32 responses to “Your questions for GM Peter Svidler”

  1. Questions:

    1. All great players say “I grew up studying so and so’s games”. How exactly do you study them. Do you just take a book which contains analysis (eg. Kasparov’s MGP series) and just move the pieces, or should you try to predict the moves… In general any light on this aspect is useful. Who’s game did you grow up studying and how did you study them?

    3. At the elite level, is it much harder now in the computer age in preparation since opening novelties along with its ideas can last only a single game as opposed to in the K-K times? Is that the reason why there is no one dominant player in the world right now?

    4. Can a class A (1800-2000) player 30 yrs of age ever become a grand master in his life by training online with a GM and with 10 hrs of work per week. If its possible, how many minimum years do you think it will take ?

    5. What skills in general and in what order of priority should one teach toddlers ( 1 yr age onwards) — eg. is it pattern recognition, or attitude, or memory … so that, it will help them in rapid chess development when they are introduced to it later (say at 3-4 yrs of age).

    6. Did you expect Anand to win in Bonn as well as in Sofia? What about his next match in 2012 ?

  2. Thanks alot for this opportunity to ask one of the best playres in the world some questions:

    1- Which game you lost do you really think you play very well and deserve a win?

    2- Honstly, whose better you or Morozevich?

    3- Which player do you nominate to play against anand in the next world championship match?

    4- What is the power and weak points in your style of play?

  3. Questions for Peter:

    1. I’ve been longing in vain to see a sharp Najdorf game at top level. Any particular reason why the Sicilian doesn’t seem to be used these days?

    2. Do you think world chess is in good hands with the current FIDE junta? ;-)

    3. Does the extent of rating inflation/abundance of GMs bother you at all?

    4. I’ve been following polborta on twitter, but you hardly ever post there :(

  4. Whatever happened to Pablo Sierra Fuentes? Is he still your webmaster?

  5. When you are walking down the street calculating variations in your head, do you see a three-dimensional chess board or a two-dimensional computer screen?

  6. What is more significant, in your opinion, holding the World Championship Title or currently being rated Number 1 on various rating lists?
    And if you’ll allow me just one more question, i’ll be brief. What would a chess player have had to achieve to be called the “greatest” chess player of all time?

  7. Opening theory and middlegame strategies seem too all inclusive now for grandmasters. But in the endgame I have seen that grandmasters lack the skills for precise calculation. Gashimov-Carlsen Nanjing 2010 is one lastest example. And your resignation to Kramnik in a drawn bishop ending also comes to mind.
    Is it because you have to study the transitions from opening to middegame so much, that rather than studying endgame technics, you trust your instincts for that part of the game?
    The opening are getting so analyzed that they are going right through the middlegame, straight to endings. And I think that is where top level chess is heading.

  8. Sir,
    Greetings from Malaysia !
    Who did you find more difficult to play against? Kramnik, Anand or Magnus ? –
    I meant the style that each of them adopts , not necessarily who is the better GM.

  9. Dear Peter,

    I really like your games and your personality and I wish you all the success in your future tournaments!

    Q1, I would be really interested to know how good memory a grandmaster should have nowadays? How often do you need to review your earlier preparations before a tournament or does it stay in your memory like a favourite poem what you can’t forget?

    Q2, You played many great tournaments and you also helped Kramnik many times. Could you give a percentage how often you guess correctly what opening the opponent would play? I try to understand how much of the high level games are following long home prepared lines?

    Q3, Talking about openings I was always puzzled that top GMs do study only openings or do they practice endgames, solve puzzles etc?

    Q4, What do you think about implementing poker prize money system (with obvious modifications) in chess? I think there would be more excitement and less draws. Boring draws and sponsor problems solved at the same time.

    Q5, Do you think that Vasik Rajlich’s idea of selling Rybka Cluster’s computing time to travelling GM’s is viable?

    Thanks for answering!

  10. Thanks again for having the opportunity to ask Peter, my favourite Player btw, some questions. So Pjotr Veniaminovich, here we go:

    1) Since I have so many questions that there is hardly enough space on this website: Have you ever considered to make up a website as Gusti did, with regular blogs, comments, pictures and so forth? That would be great.

