didn’t have trackback capability. Trackbacks are a method of blogger-to-blogger communication where Blogger A informs Blogger B that the he posted an item which links to one of Blogger B’s posts. They also serve to assist readers in following a related conversation across multiple blogs. In any case, I implemented Haloscan so BCC Weblog would have this capability. Haloscan also offers some useful comment management tools.

Ping-o-matic goes back to the old days when you had to “ping” search engine services to let them know that you had posted a new item. The “ping” lets them know that they should come by and reindex your site. Today, this all happens automatically behind the scenes, so pinging services are pretty much obsolete.

Sitemeter is one of two visitor tracking tools I have installed. It provides information on the number of visitors, their location, who referred them, how many pages they viewed, what search terms led them to the blog, where they went when they left, etc. In particular, I often find the referral data useful in identifying blogs which have recently put up links to BCC Weblog. Watching your visitor stats can get addicting and I remember one blogger who said something along the lines of “…when I realized I was checking my stats every hour, I knew it was time to quit blogging.”

I also have some tools listed which I use to find new blogs and chess-related posts – Technorati, Blogshares and Google Blogsearch – and others where I create chess diagrams and game applets – ChessUp and ChessPublisher.

Let’s move to another important subject. Can you tell us how are chess clubs organized in the US?

As a seven day a week club with its own dedicated space, the Boylston Chess Club tends to be the exception to the rule in the States. There are other full-time clubs like the Marshall in New York and the Mechanics in San Francisco. However, in most places clubs tend to be more informal one night a week affairs held at local community centers, bookstores, libraries, etc. One club in our local area, the MetroWest Chess Club, falls somewhere in between the two models.

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BCC Logo

Thanks to the efforts of former club President Peter Sherwood and current President FM Paul MacIntyre, our club is part of a charitable foundation, the Boylston Chess Foundation. This allows us to seek tax-deductible contributions to support our efforts in chess education, community outreach, etc. We have a slate of officers and a board of directors which is elected annually.

With what kind of challenges are chess clubs facing nowadays?

Money and participation.

For a club like ours which rents its own space, ensuring that we can generate enough income to cover our expenses is always a challenge. We depend on membership dues, tournament income, and donations. Obviously clubs that “borrow” their space have fewer economic concerns.

There is no doubt that there are plenty of people playing chess on-line but not venturing out to play over-the-board in clubs. Finding ways to reach out to these players and creating a compelling club experience to keep them coming back is a challenge.

You have actively participated in promoting US Chess League. What kind of benefits is expected from this event? How can US Chess League help chess clubs?

This is probably a question better answered by league commissioner Greg Shahade. My main impetus for covering the league is that virtually all the members of the Boston Blitz are either members and/or players at our club. Therefore, I expected that there would be significant local interest in the team. I was not disappointed; in fact, the coverage has been of interest beyond the local area. In its first couple years the league has been a source of many compelling stories and it’s been quite fun to wear the “local sportswriter” hat.

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Boston Blitz

Will the league continue to grow and prosper? Who knows, though things look good so far. Will it raise the profile of chess in the U.S. or change the economic prospects for our GMs? Seems like a stretch, but let’s wait and see. Will clubs eventually play a role in the league? I don’t know, but I can envision an eventual U2000 B-league which could be organized around clubs.

There’s only one thing I’m reasonably confident about. Whatever happens, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to read about it at BCC Weblog.

Roiz, Werle, Glickman, Polgar, Doggers, Danailov, Georgiev

Thematic week at Chessdom

Update Monday 18

After a great weekend with Jan Werle and Michael Roiz, today we present you the other side – chess journalism! We have two fantastic interviews. The first one is with David Glickman, aka DG of the BCC Weblog, presenting the big community of chess bloggers. DG is the best person to ask because he is following 200+ blogs. We also have Peter Doggers from Chessvibes, talking about his recent tour around Europe and Chessvibes itself.

Go to our interviews section and enjoy!

Mihajlo Stojanovic

Werle 2

Suat Atalik

Kiril Georgiev

Valjevo chess tournament is entering in its most interesting phase having Karpov, Roiz, Ivanishevic, and Atalik on first place. While following the games you will be able to enjoy a thematic week at Chessdom! It will be interviews week!

We start with one of the current leaders of Valjevo 2007, Michael Roiz. Or should we say just Roiz since his name is pronounced differently in every country (Maikul, Mihael, Mihail, Misha). Find out more about the current leader here or at our interviews section.

We also had an e-mail interview with GM Jan Werle! He shares his experience from Lodi, where he has won his second tournament after Hoogeveen 2006.

