Synergy Group and member of the prestigious tournament, organized by the Chess Federation of Azerbaijan, the Russian world champion Vladimir Kramnik gave an interview to the official website of the competition.
-It will be very nice to see you in Fourth Vugar Hashimov Chess Memorial. What Kind of impression you will return to Shamkir with?
-First of all, thank you for the invitation to the Organizing Committee of the tournament. Last year i had a great impression. Usually,I don’t like to take part in competitions which take place in big cities. Shamkir is a small and quiet city. People are very hospitable. You concentrate all your attention on the game. The ideal conditions are created for participants to play chess. Therefore, I plan to fight for high goals in ShamkirChess 2017 tournament.
- So Vladimir Kramnik will fight only for victory in Shamkir.
- I always fight for the top places in all competitions I participate. Last year, not all the matches were the way I wanted. I didn’t get a good result in some parties until rest day. However, this time I will do my best to finish the match in the first place. I can be very happy for any result other than first place.
-What can you say about the opponents, whom you will meet in Shamkir tournament?
- As always, there will not be a weak chess player in Shamkir. So, strong fight is expected from every match. Favorite of ratings Wesley Co, has shown quite good games lately. I must note my teammate in the national team of Russia, Sergey Karjakin. At the same time we must not forget Azerbaijani chess players Shahriyar Mammadyarov and Teymur Rajabov. They are powerful and pretentious rivals. For me, Shamkir tournament will be the first match in classical chess in 2017. Therefore,I do not expect easy games.
- In 2016, was the victory of Shahriyar Mammadyarov in Shamkir a surprise for you?
-It was not unexcepted. Mammadyarov is a high category chess player. He managed the last tours very good. As if he was feeling the spirit of victory. In general he has his own style of game. When Shahriyar shows his game it is hard to stop him. He forces the opponent to make mistakes. In this year's tournament, he will be one of the main opponents. In my opinion, next time Shahriyar will try to leave Shamkir as the winner.
- You will be one of the candidates to victory in the Shamkir Chess tournament. Does being the second chess player according to the rating of the tournament increase the responsibility?
-Believe me; in most cases rating does not solve anything in chess. At the end of the 9 rounds competition the favorite of the rating can be at the last place in ratings table. Or vice versa. The chess player’s game is more important than rating. Of course, my being one of the main candidates to the victory increases the responsibility. I will try to perform better than last year.
- The tournament is held in the memory of Vugar Gashimov. How do you remember the Azerbaijani chess player?
- First of all, I thank the organizers for holding worthy tournament in the memory of Vugar Hasimov. We often met in various tournaments with Vugar. Most of the times we were rivals in rapid chess.I remember him as a very positive, friendly person. Shamkir tournament also brings Vugar’s friends together. His absence is a loss not only for Azerbaijan but also for the world chess. Despite his youth, he used to show a very high level game. Today, Vugar's absence is felt most in the national team of Azerbaijan. Your national team was stronger with Hashimov. Today, Vugar’s place is seen in Azerbaijani National team.
The press service of 2017 Shamkirchess tournament