Vladislav Tkachiev: the blitz revolution

by ChessBase
12/23/2004 – What must we do to pull chess out of the doldrums? To make it a mainstream sport like golf and tennis. A reunification of the world championship title would be good, a rapid chess grand prix may also help. But there is one solution, one magic wand to solve all the problems, to really popularize chess. Read all about it in this remarkable interview...

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Interview with Vladislav Tkachiev

By Eugeny Atarov

There’s an unfortunate tradition in journalism that there must be a formal reason for an interview, like a big victory, or an anniversary… Due to this tradition, so many interesting discussions never take place, so many great things are never said aloud for everybody to enjoy. For this reason I have always been a staunch defender of the right of an editor to “force” the publication of an interview without any formal cause. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. So imagine how happy I was when Vladislav Tkachiev won the Moscow Blitz. And it’s not because I was his ardent supporter (I want to be fair to the other participants who I like as much as him) but because I finally had a formal justification for talking to him.

Strange as it is, I have never done an interview with Vlad, although we have known each other for ages, and in Tkachiev’s own flattering words, when I worked for the 64 Chess Review his main reason to come to their office was to have a chat with me. Besides, we often talked during tournaments or whenever else we happened to be at the same place at the same time. But never before have we talked with a dictaphone between us. So, here we are, sitting at a table in a small restaurant, and the sparkles in Vlad’s eyes are as bright as ever…

The "Blitz Brothers" Eugeny and Vladislav Tkachiev

I wanted to talk to Vlad about many things: his unconventional way of life, and his rather unusual chess career (so what if there were more downs than ups in it?). I wanted to talk about movies, and about his spirit, as free as a wind, about his many romantic affairs and his ability to just let it go and enjoy life… I wanted to ignore all the rules, to just flow with the stream and bask in a whirl of exciting subjects. And may be to try and understand this interesting and unusual person a little better.

Well, that kind of conversation with Vlad may happen some time in future, but now it turned around differently. Vlad was very excited after his victory and after his conversation with ‘chemodan’ (you’ll hear this story a little later) so he took the initiative and aggressively lobbied his favorite subject: blitz. It was more a monologue than an interview. A reminder to those of you who forgot: ten years ago, in 1995 when Vlad was 22, he and his brother Eugeny organized a super-blitz tournament in their native Alma-Ata (two minutes for each opponent). Among the prominent participants there were Anatoly Karpov, Judit Polgar, Valery Salov and Tkachiev himself. The tournament was a great success and the brothers started nursing the idea of a series of tournaments. But the project failed due to the circumstances that they had no power over, and the Tkachiev brothers soon moved away from Kazakhstan.

Any how about, like a smile for the photograph?

As one can see, ten years later Vlad is as enthusiastic as ever, and… But let us listen to Vlad. All that was left for me to do is to try and squeeze in a question from time to time, trying not to distract a narrator from his major subject:

His Majesty Blitz

Eugeny Atarov: In my opinion, this tournament revealed both your good and bad qualities: on the one hand, your great chess talent, and on the other hand – your devil-may-care attitude.

Vladislav Tkachiev: I am not sure about “my great chess talent” but what did have a great influence on my performance is one of my traits that I would call ‘extremism’. Why it is that at one moment you can’t win any position (although you have enough time, and everything else you need), and a little later you win any position in the worst time trouble? I think I can’t win because of my natural extremism (e.g. I like paragliding off the GazProm skyscraper). And for the same reason I win later!

