Interview with Mark Gluhovsky (Part II)

(editor of the Russian 'Chess review' magazine (Shahmatnoe obozrenie))

on Sachový Vlak (chess train) at October 17th between Bratislava and Krakow (between round 9 and 10 of the train tournament)

MG (Mark Gluhovsky)
MK (Michael Klyszcz)
RS (Reyk Schäfer)
VC (Valeria Chugunova)

From Moscow too: Lera VC: Where will the Tal Memorial take place?
MG: At the Pashkov House. I hope, you will visit our tournament from November 15th. Maybe you haven't even been there yet?

VC: Indeed, I haven't been there before. So I will come and see! And the world championship will be in Moscow too?
MG: Yes, in the middle of May next year. Organizers now enter negotiations with the Tretyakov Gallery. First there was the idea to hold the final in Pushkin Museum which will celebrate it's 100th anniversary next year, but this won't be possible. In my opinion the Tretyakov Gallery is even better. The Pushkin museum is providing one of the best international collections of the world, but the Tretyakov Gallery has an outstanding specific Russian collection. The idea of the sponsors and organizers is not only to promote chess, but also Russian art and Russian culture. Up to now it's still not yet official. The contracts for the world championship match will be signed earliest after Tal Memorial. Anyway I'm looking forward this event. It will be held during the only two months when we enjoy fine weather in Moscow: May, June ;-)

VC: Hey, we also got July and August (laughs)!
MG: July, August, you know ... But, seriously: I invite everyone to come and visit this event. I'm sure it will be very interesting.

From Steinitz to Petrosjan VC: Where will it take place?
MK: Is one of the candidates constituted as favourite in Russia? Do the chess enthusiasts in Russia more favour Anand or Gelfand?
MG: No, I'm sure none of the two candidates is favoured in Russia. Of course, Boris is a man of the Russian culture, but Vishy has been in Moscow several times. A lot of chess lovers know him and adore him. So, no favourite in Russia, despite that the main sponsor of the tournament is a friend of Boris Gelfand.

It's incidentally interesting that two not so young guys are now fighting for the world championship. Their sons were born within only two months - so after the game they might talk about Pampers or something like that (laughs).

Pavel Matocha, Vlastimil Hort RS: What do you think about their chances?
MG: I think it's 50-50. Vishy has great experience. But motivation is one of the major factors in these matches, and maybe Borya's motivation is higher. Remember the World Championship in Mexico 2007 when Boris also was in good shape and shared 2nd place with Kramnik. In this kind of tournaments the chances for Anand are significantly higher, because you need at least +3 for victory. Whereas in a match +1 is enough as demonstrated by Boris in Kazan. I'm personally sympathetic to Gelfand, but I'm sure that support and conditions for both players will be equal in Moscow.

Sachový Vlak MK: Will this world championship match have an impact on the non chess playing people in Russia?
MG: Yes, of course. Tournaments like Tal Memorial have a good coverage on internet and newspapers, but not on TV. But concerning the world chess championship I'm sure that it will also have a good coverage on TV!

MK: Could this event be a motivation for young people to become more interested in chess?
MG: Yes, I think so. The Russian chess federation will organize the match without Russian participation. This makes clear that also the idea of promotion for chess is involved. And it is obvious that both players are very much welcome and that they are regarded as excellent representatives for chess.

3 in a row

MK: Russia is still the most powerful nation in chess, but in recent years there is a lack of titles, especially in team tournaments. The big titles almost never went to Russia ...
MG: I do not see any problems with it. That's sports. I think when in former times all titles went to Soviet Union it wasn't so interesting after all. Who will win Petrosjan or Spassky, okay ... (laughs). Now we have an interesting situation with many players from all over the world competing. I really hope Magnus Carlsen will join the next candidate's cycle and play the candidate tournament.
Of course the Russian federation would like to have some titles, but we have a lot of young players like Nepomniachtchi, Karjakin who might fight for a title. From the older generation Svidler, Grischuk, Morozevich are in fantastic shape. So there is some perspective. Concerning team competitions first there was the idea to send a very young team to the upcoming European team championship in Greece - maybe with Tomashevsky, Vitiugov, aso. But in the meantime it had been decided differently and we now have one of the strongest teams ever with Svidler, Karjakin, Grischuk, Morozevich and Nepomniachtchi.
But you never know. Ukraine is as strong as ever, and Azerbaijan also. And of course Armenia has a fantastic team with great results despite having only one player of the very top level.

The dining car MK: What about club competitions in Russia?
MG: I'm the team manager of the "SM 64 Moscow" team. I'm working with my team for more than three years. We had excellent results at the Russian team championship: We gained two first places and one second place in three years. In addition we had achieved very good results at the European Cup. This year there played Gelfand, Wang Hao, Caruana, Giri, Riazantsev, Potkin, Grachev and Najer. It's a very strong, young and motivated team. But we failed to accomplish more at the European club cup - only the 5th place (laughs). That's been very random anyway. Imagine, the first three teams didn't play against each other! Only Saratov (which took 4th place) and my team played each other. But okay, you can win in any system (laughs).

Krákow MK: Is there only one league in Russia?
MG: Yes, unfortunately we don't have such a club system in Russia like in Germany. In "Bundesclubs" people go to the club every week to play tournaments, blitz aso. Our teams usually come together only twice a year for special competitions. Of course I have good relationship with my players, we meet on other occasions too, but it's not a "regular club life".

MK: Okay, this is given for high level players. What about amateurs?
MG: Amateurs got some clubs too. I'm also playing as an amateur in one of the clubs in Moscow. There is the Moscow team championship for instance. In addition there are team championships via internet because of the far distances. In the European club cup two teams participated, which had qualified via internet.

Back in Prague

We close the interview with some conversation in Russian, and Reyk admits that knowing Russian is very beneficial when you are interested in Chess.
MG: In former times, you absolutely had to know Russian to play chess on top level. Fischer learned Russian. Otherwise he hardly would have had access to useful books. Today it's not essential anymore. Carlsen for example doesn't speak Russian.

VC, MK, RS: Thank you very much for a very informative and entertaining interview.
MG: Enjoyed it too; cu next round :-)

Click pics for zoom.

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