Ever had anything you wanted to ask a super-grandmaster? Well, now’s your chance, as Peter Svidler, one of the most likeable and colourful members of the chess elite, is ready to answer reader questions as part of the Crestbook KC-Conference project.
Grandmasters who have previously subjected themselves to this interrogation include Krasenkow, Shirov, Grischuk, Karjakin, Gashimov, Gelfand and Khalifman, but until now it was only possible to pose questions in Russian.
The way it works is as follows:
- Questions for Peter Svidler can be left as comments below this post (or in Russian at Crestbook’s KasparovChess forum) until 10 November (inclusive).
- Please only post questions there. You can ask more than one (even as many as 10), though remember Peter will have limited time.
- Questions can be on any topic, but please be polite and avoid e.g. personal attacks. Also please try to read previous questions to avoid repetition.
- After 10 November Peter will be sent all the questions. The only editorial control might be to correct obvious spelling/grammar mistakes or to group questions thematically.
- It’s up to Peter, of course, how detailed his answers are and whether for any reason he decides not to respond to some of the questions.
- Peter will probably have answered the questions in about a week, and then his answers will be published as soon as possible at Crestbook (hopefully simultaneously in Russian and English).
The Crestbook thread includes a short biography of Peter Svidler and an introduction by Sergey Shipov. I’ve translated both below:
Short Biographical Sketch
Peter Svidler was born on 17 June 1976 in Leningrad, and is married with two children. He represents Russia on the international stage. He received the International Master title in 1991 and has been a Grandmaster since 1994. He’s an Honoured Master of Sport in Russia. His current FIDE rating is 2722 (November 2010, 23rd on the rating list); his highest FIDE rating is 2765 (January 2006, 4th on the rating list). His trainer is the International Master Andrey Lukin.
He began playing chess in 1983. Among his early notable successes were: 1-2nd place in the (last!) USSR Junior Championship in 1991 and 1-3rd place at the Under-16 World Championship. In 1994 he became the Under-18 World Chess Champion.
In “adult” chess Peter made a name for himself as an 18-year-old by becoming Russian Champion in 1994. He won that title four more times (1995, 1997, 2003 and 2008) – a result that’s unlikely to be repeated in the foreseeable future. He was St. Petersburg Champion in 1995.
He’s won or been a prize-winner at many international tournaments, including the Linares Anibal Open (1st), St. Petersburg Chigorin Memorial 1994 (1-5th), Novosibirsk 1995 (1-4th), Torshavn Nordic Grand Prix 1997 (1st), Tilburg 1997 (1-3rd), Dortmund 1998 (1-3rd), Esbjerg 2000 (1-2nd), Biel 2000 (1st), Moscow Aeroflot Open 2003 (1-4th), Poikovsky 2003 (1-2nd), Dortmund 2005 (2-5th), Dortmund 2006 (1-2nd), San Sebastian 2009 (3rd) and Gibraltar 2009 (1st).
He’s often competed, in different formats, for the World Championship. In the 2001 FIDE World Championship Peter Svidler got to the semi-final, where he lost to the future winner, Ruslan Ponomariov. In 2005 at the FIDE World Championship in San Luis he shared second place with Vishy Anand (the winner was Veselin Topalov). In the next FIDE World Championship in Mexico 2007 Peter came 5th. He got to the quarter-finals of the most recent FIDE World Cup in 2009, where he lost to Vladimir Malakhov.
As a member of the Russian team Peter Svidler has won the Chess Olympiad in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002, and also the Team World Championship in 1997. In 2004 and 2010 he was on the Russian team that finished with silver medals at the Chess Olympiad, so overall Svidler has 5 gold and 2 silver Olympiad medals.
As well as classical chess, Peter has also paid tribute to other types of chess. He was the runner-up at the World Blitz Championship in 2006 in Rishon LeZion (Israel), losing out to Alexander Grischuk in the tiebreak. In 2003 he won the title of World Fischer Chess Champion by winning a match against Peter Leko. In 2004 and 2005 he successfully defended the title in matches against Levon Aronian and Zoltan Almasi.
Peter is a cricket fan and his publically declared musical tastes are Bob Dylan and Tom Waits.
There’s a site devoted to Peter Svidler’s chess: http://www.psvidler.net
Sergey Shipov on Peter Svidler
Peter Svidler is the black sheep of contemporary chess – original in every way. My periodic dealings with him have left an indelible mark on my memory. Which other Russian player is keen on cricket, prefers English to Russian, doesn’t consider Leo Tolstoy a great writer, preserves his karma, resigns in drawn positions and plays billiards masterfully? Only Peter.
Svidler is immensely ironic, particularly in relation to himself. So if he criticises himself then please divide everything he says by three or four. You also need to get a subtle sense of humour ready, as some of Peter’s jokes take those he talks to a year to understand…
A multiple (I’ve already lost count) Russian Champion, he skilfully hides his ambitions and fighting spirit. I see that as one of the reasons for his victories. It’s hard to get yourself psyched up to play Svidler – against such a positive person Botvinnik’s methods don’t work.
If Peter sacrifices something then you should boldly take it! Even if you lose you’ll get great pleasure from the game, though there’s also a chance of winning. In any case, you’ll have something to remember. You can also sacrifice against him – either a bottle of mineral water or a pawn. The first is the more reliable method. Tried and tested.
While overall, I’ve got the suspicion that I… don’t know Svidler at all. Each new conversation reveals new sides to his personality. I hope our KC-Conference will illuminate this polyhedron in all its glory.
The best way of getting an idea of how these “KC-Conferences” work is to read some of the earlier examples. Together with Dana Mackenzie we’re gradually trying to translate the interviews into English (as you’ll see they can be very long!). At the moment you can read:
KC-Conference with Alexander Khalifman (in three parts)
The comments section below is open for your questions for GM Peter Svidler!