Karjakin's first interview after losing to Carlsen
"When we prepared for the match, we haven't thought much about the possible tie break", Karjakin admitted. "We thought that everything would end in the classical part, one way or another. So we prepared serious classical openings and schemes. Also, it was hard for me to switch to rapid chess after 12 classical games. I simply played slower than Magnus, even though I'm not a bad rapid player, I was once a rapid world champion. But today, I was out of form.
I wouldn't say that Carlsen was lucky, he deserved his win. Today was his birthday, so it was twice as hard for me to play. He's had his hard days during the classical part of the match. He trailed just three games before the end of the match. Magnus admitted that it wasn't simple for him."
Is it a compliment for you?
Yes, I think. If we look at Carlsen's stats, we'll see that he always won at the classical games stage. It's like playing against Barcelona and managing to stretch the game to overtime. It's prestigious and good, of course, but you always want more.
What were you thinking about while shaking Carlsen's hand during the first today's game?
I was concentrating on the game, wanted to play at my best. I have nothing to be ashamed of in the classical games, I showed that I could play Carlsen on equal terms. But in rapid, I was lacking... I'm upset, but not much, because I have greatly increased my chess skills. I'm not going to stop at that, I'll improve my chess talent further. I think I'll play at least one more world championship match.
Another match with Carlsen is a possibility?
Of course, I'll be thinking about it.
How soon can it happen?
I'll have to win a Candidates' tournament in the next two years. It's unknown yet when and where it takes place. We'll fight to qualify for the world championship again. Nothing is impossible.
You are determined to make a second attempt?
Of course. I've always said that my goal is to return the chess crown to Russia. In this match, I was closest to attaining that goal in my whole career. I couldn't, but this isn't a tragedy: the match was good.
Your wife told us that you carried an Orthodox icon to the match. Which?
Virgin Mary. But it all depends on the faith, and I have faith. I thank God for my achievements in chess - I've won the World Cup, the Candidates' tournament, and had a very good fight with Magnus, but wasn't strong enough.
The entire country supported you. Did you feel that?
Yes, of course, the support was huge, colossal. I was even told that Vladimir Putin watched the games. Supporters gave me a lot of strength and positive emotions. I can tell you a story. In New York, a Russian-speaking taxi driver once drove me. He recognized me and said he would drive me for free. Even here in the U.S., I was popular: people stopped me on the street and asked for a photo. This shows that the match's publicity was very good. I'm deeply grateful to everyone who supported me in Russia, and I solemnly swear to you that I'll fight for the highest awards again.
Was there a pressure because this match was important not only for you, but for the whole world?
Yes, I did feel pressure. Millions of people watched the match in Russia alone. This, of course, put more weight on my shoulders. I think I did well, especially considering it was my first match. You can't win everything on the first try. I'll strive for new victories.
Will new Karjakins emerge in Russia because of your success?
I hope so, very much. Chess is a great game, even though many underestimate it. It's not just a board with 64 squares, it's a whole world. I dove into this world at the age of 5, and I've had great fun playing chess for 20 years. It's not just a job for me, it's labour of love. This helps me to maintain my high level without getting morally tired, and to go ahead.
Who was your chess idol?
I'd never copied anyone in my childhood. I'd always wanted to develop my own playing style. If I have to name someone, I think it's Bobby Fischer. His match against Spassky was the greatest chess event of their age. But the American won convincingly, while Magnus and I played more or less equally.
Can you say that chess are on the rise in Russia?
Yes, I think. I advise all children who are doubtful about their future profession to try chess. First of all, it's interesting and beneficial for a child's development. Secondly, if everything goes well and you show some talent, you'd be able to develop it. Russia has the best chess coaches, and Moscow is the world chess capital. We have everything to prepare a new strong generation of players.
And what about kids from your native Simferopol?
Of course, I'll tell the same thing to them. I hope to make chess more popular in Crimea. I'll be glad to meet both the peninsula's government and chess fans. There's a chess fever there now. Just one example: when the world championship match began, 130 kids signed on to my first chess coach's class.