Interview with Vladimir Kramnik

Kramnik will participate in Azerbaijan vs The World

by Tima Tushiev

Former world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik arrived in Azerbaijan for the President’s Cup and the match Azerbaijan vs The World. Kramnik arrived at the VIP hall of the airport, named after Heydar Aliyev, precisely at the expected time, then in anticipation of obtaining a visa for his wife Mary, spent some time in the VIP box.

After that, the well-known Russian grandmaster, one of the people to defeat the “great and terrible” Garry Kasparov, kindly agreed to be interviewed for


- What was your first reaction when the heard about the invitation to match Azerbaijan vs The World?

I was very pleased about this invitation because it is a very nice event. I have not been to Azerbaijan for a long time. I know chess here is booming, it was the stage of the first Grand Prix tournament. I have already told Faik Gasanov that the last time I was here was in 1987 at the junior championships. So I was very happy that such tournament is being organized, and my wife gave her consent as she wanted to see the country.

How do you see the team of the World?

It is a very good team, all are good and strong players (participants list here). Perhaps we are rating favorites, we have a little higher rating. But I understand Azerbaijan will play on their home turf, and probably will play with great desire. Therefore, I think the match will not be simple, it will be more or less equal. I am sure many chess enthusiasts will come to watch the games

In a recent interview for Soviet Sport you said that there are currently few players who could really claim the world chess crown. Are there Azeri players among them?

I would not say that the circle of chess players is narrow, at present there are twenty people that can actually become champions of the world. Of course, the young, including the Azerbaijani chess players, are real contenders for the world chess crown. Among them are Teimour Radjabov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, and Vugar Gashimov, all three are very talented. With good and competent work, and good public support, any of those players has chances. I hope I have the same chances as well.

Full interview: