Kramnik on life after chess, young talents and Magnus Carlsen

by ChessBase
4/20/2023 – Vladimir Kramnik recently participated at the Armageddon Series organized by World Chess in Berlin. In a 35-minute interview conducted in the German capital, the former world champion talked about his new projects, his work with Indian talents and Alireza Firouzja, and his assessment of Magnus Carlsen’s place in the history of the sport. His conclusion: “He just changed chess. Chess is Magnus Carlsen.” | Photo: World Chess

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A rival of Kasparov, Anand and Carlsen

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

On his reasons for retirement:

After playing the Candidates Tournament in 2018, where I really gave a lot on the chessboard and played a lot of exciting games, it was quite a performance. Actually, that was a turning point. After this tournament, I felt I had nothing left to give to chess. I don’t know how to explain it, it’s a kind of feeling, that I felt empty after that. So I played a few more tournaments, and the feeling was still there and growing. [...] I stopped feeling that it was an important part of my life.

On playing against Kasparov, Anand and Carlsen:

I’m very happy that I was part of Kasparov’s generation, I played with Kasparov a lot. [...] And also, of course, Viswanathan Anand, who is also absolutely great — maybe a little bit underestimated, but I consider from the pure talent [point of view], the most talented player in the last fifty years. And, then, also such a great player like Magnus Carlsen, who is also completely unique. 

[...] I’m not trying to be polite, but I don’t consider myself of the same level. I’m good, of course, very good, but I’m not Kasparov, not Carlsen, and also by talent not Vishy Anand. 

On Magnus Carlsen:

I fully understand what a great player, if we are talking about Magnus, is here. Maybe after fifty years or a hundred years he will be a god, you know, a god of chess, like now Morphy. When you live in this era, when you see him every day, then maybe you don’t measure it. But I understand that this is a player which is born once in a century. [...] He just changed chess. Chess is him in the last ten to fifteen years. Chess is Magnus Carlsen. 

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