Anton Korobov: "I Am Inspired By Olympic Swimming, Mountains and Games by Portisch"

Время публикации: 14.08.2012 16:22 | Последнее обновление: 14.08.2012 16:26

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Live air: 09.08.2012, 20.00

E.SUROV: It’s 8 P.M Moscow time, and we are live on Chess-News over here. My name’s Evgeny Surov and we are talking to “the man from Kemerovo” – that is Anton Korobov, however it turned out afterwards that you are not exactly from Kemerovo but from Kemerovo region. Good evening, Anton!

A.KOROBOV: Good evening.

E.SUROV: Are you really from Kemerovo region, can I say like that?

A.KOROBOV: Actually yes, but Mezhdurechensk city is quite a long way from Kemerovo – it’s about 400 kilometers, so my native town is more close to Krasnoyarsk than to Kemerovo.

E.SUROV: Besides, you are not simply Anton Korobov but Ukraine champion, my congratulations to you.

A.KOROBOV: Thanks.

E.SUROV: You know, Anton, although your title is quite sounding, I guess there are not many people who know about you. Actually we don’t know much about you so far. Could you please tell us how you became Ukraine champion. How did Anton Korobov become a Ukrainian champion.

A.KOROBOV: You want to hear how I became a Ukrainian player? It is all very simple. It happened in the same way as others became Russian, Baltic and Belorussian chess players. After the Soviet Union collapsed I found myself in Ukraine, which became an independent state afterwards. That's the way things are.

E.SUROV: Better to say – it was a fate, not a good luck.


E.SUROV:...You are not a native Ukrainian, are you?

А.KOROBOV: That was not planned – it was just how it happened

E.SUROV: Ok, got it, can you tell something about your family?

A.KOROBOV: Nothing to tell actually. It’s an ordinary soviet family, ordinary soviet people, they did nothing outstanding for their country, however they didn’t have any outstanding obligations either. So I would prefer not to talk about this issue. 

E.SUROV: You know what, I would stick to that phrase for a while. There is a very thin edge, when we speak about outstanding actions for the country. It is not always important to be well known in your country. There are people who do something great, but they are not famous. So perhaps your parents are quite the same, but they are not well known – that’s all. By the way what is your Motherland? Russia or Ukraine?

A.KOROBOV: Both to some extend. That’s a reply to your question

E.SUROV: Thanks. Let’s get to the Ukraine championship so far. What do you think of the tournament. And how did you manage to become a leader first and afterwards managed to keep the pace and become the champion?

A.KOROBOV: It happened naturally. I showed a stable and quite a good level during the whole tournament. Actually I had no bad positions. I had one lost position and ten good ones. So it all turned into a good result. Everything’s simple. You play a game after another and count your points in the end.

E.SUROV: Would you please remind me what was the prize fund of the tournament? What was the first prize?

A.KOROBOV: Frankly speaking I have no idea. I signed a contract. I mean I know the sum, but I am not sure whether I have a right to announce it. It’s better you use other sources to know find that out if you want. Perhaps you can find it somewhere but I would prefer not to tell that thing.

E.SUROV: Well, I didn’t mean to ask you about the sum. If I ask you a question, how are you going to spend this money, would you mind that too? What bonuses do you have, being an Ukrainian champion by the way?

A.KOROBOV: I don’t know what you mean speaking about the bonuses. There won’t be any direct investments. Well I achieved some position. I can’t simply remember when it was like that. The telephone is ringing all the time. People from all over the world call me these two days, they send messages, I don’t even know, where did they find my phone number. Perhaps there is something about it?

E.SUROV: Your fans?

A.KOROBOV: Fans? I have no idea, but these are the people that watch my games and the tournament itself. And it’s a real honor to be in such conditions.

E.SUROV: A star, nearly a chess star. Have you ever wished to become famous? You can compare what you’ve just said with a pop-star. Fans wait for pop-stars at the back door, call them. Or you are another pair of shoes?

A.KOROBOV: And afterwards fans steel their things, smell their socks… Everything happens.

E.SUROV: In best case.

