Chess Today turns 1000

by ChessBase
8/14/2003 – The net-based news daily Chess Today is published by GM Alexander Baburin. This month the landmark 1000th edition was sent to subscribers. To commemorate the milestone Baburin took part in a chat on Here's a transcript of this interesting discussion.

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Chess Today – 1000 issues

Chess Today is a net-based daily chess newspaper, run by Grandmaster Alexander Baburin. It is mailed to subscribers and contains news from around the world, puzzles, interviews, book reviews and instructional materials. The specialty is well-annotated games. CT comes at a PDF file with the games in ChessBase and PGN formats attached.

This month Chess Today reached a special landmark – issue No 1000! You can download this special issue and see what Chess Today is like. To celebrate the anniversary Alexander Baburin also appeared on the server for an extended Q&A session.

Improve Your Chess with Chess Today Newspaper!
by GM Alex Baburin

Chess Today is the first daily electronic newspaper on chess, which I started in November 2000. The idea was to provide chess public with fresh tournament news and annotated games from the tournaments still in progress. Currently Chess Today has two technical editors - Graham Brown from UK and Ralph Marconi from Canada, and six main journalists: IM Vladimir Barsky, Maxim Notkin and Nikolai Vlassov and GMs Ruslan Scherbakov, Mikhail Golubev and Alexander Baburin. We have readers all around the world - in USA, Canada, Australia, Asia and in most European countries. Currently CT has over 650 readers, including about 40 Grandmasters. We also has over 700 readers on our Free Trial list, where people receive about one issue a month.

Each issue is delivered via e-mail and comes in 3 formats - in PDF (3-5 pages), PGN and CBV. Currently Yahoo hosts our mailing list. Most issues have one well-annotated game and 1-2 tactical puzzles, as well as latest chess news. Many issues also contain letters from our readers, instructional materials, book reviews, interviews and cartoons. Players rated 1500+, who are serious about chess, will benefit from the paper most.

Subscription price is €15 for 3 months, €25 for 6 months and €45 for a year. Subscribing is easy - payment can be made by credit card, check, PayPal or bank transfer. ICC members can also pay for Chess Today with 'chekels' - to Alexander Baburin (handle - IrishBear). Subscribers need to provide their name and e-mail address, to which they wish to receive Chess Today. Subscription is free for GMs, so if you are lucky to be one and wish to receive the paper, please contact me at

For samples and more information please visit

If you like Chess Today product, please tell your friends about it - your help will be much appreciated!

Transcript of the chat with
GM Alexander Baburin on on 11 August 2003

The chat took started at 19:00 German time. Reading unedited chats is simply painful, so Baburin spent a few hours editing this chat – putting questions and answers together, combining them in small thematic groups and expanding slightly on some questions. The chat revolted around a few themes: the Chess Today newspaper, Baburin's chess career, chess in Ireland, Dortmund super tournament and the current crisis of the professional chess, how to get better at chess, etc.

Alexander Baburin: Hello to everyone!

CVT: Hello, will you do something with the newspaper to unite the chess world and get a
real world championship?

AB: Well, if Chess Today could change the (chess) world, we would have done it yesterday – you can be sure of that! But we cover problems of the professional chess and inform our readers about them. Recently we published interviews with Glek, Anand and Svidler.

Blonder Engel: You were born in Russia – how long have you lived in Ireland?

AB: I was born in Russia, but moved to Ireland 10 years ago.

Magic Warrior: How many grandmasters are in Ireland today?

AB: It seems that I am a lonely GM in Ireland...

Megawat: Let me ask you, why Ireland?

AB: I was invited to Ireland – to work for one year as a chess coach. The Irish could never get rid of me since!

Gaby_Aßmann: Why did you choose Ireland as the land to live in – most others go to countries with better weather – like Spain or France – or even USA?

AB: Spain, France or USA did not invite me, while Ireland did! At the time (1993) it was not a problem to leave Russia, the problem was to get in to a western country – I mean legally, not as a refugee.

dustbin: Apart from Sam Collins, are there any very strong up-and-coming juniors in Ireland?