My success at the Moscow Blitz was not all that unexpected for me – I mean no reason for all this brouhaha. [E.A. A little earlier when we were wandering around Arbat looking for a nice little place to talk, Vlad meticulously counted all his pluses and minuses and came to the conclusion that in all fairness he could have had about 2.5 points more than he actually scored]. Let’s take the European Blitz Championship in Bosnia in 2000, which I actually wish I could forget. I was leading after fifteen rounds, and in order to take the first place it was enough for me to make one draw in four games. As you have probably guessed by now, I didn’t score ANY points in all those four games. So here’s the other side of the same coin for you! That time my extremism worked against me, this time it worked for me. It shouldn’t be underestimated – I managed to crawl out of such a trembling bog…

Atarov: After all these years, do you have a feeling that you haven’t realized your potential, or at least you haven’t realized it as much as you could have – given your chess talent?

Tkachiev: I don’t spend too much time pondering over such issues. I love life too much to waste time on such insignificant details. But if I look at it objectively, then yes, it seems to be the case. But then again, was it ever possible for me to realize my potential? The situation in chess (from the moment I started my career up to now) wouldn’t allow this! You ask what my point is? Naturally, I am not number one in blitz, neither am I number two or three… But give me a chance to prove I CAN do better!

Neither I nor anybody else had such a chance during all these years. Now, when the ChessPro site found a real interest in Blitz, I could finally start dreaming about the times when better conditions will be created for the “cursed poets” – devoted blitz players. Something must be done to change the present situation. Do I need to give specific names here? Everybody knows that they are having hard times.

I have a feeling that this vicious circle of tragedies will be broken, and we will have a chance to prove what we are capable of, and that is… Honestly, I don’t think it’s fair that talent for blitz is considered something less than talent for classical chess. Again, I don’t want to talk about myself, and how well I play, but I very much want to have the possibility to prove that I am able to show better results than before.

Do you think your talent was initially shaped for blitz, for playing quickly?

Not my talent, but my character was, definitely. With the passing years, my chance to become World Champion in classical chess looks more and more like ‘point sooo many zeros one’, that this ‘one’ got almost invisible. Actually, ‘one’ was never there, here’s just one reason: I don’t care about it all that much. Could somebody please explain: what in principle will change in my life if I become a World Champion?

Imagine, for example, that I was studying in a Conservatory from early on, but I never really liked playing those castanets that were imposed on me. I have always wanted to break into a locked room where the base guitars were kept. And there’s not a single store around where one could buy guitars. Only now when the site ChessPro.ru appeared, such a store finally opened… Who knows, may be I will get a chance after all to ‘buy a guitar’?

And then maybe others will open their ‘stores’ too, and the whole network will appear. Who knows, may be then not only me, but everybody else will understand that rock music (or rap music) is more in tune with the modern times than playing castanets.

At what exact moment did you realize that classical chess is not exactly your thing?

I’ve been always feeling that I am more inclined to play blitz. In Kazakhstan we loved playing blitz much more than doing boring analysis of some positions… Other schools use different methods, but what we usually did when we came across an intricate position is: let’s blitz it! And then I was deeply affected – I would even say, traumatized – by a PCA Grand Prix Series organized by Kasparov and Intel. I was happy to get ‘traumatized’ this way even though the ‘wound’ is still bleeding. But in 1994 I got to see that it can be done in such a beautiful way!

A few years after that, when Garry lost to a computer, I told myself: I saw god! At the PCA tournaments I saw my god. And if you correct just a few things: to concentrate more on image-making here, to make fewer breaks there, to have a little faster time control…

Then, all of a sudden – Alma-Ata, a tournament that people remember very few things about now, except that it took place. I was only twenty two then, one’s mind is as absorbing as a sponge at this age. Actually, as a chess-player I was a newborn then (okay, I was a two times Kazakh champion, so what, it’s just a little province of a great empire, and the Empire was falling apart). The crucial moment was in London in 1994, at the Lloyds bank tournament. So, everybody learned then that there’s a certain player who can play good rapid chess. But by that time I already began to see things clearly: I understood that all these things are not for me – the Premier League of Russian Championship that lasts for a month, Interzonal tournaments that consist of 25 rounds, World Championships with Candidates matches that drag on for three years. I was never able to push myself to even come close to this ‘crater’, let alone try to find the motivation to go through this to the end. So, during the Intel Grand Prix, my eyes were opened. I saw how deliciously this “dish” can be served! And in our tournament we managed to go even further: the thousand seats auditorium was packed every day, MC-Murtazza gave brilliant soccer-style live commentary, there was a live TV coverage. So, everybody was happy.