A.KOROBOV: Yes, in best case. Actually I think that every person has ambitions, those that have become true as well as those which are still only dreams. Everyone wants to be popular to be well recognized by others. Those who says this is not good simply didn’t make their own dreams come true, they couldn’t find the right place in their life.

E.SUROV: I clearly understand that you also had some unexpected congratulations. However are there people that you expected to get some feedback but who didn’t do that?

A.KOROBOV: Honestly speaking I wasn’t very much sticked to statistics. I simply get the information so far, afterwards I will be able to analyze it.

E.SUROV: There is one question which many people find interesting to ask. Does your title give you a right to participate for the national team? Did the national federation and the coach address to you in some way or not?

A.KOROBOV: The question is not an easy one though. For sure I have no direct right to participate for the team. I don’t know whether somebody in the federation payed any attention to the fact that I exist as a champion of the country. It was clear even before the championship that I will not participate for the national team and the result can not affect it in any possible way.

E.SUROV: Why is it clear?

А.KOROBOV: Let’s say I had a feeling.

E.SUROV: We’ve got a question related to this by Pavel Lille. “Do you think that it’s right that the national team, at least a part of it is not selected on competition basis?”

A.KOROBOV: You mean that there’s no sports selection? I don’t now, perhaps it’s not right. That’s life, it’s just the way things are. 

E.SUROV: Andrey Maximov congratulates you with your victory and asks the following: “I heard that Korobov used a new preparation method before the game. The method itself relied on a strict sports timetable during te tournament. Can you tell us in details what is it all up to? Share your skills with younger players. Are you going to continue using such method?”

A.KOROBOV: No I will not do it any more as one of the most important issues is watching Olympic swimming competitions on TV. I felt stronger after watching this sport. When are we going to have next Olympic games? In 2016? Perhaps I will take part in some tournament to try it again. 

E.SUROV: 2014 winter Olympics are on the way. 

А.KOROBOV: But there’s no swimming during winter Olympics. If there could have been winter swimming I would try this of course.

E.SUROV: What sort of swimming do you like most? What are your favorite distances and what style do you prefer?

A.KOROBOV: I simply like the process, I like to analyze and admire the talent.

E.SUROV: So the sports timetable is what you are talking about right now or there is still something that you have not yet mentioned?

A.KOROBOV: Not only this of course. You need to sleep well, eat well, have more vitamins; you should stay less under the heating sun. And of course, watching Olympics – this is the main criteria and a guarantee of success.

E.SUROV: Have you managed to use everything you have just mentioned during the tournament?

A.KOROBOV: Seems pretty much it.

E.SUROV: One more question from Andrew. “Once Sergey Rublevsky mentioned that 2680-2720 ELO rated players have serious trouble while looking for appropriate tournaments to take part in. We have talked about the same thing with Dmitry Andreikin last year. It looks ok to take part in ordinary swiss tournaments in order to get some money but it’s hard to keep the rating. At the same time top-tournaments are kept close for such players. What’s your opinion about that and how are you going to solve this problem?”

A.KOROBOV: The fact is that this problem is quite an easy one. Currently I am a rated player just above 2700 but I can easily become a player with 2600 or 2550 points. I can even get to 2500 if I try hard. After that there will be plenty of playing… …

E.SUROV: In that case there won’t be no longer any problems.

A.KOROBOV: Yes, this problem is quite easy to solve. Impossible is nothing.

E.SUROV: Still a good question to go. Can we hope to see you in Istanbul as a member of the national Ukrainian team?

A.KOROBOV: I am sure not to play there. 

E.SUROV: Next questions. Yakov Zusmanovich also congratulates you and asks what is your favorite Ukrainian chess player? Among the modern grandmasters.

A.KOROBOV: What does he mean saying “favorite”? Can he clarify this?

E.SUROV: He can’t.

A.KOROBOV: Well in that case I would reply that I like all modern leading Urainian chess players.

E.SUROV: It doesn’t depend on nationality? You speak only about chess?

A.KOROBOV: Yes, about chess. All of them play in a very interesting way, there’s a lot to learn and to admire.

E.SUROV: The second question: “Are you acquainted with Leonid Stein as a chess player?”

