Armenians repeat their success
Little Knight meets big rook
The technical Olympiad spirit


We will fight - We can do it!

Dresden, 15/08/2008

Interview with Shakryar Mamedjarow, Vassily Ivantschuk and Sarunas Sulskis.

In a group of four we continue our talks with the top players of the upcoming Olympiad. Besides Vassily Ivantschuk, Ukranian number one player and recent world ranking number 4 with Elo 2781, we met Shakryar Mamedjarow (2742 / 8) and the fugleman of Vasilly, Lithuanian Sarunas Sulskis (2562).

Hello there, may I join you for a couple of questions?
Shakryar: Go ahead
Sarunas: Take a seat.

Team compositions have to be announced until 12 September. Do you happen to know how the Ukraine and Azerbaijan will be set?
Vassiliy: The exact team composition is still unclear but after we have heard of Russia and Hungary sending their strongest possible equipe we will, of course, do so ourselves. Myself, I have a clear idea of whom to nominate. But if you want to know for sure you might have to talk to the president of our federation.

Shakryar: Same for me, as I am not in the position of deciding on the nomination, but we will certainly send the best players we have.

Are you familiar with the playing conditions? Have you seen the Congress Center yet?
Sarunas Sulskis: I played there last year in the European Championships, it is a fantastic venue for playing, the city is beautiful and I expect excellent conditions. Playing conditions were much better than in Plovdiv, however, hotels are more expensive.

Shakryar: Dresden is a good choice, no doubt about it.


























Did you also play Calvia and Torino? Could you compare it to Dresden?
Sarunas: Sure, as a ten times Chess Olympiad participant for Lithuania I have played Calvia and Torino as well. Calvia was a tough challenge when it comes to playing conditions but otherwise very nice, Torino was just the opposite.

Shakryar: I cannot comment on this since I did not play Torino.

How important are ideal framework conditions to you? Am I wrong thinking that a player of your strength only concentrates on the matches anyway?
Shakryar: Absolutely not. Dresden should do her best to organize an all around successful tournament. If the general conditions underwhelm players seem to perform badly as well.

Vassily: They are, indeed, very important. If you constantly have to care about other things than just the game it is hard to give your best at it. On the other hand: if I do not have to be bothered with anything else I can do well on the board. They entail one another.

An issue that caught my interest also when talking to your elite colleagues: How strong could a team of excellent grandmasters be if they would all practice together? In the end, it is a team event, wouldn’t it be possible to wheedle out a lot more of everyone.
Shakryar: Unfortunately, this does not happen in our team and I actually do not like this, too. I would, in turn, really appreciate if we would train together – since it is a team sport.

Vassiliy: That might be true, but consider that, by the end of the day, we all are still competitors.


















Would you even call your team colleagues rivals?
Vassily: That’s the way it is. How could I to forget?

How does Vassily Ivanchuk get ready for the Chess Olympiad?
Vassily: I will analyse games of Anand, Kramnik and other board one players who will come into considerations, I don’t think there will be a great difference to how my colleagues prepare.

Asian chess, especially China appears to become stronger every year, numerous grandmasters are „produced“, their success is fantastic. Will China soon be world number one at chess?
Vassily: I would not concentrate too much on China. Vietnam, India and the other Asian nations are on a similar path… nonetheless, I wouldn’t be able to evaluate the development. I am not quite sure about that yet.

Shakryar: It is conceivable that China is to play an even bigger role in the near future. After all, they are already ranking third in the world, but I do not believe in an overtaking of the world leadership within the next five years. However, there are parallels between the Chinese and Azerbaijan team: we have a young team becoming stronger – this is not the tip of the iceberg yet.

How will you perform in Dresden?
Vassily: We will fight, we will be strong and we can win if we are on the ball. We did it 2004!
Shakryar: I think we are in a good position. Ranked seventh noone expects us to win, but we know we can make it.

Vassily, you have won almost everything there is at chess. Does the Chess Olympiad mean a big challenge for you at all?
Vassily: Yes, of course, even if it doesn’t look like it after my performance in Dortmund.