On November 15, GM Eingorn came back to Odessa, having played for the Ukraine national team in the Istanbul Olympiad. We met on November 17. Our conversation turned out to be rather long and consisted of 3 parts: the Olympiad, «new time control and Grandmasters», and at last Eingorn's participation (or, to be more precise, his nonparticipation) in the FIDE World Championship 2000.
A lot of people in the Ukraine rooted for the team, and all of them are satisfied with the result. For the third time in a row, the Ukrainian team is among the first three and didn't lose a game on the first four boards... Ponomariov's play deserves special mention. Why did you play so few games, though your result was 5 out of 7? How was the team's line-up for the matches defined?
We had two shock-boards - Ivanchuk and Ponomariov. As for the line-up, each time it was defined in different way. Usually, the participants gave their views on this question, though there was no voting. If the opinions differed, we simply flipped a coin. By the way, this method has an obvious advantage - no mutual offenses.
But, in this case, nobody can be sure if the decision is correct or not...
Nevertheless, it's hard for the opponent to get prepared for this or that player. As a matter of fact, our team should have had a chief, who would have been responsible for the team's line-up and all other questions.
An experienced Grandmaster, like Tukmakov, for example?
Yes, it could be such players as Tukmakov, Kuzmin, Lerner, or such a professional like Postovsky, the coach of the Russian team. He is not a Grandmaster, but as a rule he can find a way to lead his team to victory. Our captain was the President of our chess federation, who couldn't and didn't even try to perform such duties.
We lost to Russia in the decisive match...
Yes, if we had won we could have fought for a higher place. During the match, everybody could see that the chess players felt nervous, especially the Ukrainians. After this match (1.5-2.5), we had nothing left to do but fight for the bronze. Russia left us behind, while Germany had time to play against all the opponents. The Ukraine was rated sixth in the Olympiad. At the beginning of the tournament, Ivanchuk said: «We will be in the first ten, and if we are lucky, we will take third place.» And he turned out to be right!
By the way, do you know that before the Olympiad Ivanchuk said that he didn't like the idea of zeroing out the rating? Do you know a single Grandmaster who likes this idea?
I don't know. Perhaps it will benefit somebody...
But still, why did you play just 7 games?
The reason was that the team entrusted the «Black» games to me. I played four games with Black and three with White, but the ratio had to be 5-2. This didn't happen because, in the final round, the team retained the color. Thus, it turned out that I didn't take part in important matches against Hungary, Germany, Russia, and Israel.
What would you have done if you had had to play all games with Black?
I wouldn't have been happy, though such a situation was theoretically impossible. In general, all the players have to play the same number of games.
Nevertheless, it was clear that Ivanchuk would play all fourteen games.
Because of this he got very tired by the end of the tournament. He had to take a couple of days off - in the beginning and in the middle of the tournament. In the final analysis, we took third place for several reasons. In the final round, in addition to our own efforts, we needed two things to happen in other games - Leko's and Avrukh's. Besides, we were lucky to surpass Hungary ... It was a miracle!
The amount of prize money was officially announced in the Ukraine. The government of the Ukraine even published a resolution on the sports prizes that everyone could find on the Internet. Did the members of the team get six hundred dollars each?
Not yet. Perhaps they haven't had time to get it to us. It's a pity that chess is still not an Olympic sport. It's a pity that the Ukraine Chess Federation hasn't found a sponsor for its team yet.
Viacheslav, I know that the question about the transition to the new «one hour for each player» time control is being debated now.
Yes, Shirov's letter seems to have come in handy, and FIDE has roused its interest in this discussion. The idea itself is not that new. Many years ago, Bronstein advocated this «quick» format of games. In 1978, in Daugavpils, I happened to talk with David Ionovich on this subject. The only difference is that Bronstein, in his proposal, was motivated by chess reasons, while now, this idea is based, first of all, on utilitarian reasons with an elegant curtsey towards the very game of chess: you can play «quick» chess, preserving a high level of playing.
So, what is your opinion?
