'Ask the GM' at Crestbook, in English

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Ask the GM at Crestbook, and translatedFollowing our successful interview with Mark Dvoretsky, which was based on questions from the visitors of this site, we'd like to draw your attention to a similar concept at Crestbook, the website of GM Sergey Shipov. Several Q&A sessions with famous GMs like Khalifman, Krasenkow, Grischuk, Shirov and Svidler have been posted, and at the moment you can send in questions for Ruslan Ponomariov.

First we'll start with a small disclaimer: the Crestbook KC-Conference series was brought to our attention by Colin McGourty, the editor of Chess in Translation, who has also done a number of articles here at ChessVibes. 'KC' stands for KasparovChess, the name of the forum where members are asked to submit questions.

The interviews with Khalifman, Krasenkow, Grischuk, Shirov and Svidler have one thing in common: they're pretty lengthy, and so the chess fan can learn a fair bit about these (former) top GMs. And, the recent ones have been translated into English by Colin; the Khalifman and Shirov ones were done by Dana Mackenzie.

Below we'll give a quote and a link to each interview.

Michal Krasenkow

stirlitz: Dear Michal, it would be extremely interesting if you could describe the life of a chess professional from a financial point of view i.e. without going into excessive detail, what are your basic sources of income, do you earn money from anything other than chess, and how satisfied are you with the current state of affairs?

As I said, in chess I’m freelance. I play in tournaments and leagues, I train, I write articles, i.e. I do various things but all of them are connected in some way with chess. I don’t particularly try to earn money by any other means – in business, I’m absolutely nothing. I’m not complaining (touch wood!) about the current state of affairs. It never even occurred to me to compare my income (as Oleg Korneev does) with the earnings of bankers and managers :)

--> read the full interview here

Alexander Khalifman

vasa: Alexander, why do you think people play chess?

Now there's a question! Maybe we will have to postpone the conference, because already one can spend so much time answering this question? In order even to come close to an answer, the strong grandmaster and deep thinker Leonid Yudasin wrote a thick book, and you are asking for an answer from me in a few lines.

If I may write telegraphically: people play games because the competitive spirit is deeply ingrained in human nature. They play chess in particular because it is a fortuitous invention—a game of complete information, one in which the opponents start out in equal conditions, which is to some extent complex and to some extent simple. Other games could have appeared in place of chess: the Japanese, for example, play go, and they also like it.

--> read the full interview here

Alexander Grischuk

Valery 89: Hello, Alexander! I’d like to pose the following questions - could you please reply if, of course, there’s no professional tabu against it. How do you train your tactical vision? (I heard that you see combinations in fractions of a second!)

It strikes me that tactical vision isn’t that susceptible to training, if you compare it to the calculation of variations (those are two totally different things!). How can you train the calculation of variations? By calculating variations!

--> read the full interview here

Alexei Shirov

Edwards: Alexei, if you can, could you at least briefly clarify again your viewpoint on the cancellation of the match with Kasparov. Who (or what) do you consider to be most responsible for the failure of the match? And of course, explain why you think so.

Shirov: The collapse of the Kasparov match was connected with the failure of the autonomous government of Andalusia to live up to its oral promises. The legal responsibility was borne by the president of the World Chess Council, Luis Rentero Suares, who had signed a contract with me specifying the conditions of both matches — my match with Kramnik and the match of the winner with Kasparov. At that time, he did not have the requisite guarantees from the Andalusian government, but that only became apparent later. It was against Rentero that I filed a lawsuit in municipal court, but because of the extreme financial risk I did not pursue it to a higher level. I described the role of Kasparov in this story in my book “Fire on Board 2,” and I have no desire now to return to this theme and stir up bad memories. I can only say that if there had not been some manipulation of the information that prevented me from finding out in time what was actually happening in Spain, and later in California, then we probably would have been able to agree [on a match]. But the problem with communication does not in any way justify Kasparov’s decision to play with Anand. [Editor’s note: Anand declined to play, after which the match between Kasparov and Kramnik took place.] And that is all I will say. The subject is closed.

--> read the full interview here

Peter Svidler

vasa: Hello, Peter! Could you tell us why people play chess?

In the majority of cases, it goes without saying, because they’re not capable of doing anything else :-) Chess is a means of self-expression, one that for lucky beggars like me doesn’t even pay so badly. What more could you ask for?

Alexandro111: Hello, Peter! - Would you advise young 16-17-year-olds who’ve reached master levels (but far from a “super” level) to become professional chess players, or is it better nowadays to choose a different profession?

*Out of cheese error © * There’s too little data to give out such life-defining advice – but before choosing to become a professional player a young man should firmly understand that the bar is now set very high. One way of answering the question might be, for example, to say that I haven’t given my children up to chess (although, to be fair, I have to say they weren’t exactly chomping at the bit). Probably the correct answer would be: if someone can’t imagine themselves without it, then it’s essential to try and seriously achieve something so as not to regret a missed chance later on. But if it’s only one of many paths in life, then there are simpler professions, and more reliable ones.

--> read the full interview here

Note that the following GM interviewed at Crestbook will be Ruslan Ponomariov, and you can still send in questions.
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