On the final day of the World Championship match in Sofia, Levon Aronian was interviewed in Armenia by Vadim Mkrtchian of “Golos Armenii” (“Voice of Armenia”). The interview includes Levon’s view on the match, the FIDE election, opening preparation, and his reasons for not wanting to play candidates matches in Baku.
The interview can be found on the yerkramas.org website. I originally posted this translation/summary at the Daily Dirt blog.
At the beginning Aronian talks about some training sessions he has just held in Armenia working on openings:
I think the novelties we found will definitely be used at the board. Unfortunately we spent a great deal of time on one of the novelties and it was used by Anand in the match with Topalov that just finished [10. Na3 in the 4th game]. Literally the next day. It happens!
How do you rate the Anand-Topalov match?
The match turned out not to be of the highest quality. The grandmasters made a large number of serious mistakes. In recent years chess players have really “gotten stuck into” the opening. Before a game you analyse so much with a computer that you end up making 20-25 moves on autopilot and have no energy left for the game itself. The creative side suffers, but nowadays you can no longer get by without computer analysis.
He mentions again that he didn’t play Wijk this year because they couldn’t come to a financial agreement, but that he’s playing next year and also hopes to play in Linares. This year he’s mainly focussed on the Olympiad. There are some questions on Armenian chess, followed by:
Please could you comment on the situation surrounding the possible running of the candidate matches in Baku.
I already expressed my opinion on the topic, as well as in a conversation with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s assistants. I won’t travel to Baku. It isn’t that I’m frightened for my life. Chess players are creative people and they must have a normal psychological atmosphere. For example, during a tournament I like to walk around the town. Will I be able to do that in Baku? Besides, the safety guarantee that Azerbaijan mentions implies constant personal protection. Going to the toilet with a body guard is hardly likely to help me to play calmly at the chessboard. I think common sense will prevail in FIDE.
On the FIDE elections – he mentions Ilyumzhinov’s done some good things and then:
In Karpov’s favour he has great authority in the chess world. I don’t support either of the candidates. But I think that it would be interesting to see the head of FIDE being a person who knows first-hand the problems players face. At the moment many decisions are taken by people on the edges of chess who at times serve the interests of narrow groups rather than of leading players. For example, it’s unacceptable to rewrite the rules of the world title during the cycle. With the appearance of Karpov the situation might change for the better. But, I repeat, I don’t support anyone in the future elections.