AB: There are a few good juniors in Ireland now, for example Carl McPhilips.

geesh: What do you think the future holds for Irish chess?

AB: Irish chess will get better – the only way is up! :-)

Megawat: Do you regularly play in British championship?

AB: I played in the British Championship once. It's expensive and I also do not feel that it is right for foreigners to play in the British, even if the rules allow this.

Megawat: Does Chess Today publish chess news from the whole UK?

AB: No – from the whole world! It's not limited to UK or US or whatever.

Blonder Engel: How did u get the idea to create a daily chess newspaper?

AB: I knew that I could write about chess everyday, but could not think of any sensible newspaper willing to publish it. So, I started my own!

Megawat: Hello, can you tell me which GMs work on Chess Today?

AB: There are a few people working on CT – GMs Golubev, Scherbakov and I, IMs Barsky, Vlassov and Notkin.

deep hmmm: How can I get hold of Chess Today in Sweden?

AB: If there is Internet in Sweden, we are in business! Simply visit our website.

Blonder Engel: How many hours a day do you spend working on Chess Today?

AB: If I prepare the issue, then 3-4 hours. I also spend some time almost every day coordinating work, answering e-mails, promoting Chess Today, etc. I like this work!

deep hmmm: Stupid question but.... What's the URL of Chess Today?


CVT: Get more reader letters into Chess Today – it makes it more interactive.

AB: I always welcome letters from CT readers and try to answer all, but I can't write those letters for them! J

Megawat: I've used a free trial of Chess Today, wouldn't you advise all players to use it? That will make many of them to buy it.

AB: There is a Free Trial of Chess Today – we send about one issue a month to that list. There are about 10 sample issues at – but if somebody wants our paper, he or she will get it after seeing one sample. If somebody doesn't want to buy it, you can show his 100 samples and just waste your time.

Megawat: Who is Graham Brown?

AB: Graham Brown is a club-level player from UK and one of Chess Today's two technical editors. I only met him in person in UK after we did 400 issues or so! This is the power of the Net for you!

Bordin: Why is your today newspaper so good? Is there only news or there is training too?

AB: Chess Today is good (superb, excellent, fantastic...) because usually we have one well-annotated game, some tactical positions, news, book reviews, etc – enough material to keep anyone busy and happy!

Hob: What level of player is CT aimed at?

AB: CT is aimed at 1500+ level – we really have stuff for everyone!

Megawat: Is it daily journal or weekly?

AB: Chess Today comes out every day! Enough for any true chess fan! J

Megawat: How can you be so fast? You don't have many GMs in your team.

AB: Every day one person takes care of one CT issue – this keeps us all sane. Even if we had 100 GMs, only one could work on the issue.

Megawat: Is it possible to open CT without Adobe Acrobat?

AB: Chess Today comes in 2 formats – PDF for reading a printed version and CBV and PGN files for playing through games on computer. They really compliment each other.

moin: How many people read Chess Today?

AB: about 650 people receive Chess Today, how many read, I don't know! We also have over 800 in the Free Trial list. Some issues are available as samples on the Web. But I think that the audience to which CT would suit well, is much wider – a few thousand people. My job is to try to reach them!

HeleneFan: What is the price of Chess Today and is there a German paper?

AB: Chess Today would cost you 15 euro for 3 months, 25 for 6 months and 45 euro for one year. The only version available now is English. I am thinking about versions in other languages, but we need many more subscribers to make that possible.

Hob: What do you think of the state of chess today with no clear direction or champion?

AB: I think chess needs a change – it's been too bad for too long! I mean, it's in a mess if we think chess is a sport.

CVT: Sorry to ask again, but why do you think you can't change chess politics? If no one starts it will never change.

AB: Because chess politics depends much more on FIDE than on Chess Today L

CVT: I read the Anand interview and he also thinks it is a mess, but wants to do nothing to change it.

