Ernesto Inarkiev: 'Long-Term Life Plans Usually Don't Work'

Время публикации: 13.02.2015 23:48 | Последнее обновление: 14.02.2015 00:27

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Audio recording from February 11th, 2015, 17:00 GMT
Duration: 1 h 08 min (in Russian)

E.SUROV: Chess-News is on air, Ernesto Inarkiev is with us. Good evening Ernesto!

E.INARKIEV: Good evening!

E.SUROV: Congratulations on your victory in the Moscow Open!


E.SUROV: The previous time we were talking was in summer 2013, that is about one year and a half ago. How much have your life and you changed since then? [...]

E.INARKIEV: Quite a lot has happened during this period of time. I think the key event was the birth of my son. He's 10 months now. Of course my friends are already aware of that. It was a big event, probably the biggest one. [...] The time keeps going by, and I already understand that there are other things besides chess that have always been very important to me. First of all, my family. Now, when I have a son, I'm feeling much more respect towards those who have brought someone up, who raised their children. In particular, I began to treat my own parents with greater respect than before because I have understood how important it is to be a parent, perhaps it's even the most important part of everyone's life. Raising a child is very difficult but also very nice.

E.SUROV: There is another strong open tournament, the Gibraltar Masters, held at the same time with the Moscow Open. I can't remember you having played there. Have you in fact never played in Gibraltar?

E.INARKIEV: I've played there, but it was very long ago, in 2004, when the tournament was at its beginning, although it was already very strong.

E.SUROV: Is it that you just don't want to play in Gibraltar? Or you would always have a choice where to play, and would choose Moscow?

E.INARKIEV: Hard to say. It's not that I am somehow prejudiced against the Gibraltar Masters. It's just that playing in Moscow is more convinient to me, partucularly because obtaining the visa is difficult. I've already had a bad experience when it took too long to get the British visa (which is required to come to Gibraltar). I can't say that this factor stops me, but it would always make me doubt whether I should go there. Nevertheless, I've got a nice impression in 2004, it's a very good and strong event. But it's hard to compare those two tournaments since they are very different. [...]

E.SUROV: A question from a member of our Vkontakte group, Vova Mikhailovsky: 'What is the level for a chess player to be called a professional, i.e. to make decent money just by playing chess'?

E.INARKIEV: I think the correct way to figure it out is to think in terms of the world top 100 rather than ratings, since the latter keep changing. Let's say that five years ago another rating was required to enter the top 100 than it's nowadays. Today, I'd estimate it to be around 2650. What I mean is that such a rating can provide one a stable decent income from just playing chess. I believe that the 2600 players are also able to make living, but if a player doesn't do anything except playing, only the top 100 level would do, given that we are talking about stable income. [...] As for me, I'm a man and a husband, so it's my duty to earn and support my family, and I'm quite satisfied with the level of my income. Let's say I don't feel any pressure in this respect.

E.SUROV: Yet another question from our feedback. Segrey Shibalka is asking: 'How important is for a GM of your level to be able to 'serve with both hands', that is to play 1.d4 and 1.e4'?

E.INARKIEV: It's a difficult question. I think it's a matter of one's mindset. There are many players, in the top 10 as well, who are feeling fine having a narrow opening repertoire with both colours. So, I wouldn't relate that to a playing level. It's a matter of one's temper and some other things. There are top players who always choose the same lines, and also those who try as many openings as possible. That is, here we have two different approaches: if you want to have a broad repertoire you should work more on your overall understanding of chess, on your versatiliy, ability to feel many different patterns. But if you choose a narrow range of opening lines you should concentrate on working out your favorite lines throughout, since your opponents will know beforehand what you are going to play, they will prepare to those particilar lines very thoroughly, and you should be able to cope with this situation. So, that's my opinion. [...]

E.SUROV: Our reader Vladimir is asking you whether your approach towards chess and your life on the whole is strategic or tactical. That's exactly how the question has been formulated.

E.INARKIEV: [...] It's hard to say for sure. In general, I think I have played more tense, sharp games than the strategic ones, so I think I tend to be more tactical in chess. As for my approach towards life, there is a trick I have noticed more than once: long-term life plans usually don't work. I've seen many people trying to make plans for, let's say, 10 years, and such plans would usually fail. Someone, I think it was Lasker (it was Larsen, although Lasker, as a philosopher, might have said it too - CN) used to say the same about chess: every long line contains a mistake. So, even though I prefer to have certain guidelines, to see some landmarks ahead in my life, concrete situations demand concrete solutions here and now. Roughly speaking, if you've had a good day, that's already a step forward.

E.SUROV: Got it. [...] There is a question from Eric: 'Do you support Garry Kasparov's criticism against FIDE'?

E.INARKIEV: Perhaps my answer will be a bit indirect. I have grown up in Kalmykia, that's where I've become a good chess player and a grandmaster. And I have seen many good things Kirsan Ilyimzhinov has done for chess, including those almost unknown for the public. Many of the favours that he has done haven't even been reported on in the media; some simple things like equipping a chess club, sending chess sets to someone, and like that. He doesn't do that for any kind of self-promotion, it's for the purpose of supporting chess, letting chess develop steadily and calmly. And that's why I think that, during the period of my professional chess career, Ilyumzhinov has done for chess more than anyone else in organisational terms. Of course one can always find something that could have been done better, but let's see the difference between what chess was some fifteen years ago and what it's now in 2015. I remember very well what it was in 2000. It's like comparing vinegar to honey. I don't know in details what the criticism by Kasparov is based on, but in general I would evaluate the work done by FIDE rather very positively than negatively. So, let me put it like this: I do not agree with Kasparov's criticism. [...]

There is one more thing. Basically, I could understand the Westerners in this respect, since I have heard negative opinions on Kirsan Ilyumzhinov from some American chess players. I suspect that the work being done by FIDE in the U.S. might be lesser than here, in our part of the world, and that's why the chess players over there might feel that little is being done. This is my assumption, my point of view. On the contrary, the work being done by Kasparov in the U.S. (if it's being done indeed) is hard to notice from Russia. I think that's the reason of the separation that we have now.

E.SUROV: Then, may I ask you what you think of Garry Kasparov in general?

E.INARKIEV:  Well, he is a great chess player, I feel big respect towards him in terms of chess. A great many of his games are among my favourite ones. Besides, there is one more thing that I remember very well. There was a wonderful children's tournament, the Kasparov Cup, in Moscow in the late 1990's. For me and my peers, it was one of the very first tournaments. I've got the FIDE rating in it. Those tournaments used to gather strong junior players from all over Europe and maybe even the world (I can't remember exactly if there were participants from America). The prizes and the conditions were also great, so the Kasparov Cup was a fantastic event for children. In this respect, Garry Kasparov can only be praised. At the same time, regrettably, I haven't seen anything like this organised by Kasparov in Russia during his latest pre-election period.

(The full text of the interview is available in Russian)


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