Vladimir Kramnik: "To Put It Mildly, I Have Not a Bit of Respect For Topalov"

Время публикации: 23.10.2015 01:55 | Последнее обновление: 23.10.2015 05:08
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In Round 5 of the European Club Cup Vladimir Kramnik defeated his arch rival Veselin Topalov. The win has helped Siberia to beat SOCAR 3.5-2.5. We managed to talk to the Russian GM right after his game finished. Below you can find selected extracts from our interview with Kramnik.

Defeating Topalov

"Winning over Topalov differs from any other win - not because of some personal reasons, but rather because he is among today's top five players. In addition, this is a team competition, so every win is very important.

I very much feel like a team player here. I rarely play for clubs, but in this case, we managed to pull together a truly friendly team with a fantastic sponsor behind it. He is a good man and chess enthusiast - Vorozheikin Vladimir. He is one of Sberbank of Russia Vice-Presidents and he is just totally in love with chess! In addition, he is himself a strong master candidate. They're planning to organise a match against the Russian Duma, so we already agreed to train him since he might play against Anatoly Karpov on the first board."

Building The Team

"We have a fantastic atmosphere inside the team. We dine together, we all are friends, so you can feel some positive vibes! I have rarely encountered something like this. Well, usually everything goes well, but in this particular case we are really like one big family. I am happy to be playing for this team.

They first invited Aronian and me in the team, then we immediately talked Sasha Grischuk and Anton Korobov into joining us. Our sponsor Vladimir Vorozheikin knows everyone personally, everyone is in good relations with each other. And then we also have Chinese team members. In Sochi, Wang Yue might have been a little bit lonely since his English is not that good and he doesn't speak any Russian. So we got him a company and invited Li Chao. Now when we go out for a dinner, two of them chat with each other, whilst the rest keep our company."

The Arch Rival & Extra Lights

"Topalov played too passively today, not as he usually does. In the opening I managed to bring him into the variation he apparently didn't know. Consequently he got worse. I thought he would sacrifice the exchange, but it wasn't that simple. He played passively and gave away dark squares... The position was objectively uncomfortable, but also not appealing to his style in particular. He doesn't like to defend like that. So, slowly and gently I checkmated him. It happened without extra efforts which surprised me too.

The color plays an important role in our games. We usually beat each other when playing with White. I guess my score against him is +10 with White and he also has defeated me in quite some games as White. Somehow he can't play well with Black against me.  

Quite some players complained that it's too dark in the playing hall and I have asked for the additional lamp on my table. The arbiters told me they'd first be asking my opponents if they don't mind and only then allow having that lamp. Of course, Veselin is the first and I hope the last one to protest. That, however, didn't really affect my play. Well, I beat him anyways, I am pretty good in blindfold as well." 

Handshake That Doesn't Happen

"I am a man of a principle. I don't have any respect towards Topalov and everyone knows it. Every single soul including children know about that story, so I don't see the sense of having any fake handshakes with him. It's not just my whim but a principle position. I shake hands with everyone else, so I don't think this particular situation gives a bad example to my young fans. It's kind of a long story and his behaviour was so disgraceful and unsporting that I won't consider changing my attitude until he apologizes publicly. I am not emotional about this, I don't care - I just think he is someone who did a lot of ugly things in chess world, that's why I have a negative attitude towards him.

Will this ever change? Well, let's wait for another twenty-thirty years to pass and see how it goes..."    


  


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