AB: I don't think it's for Anand to change the chess world – it's more a task for chess officials and organisations. He is a brilliant player and should play!

CVT: But didn't the officials and organisations have enough time to try? Why don't the top players found a union and do it by themselves if everybody thinks it is a mess.

AB: Chess pros are pretty individualistic by nature. A lot of them are also not practical – they are too deeply in chess.

CVT: Do you think there will be a real championship within the next 3 years?

AB: I hope that there will be an end (finish) to these matches proposed, but I am not sure that we will have a good system 3 years from now.

CVT: And what format should a real championship have in your opinion?

AB: Small knockout (32 players max) tournament, with at least 12 games in the final.

geesh: If you could name 3 books which made you the player you are, what would they be?

AB: I love chess books and it's hard for me to single out just three. But Zurich 1953 would be one of them.

Megawat: How old was you when you became a GM?

AB: I was 29 when I got GM title in 1996 – too old – almost time to retire by modern standards.

geesh: When did you start taking chess seriously and developing ambitions in the chess world?

AB: I became a chess professional at the age of 20.

geesh: Did you always want to be a chess pro?

AB: I never really thought who I wanted to be – things mostly happened...

Megawat: when did you start playing?

AB: I was 7 or 8 when I learnt the game, by 12 I was already in pretty strong junior events.

Megawat: and who taught you this game?

AB: My father taught me. Then a lady came to my school and started a chess club.

Megawat: What was your best elo?

AB: My best rating was 2600 – back in 1997.

HeleneFan: What book helped you mostly to become better?

AB: I can't single out any book which helped me get better most, but Zurich 1953 would be a good candidate for that. It's a fun book – this is what I like.

Piccicci: When did you decide to spend so much time writing chess books instead of studying and playing chess tournaments?

AB: I started playing less chess after 1998. But the big change took place in 1993 when I moved to Ireland – I had to have a steady income and thus became more of a coach and journalist than a player. But I like playing and enjoy the atmosphere of chess tournaments.

jrt: So who is the strongest player you have ever beaten?

AB: I won again Korchnoi in 1996 in Copenhagen Open – he must be the most famous and highest rated player I ever beat.

blueeagle: When did you become Grandmaster and how did you feel?

AB: I became GM in 1996. It felt good, but I also felt that the title was long overdue. I
was ready in 1992, but missed my chances then.

Taproot: What was your most difficult obstacle on the road to becoming a GM, and how did you overcome it?

AB: Psychological. I got my first GM norm in my first GM tournament, missed the final norm in my 2nd GM tournament (failed to win an almost winning position in the last round!) and that left a scar... Playing in many tournaments in 1995-1996 was my way to fix it.

geesh: Do you feel too many Grandmaster titles are being handed out nowadays? Should the rules be made stricter?

AB: I agree that there are too many GMs now. FIDE deliberately relaxed the rules and that is bad!

Megawat: Who is the highest rated player whom you ever played?

AB: I played Ivanchuk at the Yerevan Olympiad in 1996, he was 2700+. He must be my highest rated opponent so far.

sebi-chess: Did you win against Kasparov at any time and if yes how often ?

AB: Alas, I never played against Garry. But in my dream (what a weird dream I hear you say!) I drew against him on Black's side of the QGA once. J

geesh: At what age do you think a chess player peaks in playing ability?

AB: People used to say that 35 was the peak. I think now best years for chess player are between 22 and 40 – there is a plateau when one can play his best chess. A lot depends on energy and experience – think of Kasparov and Korchnoi!

bjornfokker: Who is the best player in the world you think?

AB: Kasparov is the best at the moment.

sebi-chess: Would you call Garry your idol?

AB: Garry – my idol?! I believe that Kasparov is the greatest player ever, but that's it.

sebi-chess: OK, so do you have another idol?

AB: Did not somebody say "don't create an idol for yourself!" ? J

Brener: Which player impressed you most?

