16 November 2011

Kramnik on Kramnik

In the first decade of the new millenium, three world class chess players -- Kasparov, Kramnik, and Anand -- in that order, ruled the roost. Kasparov was the dominant split-title World Champion going into the decade, Kramnik was his hand-picked heir apparent, and Anand flew FIDE's flag at the beginning of the decade gaining the unified title near the end.

Over the past few months, we've been treated to a steady stream of Kramnik interviews, most of them posted on the relatively new site Whychess.org. In No Nose for Navigation on my main blog, I criticized the site for technical reasons, but there's no question that content is its strong point.

After the 2011 Candidates Event, we listened to the top players sound off in Interviews Past and Present, where Kramnik was eliminated in the semifinal round. A little later he won the annual Dortmund tournament, and has been holding forth ever since. Here he talks mainly about Dortmund and a little about Kazan (links to Whychess.org unless otherwise noted).

He was less successful in the Russian Championship Superfinal, finishing in a tie for 3rd-5th.

Then, in the longest interview I can remember him giving, he touched on many subjects, including three important title matches: 2000 vs. Kasparov, 2006 vs. Topalov (unification), and 2008 vs. Anand. His comments on the Topalov match brought responses from both Azmaiparashvili and Makropoulos, central figures in FIDE's bungled handling of the cheating accusations.

Later he had much more to say on the 2000 Kasparov match.

He then won the Univé tournament in Hoogeveen, and came back to the subject of the current World Championship cycle.

That's a good show for a man who has often been indifferent in his attitude toward the chess public. It's clear from the comments to many of those intervews that he remains enormously popular with chess fans.

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