Interview with Levon Aronian

by ChessBase
12/1/2011 – After his success at the 6th Tal Memorial, edged out by Carlsen by virtue of an odd tiebreak system (most Blacks played - not won), Levon Aronian continues his steady rise and is close to threatening Carlsen for the top ranking. In an interview after the event, he was asked about his thoughts on the draw rate, conditions, and more. Here is the interview by Maria Manakova.

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Interview with Aronian

By Maria Manakova / Pictures by Julia Manakova

- You are one of the winners of Tal Memorial. Can we conclude you play better than others?
- Of course not.

- When super grandmasters, all of equivalent strength play in the same tournament, what is the difference that allows one player to win instead of another? Does he work harder than the others? Does he rest more? Something else, perhaps?
- It’s difficult to say…he was better prepared for the tournament.

- What do you call “better”?
- He was better rested…I don’t know.

- Why do you think there were so many draws?
- The players all played very well, in fact they all played great!

Maria Manakova interviews Levon Aronian after his success at the Tal Memorial

- Is defensive technique really so high?
- Yes, it is.

- Do you think a time is coming when the defensive technique will be so highly developed that all we will see are draws?
 - The reason there were so many draws is not due to a global phenomenon of ultra-developed defensive technique, but rather in this tournament with players of such a high caliber.

- Perhaps this detracts from chess as a spectacle. Spectators crave blood…
- Of course, everybody wants chess players to lose or win, but I think when defense is played at a superb level, it is interesting too.

- What is “chess beauty” for you?
- It is in the geometry of the game, and the struggle of plans.

- Could somebody else have won this tournament instead of you?
- Certainly. Any of participants, really.

- How about the match for the World Championship between Anand and Gelfand? Could someone else have been qualified to vie for the title?
- The same. Any top player could have made it through.

- Which player do you fear the most?
- A difficult question to answer. I’m afraid of everybody. (Editor: It is safe to say he was being ironic)

Levon Aronian: afraid of everyone

- Who did you think was going to take first place?
- I thought that I was a good candidate, but Magnus played well too. In fact, all the participants played well, and any one of us could have taken first place. But this is how it played out this time…

- Which of your games do you consider to be the best?
- My game with Ivanchuk.

- And the most difficult?
- The last.

- Can chess be turned into a spectacle?
- Chess is already a spectacle. There were many spectators at this tournament.

- Were you satisfied with the tournament conditions?
- Very much so.

- Did the numerous cameras disturb you?
- No, not at all.

- What would you change to improve the Tal Memorial even more?
- Maybe add an extra rest day.

- One idea that was proposed on the Internet, was that if the rest day were taken away, the federation could save money and improve the prize fund of the Russian Cup.
- Another way to save money would be to have us play in our hotel rooms.

- Would you object to wearing the logo of a sponsor?
- If I had a sponsor – no.

- Only a sponsor of your own one? How about the sponsor of the tournament?
- If the contract stipulated it, I would have no problem.

- There was a rule in this competition not allowing players to agree to a draw before the 40th move. What are your thoughts on this?
- It didn't bother me.

- Do you like the innovations FIDE has been adding to the rules to make chess more spectacular?
- It depends on the rules. Some are good, some are not.

- How do you like the new format of the World Championship?
- Not enough, but that is the subject of another discussion entirely…

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