AB: It could be Fischer – his legend looked great to me as a young boy in the 70s. As persons – many of the top players I know are very interesting guys. I think Korchnoi is very impressive!

HeleneFan: What kind of style do you play?

AB: Boring... L But seriously, I am a 'structuralist' – I like pawn chains, etc.

deep hmmm: Which player do you admire the most and feel closest to by your own playing style?

AB: I won't admire any guy who plays in the same boring style as me! I admire all world Champions and quite a few other top players. Probably Lasker, Tal and Kasparov are my favourites – for different reasons.

deep hmmm: I am looking at your profile in Chess Base- why don't you play 1.e4?

AB:: I started playing 1.e4 a few months ago – looks like a good move! If Kramnik could switch, so can I! :-)

bjornfokker: What's your favourite opening?

AB: My Favourite opening must be the Alekhine Defence – stuff for masochists though.

GeWi: How many hours do you – as a GM – still study nowadays?

AB: I don't really study chess now... I read about chess, write about it, but that's different. But I hope to start working on my own game at some point in the future. BTW, nobody in chess works a fixed number of hours every day – a lot depends on the mood, etc.

Hob: Interesting result in Dortmund – would you agree that closed super tournaments were the same players play each other is hurting the game?

AB: I was very glad to see Bologan winning the Dortmund – those elite tournaments should open up to new blood!

Ayla: Do you also think that the heat was the main reason for the numerous blunders at that Dortmund tournament. There were many, in my opinion, having in mind the high category.

AB: I bet it was cold in the playing hall in Dortmund! But even top players make mistakes. They always did, just now we can see them with the help of our PCs, which makes some people think that those guys are horrible! They are not...

Gaby_Aßmann: It was very hot in the room they had to play in Dortmund – no climate control in there...

AB: Oh, I did not know that... Heat would affect your play, but I think the quality of games wasn't that bad.

Ayla: They had climate control, but of course only in the playing hall. I live in Dortmund and visited it regularly. But talking to Arshak Petrosian he told me that Leko was affected very much by the heat: couldn't sleep, didn't see any ideas in analysis and so on.

bjornfokker: How can I become better?

AB: I have an easy recipe how to become better at chess – study! Books, your games and other people games. Take lessons.

thegrin: Do you consider it more beneficial for the beginner to start studying more classical games (Morphy, Steinitz...) or study more modern material?

AB: For beginners (and not just beginners!) it's important to study, full stop! What to study (old or new games) is secondary. But old games might be better – because they used more words in annotations back then.

bjornfokker: Do you think that humans can ever be as good as computers?

AB: The question used to be the other way around! I think that (best) human players could be as good as best machines in chess for a while. I'd give it at least another 10 years.

doverbeme: Why do people agree short draws?

AB: People agree short draws for a number of reasons – laziness, fear, etc

geesh: How important do you think it is to know your opening theory? The 'Nunns of the world' claim it's pretty important, on the other hand, the 'Hebdens' claim it's not.

AB: If you play against strong GMs (or just equal or stronger player), you must know your opening stuff well. In other cases you might get away with less knowledge.

Taproot: So, you think that 45 would be too late to undertake serious chess – say, to win a national title or something?

kannstemakkenix: I elo rating of about 1700. I am 44. What do you think can a man reach when he still work.

AB: You can get a title at 45, if you have enough talent, energy and put enough work into chess. But nothing is guaranteed...

geesh: What do you think the best way to learn an opening from scratch is....a book or database?

AB: Reading books + studying your own games is a good way to study openings. Nowadays your can often replace book with database or combine them.

Megawat: I'm 14 years old. Real elo 2275. I am Champion of Georgia under 16. But now have some problems: exams at school and some other ones. So my chess went a little down. What can you recommend?

AB: When you don't have enough time for chess or have other pressures, take it easy – take your time – chess will come back.

mbreit0: What do you think about shuffle chess and other chess art?

