Winner: Gaming Review of Best Player of the World
World Chess Champion Vladimir KRAMNIK: ‘Now I have to relax…’
Immediately after Topalov extended his hand in a sign of resigning the 4th tiebreak game, the crowd became
ecstatic. There were shouts, applause, friendly slaps and handshakes… Kramnik got off the table, threw his fists in
the sky, just like in Moscow 1994 after his sensational victory over Kasparov, and got into tight embrace of his
manager Hensel. Other team members were also there – Illescas, Rublevsky, Motylev, Krylov, Rösch, and even the
cook… In a few minutes the new ‘absolute’ FIDE world champion moved to the press conference hall, where he was
warmly met by dozens of journalists.
– In a situation that was similar to yours Mikhail Tal said ‘My head is filled with sun!’ What were your first
words after the match ended?
– I was very concentrated on the play, and even after I won the last game, I was still in a fighting mood. The
moment after Veselin played 44…Rc5 was very emotional for me – I felt very happy. The joy passed after I replied
45.Rb7+. I need time to realize what happened. This was a very tough match, and I think I did a good job,
considering the odds given to the opponent. Maybe it was the first case in the history of the world championship
matches when one of the players had extra point and extra White. I am glad I managed to win under such
– What can you tell to your Russian supporters?
– I am very glad that the crown stays in Russia. Personally for me this achievement is comparable to the victory
against Kasparov. There aren’t many three-time world champions in the history, and I hope I will not stop there…
Considering the atmosphere around the match and behavior of the opposing team, winning the match was a matter of
– This match will now be extensively discussed within the chess community. Can you tell which tendencies of
chess development it revealed?
– First of all, this was extremely tense match. Chess changes – for instance, nobody paid attention that there was
not a single serious time trouble in 12 games. It is a significant step forward. People play faster and more
practical, and the crisis occurs at fourth or fifth hour of play. This match signified certain tendencies of modern
chess, which are still to be found. And the main conclusion, I repeat, is exceptionally high level of tension.
There were no short draws at all. I think all chess fans are happy about it! Maybe not everybody is happy about my
– I got a feeling that chess fans’ delights were caused by the fact that the title was determined at a rapid
pace. Maybe we should talk about speeding the play up?
– My opinion on time controls did not change. There are three controls in chess: classical, rapid and blitz. All
three have the right to exist. They should supplement each other, like in tennis, where the games consist of three
or five sets, depending on significance of the competition. I adhere to the opinion that the most important events
must be held under classical time control; however, I am not against seeing many rapid tournaments. They are
spectacular and attract the crowd. But classical chess must stay, at least for such matches. Classical chess has
many supporters, and it is not out of place to say it has more than a century of history.
– Do you consider symbolic that both players won games in their styles? Topalov won a tactical battle, and you
converted two calm endings! Do you think you won the title because showed more versatility than Veselin?
– I am not sure about versatility, but I am objectively stronger in such positions as occurred in 2nd and 4th games
– i.e., slightly better endings. I was somewhat lucky to get them. I handle them very well, I can say it without
false modesty, while Veselin is not that good in them. I squeezed two wins out of nothing, so to speak, and he won
an attacking ‘all-or-nothing’ game: g4, f5… In this regard the tiebreak was a litmus paper, revealing styles of the
players. I am very glad that in the end I won one game more than Veselin.
– Vladimir Belov, official match commentator, said that the tiebreak games turned nearly the most flawless in
the match. What do you think about it?
– Flawless? I wouldn’t say that – just recall Topalov’s blunder in the Game 4 (albeit in a lost position), or my
play in the Game 3… In principle, 25 minutes plus 10 seconds per move is sufficient amount of time to avoid bad
mistakes. The struggle was nervous and tough, and I think the level of play is high enough for such
– Vladimir, after you won on the board, will you continue the duel in Arbitration Court in Lausanne?
– Let us not talk about sad things. I’d rather enjoy the moment of triumph and tell more about the games I won! I
am not thinking about future right now, except for the match against the computer. I was so concentrated on the WCC
match that I am not going to start making plans any soon. Today I have to relax and drink with my team and people
who supported me in Elista. And only then we’ll start thinking…
– Could you tell more about the match against Fritz10? Are you going to be the last man standing?
– I’m afraid it will be a very difficult match. Playing against computer is generally hard. Every year a tournament
3 vs. 3 is organized in Spain: three computer programs play against three top grandmasters. Last year there were
Topalov, Ponomariov… And every human win there is seen as a great gift! I realize that I am not a favorite in that
match. However, I really want winning it – not because of the money, but because this may be one of the last
chances to beat the machine! I’ll do the best I can. After all, I have some experience playing against computer.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have much time for preparation, but it can’t be helped. I am a professional.
– How could you evaluate your team’s work at the match?
– I am highly satisfied with it. For some reason newspapers wrote that I implied about my dissatisfaction, but this
is not true. If I said I got a worse position in the opening, it doesn’t mean that I am unhappy with anything. I am
the only person responsible for the loss in the Game 9 – Black had no problems, but I found them… I am very pleased
about both atmosphere in the team and boys’ determination…
– What are your feelings now, as you leave Kalmykia?
– I feel deeply tired. But of course, Elista will become a memorable place for me – such events do not occur often.
It was a very hard test – even harder than I expected – but the winner’s joy outweighs everything negative.