A.KOROBOV: I do but not profoundly. I read some books about him and saw some of his games against Petrosyan (sacrifice on e6), Gligoric, Bisquier... The positions in those games are incredible – they are still unsolved neither by computer nor by human beings even today. That’s what I know about Stein.

E.SUROV: Some words about book. Nearly every interview here, live on Chess-News contains this question. Pavel Potiha asks wheher you can recommend recent Russian chess books which can improve the play of an average master level?”

A.KOROBOV: Actually I was not thinking about what to recommend. However I would advise Dvoretsky’s and Kasparov’s books – all of them are very interesting. Another interesting book is written by Dorfman. It’s called “Method in chess”. At least it is interesting to me personally. That’s what I can recommend. 

E.SUROV: “Anton, please tell what is the hardest skill for a player to develop? What’s the toughest issue to improve – combinational play, feeling of the position or calculations e t.c.?”.

A.KOROBOV: It is chess wisdom, all the other aspects are easier to improve. But it’s hard to become wise in chess.

E.SUROV: And that wisdom are you born with it?”

A.KOROBOV: I have no idea, perhaps it is improved along with the play.

E.SUROV: Another question from Pavel. “If you can learn everything, what’s the best way to improve your tactics, strategy and calculation level? Could you share your opinion about unusual methods that you use like Kotov’s method for example?”.

A.KOROBOV: “Kotov’s method” you mean the one which he introduces n his book “How to become a grandmaster”?

E.SUROV: Yes, the one from his book.

A.KOROBOV: I don’t see anything unusual in his method really.

E.SUROV: But his asks your advice, what would you recommend?

A.KOROBOV: Well, I once had a special method, it’s quite effective but funny. First you study something really tough like philosophy. You plunge in, try to get to the point. You can try your hard for an hour or two and then you pass to chess and you start to understand something better. After such kind of brain activity you start to understand them in another way. It’s interesting to see how you start taking the things. That’s what I can recommend.

E.SUROV: So it’s quite a brain training or what?

A.KOROBOV: Yeah, it’s quite interesting though. But you can only check it in the experiment – only those who’ve tried that can understand what I am talking about. I think this method is quite a good one.

E.SUROV: Do you read a lot during the tournaments?

A.KOROBOV: This time I read a lot. Sometimes I can’t read anything, I forget how the letters look like frankly speaking. During the tournament I read Astafiev’s book. It is a Russian soviet novelist. I liked his short stories where he depicted his childhood and youth by the Enisey river.

Е.СУРОВ: Quite an important topic to discuss though is related to Baadur Jobava who was accused for cheating. Pavel Lille asks you what do you think of it?

A.KOROBOV: Am I supposed to comment it?

E.SUROV: If you do not want – you can leave this question without any reply

А.КОРОБОВ: Ok then, who fights against cheaters? Who speaks about that most of all? Frankly speaking I gave a glance on the list of those selected player and I have some questions to ask some of them. I am surprised to see that they were not thrown out of this list because of the anti-cheating measures.

E.SUROV: Have you seen their games?

A.KOROBOV: Yes, I have. I examined their games, nothing more but their games. And I have got some questions to ask in order to understand whether those anti-cheating measures are fair enough. Some things are far more than evident and nothing happens. As for the Baadur’s games – I have not seen them. I don’t know what criteria is being used over there. So I have nothing to tell about this issue. I can only make my own opinion having looked at the games. But for the moment I saw no games of his and there’s nothing definite to tell you. I would once again mention that not all of the selected players are that innocent and nice. That’s for sure. 

E.SUROV: As far as I know you often participate in Internet tournaments? 

A.KOROBOV: Yes, from time to time, I don’t often play in tournaments; I simply play chess online, like there’s a site called Chess planet or ICC for example.

E.SUROV: But please tell me. A player who takes part in such tournaments, he should be ready to assume that his opponent can use some hints and I don’t always mean computer ones. There might be a friend of his next to his table who tells good moves

A.KOROBOV: Well, speaking about blitz tournaments, such advisor can do some bad things as well as good ones actually. I mean he can miss something, make a blunder and drive you from the right way. Well we can talk a lot about it though, whether it’s an advantage or not. Computer is another pair of shoes of course.

