Quick update

by admin on July 29, 2010

Please check out my translation of the third and final part of the Alexander Khalifman interview on Crestbook! If you missed the first two parts, you can also find them here and here. Khalifman was the winner of the 1999 FIDE World Championship knockout tournament in Las Vegas. He is thus a former world champion (as is Ruslan Ponomariov), although you can have a good debate about whether he was the “real” world champion. Khalifman addressed that subject in the first interview.

The third part is quite a bit shorter than the other two, and in some ways I liked it the best. It seemed to me as if Khalifman had relaxed a little bit by the time he got to the third part, and he gave some much more emphatic and revealing answers. Here are a couple of excerpts to whet your interest:

– Alexander Valerievich, do you think that the leading chess players should serve as role models for the upcoming generation? That is, as a model not only in chess, but also in life, in their attitude toward the sport, their family, their friendships, and so on. So that parents would see such chess players and would want to encourage their children to take up chess as a sport.

There is no need to demand anything extra from our chess heroes. They are just the same as any other sportsmen. It is sufficient that they devote their lives to achieving success. The best example for relationships with family and friends should be the parents (alas, in the modern world I cannot rely on teachers). I would say that sports (especially the non-commercial ones, such as chess) are much cleaner than politics. Here is a slogan for you: “Your son can earn a million in politics or in so-called Russian business, but you will be ashamed of him anyway. But if he earns a half million in honest sporting competition, you will have nothing to be ashamed of!”

Why can’t you officially sell titles – GM, IM, etc. – if people want to buy them?

Probably because then the system of titles would lose all of its meaning, and even the game itself. Why should one waste one’s energy moving around some kind of pieces? You can do everything much more simply: have two people sit at a table and pull out their wallets, the judge determines which one is fatter and enters the result on the crosstable. You wouldn’t need to worry about any Najdorf systems or Westphalian variations, everything is as simple as can be…

However, given the existing vector of development of FIDE I would not be at all surprised if it comes to that eventually.

What is the most paradoxical move that you have ever seen in a real chess game?

Hmm, that’s not so easy… to me, the move f2-f4 after 1. e4 e5 is more than paradoxical. After 40 years I am still amazed by it.

P.S. I mean this absolutely seriously.

Until I got to that last question, I had thoroughly enjoyed translating the Khalifman interviews, but if he is going to start trashing my beloved King’s Gambit … I just can’t take it! (sob)  🙁

Oh well, the punishment for those who refuse to play the King’s Gambit as White is that they are condemned to an eternity of playing against the Petroff Defense. I think that is a pretty appropriate punishment.

In other news, Cailen Melville (local player in Santa Cruz whom I have mentioned on many occasions) and I are going to drive to Irvine next week for the U.S. Open. I’ve been looking forward to this for months, although until recently I wasn’t really sure if I would go. The problem is that it’s coming right at a time when I have some intense work pressures. So the state of my preparation for this tournament is going to be simply abysmal. But the U.S. Open doesn’t come to your state every year, even if you live in a big state like California, so you’ve got to take the chance to play in it while you can, right?

Of course I will be blogging from the U.S. Open, so check back here often next week for news.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Alvaro Frota August 4, 2010 at 8:20 am

What a great blog!!!

Thank you very much for writting it.

(a Brazilian chessplayer)

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