After his win in the FIDE World Cup Gelfand gave a long and fascinating interview to Yury Yakovich at Chesspro.
Originally posted at the Daily Dirt:
How do you [40-year-old chess players] not only stay afloat, but actually keep winning?
– We play strongly (he laughs)! I’d say. There are distinct chess qualities in which it’s very likely that we have an edge. Youth has its advantages. But we love chess! And if we keep our motivation, energy and continue to work hard then we have, at worst, no fewer advantages.
I learnt to think with my head. My trainer, Albert Zinovievich Kapengut, always taught me to seek out unusual strategic ideas in positions, while young chess players have learnt to check the first line of Fritz or Rybka.
On openings he says the Sicilian nowadays is difficult to play because it just turns into a question of remembering analysis and playing against computers. Of the Petroff:
This is where you find one of the advantages of the Petroff. There you can pose your opponent a lot of problems, or at least far more than players pose at the moment. But to do that you have to look deeply into the position, analyse it at the board. And many are used to asking the computer and checking the first couple of lines. In this opening you won’t pose any problems by simply clicking on buttons.
And in relation to Kramnik and Kasparov:
It seems to me that Kasparov lost to Kramnik in large part because at that period he began to believe in computers far more than he should have done. And then he came up against the Berlin and couldn’t adapt. What can the computer come up with in the Berlin endgame? Excessive faith in computers almost led Kramnik to lose to Leko in 2004. Everyone remembers the loss with white in the 8th game with the Marshall attack. Of course it’s my own subjective opinion, which I expressed in Bareev and Levitov’s “Notes of a Second”.
It’s very important to keep a balance. In our time it’s difficult to get along without a computer. You can miss something very basic, and computers now come up with very interesting ideas. But on the other hand, if you’re being led by a computer and not the other way around, then it’s also not going to work out. There’s a very fine line which everyone’s trying to find. Judging by his play at the moment Kramnik’s successfully solved the problem of finding a balance.
There’s also one of the most eloquent and damning condemnation’s of FIDE I’ve seen in a long time. It’s well worth reading in full, but maybe just one or two snippets:
FIDE has a Committee for running the World Championship, consisting of officials who are often interested in creating chaos in order to preserve the possibility for intrigue, to change rules, to lobby for their own or someone else’s interests… Other than seeking benefits for themselves they have little interest in chess.
When Makropoulos, having practically brought an end to the qualifying matches, arrived in Elista as the Chairman of the Appeals Committee every night he created an uproar and didn’t allow Sergey Rublevsky, his neighbour, to sleep. When he was asked to calm down he explained that he didn’t care about chess players at all [lit. he spits on chess players], and if Sergey didn’t like it then he could leave and go somewhere else. Which Sergey had to do.
What struck we more than anything else then was that the fees for the members of the Appeals Committee and various other official figures were unchanged and even in excess of the prizes for participants.