AB: I never played any other form of chess. I am not against them, but for me chess
is complicated enough.

geesh: Do you think correspondence chess is a good way to improve? Or are tried and tested methods more effective?

AB: CC is good – if you like it. Anything that makes you think about chess is good
for your game!

doverbeme: What did you make of the best game prize incident at Linares?

AB: I think that Kasparov-Radjabov was not the best game of the tournament – I agree with Garry here. Best and sensational are different things.

geesh: Do you feel Morozevich is justified in giving up professional chess because of the faulty system?

AB: Morozevich has not given up professional chess – he only gave up his dream of
becoming World Champion. But he plays and will play in tournaments because he needs to make living. Khalifman gave up chess in the same way. I think it's more of a pose...

jrt: Can a say, 2500 ELO GM make a decent living just playing chess?

AB: If you are 2500 GM, you can make OK living from playing in tournaments, but a lot depends where you live. In some countries in Europe a monthly income of $300 is still OK. But it's tough when you have kids, etc.

sebi-chess: Did you play for Magdeburg a long time ago?

AB: I never played for Magdeburg. I played for Neukoln years ago, but not much.

Gaby_Aßmann: But you played in German first League, didn't you?

AB: I played for Delmenhorst in 1999/2000. We even finished 3rd in BL, but then the team collapsed. Last season I played for Bremer SC 1877 and this year we will play in the top BL division.

HeleneFan: Do you think Leko and Kramnik did not want to show their real strength because of their match?

AB: Kramnik and Leko have something (their opening ideas) to hide, but I'd think that the whole situation when they don't know what's going on with their match, affected them much more than the need to cover up their opening ideas.

Koti: Are you married? Do you have children? Do they play chess also?

AB: I am married to Elena. She is Russian, we come from the same city. We have two children – Ivan (13) and Anastasia (8). Both play chess, but not seriously. I never taught them properly.

Taproot: If they wanted to pursue chess professionally, how would you feel about it?

AB: If my kids wanted to become chess pros, I would give them all the help I could. I probably won't work with them, introducing some of my good friends instead. I don't think parents should influence too much what their kids do in life. But being chess pro is tough from financial point of you. Yet, chess is very rewarding in many other ways.

Hob: Any recommendations for teaching chess to kids?

AB: Make chess fun for them. Then give them right kind of books, introduce to a good coach and support them when they play competitive chess.

Gaby_Aßmann: What do you think about the program Chess & Chester for kids to make them interested in chess?

AB: Chess & Chesster is great! I have online shop at (it's down at the moment) and also sell chess stuff in Ireland, so I bought 10 CDs. One of them went straight to my daughter (8) and she played a lot with it for a week or so. She still comes back to it. Ivan played on it too and was quite impressed. He is into PC games, so this is a good recommendation!

jrt: So will your kids become chess masters?

AB: No, at least I doubt it.

Koti: Did you give simultans?

AB: Yes, I gave simuls in Ireland, Norway, India, USA, etc. Years ago I gave simuls in Russia. But if you meant simuls on this server, then the answer is 'no'.

Brener: Which languages do you speak?

AB: I speak only English (apart from Russian). I wish I learnt German – I played a lot in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the early 1990. I still hope to learn some new languages one day.

flia: What's the best way for a very good 7-year old to get better? He the best under 8 in England.

AB: For any person (7, 17 or 67) the best way to get better is to study – his own games, classical games, read books, etc. And practice. Then analyse. And so on!

Ayla: Do you have a recipe against Time Trouble?

AB: Play faster- you will never be in time-trouble! Seriously, one should look at his thinking, at the decision-making and to learn why he gets into time-trouble. Usually it's because a player cannot make up his mind, lacking confidence.

Megawat: are you 36 now?

AB: I guess I am 36. A few years ago I always knew my age exactly, but now it is blurred – am I 35, 36 or 37? I have to think about it...

acdcland: How do you prepare for tournaments? Do you play rapid games (10-15 minutes) or you watch combination or tactics? Or just look at openings?!

