Games 11: No-risk draw in 17 moves
Same old same old – we quote the official press release: "The players
took no risk today: Game 11 at the Classical World Chess Championship at CENTRO
DANNEMANN ended in a quick draw. Titleholder Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), who
is still one point down, and his challenger Peter Leko (Hungary) finished the
game after 17 moves. Kramnik with Black improved on one of his games and played
a strong novelty Nh5. Leko missed this move in his home preparation and was
forced to go for a repetition of the moves. So the 25 year old Hungarian is
still in the lead. 'I have still all chances and two games with White', said
titleholder Kramnik after the game. Leko as challenger needs 7½ points
to win the title."
The start of game 11, Peter Leko vs Vladimir Kramnik
Leko,P (2741) - Kramnik,V (2770) [E15]
WCh Brissago SUI (11), 12.10.2004
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qa4 Bb7 6.Bg2 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.0-0 0-0
9.Nc3 Be7 10.Bf4 a6 11.Rfd1 d6 12.Qc2 Qc7 13.Rac1 Rd8 14.Qd2 Nh5 15.Bg5 Nf6
16.Bf4 Nh5 17.Bg5 Nf6 ½-½
The end of game 11, Peter Leko vs Vladimir Kramnik
The press conference, which was carried live on Playchess.com
An Interview with Carsten Hensel
46 years old, married, two children (18 and 14), living in Dortmund, where
the strongest tournament in Germany is staged. Carsten Hensel replies with
"interesting conversations" when asked about his hobbies. When pressed
he admits to music, literature and expressionist paintings, and adds a few
kinds of sports: table tennis (where he is master class), soccer, chess. Food?
He loves Italian, Thai and the potato salad his wife Birgit makes. We spoke
to Carsten about his role in this world championship match.
Question: How did your cooperation with Vladimir and
Hensel: I started personally managing Peter in 1998 and Vladimir in
December 2001, but I have known both players for more than twelve years.
Could you also tell us why you chose chess?
It’s a long story. As a journalist and press officer I was involved
in the organisation of several top events, but also world championships such
as table tennis, ice-hockey, ice-skating or boxing. In 1991 I received a request
to develop the Dortmund Chess Days – a little flower at time. This project
became very successful during the course of the 90s. Step by step I became
more involved in the world of chess.
Wasn’t it a bit risky for you?
Being involved in sports management is always a somewhat risky business, especially
in chess because we are talking about a fairly small market. Only a few players
are able to attract the mass media and sponsors. Fortunately Kramnik and Leko
are two of them. But you are always dependent on the performances and the image
of your clients.
What are the main abilities of a successful manager in chess?
As every personal manager you should never over-estimate the importance of
your own person. Your clients take centre stage, not the manager. Without them
you are nothing. Therefore you better stay in the background as much as possible.
Okay, you need to be creative and a reasonable communicator and connecter.
A general understanding of the media and commerce mechanisms is required, as
well as a basic understanding of legal matters. There are many jobs in one
and sometimes you need to be tough. But most important is discipline and the
ability to work hard with a clear strategy and concept behind.
Carsten Hensel with his two clients, Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Leko
Could you compare Vladimir and Peter -- as players and as personalities?
Please understand that I do not like to talk about their personalities or
private matters here. But it is not a secret that Vladimir is probably the
player with the deepest understanding of the game in the world. His general
potential is incredibly high. Peter is also very talented of course, and in
addition he benefits from his perfect physical fitness.
Could you name their strong and weak points?
Well, I will not abuse my trustful relationship with Vladimir and Peter to
work this out publicly. But one thing I can tell you: both players have character
and principles in life as well as in a chess game. Being very strong personalities
they are ready to take responsibility for their decisions. Neither of them
is easy to break, even if a game is lost.
The Classical Chess World Champion and his manager
Who is more difficult to work with? And is it difficult for you personally
to share your time between them?
I never have had real difficulties in my work, either with Vladimir or with
Peter. You know, sometimes there is a lot of pressure, but we are professionals
trying to work on the best solutions possible. Of course the entire circumstances
of the World Chess Champion are always more complex and require more time and
energy. But this is very normal and I do not think that Peter was missing something.
I made an important decision almost three years ago: to free myself from all
other projects, and to work for Kramnik and Leko exclusively. This step gave
me the necessary space to fully concentrate on them in order to work as successfully
What are the relations between them are like?
Of course it is a competitive situation. Leko wants to take something from
Kramnik. This title is in accordance with the classical bloodline starting
in 1886 with the 1st World Chess Champion Wilhelm Steinitz. There will be a
lot of value and social recognition at stake in the Centro Dannemann, not only
for the players but also for their nations. Therefore it might be too much
to say that they are friends, but they have high respect of each other as chess
players and as human beings as well. The match will be decided over the board
only and not by using dirty tricks…
Did it help in negotiations around this match that both grandmasters worked
with one manager?
I am sure it did in this special case. Especially after the original rights-holders
of the Classical World Chess Championship could not fulfill their obligations.
After agreements were terminated we were able to look out for a sponsorship
ourselves, starting from September 2003. At the same time we were under a lot
of pressure from the media and the chess community world-wide. Fortunately
the terms and conditions, including the regulations for the match, were agreed
between the players. It was increasingly important for me in this process to
speak on behalf of the players with one voice. If the two qualified participants
for the Classical World Chess Championship would have been fighting against
each other it would have been practically impossible to get the match organised.
I can tell you that this process showed me that I was doing the right thing
by accepting the manager jobs. I am very happy to work for such fascinating
From the family album: Peter Leko and Carsten Hensel with wives Sophia and
What were the differences in preparations for the match between the players?
I am just a hobby chess-player and I never got involved in the details. Moreover
I have requested from the beginning not to be too much informed in this area.
Of course I know something in general about the teams and the camps, but I
do not like to talk about it.
Do you think chess can be a profitable business?
Chess is already a profitable business, but unfortunately for a few elite
players only. There will be never a real problem for top players and great
personalities such as Kramnik, Leko, Anand or Kasparov. But I can tell you
that there are many other interesting players outside the top ten. For them
the commercial situation is very difficult. It is a pity to see that sometimes
a top 20 player has serious problems to earn a living.
What must happen to change the situation?
Chess has much more potential but unfortunately we are facing a major problem:
in the commercial field, chess is 20, 30 years behind other sports such as
tennis, golf, light-athletics, table-tennis etc. Unless the organisations are
now ready to develop real professional promotion and marketing structures together
with the players by keeping the traditional and historical values of chess,
these conditions simply cannot change that much. Nowadays we still have too
many amateurs in the business trying to make a quick profit or to have their
egos satisfied without any concept behind it. But the situation is not hopeless.
The world of chess is beginning to see the real obstacles, and there are already
some developments which are hopefully leading to the necessary changes.
Contacts and further information
Press Officer World Chess Championship
Via Ruggero Leoncavallo