Interview of World Cup Winner Gata Kamsky
Tuesday, 18 December 2007 00:00
33-year-old Gata Kamsky has won the World Cup, along the way eliminating Ahmed Adly, Boris Avrukh, Kiril Georgiev, Peter Svidler, Ruslan Ponomariov, Magnus Carlsen and Alexei Shirov. Moreover, Kamsky turned out to be the only player who avoided a loss during the World Cup. We publish the interview of World Cup winner Gata Kamsky in Khanti Mansiysk. All results can be found on the official website at http://cup2007.fide.com/results.asp. Visit official web site and replay Games. Download Pairings Tree.
33-year-old Gata Kamsky won the World Cup! I think by the end of the three-week chess marathon everybody considers such an outcome as just and fair. Alexei Shirov was the last man with doubt, but even he eventually cracked under the pressure of the American grandmaster, who earlier eliminated Ahmed Adly, Boris Avrukh, Kiril Georgiev, Peter Svidler, Ruslan Ponomariov, and Magnus Carlsen. Moreover, Kamsky turned out to be the only player who avoided losses during the World Cup.
Gata reached his first peak in 1996, when he crushed the qualification cycle and met Anatoly Karpov in the championship match. He lost, and... retired from chess! A brilliant comeback of Kamsky started three years ago. He played rather modestly at first, but then speeded up and returned to the chess elite almost effortlessly as it seemed. He became a candidate in 2005 here in Khanty-Mansiysk, and this summer barely missed qualification for the World Championship in Mexico . After that the American said: `This cycle is not mine, but the next one will be`. And he wasn`t wrong. Now he can prepare for the `semifinal` match with Topalov in September-October 2008.
What qualities allowed Gata winning the World Cup? There is nothing new compared to the player we knew ten years ago – excellent positional understanding, perfect technique and tenacity, the ability to save hopeless positions and to convert the slightest advantage. As for the openings, the American, who took a 7-year break from chess, cannot match other top players. However, grandmaster Emil Sutovsky, who became his faithful second after being eliminated in the first round, made everything possible to help Gata to narrow the knowledge gap.
Kamsky knew he will win. He looked absolutely calm for the whole evening, both during the heroic defense, and when it was over and he could show the emotion. What nerves, what endurance! Alexei attacked for most of the time in this match, but somehow could not keep concentration during the key moments. And the Brooklynite has never loosened his grip, played accurate until the end – and now receives the reward he fully deserved. Here is an interview of Gata:
Interview of Gata Kamsky
Q: Gata, can you share with us what you are feeling now?
Kamsky: Surely I`m very glad that I`ve won this tournament and I`d like to thank everyone, especially my second, Emil, he deserves it. I felt a great deal of support, from my wife, my parents, my friends, everyone on the ICC and forums, on chessninja, etc.
Q: You're the only participant whom we haven`t interviewed till the final, so here comes our traditional question about your impressions of the city.
K: I liked the city very much. Of course we were very busy playing chess, but still managed to see some things and have some rest. Besides, the weather was fine, not too cold, just perfect for walking.
Q: Would you consider moving to Khanty-Mansiysk?
K: Moving is unlikely. I will review any offers to play for local team, however, I prefer living in New York – the climate there is milder.
Q: Alexei said he went skiing here. Did you try something of the kind?
K: I just don`t go skiing.
Q: Alexei, did someone teach you?
Shirov: I learnt it at school, but I`m not really very good at it. But it`s just a great way of keeping fit and having some fresh air.
Q: Did you want to get a gun and test your biathlon skill?
S: There were no guns at the rental office I attended (laughter in the audience)!
K: And with my eyesight I shouldn`t be permitted to use guns at all!
Q: As far as we know from your remarks you both pay attention to what is being written about the tournament in press and on the net. Is it really so, is it important for you?
K: Yes, it helps in a way, sometimes they write something nasty, I get angry and try to do my best to show them the best I can. Besides, the tournament is quite long, you can`t think only about chess for the whole month, so it`s entertaining, it helps to relax and unwind.
S: As for me, I prefer when some snide remarks don`t get on my nerves.
Q: Gata, is the World Cup important for you as a separate trophy or you consider it as a chance to compete for the chess crown?
K: Well, both. The tournament is important in itself; the Cup is beautiful, and heavy. But of course I`ll go further.
Q: 12 years ago when you played and lost in the final of the World Championship, you decided to give up chess. Is this likely to happen once more?
K: No, it`s too early. Besides, I haven`t won this match yet.
Q: Gata, are you ready to play with Topalov?
K: Not now (laughs). Now I`ll have some rest, celebrate the New Year and Christmas, and only then think of this match. I`ll have to prepare for it very seriously. I`d like to add that my second played an important role in my performance here, and in this regard I may say that everything that happens is for the better.
Q: In Elista everyone was surprised by the fact you didn`t have a second.
K: It just happened this way.
Q: Where will you play after that?
K: I don`t know yet, there are many suggestions, but none of them is certain.
Q: Have you signed any contracts?
Q: So you`re an absolutely free person?
K: (laughs and nods affirmatively)
Q: What are you going to do to recover strength after such an exhausting tournament?
K: Well, as I`ve said I`ll have some rest when I come back home. Besides, I'll be busy doing things after 2-months` absence.
Q: Alexei, your style is characterized as fire-on-board, whereas Gata is considered to play more solid and cautious chess – is it just a cliche or is there a grain of truth to it?
S: I believe our styles are different, but it`s really a cliche, because nowadays a professional chess player has to be many-sided. However, still there are some positions that are more to my liking than to Gata`s and vice versa.
K: As we both started playing chess very early, our styles were forming at that time, so this cliche probably comes from that period. But I agree that you have to be very flexible to succeed.
Q: Isn`t it surprising for you that you haven`t lost a single game in the tournament?
K: Well, the most important thing is to prepare good openings (laughs). And then I can just play chess.
Q: Gata, tell us please how long have you been working with your second and how come you started working together?
K: I`d like to say we`ve been working together for a long time, as these three weeks seem to be a long period (laughs). But we got acquainted some 4 years ago, met sometimes. We get on very well, he`s a very strong chess player and always sticks to his guns – during the game analysis it`s practically impossible to bring some things home to him. But our cooperation seems very fruitful.
Q: Gata, you`ve been to Emil`s performance and you heard him singing. Did you like it?
K: Surely I like it, especially taking into consideration that he hadn`t prepared it. He also promised to sing at the closing ceremony, so I`m looking forward to it.
Q: Gata, do you know that your father was going to come to Russia in November?
K: Yes, we keep in contact. I talked to him a lot on the phone during the tournament, but he didn`t plan to come here as I already have Emil by my side, besides it`s not cheap. Well, what answer did you expect?
Q: Gata, who was the first to congratulate you on your victory?
K: Those who were nearby, the journalists (laughs)!