David Glickman, the guru of the chess blogosphere, is sharing his views and experience with the chess blogging community.

Starting Monday we will have available interviews with GM Suat Atalik, GM Kiril Georgiev, GM Susan Polgar, Chessvibes editor Peter Doggers and… Silvio Danailov! Danailov has not spoken since Mtel Masters. One of his last interviews was when we talked to him about the Grand Slam. Now Talin meeting (June 23-24) is coming and we want to hear his expectations from the encounter. We will also try to get in touch with Kramnik, so that we hear the other side of the story.

In the end of the week we have scheduled interviews with Mihajlo Stojanovic and another one of the Valjevo leaders, Ivan Ivanisevic. Until now Karpov has been concentrating on chess, but we will also try to speak to him.

While reading the interviews, you may also enjoy the live commentary and game analysis by IM Kalin Karakehayov. IM Karakehayov is one of the teachers in the “Chessdom online chess training academy” that will also feature IM and WGM Martha Fierro and IM Miodrag Perunovic. The academy will start in a few days. We will keep you updated on the development. If you are interested in online chess training, drop us an e-mail.

Kalin Karakehayov

IM Kalin Karakehayov
(ELO 2443)

Martha Fierro 2

WGM Martha Fierro
(ELO 2339)

Miodrag Perunovic

IM Miodrag Perunovic
(ELO 2368)

We will not forget upcoming tournaments as well. Foros starts today (Svidler, Ivanchuk, Jakovenko, Shirov, Rublevsky, Domínguez, Sasikiran, Nisipeanu, Van Wely, Onischuk). Previews will be available for Ikaros Chess Festival, First Saturday July, Chess Festival Voronezh 2007, etc.

Stay tuned for updates!

Interview with GM Jan Werle

Jan has just won the very strong 2007 Lodi Open

Q: Can you tell us what has got you attracted to chess?

A: From my 5th year I saw my father playing chess with a friend. I was so excited by this game that I insisted on learning the rules. Actually I fell in love with the game and that hasn’t changed for 18 years.

Q: Tell us something about your latest competition – 4NCL and Lodi Open. What are your impressions? How did your team perform?

A: My team didn’t perform very well in the 4ncl. I played for Bristol on board 1 and made 3 draws out of 3 games. Nothing special, but solid. Bristol unfortunately relegated. 2 years ago I also played for Bristol and couldn’t also prevent relegation for the team. My general impression of the 4NCL is very positive. Kind people and a very soft atmosphere. I always like it very much to play the English competition.

In Lodi (Italy) I just won my second (after Hoogeveen 2006) international tournament and ended in front of strong players like Delchev, Fedorchuk, Palac, Zelcic, Malakhatkov. To be honest I must admit that my pairings were pretty lucky by not getting the strongest opponents. But ok, it’s never easy to get 4,5 points out of 5 games. We played outside and it was a nice experience except one round when the sun was shining on us and we really needed suncream for protection! No, but Lodi was a very nice place and tournament and can recommend it!

Werle 1

Pricegiving in Lodi

Q: We understand you’re at the University, yet you get your share of tournaments. How do you manage to focus on both things at the same time?

A: Next to my chess, I study law at the Groningen University. I find it pretty hard to combine, because chess is a burden on your mental condition. Even tougher: chess is much more fun!! A physical sport must be much easier to combine with your study.

Q: How do you spend your spare time?

A: The time which is still left I spend with friends going out and I like to sport very much. Football, tennis and rowing especially. Sometimes fitness and jogging. I also love to read when I find my rest, especially about history.

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Market in Lodi

Q: How would you best define your chess style?

A: I would define my chess style as positional, but I can be killing if I have to… so be careful! :) My fighting spirit is ok but my openings are terrible.

Q: How do you see the current situation in chess world?

A: The chess future doesn’t give me a positive feeling. It’s more and more hard working on openings. I prefer the old ‘architects’ and gentlemen like Botvinnik and Petrosian, with their beautiful original styles. But I understand that we can’t change this new tendency since the computer interfered in the professional chess scene.

Werle 4

Jan Werle in Dutch team competition

Q: Which learning method would you suggest to young aspiring players?

A: The best learning method is hard to say. There should be different ones. But maybe a good one is to start when you’re young with tactical exercises. Later on endings and when you’re even older focus on the positional side of the game. Why? Because you can in 1 move win with a trick even when you’re worse. And winning positional games takes like ‘thousand’ moves.

Q: What are your plans in the near future?

