Dmitry Andreikin, born in the same year as Magnus Carlsen, turned 27 today. The talented Russian grandmaster’s career has followed an oddly low-profile trajectory, illustrated by his appearance in the Tata Steel Masters this year being his debut in Wijk aan Zee. In an interview with Konstantin Bazarov he talks about how it went for him and gives his impressions of his fellow grandmasters. He doesn’t, for instance, think that Wesley So has yet overtaken Magnus Carlsen.
The interview took place after the 2017 Tata Steel Masters, in which Dmitry Andreikin scored a solid but somewhat disappointing -1, with 10 draws, 2 losses and 1 win in the last round against Levon Aronian. We’ve translated most of the interview that appeared at worldofchess.ru:
Konstantin Bazarov: Did you do any special preparation for the supertournament in Wijk aan Zee? Perhaps you studied new opening tabiyas or prepared some curious variations for specific opponents?
Dmitry Andreikin: There was no specific preparation for opponents. For better or worse, tournaments at such a high level can’t boast of variety in the opening stage. For example, if I start a game with the move 1.e4 and in reply I see something other than the Berlin or the Najdorf that’s already a small surprise. And the next day I’m already myself repeating the nuances of the Berlin Endgame to play with the black pieces. Of course, having a few fresh micro-ideas in such main-line openings is very important.
How are the Wijk aan Zee line-ups put together? Did you get the chance to take part in similar tournament in the Netherlands before?
That’s a question more for the organisers. I would assume that the main selection criteria is rating, but Wijk aan Zee, in contrast to many top round-robins, is known for always having a few places for relatively “new faces”. This was my first visit to the Netherlands – it’s nice that I immediately played in the A tournament.
Andreikin and his biggest fan on the way to Wijk aan Zee
Rather than play football the family spent a day in Amsterdam on the rest day
Dmitry, in many games you played very solidly, with a large margin of safety. Didn’t you want to take some risks and try to get your opponents into a sharper battle? In some of the games that ended in a draw were you close to winning?
A game of chess is played by two players. For example, the combinational chess players Wei Yi and Rapport preferred to go for tough defence in passive positions. In both games I had excellent practical chances. On a few occasions I missed an easy win against Van Wely, although there were some issues there in the opening.
In the penultimate game against Wojtaszek I think I had decent winning chances. I don’t want to talk about somehow being unlucky – converting advantages is a crucial component of chess mastery and it seems I was simply lacking there. In general, if you leave out the games with Nepomniachtchi and So then the tournament was quite a fierce and interesting battle for me.
Could you comment on your encounter with Levon Aronian? Can we say that game was the best you played in Wijk aan Zee?
Levon was motivated by the chance to fight for first place, so he played the opening in quite a risky style. I also finally wanted “to score a consolation goal” and was enthusiastic about his choice. By move 15 it was already clear that White’s approach had turned out to be the more successful.