E.SUROV: OK, another question from Pavel Lille. “What was the most important thing that helped you to win the championship, whether it’s your talent, hard work or luck?”

A.KOROBOV: Perhaps I would prefer to say Luck. I was happy enough to attract it.

E.SUROV: Do you mean this very tournament? Or you speak in general, meaning that in order to win any serious tournament you need to be lucky?

A.KOROBOV: That’s also quite true. But this very tournament was really lucky for me. A lot of things simply matched the right way. I wonder what could have happened if there was no luck at all.

E.SUROV:  Denis Nikitin asks about the club European championship which will take place in Eilat in October this year. Recently he has read on the site that your team A DAN DZO & PGMB has problems with sponsors and investors. If the team management fails to find financial support, your chess club will have to search for it abroad. Is your team going to take part in the tournament in Israel? What do you think of the team future?

А.KOROBOV: I left the team this season but I would like to point out that this problem was already solved in November 2011. I told to the team’s manager Andrey Maximov that I will not take part in the play next season. So this year I played in the club championship as a member o another team – “Yugra”. So I am planning to represent the same team in Eilat. So actually I don’t know whether they have got enough money and if they are going to participate in the tournament. I guess it will not as it didn’t take part in any play-off neither in Ukraine nor in Russia. But of course the players were all very good people, they were all friends and they managed to achieve good results. I will indeed feel sorry if such a team disappears from the scene.

E.SUROV: Vladimir aka Konek_Gorbunok asks about whether you are informed about the negative pressure against the Atalik couple which was made by the Turkish and Greek chess federations. This is also quite an important issue now. How do you think, why didn’t the Ataliks receive any support from their chess colleagues. Why is everyone silent?”

A.KOROBOV: I have no idea why they are silent, but I simply now nothing about what has happened to Atalik family. I would perhaps prefer to express my opinion in that case but I know nothing about this issue. It’s for the first time I hear that.

E.SUROV: Well, it’s clear. Perhaps this is the answer. Perhaps not all of them know the situation. But this issue now is quite well known in the chess world.

One of the site users asks: “Is here any leading chess players that you want to learn something from, not taking Kasparov into consideration?”

A.KOROBOV: I think that you can learn something from every strong player. That’s why I don’t have any favorite players. A long time ago I liked to watch Portisch’s games.

E.SUROV: Why him exactly?

A.KOROBOV: I always admired his so called fundamental method. He always had a nickname “Hungarian Botvinnik”. I don’t know whether it’s right to compare them actually. Perhaps he was good at what I am not good at now and will never be as good as him. That’s why I admire him. 

E.SUROV: What do you think of Botvinnik himself?

A.KOROBOV: I respect him a lot.

E.SUROV: Do you feel that your rating is something important for you? Do you feel any difference between 2700 and 2689?

A.KOROBOV: I am not too young and everything can change in my age. You can’t jump higher than your head is. Perhaps 2705 is my record high rating. But it’s simple statistics. If I have 2680 nothing will change in my life though.

E.SUROV: Perhaps deep in your heart you expect to get an invitation to a strong grandmaster round tournament?

A.KOROBOV: To Alushta, a tournament with a GM norm? Why not? The sea and the beach…

E.SUROV: Where exactly do you prefer to play? In what countries and cities? Do you like to play by the sea?

A.KOROBOV: I don’t know, but I’ve always been inspired by the mountains, I like high mountains, there’s something about the mountains, and in the city, where there are no mountains I always feel unhappy. I wish there could be mountains there!

E.SUROV: Thanks, and I would like to finish with Andrey Maximov’s phrase who was present during the whole live talk with you: “We are always happy to see Anton with us. It’s one of my favorite players. I wish I could get him back in the team. It is a VIP player of A DAN DZO & PGMB club.

A.KOROBOV: Thanks for your compliment.

E.SUROV: A few words to end our talk, Anton?

A.KOROBOV: Take care, just a few words.

E.SUROV: Thanks! Anton Korobov live on Chess-News.


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