A: The following years I am planning still to improve with chess, but have not the illusion to become very, very strong. When I would get 2600 rating I’d be satisfied. I know it’s possible on skills, though the skill to work very hard as all my ‘colleagues’ do, has not been given to me. No, I also don’t like to play only chess, it must stay a hobby for me. I am planning to be lawyer in civil law. Just a ‘boring’ house, garden and kitchen life…

Jan Werle homepage

Interview with Michael Roiz

For Politika newspaper, by Aleksandar Stanic

The least known player for Serbian public is 23-years old Israeli GM Michael Roiz. Aleksandar Stanic interviewed the quiet youngster from Beer-Sheva.

Q: This is your first time in Serbia. What are your impressions?

A: I feel very comfortable in Serbia. People are open and friendly. I particularly liked Valjevo Museum.

Roiz Iordachesku

Iordachescu and Roiz analysing

Q: How popular is chess in Israel?

A: We have many strong players with only 6 million inhabitants. However, chess is stagnating in Israel, more popular are football and basketball.

Q: Your name is international. How do you exactly pronounce it?

A: In Russia they call me Misha, in Israel Mihail and in Europe Michael, like if it is English name.

Michael Roiz

Michael to move

Q: How did you start playing chess?

A: My father taught me the rules when I was 6 years old. Three years later we moved to Israel. In Russia I was 2nd in U10 group and later vice-champion in European U16 championship. I became Grandmaster when I was 18 years old. My favorite players are Fischer and Kasparov.

Q: What do you expect to achieve in Gorenje 2007?

A: I just want to play the best I can, have some nice games and enjoy.

Valjevo day 8 Novinar Politike

Aleksandar Stanic, reporting for “Politika”

Questions by Chessdom reporter:

Q: Is this your first invitational tournament?

A: Well, not really. I already played round-robin in Saratov few years ago and one in Beer-Sheva. But this one is definitely stronger and I am very happy that I was invited.

Q: Have you played any of these players before?

A: No. I have seen them at various tournaments, Gibraltar for example, but we never met over the board.

Q: Were you pleased with your Gibraltar performance?

A: I couldn’t say pleased, but ok, I played well and tied 5th place.

Interview with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Video (Russian), transcript (English)

English transcript:

Mr. Mamedyarov, please share for the audience of Chessdom.com your impressions from the Mtel Masters Tournament and how do you evaluate your performance?

It seems to me, that the organization of the tournament was simply great. I like it very much. Here we had everything for the chess players: a day off, before that a ceremony and a special party (“Black and White Partyred.note) for the participants in the tournament, a magnificent hotel, playing hall and play settings… in general I liked everything. I want to use the opportunity to thank to the organizers and the sponsors, of course, for their love and support towards chess.

What are your plans for the next few months?

For now, I know for sure that I will play in Dortmund. It is also going to be difficult there, because it is a super-tournament with 8 participants – Kramnik, Anand, Carlsen, Leko, Gelfand, Naiditsch, Alexeev (Arkadij Naiditsch is from Latvia by birth, but at the moment is the strongest chess player in Germany, and Evgeny Alexeev is the chess player that won the Aeroflot Tournament red.note) and myself. I will also take part in the team championship of France with the Chess15 Club.

Mamedyarov walking around

Round 1: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

You are already being invited to partake in Super-tournaments – why aren’t you included among the participants in the World Championship Qualifications?

Because two years ago in Hanti-Manseek at the World Cup I did not play well and my rating was low, not very low, it was 2670. I was very tired at this tournament, did not play well, did not qualify among the first sixteen and that’s why I could not make it to the list with the participants for the World Championship Qualifiactions.

Who will represent Azerbaijan at the world championship of Europe and according to you, what are the chances for Azerbaijan at this European Championship?

It is still not clear. We have many strong chess players. All of us, even the last 5th person in the list is with very high rating. Therefore, we have very good chances. After all, it will be good if Rajabov and I take part, but nothing is decided yet.

Mamedyarov interesting 1

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

GM Ibrahimov is your second, and as you said at one of the press conferences here, a good friend of yours. How long have you worked together? Tell us something more about him…

We are more friends than chess associates. He, of course, helped me in this tournament as well, but his help is more his friendship that related to chess. Rasul, of course, is a great chess player. He can evaluate perfectly every chess game. But for me his friendship, understanding and support mean much more that the technical details on a chess game. He constantly follows my mood, whether I win or lose, and gives me the best advice which I try to follow.

Mamedyarov After the Draw 2

Mtel Masters: drawing lots

You said that you liked the organization of the M-tel Masters Tournament a lot. Do you consider participating in the Tournament next year?

If I am invited, I will participate for sure. The organization and the tournament are great and I will play in it with great pleasure next year.

Thank you for the interview. We wish you successful future tournaments.