Our fans have already been tired of waiting for Olympic gold medals
In the coming years Russia will remain the center of attraction of world chess events. These days the Grand Prix stage is taking place in Moscow, in September-October the World Cup 2019 will be held in Khanty-Mansiysk. And the main event of current two years - the 44th World Chess Olympiad - will be held in August 2020 in the same Khanty-Mansiysk.
The leader of the Russian national team, the world rapid chess and blitz champion, classical chess vice - world champion Sergey Karjakin told us about the prospects of Russian national team at the Olympiad 2020.
− The Olympiad is one of the biggest competitions of chess players from all over the world, and this is the significant tournament for any grandmaster, - Sergey began the conversation. - The team wins, but the result of each its participant is very important. We can say that at the Olympiad a chess player has double responsibility - for the result of the national team and for his personal result. As for me, this tournament is always a new challenge, opportunity to stand up for the honour of the country and show the best game.
− Must native “Khanty-Mansiysk” walls help?
− As for me, playing at home is also double excitement and tension, so tournaments in Russian cities are sometimes not so easy. Your relatives, friends, chess fans are looking at you - it can be extremely disappointing not to fall short of their hopes and lose. Yes, the situation at tournaments in Russia is more familiar, but it is much more difficult to control the emotional state and mood than at away competitions.
«It is important for me to be a part of the Olympic team, it is important to fight with the team for the first place. I'd like to please Russian fans, who have already been tired of waiting for our gold medals»
− How important is it for you to participate in the Olympic team?
− It is important for me to be a part of the Olympic team, it is important to fight with the team for the first place. I'd like to please Russian fans, who have already been tired of waiting for our gold medals. Moreover, the Olympiad will be held on the home ground and we will have strong support. The main thing is the right mood and the proper level of training, both chess and physical one. We are working on this right now.
− Khanty-Mansiysk is a lucky city for you. The World Cup in 2007, the Olympiad 2010, the Candidates' Tournament 2014 - all these competitions were extremely successful for you ...
− Yes, and Khanty-Mansiysk is justifiably called one of the largest chess centres in Russia. In September of 2010 Ugra Chess Academy was opened there, significant federal and world tournaments are constantly held as well as FIDE assemblies and congresses take place there. The city itself is impressive with its natural parks and architecture. Moreover, I really play quite successfully here. Although I think that these are just happy coincidences - after all, the success in a tournament always depends only on preparation and attitude. In any case, I am sure that many successful competitions will take place in this city.
− What Olympiad was the most important, interesting or significant for you?
− Most of all I remember the very first Olympiad in my life in 2004 in Spain. I was only 14 years old and then I played for Ukrainian national team, played with Ponomarev, Volokitin, Moiseenko, Ivanchuk and Eljanov. According to the results I scored 6.5 points out of 7 possible points, which I was very proud of. The team also played greatly and we became the first. It was one of the most memorable victories!
− But probably personal tournaments are still more important, aren’t they?
− It is difficult to compare. The Chess Olympiad is still the significant tournament in the career of any grandmaster. It requires a high level of preparation, confident attitude to win. Participation in the Olympiad is indeed an important stage for many of my colleagues. But everyone has his own experience and for me personally the match for the title of world champion in New York is still the brightest competition. The moment when you are alone with the enemy, when you have a chance to become the best grandmaster in the world and win the title for the country is priceless. And not every chess player in his entire career manages to live it. The championship 2016 in New York is not comparable with any tournament on the intensity of emotions and desire to be the number 1 chess player of the planet.
− Probably you would like to play at the Olympic Games – together with the great athletes from other sports, wouldn’t you?
− Certainly I support this idea, but I think that the chances of including chess in the program of the Olympics 2024 are not high. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and other FIDE members have been working on this for several decades, but, unfortunately, the issue has not been resolved yet. The current president Arkady Dvorkovich also considers the idea to be premature, because chess is still not universally recognized as a sport. Probably to become a part of the Olympic program for chess will take more than one year.