Vladimir Kramnik: "Now I’m Ready for the Season"

Время публикации: 29.04.2012 20:51 | Последнее обновление: 29.04.2012 21:57

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E.SUROV: Vladimir Kramnik, the match has finished. When it became known that the match will go ahead, you said that you view it, first of all, as training for the Candidates tournament. It so happened that the tournament will not happen that soon, but only in a year’s time. What do you think about this match as a stage of preparation for something?

V.KRAMNIK: In any case, I can say that it was the preparation for the season. That’s because there was a four-month brake after the last season finished and now the new season is starting. The tournaments are starting and I had to “get in the mood” even if the Candidates tournament has been moved. There will be the Tal Memorial, Dortmund, the Olympiad and so on. That’s why it was important for me to play this match; it was, unquestionably, very useful to me in that respect. The one thing I was a little worried about is that it would be difficult to play after such a long break. In reality, it was quite hard at the beginning, but, in general, I’m quite happy about my quality of play, excluding the first game that I didn’t play confidently: the opening didn’t work and I didn’t play well. That’s why I’m very happy with how the match went; the games were interesting and that was exactly what I wanted: to fully submerge in it all. And now I feel that I got into the rhythm of things and ready to play in tournaments. To be honest, I didn’t have the same feeling before the start of the match; there was a lack of practice. I remember that in the first game my head just didn’t want to work and now it seems normal again. Even today it was apparent that I can calculate variations; the cogs started turning.

E.SUROV: You didn’t want the draw today, didn’t you? You were playing…

V.KRAMNIK: I was just playing. It’s was a training match; that's why I didn’t think about the result, but just played. It was clear that, first of all, Levon wanted to play. He was White and it was clear that he would play for a win. I expected to have a complicated game; I was sure that he would simply choose something with a bit of play and he was unlikely to go into the Berlin. The opening didn’t go too well: a bit worse for me. But then I played not bad at all and even had some serious winning chances at some point. Also, I can say that it wasn’t the case of not seeing something; I simply decided that 33…e3 had to be winning as well. It was very difficult to calculate to the end. I saw the move 33…Ne7 and thought it was very good, while it seemed to me that 33…e3 was simpler and had to be winning, but that turned out not to be the case. Therefore, it was a practical mistake; there is nothing serious about that and I’m happy with today’s game overall.

E.SUROV: When is your next tournament?

V.KRAMNIK: That will certainly be the Tal Memorial. That’s quite soon. I’m going to arrive towards the end of the World Championship match between Anand and Gelfand, commentate a little and give some lectures to children during the last week.

E.SUROV: So, won’t you leave after that?

V.KRAMNIK: No, I won’t. I will, probably, stay in Moscow until after the Tal Memorial. So, I’m going to stay in Moscow for a long time from the end of May. And now I’m going to get some rest, because the match was quite difficult, even though it was a training match. First of all, he is a strong opponent who stretches you all the time and doesn’t allow to relax. Secondly, there was a lot of preparation between the games. And the games were intense. On top of that, it’s more stressful playing in a match as compared to playing in a tournament, because there are many players in a tournament, while here everyone looked at you as soon as you arrived and, it was like, the responsibility felt higher. There was some responsibility to make the games interesting, while I didn’t want to lose them either. So I am tired, to be honest. But that’s ok; at least, I’m very happy that this event happened and the match was very intersting. I learned a lot from it and, I think, Levon also did. So, I am ready for the season.

E.SUROV: I wanted to ask at the beginning, what were you lacking in order to win the match? I understand the answer is that there wasn’t enough playing practice before the match, is that right?

V.KRAMNIK: I think Levon and I are similar in strength, so I don’t think I should have won the match. I feel a draw was a natural and logical result of our match. I consider the result 3-3 as quite logical, according to our play. So, what was I lacking… Probably, I could have played the opening in a less wasteful manner in the first game. On the other hand, he didn’t have to risk in the third game. So, it is reasonable: I could have won and he could have won, but 3-3 was logical at the end.

E.SUROV: And what about the match in general? There are some opinions, including those expressed during this match, that these kinds of events are dying out or even have had their time already. I understand that for you, as a participant, it’s nice to play. It’s nice for us, as spectators, to watch. Nevertheless, the hundred people who come here may be the only ones who like it. Those who watch via the internet may not like to watch only one game at a time for several hours. Perhaps it’s already a last century thing? Have you not changed your mind about that?

V.KRAMNIK: But why? I think there are a lot of interesting things about this kind of format. And I think the match was interesting. Although in principle, I agree that a match can be boring between two top players. That can happen. Yes, the theory is well-developed and the quality of play is high. But this time we tried to play quite sharp, in my opinion. Both he and I tried to go for fully playable positions. So, this match doesn’t support the theory that you presented. Although I do understand that there is such a threat. That’s what the modern chess is like.

E.SUROV: However, Levon and you were, from the start, in an advantageous position as compared to the match Anand – Gelfand.

V.KRAMNIK: In an advantageous position because…

E.SUROV: Because there was no pressure of responsibility. And, in general, the content of the games confirmed it.

V.KRAMNIK: The pressure wasn’t as big, but there was still some responsibility. Even though it was a friendly match, it was still rated; we agreed that it would be rated. There was also a question of prestige and I didn’t want to lose. I still have to say that the match was considerably highly pressurised. It was even a bit more nervous and stressful event for me than some strong elite round-robin tournament. In general, matches are harder to play than tournaments. Of course, it wasn’t a World Championship, but still a very serious undertaking. And I approached it with all the seriousness. I can’t say that it was a walk in a park; even my mood was quite strained and I saw that Levon was very much strained. Because people were watching…

E.SUROV: In that case, Levon masked it well as it wasn’t obvious by looking at him.

V.KRAMNIK: Why not? He always plays like that: you can never tell anything by looking at him. But I know him for a long time; I could see that he was very strained.

E.SUROV: OK, thank you very much!

V.KRAMNIK: Thank you.


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