When we were organizing the tournament in Alma-Ata, we naturally wanted to do everything on a truly ‘cosmic’ scale (in Winter 1994 instead of trying to do my best at the Olympics in Moscow I was running around, having negotiations, sending letters and faxes) but unfortunately we failed. Besides, we needed some new, unorthodox idea: it crystallized into a two-minute time control.

I will never forget this feeling: four seconds is left on my clock and I mate Karpov’s bare king. With an extra Queen, and a thousand people behind me are holding their breath… A second before that I was Tkachiev, and suddenly I became Gullit who is going one to one against Pfaff – and the whole stadium anxiously watching: will he score a goal or not? Pfaff made a deceptive move, jumped – but I managed to dodge, made a cutting kick and sent a ball right between the goalposts. And a thousand people audience jumped up in a unanimous outburst of joy “WO-O-OW!!!” A provincial European stadium suddenly turns into Maracana and you are running in circles around it, with your hands up: “Yes, I’ve done it!!!”

OK, that tournament went into history, the second one failed, the PCA fell apart – the rest is silence… I look around me: it is starting all over again. Tilburg is finished, Wijk Aan Zee took its place, we now have Linares, Monaco. All those tournaments don’t have any influence over the lives of 99.9% of chess players. They can’t have any influence by definition. Sure, we are carefully preserving the old “traditions” starting from Steinitz: chess players keep starving and going crazy, they stop playing chess. As we all know, the first World Champion ended his days in the asylum, Lasker was not exactly in his right mind either when he got old. This seems to be the best kept tradition in chess compared to all the other traditions taken together…

But you didn’t have to make your living by playing with amateurs in a restaurant, did you?

I personally was always quite successful in the knockout World Championships, and I never was in a situation when I would have nothing to eat. But still I have always known that this is not for me! First, because it’s a different kind of talent, and second, deep in my mind I wasn’t too eager to succeed in this area.

But blitz is a completely different matter. I think, the comparison with rock music makes sense. Kill me, but I don’t think tuxedo is my type of clothing [E.A. – Although, as far as I can remember, Tkachiev wore nothing else but tuxedos at the opening ceremony of the FIDE World Championship in Moscow in 2001, and he was all smiles]. I don’t see myself wearing a folk shirt either, or playing traditional music. But I can perfectly imagine myself in some type of unconventional clothes playing rhythm & blues. That’s the way I see myself!

Blitz chess: Vlad Tkachiev in his natural habitat

This is my great desire that people sharing my views on chess would unite in some kind of an organization, and we would start getting more publicity. Otherwise we will forever remain the “cursed poets” – I can’t find a better example than this group of the end of 19th century in France, and I speak on behalf of the vast majority of chess players, as any poll will prove.

But we have a contradiction here that will be hard to overcome: practically everybody loves blitz, but strong players don’t miss an opportunity to reiterate that blitz can’t be taken seriously, it can’t serve as any criteria…

Well, first of all, not all the strong players are of this opinion. As far as I know, lots of them love blitz, and they are constantly proving it. Secondly, I am far from being paranoid, but I am 100% sure that the main reason for this skepticism is that many elite players above all else want to keep their places in the hierarchy. They understand that if blitz was given more importance then the disposition would be different. Let’s take the Moscow Blitz tournament, for example. Amonatov, if I remember correctly, was one of the lowest in rating, but look, he had real chances to become a winner.