AB: Looking at many high-quality games could be a good way to prepare for tournaments – you start seeing ideas, then perhaps you work on some of them. Playing some blitz can help too. BTW, I am not talking about playing in super-tournaments – it's different there: you'd spend a lot more time on covering holes in your opening repertoire.

Megawat: Will you play here regularly?

AB: This is the first time I am here. I hope to come here in the future, but I doubt that I'll play much.

Ayla: Are you going to play some blitz here in the future, or is internet-chess not your thing?
AB: playing chess on the net is not my cup of tea... I can easily get addicted, so I try to stay out.

HASA31: Do you play blitz or bullet in this server?

AB: No.

jgk000: What do you think about playing: 1 min?

AB: Bullet is about clicking the mouse and adrenalin rush, not about chess.

fabbry: Could you please explain to me if there is a good way to study opening?

AB: When you study an opening, study a bit, try and study again – don't try to learn it 100% before you play – that's not possible.

King Otto: When is your next Internet auction of old chess books?

AB: I plan to have my next online chess auction in September.

Taproot: What's the most important advice you could give to an aspiring chess professional?

AB: Work hard and don't expect much money, but you will have an interesting life.

IrishBear (To all): I taught my kids how to play chess, but not much.

acdcland: What do you think about the championship? Who is the favourite and who will win?

AB: What championship?? J

acdcland: About the Kramnik-Leko.

AB: I'll think of it when the Kramnik-Leko match will be on. I'll be rooting for Vladimir, as I know him a bit, though I think that he could have done a lot more in chess than he did since he beat Kasparov in 2000.

Gaby_Aßmann: Do you think that Peter Leko is able to become world champion?

AB: Yes – if there is a Championship in the next 10 years!

baumi69: What tournament will you play soon?

AB: I won't play in tournaments for a while. Maybe Kilkenny Open in the end of November is my next tournament. But I will play in BL and 4NCL.

AB: Thank you for your questions and good luck with your games!

During the chat Baburin overlooked a few questions. Below are his answers to them.

nitwoo: What about chess in Ireland? I don't know anything.

AB: Chess in Ireland is getting better. A few years ago Mark Quinn became IM, a few days ago Sam Collins made his first IM-norm. Brian Kelly has a very good chance to become GM soon. There is a lot of interest towards chess among children. I run a chess school which teaches chess in about 25 schools around Dublin, so I know this well. A friend of mine, Michael Crowe, runs successful Scholastic Chess League in Ireland. At the same time there is no state support and almost no sponsorship, which makes it hard for Irish players to go abroad for tournaments, even the official ones.

HeleneFan: What do you think is the best chess book at the moment?

AB: I would have hard time answering what is the best film, painting, book, etc. I don't like the idea to single out one thing and put it above everything. At different times I like different things – and for different reasons. There are some very good books published recently. For example, My Best Games (2 volumes) by Korchnoi, Fundamental Chess Endings by Müller and Lamprecht and My Great Predecessors by Kasparov.

bjornfokker: Do you think humans will ever come above 3000?

AB: Maybe, but that would have a lot to do with the rating inflation.

Megawat: Who is your best pupil?

AB: Mark Quinn (IM) and Sam Collins (will-be-IM).

Sexual_Healing: I think it's quite easy for White to get an advantage with the g3-variations against the King's Indian, but he has problems to get anything tangible if Black switches to a sort of Grünfeld. Do you think white can get advantage against it? And if yes, how?

AB: Indeed, it's harder to play against the Grünfeld Defence when you opt for g3-systems. That's why many KID players choose Grünfeld when they meet g2-g3. I guess White should play c4xd5. If Black opts for ...c6 and ...d5, then White should still take on d5 and go Ne5 and f2-f4.

jrt: What are your ambitions for your chess play from now on?

AB: To get back into proper form (work on my chess) and bring my rating back to 2590-2600. I was in that part of the rating spectrum for a few years and only recently my rating dropped to 2542. Change my opening repertoire – just to taste new positions. Not for gaining rating points, but for learning more about chess.

