The Star Late Edition



The Russian grandmaste­r, Alexander Grischuk, at 36 was the oldest player to participat­e in the recently completed Candidates Tournament (won by Nepomniach­tchi) and in these days of live streaming and online interviews he has developed a cult following for his frank and at times sardonic quotes. Here follows a sprinkling from this modern day Tartakower...

On chess as an Esport:

‘I see nothing bad about cyber sport. The only thing that’s a little strange is that a number of streamers who haven’t shown anything in chess have become very famous. But these are details.’

On post-match interviews:

To answer the question seriously, I’d make separate press conference­s when a game ends decisively. First the loser appears, then the winner, like in tennis. That would be much better. As it is, it goes badly: one guy sits there and simply glows, while the other looks at the floor and bites his nails.

On attendance­s:

Chess isn’t football with its 40,000-people stadiums. We usually have around five people in the hall, so five or zero isn’t much of a difference. I’m used to it. I realise that chess isn’t the most popular sport. It was different in the Soviet Union, but I wasn’t around to see that. So it’s not particular upsetting. I’ve got no illusions.

Regarding the perspectiv­e of the audience following chess online:

I even got to understand the way it is after one occurrence. I love sport in general - football, hockey, handball, basketball, tennis - and various games, for instance card games. Once I was free and decided to watch the World Championsh­ip of the computer game Dota. I specially downloaded a coaching video. I talked for half an hour with Nepomniach­tchi, because at one time he played Dota semi-profession­ally. I turned on the broadcast, chose the commentary for beginners and… for the three hours that the final lasted I still didn’t understand a thing. Instead I got an idea of how it is for people to watch chess. Of course, the computer can tell you who has a winning position, but it’s only really interestin­g for a few thousand people, who have a certain level of knowledge and skills.

On cheating:

Overall there’s one huge minus, which is difficult to fix. In online chess we all play against each other on good faith. If someone wants to cheat then it’s impossible to catch or stop them. There’s monitoring, but it’s not enough, like trying to catch a mosquito with a fishing net.

On Social Media:

Recently I was absolutely amazed to watch a video interview with Anish Giri. They asked him why he writes so much on social networks and if that doesn’t distract him from chess? He said: “That’s the only thing that distracts me. Otherwise I spend all my time working and thinking about chess”. Is that really possible? I’ve never had such a problem.


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