    2) You seem to be quite anglophile. If so a) how does this come, and b) do you like Monty Python’s Flying Circus and which is favourite episode (mine is “Flying Lessons” :-))

    3) Have you ever been to the Crucible and what do you think of “Power Snooker”? Some people might call it a doom of tradition (which reminds me of all these discussions beeing held about blitz/rapid-chess).

    4) Have you read Avrukh’s “1. d4” ;-))

    Cheers and greetings from Muenster / Ger

  11. Thank you Mishanp for all the translations and for this opportunity.

    1. Will human beings ever be able to develop their intuition and creativity to such an extent that they will be able to defeat computers consistently in chess?

    2. How do you “turn off” your mind in order to sleep between games during a tournament (especially after a loss).

    3. Do you think you may have been British in a former life?

  12. Hi Peter! With computers getting stronger and playing an ever-increasing role in opening preparation, will elite chessplayers get any fun out of chess in another 10-20 years? I have a picture in my mind of a super-grandmaster staring at his new super-computer running Rybka 11 for hours every day. It’s already a highly-demanding game, but where is the limit to what one can take?

  13. Hello Peter —

    You are one of my favorite players, by the way, and you are known to have a very fine understanding of strategy over the board. Did you make a conscious effort in years of training to reach that ability, or was that mostly developed through experience? If it was via training, what helped you the most – an instructor, or studying master games?
    Thanks in advance!

  14. Hi Peter, first of all I would like to express my admiration for the player but above all the kind of person you are. Everybody on the chess environment agrees about how easy going and friendly you are; I remember Nakamura being asked by John Watson on chess FM about his poor record against you, answering that is probably because you are so kind and friendly that unconsciously he found hard to hate you and keeping his murder instinct going on against you.
    Personally, in the first game of the recent Anand-Topalov match that you made the broadcast coverage for ICC, you were kind enough to have a small discussion with me after the game about Vishy´s opening choice; if u happen to remember I said something like “Not to blame the Grunfeld, but don’t you think that this was a too risky opening choice to start with in a WCH match” and you said “…the Grunfeld states theoretically fine..”, and I replied “ …Well, I am not gonna discuss the Grunfeld value with you…” after which you threw in a smiley face. Then I told u that Vishy played all his life “white squared defences against d4” and u answered “that’s also true. You have a point”.

    Anyway, here are my questions:

    1- Do you think that chess books (with the likely exception of some opening books) are the chess improvement mirage of the amateurs? I am tired of seeing GM (last Shirov here in crestbook) telling that they never read chess books. By the way, do you read any? Which was the last (the few if applicable) that you recall?
    2- Do you think that blitz talent reflects some “true side” of the chess talent in general (leaving apart whatever –if even main- “dark side” it has)?
    3- If you could, can you make a small list of chess talents that haven’t (or wont ever have) a chance of reaching the top ranks, or fighting for WCH with chances? People that you think their chess talent is at least equal to the best but for other reasons won’t ever make it to the very top. In my humble view, the best example is Ivanchuk (my favourite player), and secondly Nakamura.
    4- I assume that someone else would ask too about the Bareev statement (published here in crestbook too) that you don’t love chess, in which case consider this question dismissed. Do you believe that he had some point too; for e.g., I remember you telling Peterson in the last NH tournament that “the kids” were too worried about making it to Amber “while I don’t give a shit”.
    5- Do you believe that in current times with super computers analysis the best approach to the openings is against the opponent (i.e. playing the most uncomfortable for him, or hitting his weakest opening rep point), rather than becoming a super specialist in a single-white and black system, in Carlsen or before Kasparov style?.

    My best regards and success wishes from Argentina.


  15. Thank you for the opportunity to pose these questions:

    I have 4 questions:

    a. If you had to pick one player to represent earth in a chess game vs. aliens, which active player would it be? You can pick different active players for white and black side, if you feel necessary.

    b. Carlsen has had great results over the past year. But looking at the games, he appears to have been uncommonly lucky – in Nanjing he was worse against Topalov, Gashimov & Bacrot. In Bazna, he was worse against Ponomariov. This is in contrast to a Kramnik or Anand, who appear more solid. Does luck explain part of his phenomennal rating?

    c. Anand appears to be coasting through tournaments devoid of any ambition or drive getting a +1 here and a +2 there. Do you feel a difference in the current World Champion’s desire to win tournaments now compared to 3-4 years ago?

    d. Is the future for chess (post-Kramnik, Svidler, Grischuk) in Russia bleak?