As a matter of fact, it's not quite correct to ask a professional about this. The shorter the time control, the more tournaments you take part in, and the more money you get. Besides, it is more convenient for the spectators to follow the games. It will be easier for chess admirers to attend different chess tournaments. Thus, chess professionals and chess admirers will support this idea. What is more important - the strongest chess players in the world should express their opinions on this subject.
I feel that you are not an impassioned admirer of shortening time for thinking.
The process has been going on for a long time. Reduced time control forces chess players to make superficial decisions. Chess is constantly losing its depth. The predictability of the results is waning, and players' intuition starts to play the main role... This idea changes the very substance of chess.
But a masterpiece can be created in just an hour. Once Karpov said that an ideal game had to sound like a song...
Yes, a masterpiece can be created in one hour and even in 15 minutes - Bronstein liked that time control in particular. The difference is that, formerly, a Grandmaster could win over a strong opponent and at once demonstrate his ideas and variations to those around him. He could immediately understand that he had created something worthwhile...
And now the chess player goes home, analyzes his game with or without the help of a computer and if he doesn't find any mistakes, he will think that he has created something special. That is not so important. If you win a beautiful game, it certainly pleases you, but, for the modern chess player, the result is of prime importance. In the above-mentioned Leko - Belyavsky game, White for a long time played the «rook vs. bishop» endgame, using Fischer's clocks, by the way. Formerly, it could hardly have been imagined...
Does this mean that soon we will see the «rook vs. bishop» in a World Championship match?
We have come to a new approach toward chess. For example, one of the participants of the Olympiad had a snack while sitting at the chessboard. He could have done this in any other place, but he ate while sitting at the chessboard. It doesn't mean that he was wrong. There are certain rules of conduct. People know that they can have a snack at the stadium, but they won't eat at the theatre. Chess is being transposed from the theatre to the stadium.
On the other hand, when Gufeld, this upholder of creativity, played me in 1993, he was eating big apples and even offered some to me.
(Smiling) At least, he suggested sharing them with you!
In 1989, you took part in the Championship of the USSR that was held in the Ukrainian Theatre in Odessa. I went there several times as a spectator. I have to note that it was difficult for me to sit there for five hours. On the other hand, it wouldn't be difficult to watch chess duels for two hours even on the Internet...
The question is if there is any need to lighten the fan's life in such a way. Reformers want to attract money to chess and so they have to offer marketable goods. Chess remains a means of leisure and entertainment and is losing its value as an art. Shirov writes that deep ideas become incomprehensible to a public that finds it difficult to watch one game for seven hours... Thus, chess should no more be called the «intellectuals' game. » I think this name has become a thing of the past!
What can you say about the Kasparov - Kramnik match?
Poor quality of games, and Kasparov's bad sports form really surprised me.
Was it better than the world championship with 1-hour time control?
I don't know, I haven't seen such a championship yet. Chess traditions have turned out to be unstable. The chess world has been for a long time aimed at money. Now, the game could be renamed «market chess.»
Did this process start in Fischer's time?
No, Fischer asked for tolerable conditions for the chess players and fair payment for their work. He didn't renounce concern of the game of chess. He opposed the postponement of games because he worked without a second. Now, in the computer era, there is no sense in postponing the game. So, I think the role of distinct personalities should not be exaggerated, because the process has its own quite impartial rationale.
What shall we do? Should we just go with the stream?
I think the leading chess players should give us their forcible arguments.
Well, now I'd like to ask you about the chess players. Weren't you offended that the Ukrainian chess players didn't support you in the situation with the World Championship?
You are wrong. Ivanchuk asked me if I needed any help.
And what about the other members of the national team?
I think they would have supported me if I had asked them. The point is that they didn't voluntarily offer their help.
Before we proceed to the FIDE World Championship... Why will the professionals never overcome their egoism and disconnection? Why won't they put up a united front? Almost nobody tries to change the situation. Only Baburin is making any attempt to develop a Grandmasters' forum on the Internet...
I didn't see Baburin's site - perhaps, it is worth seeing... I think that Grandmasters will never put up a united front. In order to do this, they need something important to unite them all, they need a tradition. Now, the only thing that unites them and, at the same time divides them, is the financial interest because chess is an individual occupation, not a cooperative.
