Dubov on the World Championship match, the future of the classical cycle, and online chess

by ChessBase
4/8/2023 – Daniil Dubov will be among the commentators of the World Championship match in Astana, along with Irina Krush and Vishy Anand. In an unmissable 30-minute interview, the outspoken grandmaster shares his thoughts on a number of topics: the favourite to win the match, why the classical time control has lost popularity, his dislike of online chess, and why Magnus Carlsen’s absence in the World Championship cycle might make it more appealing for other players. | Photo: Niki Riga

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The interview was published on World Chess’ YouTube channel. Find below transcripts of three fragments, followed by the embedded video.

On the World Championship match in Astana:

It will be very much about Ding, this is my general impression. I would say Ding’s A-game is better than Ian’s, and also Ian’s B-game is much better than Ding’s B-game. So I think it’s either Ding is in a brilliant shape and he wins or he is not and then Ian is the favourite.

On why the classical time control has become less appealing:

[In Soviet times] they would have two hours to, let’s say, play 30 moves, like hard 30 moves [out of theory]. But the problem is that today normally the game starts at move 25, sometimes 30, and then you have two hours to play 10 moves, not 30, and this makes a difference, so this is the problem.

If, for some reason, tomorrow we switch to Fischer Random, the [classical games] will be back, everybody will enjoy it again. But nowadays, you basically bang 30 moves, then you have two hours for two not-completely-obvious decisions, and then at move 40 you have an additional hour. [...] It’s either they change the starting position or they limit the time.

On online chess and the pandemic:

This boom of online was very much related to the fact that we basically didn’t have a choice [at the start of the pandemic]. [...] I mean, it was not exactly about online, it was about the pandemic, it was the only way for people to play chess and watch chess, which is not the case any more, and I would say the popularity will probably decrease.

I don’t think it will ever be this popular again, but it’s nice that at least both fans and players have this other space to go.

I personally quite hate it.

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