  16. Hi Peter,

    How did you learn to speak such good English? You speak better English than most of the people in the U.S. and I can’t even detect an accent.

    Why do you wear an earring? Isn’t it uncomfortable?

    I have a 2000 USCF rating. How should I study in order to become a master?

  17. How many hours per week do you and the other top gms work on chess?
    Does bullet help your chess? What about blitz?

  18. I am 23 years old and 2350 rated. Can I become 2700 in four years if I study really hard?

  19. What openings do you like for aesthetic reasons? That you wish were played more in top level chess?

    What do you think of Fischer Random Chess (Chess960)?

    Who is the best endgame player?

  20. I have never asked a celebrity a question, so please excuse me if it sounds silly or offensive.

    You and Alexander Morozevich are my two absolutely favorite top GMs. You because you must be the most talented chessplayer in the world (I understand you do not work that hard, so it must be the sheer talent) and Morozevich, because his play is so unorthodox. Do you have any hints on why Alexander Morozevich is not playing professionally any more? Or maybe you think he will come back?

  21. Who is the strongest gay chess player you know of?

  22. Пётр, добрый день!

    У меня к Вам 2 вопроса:

    1) Что вы думаете об отказе Карлсона участвовать в матчах претендентов?

    2) Кто теперь имеет реалные шансы выйте победителем этого цикла, а, может быть, и победить Ананда ?

    С уважением, Эдуард.

  23. Hi Peter

    I was wonder what you think about the notion that current chess theory
    is developed to some extent around the chasing of bishops from the Car0-Kann Advance variation to the Slav lines to the Trompovsky to the Centre Counter.
    The use of the g-pawn by either black (In the French defence for example) and white seems somuch more prominent than before.
    Would you care to comment.John a Germaican based in London.
    Blessings. Please put the Olympiad behind you.The moment has passed.

  24. Hello Peter,

    I always enjoy playing over your games and also when you do commentary
    on other players games. Thank you for your efforts.

    I am curious about your love affair with the Grunfeld Defense. Where did
    that come from? Was one of your early trainers or coaches a great expert in
    that defense or did you play over some games (by others) with it and decide that you would like the opportunity to play such positions yourself?

    If my name rings a bell, yes, we’ve met before in Madrid and Las Vegas.

  25. Hello Mr. Svidler

    What do you do after losing a game?

  26. Hello again Mr. Svidler

    which do you study more? opening theories or endgames?

  27. Hi Peter,
    I’ve always had the impression of you as being a very practical player. My question is “Do you feel that your approach to chess is pragmatic, and secondly, what ambitions (chess or in general) do you have for yourself in the next 5 years or so?”

  28. Hi Peter,

    I ahve been your fan for a long time. I have a question. I have heard that you are a Cricket fan and a Sachin Tendulkar fan. The question is:

    Who is the bigger sports personality from India in your opinion: Anand or Sachin and why?



  29. Hello Peter,

    1. How important is psychological aspects in a game in shaping outcome of the game.Can you illustrate some examples you have had with other players like Van Wely sometime ago mentioned….for eg Anand using his pen etc.

    2. Had to ask your opinion about WCH cycle and about Carlsen withdrawing from the candidates matches.

  30. Peter, as is well known, nobody can give post mortems as colorfully, insightfully, and accessibly as you. We, your fans, are always appreciative of the radio beams of charisma that you give out so unsparingly and unceasingly, much as weightlifters, coffeehouse patzers, and literary editors give off BO. Here, then, is a challenge for you. The recent FIDE elections have received surprising coverage outside the dedicated chess media. Based on press accounts as well as my interactions, it plainly seems that normal well-informed folks who are not chess addicts are stupendously perplexed about why the chess world would choose a character like Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to be its ambassador, and equally bewildered as to why the result of the election has not elicited nightmares and bucking hysteria among top chess players. Could you please offer a post mortem of the FIDE election that would enlighten them?