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


I would love to be part of our team

Dresden, 27/08/2008

We talked with Loek Van Wely about Dresden and the chances of the Dutch team during the multicultural tournament in November.

If the Dutch top player will be nominated at all is still open. As second, Van Wely worked with Kramnik. Topalov and Kamsky. Loek is facing the same problems than his colleague Ivan Sokolov who is eligible to play for the Dutch team. 

Loek, you just told me the team lineup of the Dutch for the participation in the Chess Olympiad is completely open. How come?
At the moment, the chess federation is looking for sponsors, but it does not look so good. If this doesn’t work, they might send a very young team.

What will the lineup then look like?
If Sokolov and me won’t play, the team might consist of Stellwagen, Smeets, Lame, Wehrle and these boys…

… all of them really good players…
… that’s right, they own very good qualities, but, of course, they are missing experience. That doesn’t mean they will come off badly.

A perspective team, such as our second team that will start as Youth Olympiad team.
Yes, that is similar.













„King Loek“ is a well-known nickname for you, where did you get it?
When the InternetChessClub ICC started about 15 years ago, I was asked to think of a nickname that can be used for playing on the server and it was just out of good humor that evening that I chose “King Loek”. Presumably, I was lucky that no one else had had that idea and from that evening on, I had a nickname.

Not quite a disagreeable name… Talking about names: In the 90s, you were second of Gata Kamsky, later of Veselin Topalow and then Vladimir Kramnik. That means you know a major part of the repertoire of three famous players in the Top Ten! How can I imagine your work?
First of all, it is very hard work, you are very high challenged. You are working from dawn until dusk and need to have a sense of knowing what to get out of which variations. I really liked doing it, I worked for World Championship matches, you really give it all and eventually it is a great compliment for me to be given that chance three times.

Do you give away the differences in the preparation of Kramnik and Topalov?
Kramnik is more of the acadamic type, he is interested in anything. You can start talking about complete different topics and he wants to know everything. Topalov rather likes the ideas of the second in separate play-backs, his focus is on the diversity of varieties in particular positions.

Dresden is getting closer. Of course, we would like to see all the favourites there. But chess there is a team competition. How does the preparation of a Chess Olympiad look like?
It is a great feeling to act as a team, it is so much different than at a individual championship. But we don’t work as a team, no.

That surprises me, the quality of the game could be improved.
That is correct, yes, and I know that other federations prepare themselves in a team, such as Armenia and others. I am convinced that it might bring us forward. I have been trying to initiate the team work, but it is not easy. On the other hand, we won the European championship, even though we did not have one single team practice.














What do you say about the boom in the Asian countries? How long will it be before China reigns the world chess?
In ten, twenty years maybe, an outstanding Western European team won’t exist anymore and that is without any doubt due to the fact that China understood how to bring sport forward. That is the same for all other sports in China. The youth encouragement is completely different than here. Such an intense work would not be possible here. If we, for example, receive a subsidy from the sports association, the state directly claims taxes – this is not how it’s going to work.

What comes to your mind when you think of Dresden?
I would love to be player of our team during the Olympiad, I like the city and in my opinion, the Congress Center is the perfect venue. I know Dresden from many previous tournaments and would be thrilled to participate. I made an offer to our federation about how it might work. That is all I can do, now it’s the federation’s move. 

Loek, thank you for taking time. I would be very pleased to see you again in November.
Thank you – me too.