Arkady Dvorkovich: I Wouldn't Do What Dubov Did, But It's a Matter of His Personal Choice

Arkady Dvorkovich: I Wouldn't Do What Dubov Did, But It's a Matter of His Personal Choice

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Grigory Telingater,

11 games upset everyone, except maybe for Carlsen

The world championship match has ended. What was successful organization-wise, and what was not?

Holding the match at the Dubai Expo was a big success. This allowed to attract major interest both from media and from spectators - simply because there was a lot of them at the Expo2020. We've seen how big the attendance was, both live and at our media channels. NBC Sport, Match TV and Norwegian TV offered the bulk of coverage, even though channels from other countries also made reports. The venue itself was wonderful. The only drawback was possibly the small stage and the lack of air for players behind the glass.

The private rooms for players were also small.

They were bigger in New York and about the same size in London. Speaking of lessons for us - yes, in the future, we have to try to make private rooms bigger. And with fresh air.

This especially affected the first game, when the players were distracted by the fresh smell of building works. Strange that they'd ended only a day before the first game.

The hall, of course, should be ready at least several days before the games start. Not only because of smells - everything should be thoroughly checked. There were no major failures, but the small flaws such as smells had to be eliminated between the first and the second game.

Why did it turn out like that?

Alas, the situation was unaviodable. The events at Expo2020 are following a tight schedule. There was another event in that hall, and it was given to us only three days before the first game. We tried to find some options, but couldn't do anything. There were simply no other venues. The hall itself was good, by all parameters. We also managed to hold the closing ceremony there, because there were only 11 games.

And what if the match went all the way?

We wouldn't be able to hold the tie breaks in the same hall - only in the morning at best, because afterwards, we had to vacate the hall for another event. For the spectators, the hall was very good. There was a lot of accompanying events: school kids' championship, simultaneous displays, team tournament between halls, tournaments of Arab countries and local chess clubs.

Were you upset that only 11 games were played? Not because your compatriot lost, but strictly from the FIDE president point of view.

It upset everyone, except maybe Carlsen. We wanted the intrigue to last longer.

A Russian player might get one wild card for the Grand Prix series

The next topic sent the chess community into a frenzy. Was it correct for Dubov to help a foreign player in the match against a Russian?

First of all, every sport has foreign coaches. Such things do happen. Ian also had foreign help. The only nuance was that it was known beforehand who was the challenger to Magnus.

Dubov said in his interview for Championat that he struck an agreement with Carlsen before the Candidates' Tournament was over.

I wouldn't rule this out. They've been working together for a long time, and it's their personal business. It was important for Daniil to work with Magnus, among other things, to further his personal growth as a player. And it just turned out that he had to work against a Russian player, so to say. This is a matter of personal choice. I wouldn't do such a thing myself - it's important for me to always be in my country's team.

The calls to exclude Dubov from the national team are too much?

Indeed, it's too much.

Will Dubov qualify for the Grand Prix series by rating? This requires one player who's already qualified to drop out, right?

Yes, Daniil is the first reserve player, if I recall correctly. There are also two wild cards. One of them is given by the tournament organizers, World Chess, and another one by the FIDE president.

Have you already decided on a nomination?

We're discussing this with the World Chess, to avoid naming the same player. We'll declare our nominations soon.

Will you nominate a Russian player?

Let's say it like that: a Russian player will probably get one of the wild cards. But not both.

What's the possibility that the Grand Prix will go as scheduled, both in Berlin and Belgrade?

We can't guarantee anything at this point. Considering that the tournaments are not that big, with relatively few players taking part, I hope that there wouldn't be problems. I'm totally sure about Serbia, but Germany is stricter in this regard. Anyway, there are currently no relocation plans.

If the Berlin legs will be relocated, would Belgrade be able to host the entire competition?

I'm not sure. We'll have to look for other options then. Russia is always ready to host any tournaments of any level. For instance, we could have hosted the Rapid and Blitz World Championship, but then we wouldn't be able to actually call it a "world championship" because of the WADA sanctions. So we decided to relocate to Warsaw instead.

How difficult was the situation, considering that many players had already bought tickets to Kazakhstan, but now they have to go to Poland?

We're trying to have all the tickets refunded or exchanged. I'm sure that we'll find some way. We're in touch with the players and the airlines. We have all the lists.

Is it possible that Spain's bid to host the Candidates' Tournament would remain the only one? Were there signals from other countries?

Only unofficial information - what do some or others think. Spain's bid also came a bit later than the deadline, so technically, if another bid comes up, we have the right to consider it. The decision will be made on 27th December, at the FIDE Council. Though you should understand that Madrid's bid is very good.

You mentioned the unofficial information about other countries wanting to host the Candidates' Tournament. What regions are we talking about?

Various regions. Middle East, America. But we can't act on anything unless we see official papers. We're also considering the venues for the women's Candidates' Tournament and World Championship.

There's no clear majority position concerning time control

Did the Dubai match experience make you think about the format? The optimal number of games, other things?

Dubai offered the biggest budget, so we could hold more games. We think that the number of games is correct. More stress, more workload, more possibilities to make a mistake. Here we saw them in the middle of the game, but if they weren't made then, they would have happened later, considering the length of the match. There are different opinions on the rest day schedule. Some people think that we should return to the schedule of a rest day after each two games, and then reverse colours after game 7, for symmetry. There's a lot to discuss.

What do you think personally?

There are plusses and minuses in both formats. The Dubai format puts more stress on the players. It's bad for them, but good for spectators. Also, games were played on every Saturday and Sunday. It would be impossible with rest days after each two games.

The time control is being discussed as well?

Yes. We're discussing whether to make it the same at all tournaments of the world championship cycle: World Cup, Candidates' Tournament, World Championship match.

What are the doubts? Why time controls shouldn't be unified?

Historically, the majority did not support any particular time control. And when there's no clear majority concerning time control, it's easier to leave everything as it is. Otherwise, any change will attract criticism. We should discuss everything carefully and reach a consensus.

Seven-hour games are difficult for spectators and broadcasters. Perhaps another time control could have been chosen?

I'm not ruling this out. On the other hand, we saw the longest-ever World Championship game in Dubai. This attracted major interest in and of itself.

We earned about $5000 in ticket sales per game

Are you happy with the financial side of the Dubai match? How profitable or costly it was?

We are happy. We'd like to thank our partners from Expo2020, who funded about 90% of the entire match. They were the main investors, and I hope that they got a good return on their investments because the event was popular. A lot of guests came, many things were discussed, lots of TV coverage. Being discussed everywhere is important for Expo2020, including the chess part. It's a good channel to get return on investments. We also engaged other sponsors to hold additional activities: tournaments, conferences and so on. It was surely worth our while, from all point of views - visual, marketing, financial.

Did you earn money on broadcasting rights as well?

The Norwegian TV paid their share a long time ago. Chessable and did too. The amounts were considerable, but they were spent on other activities, not directly related to the Dubai match. Chessable is money for the academy for talented kids and youngesters from the whole world. We held a training camp for the coaches of this academy in UAE. You shouldn't look at the budget linearly. There's the match, and there's additional revenue connected with it.

How much money did you earn in ticket sales?

We'll do the summary later. We earned about $5000 per game. The money will go for the general budget to fund various projects. It's not a paltry sum - it's comparable to what we spend for veteran support per year.