In other words, do you mean that FIDE pays some of them, and Braingames Corp., the others?
And this too. When there is a place where a player can earn more money he starts thinking... In Istanbul, they held a tournament with prizes for the delegates of the FIDE Congress. Some delegates were Grandmasters and they took part in the competition. Opinions of other Grandmasters differed: some of them (the minority) thought they ought not to play in such a tournament, while others would have played in it with great pleasure, but they didn't have the opportunity because they were not delegates.
LEAVING NEW DELHI
Viacheslav, let me switch to the question of your participation in the FIDE World Championship. Here I'd like to remind our readers that, in June, in the town of Orzjonikidze, you fought for the three passes needed by the Ukraine Chess Federation. You took third place, but, nevertheless, you didn't get into the World Championship list... As far as I know, during the Istanbul Olympiad and for some time before that, you tried to clarify the situation. Would you tell me about this in detail?
No problem - in the beginning of September one of my friends called me and said that I am not on the list of players published on the FIDE site. I contacted the president of the Ukraine Chess Federation and the FIDE secretariat...
In short, the history is as follows:
FIDE Zone 1.9 (the Ukraine) had two passes to the World Championship. In the beginning of 1999, the Ukraine Chess Federation asked the president of FIDE to increase the number of passes from two to three (many chess players agree that two passes are insufficient for the Ukraine; however, this number obviously corresponds with the special formula of FIDE - M.G.). The president of FIDE endorsed the document, which represented his formal confirmation and handed it over to the secretariat. Mr. Omuku (Executive Director of the FIDE Secretariat - M.G.) tells about this fact in his letter to the president of the Ukraine Chess Federation dated May 12, 1999.
In this letter, he also points out that, as planned, two Ukrainian players would be accepted in the Las Vegas World Championship (summer 1999) but Mr. Iclicki (FIDE World Championship Cycle Committee Chairman-M.G.) assured him (Omuku) that the Ukraine zone would be favorably considered during the allotting of the additional places in the next World Championship (i.e. FIDE World Championship 2000).
Did the Omuku letter become the key document on which the Ukraine Chess Federation based its decoration that there were three passes?
Yes, this letter and the endorsement by the FIDE president. The Ukraine Federation considered this question to be decided. However, when Mr. Iclicki got the results of the Ordjonikidze tournament (June 2000) he included only the first two prizemen in the World Championship List of Players. It turned out that, during the Qatar session of FIDE's executive committee (October 1999 - M.G.), they decided not to introduce any changes in the rules of selection of the participants of the FIDE World Championship. Mr. Iclicki informed the Ukraine Chess Federation about this fact on September 12, 2000. FIDE's Administration unhappily accepted the notification that the Ukraine was being deprived of its places in the forthcoming FIDE Championship. FIDE had no obligations to the Ukraine, as proved by the subsequent decisions.
And what about Ilyumzhinov's signature?
In Istanbul, I. Byk, the President of the Ukraine Chess Federation, and I met Mr. Iclicki and Mr. Makropoulos (Deputy President of FIDE). Mr. Makropoulos recognized that the problem existed. In his opinion, the FIDE President could give the Ukraine one of his nominations to the FIDE World Championship. But neither FIDE, nor the Ukraine Chess Federation worked on this question, though they needed to.
Interestingly, I addressed FIDE at the beginning of September. For two months, FIDE's activity consisted of Mr. Iclicki's letter. Mr. Makropoulos suggested waiting until Iluymzhinov came to Istanbul and then organizing a meeting with him.
Did this meeting really take place?
No. Obviously, Ilyumzhinov had more important problems to solve. He talked with I. Byk, who then told me that the FIDE president promised to give me a personal place in the next World Championship.
But the formula of playing for the world championship has to change.
Many things can change by that time. But, for me, it will be difficult to explain to my thirteen year old son why I am not taking part in the World Championship, though I received my pass for it.
FIDE Drops Two Ukrainians from Participation in FIDE Championships
Ordzhonikidze Zonal (KasparovChess)
Ordzhonikidze Zonal (FIDE)
Ordzhonikidze Zonal (Chess-Sector.odessa.ua)