And if we talk about early 90s I am absolutely sure that Vyzhmanavin would be in the top five in blitz. It’s sad to talk about this [Vyzhmanavin died in 2000 at the age of 40] but if his talent was duly recognized by the chess world, it could have changed a lot in his life…

So, I think everybody realizes that the elite group would have been completely different. This is the reason, I am sure, why they look so skeptically at blitz. In big politics when super-powers are concerned, there’s a concept of geopolitics, geopolitical games, and there’s also a concept of ‘real politics’ which means: your friends can come and go, but your business interests will stay. Here we have the same situation. Tell me please, does anybody want more competition? So, there’s no competition. You can follow the events easily, if you read the interviews of the best players. Anand suggests introducing rapid rating (or incorporating it into the Elo rating). Shirov, who very recently had the best rapid FIDE rating, is supporting it, but the others are silent.

You think it’s good when the long established names rotate in the elite group?

It’s great! That is the exact cause of our problems: there’s no rotation. If you are the strongest player, or one of the strongest, you should prove it every month, the more often the better. This rotation will help chess get rid of the perception that Karpov and Kasparov have been there since twenty years, and will be there until the end of time. Who do you think is the World Champion in the most people’s minds? Kasparov, and for some it may be even still be Karpov. Not Anand, not Khalifman, not Ponomariov, not Kasimdzhanov, not even Kramnik. Those two are the reigning champions in people’s minds. I think, if anything should start changing and moving in the chess world, it will only happen in ten years or more, and until then we will witness other eight and a half World Championship matches being cancelled! We seem to be running in circles, every year it déjà vu all over again. Why? Because of the general opinion that chess is such an over-intellectual game that it’s better not to poke one’s nose into it.

The blitz master plays a spectacular blindfold simultaneous exhibition in Cannes

So let’s finally try to change something, to add some dynamics. In my opinion, the main problem of the chess world is lack of corporate thinking. They don’t see themselves as belonging to one ‘race’. We constantly wash our dirty linen in public and we don’t care what impression we make on the world. And a general opinion of the chess players is: it’s a group of people with high IQs, but they’ll never be able to reach agreement. Just try asking any cab driver, in any city in the world. We are washing our linen in public instead of trying to organize a simple but spectacular World Blitz Grand Prix. This could instantly change the image of chess.

But as we all know, after a blitz tournament finishes whoever finds himself not at the top of the list will always find lots of reasons to justify his failure…

As I said, ‘Grand Prix’ is a key word. It’s impossible to draw any conclusions after just one tournament, or even after two. Only after a series of tournaments can we have a true picture. But for the moment we don’t have anything: no tournaments, no ratings, nothing. Only after blitz tournaments will shortly follow one another, after the ‘wave’ will be created – and I have been preaching this for years – only then we will know who is capable of what and who is a true ‘elite’. It should be pointed out that it’ll be much easier to enter this ‘closed circle’ than the one of classical chess. This will be nothing like a ‘gated community’, but a completely open competition in which anybody can participate. And it will help open many new names.

But how can we mix classical and rapid ratings together? And how to add blitz to it?

I believe that those are three completely different ratings! For one simple reason: change a time control and a level of strength of a particular player changes. My dream is that I and other like-minded players would get out of our ‘underground’ status. What are we now? We are like black jazz players from New Orleans of a hundred years ago, who played now and then is some semi-legal nightclubs, and whom nobody knew about, and nobody cared to know. Let us finally take the main stage!

What is the main difference in your opinion between those who are used to play slowly, and those who want (and are able to) play fast?

Probably, we use different ‘sides’ of a chess talent. In the end, the winner will always be the one who plays chess better (in other words, who’s class is higher). I hate the word ‘elite’, but here it suits our purpose best. If all the other conditions are equal, those who are at the top now are those who will have the best Blitz rating too. Let’s take Anand or Kasparov for example: if they are able to calculate a certain number of variations per second, they will still do it faster that any super-brilliant blitz player. But still, blitz players have their advantage. This is… their temperament.