HeleneFan: What kind of style do you play? Aggressive or passive? Tal or Petrosjan.

AB: Neither. BTW, I would never call Petrosian a passive player. Top chess player always play aggressively, they just do it differently – some are more like tigers and some are more like pythons!

Tunga: What do you think about machines playing chess?
AB: Let them play! It does not take away anything from the value of chess for humans. Computers changed professional chess a lot – the way players prepare and study. We can also see mistakes in many famous games, but for me this does mean diminishing of the old masters.

Ayla: What is the most promising plan for White in the Carlsbad pawn structure? Heard you are kind of expert on that!

AB: I think that plans with 0-0-0 are very interesting and should be investigated more – both with Nge2 and Nf3. As for 0-0, then Nge2 and f2-f3 is very interesting. The Carlsbad pawn formation is incredibly rich in ideas, for both sides.

briseur de roque: Who is your favourite chess player?

AB: I don't have an idol and equally appreciate many great players. Recently I grew to like Smyslov's laconic style – both in play and in annotations.

remco: Until which age you think you can improve in chess?

AB: We can learn something new about chess (and life!) at any age. Chess is an art and in chess people can create at any age. On the other hand sporting results go down after certain age – you can still learn new things, but cannot do other things as well as before.

SpeedyMove: How long do you study chess every day?

AB: Nowadays I don't really study chess. Sometimes I look at games and read books, but this is not intensive – it's more for pleasure.

sledge_hammer: Where can I take lessons?

AB: You can try to find a chess teacher near the place you where live. Alternatively, Internet offers a lot of help – there are chess professionals who teach on ICC and probably on this server too.

Gaby_Aßmann: Do you think playing blitz on the Internet makes players worse at playing classical chess over the board?

AB: I don't think so. Classical chess and blitz on the Net are different disciplines. Playing blitz could be useful for testing ideas and getting back into form after a period of inactivity.

Bordin: I´m 19 years old and (candidate master) .You think I am not too old for getting IM norm and GM norm?

AB: When I was 19, I was also a candidate master! And Chigorin learnt chess at the age of 16!

sebi-chess: What are the main topics of Chess Today?

AB: What we typically have is this: Chess Quiz (1-2 tactical positions), current tournament news and one well-annotated game (mostly recent). Almost every week we have book reviews. Sometimes we publish interviews, materials on chess composition, instructional articles, etc.

sebi-chess: How can I get Chess Today?

AB: By paying for the subscription! Visit our site for more details. You can also win Ct sub as a prize at Play Chess and ICC servers.

Gaby_Aßmann: What do you think about the plans to find a new world champion – do you think that they should do a complete new tournament with the 20 best of world to find him?

AB: First of all, who are 'they'? Chess fans want to know who is the real champion and see good games, while FIDE wants to have rights over the undisputed title. Kasparov, Ponomariov, Kramnik and Leko want to play matches, make their mark on chess and make a lot of cash in the process. Chess professionals want more tournaments and higher prizes in them. The best and most ambitious of them also want to have a go at the world champion title. Einstein Group does not know what it wants... Many believe that chess need commercial sponsorship, but nobody knows how to clean up the professional chess. I think that chess should move from the model 'champion is the king' towards the more democratic tennis model, where champion is No. 1 at the moment. I think we need a symbiosis of the old chess tradition with the trend evident from tennis. It would be good to have annual World Cup with lots of tournaments (ideally, knockout) around the world and a World Championship once in 3 years. I think only about 32, 16 or even 8 players should contest the title – not every GM is a Candidate! Most GMs are for the FIDE World Championships not because they believe that Kasparov is their predecessor! It's just a tournament where they can win decent prizes. They'd be equally happy to play in the World Cup tournaments. And if some players are extremely good, then they should be able to make it to the Championship with 8 (16, 32) players. Alas, this plan is a bit of a dream. I wish it was true, but at the same time remain pessimistic.

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