Mr Cool winning the Moscow Blitz tournament

Let’s take a closer look at the blitz players who swore allegiance to their ideal and stayed true to it. It becomes obvious that their characters are often alike. In short, they want to take the most out of life in all respects (let’s not specify which respects in particular), there’s that constant adrenalin rush that doesn’t let them rest and to some extent disrupts their nervous system, but somehow this helps them act faster at the board and play better in time trouble. This is a completely different temperament, a different type of character that I appreciate not less than the ability to play long endgames and to sit at the board for seven hours.

If somebody is born to be a good blitz player, do you think he must have some qualities that might contradict what we traditionally consider a chess talent?

I don’t think so. A brilliant blitz player is in my opinion first of all a very talented chess player, it’s just that his brain is structured in such a way that he wants it all to go faster. That’s all! And we will never know how successful he could become in ‘normal’ chess just because he doesn’t feel like trying it with ‘normal’ chess. He wants to do it faster, it’s not exciting enough for him any other way. The one who is born to be a good blitz player needs this high speed like a fish needs water. This fish will die on a dried up peninsula of classical chess.

So, it looks after all that the key quality is the ability to think fast?

No, the most important thing in my opinion is temperament that will not allow you to sit still for as long as necessary for a classical game. Just look at the blitz players during a tournament: they NEVER sit at the board! They make a move and run away. They can even get in time trouble, but for a different reason: because they just don’t like ‘this thing’.

Everything is different about us: our mentality, our physiology, our minds. Let’s take another musical example: it’s almost the same as if you asked Page [E.A. – lead guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin] if he has a good musical pitch. But if you ask Shnittke [Alfred Garyevich Schnittke – Russian: ??????? ?????? – Russian composer of modern classical music] the same question, he would probably have his doubts, even though everybody would say he had a perfect pitch. So what matters is not what you have, but how you make it obvious. That man didn’t like wearing tuxedos, he played in smoky bars in Hamburg. That was the way he wanted to live his life… Same about blitz players! This is a special cast.

One more thing: practically all blitz players prefer to play when there’s an audience. Not that it’s absolutely necessary for them to have an audience, but I have never seen a professional blitz player who would not play better with the audience watching him. Let’s take my friend Zvitan: if there’s an audience, if during a game he has a chance to chat in a mixture of Serbian/Russian/English/German languages, then he plays a hundred times better. And some elite players (I don’t mean to insult anybody) have such temperaments that it’s not difficult for them to create real masterpieces for an absolutely empty auditorium, somewhere in Linares or Monaco. But a real blitz player would have a problem there, he is structured differently.

Darling of the media: Vlad talks to Russian TV

Blitz players from the early years are used to see that as soon as somebody starts playing blitz, people instantly gather around them! I think that if here in this restaurant Zvitan and I would start playing blitz, soon we would have 10-15 spectators watching us. Some would be critical (so much the better), some joking (even better), some laughing (still better), and finally – best of all – a beautiful girl would be sitting next to us drinking coffee with a romantic dreamy look in her eyes, and when she went back home she would, inspired by us, pull out the chess board, or even take a personal interest in a chess player…

In your opinion, is there such a concept as an ideal blitz player? Maybe Tal or Bronstein, who created some kind of a special magnetic field around the board when they played?

As far as I know, there are many such players. First of all, of course, Tal and Bronstein (the latter besides everything else is a great ideologist of blitz). Petrosian, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov… Ultimately, blitz is an absolutely unique game: it’s not that we modify it – it modifies us. Blitz modifies the reality. During the game light seems brighter, and beer sweeter…

Speaking about great players we must admit that it’s not so much about how talented they were. It’s the magic mix of their talents with the great media potential that blitz has. During all this years this potential was never used in the full. First of all, because chess concentrates too much on preserving traditions. Imagine if tennis players would still wear only long white trousers, shirts and shoes, like they did a hundred years ago. If they would say to each other: “Let’s make it look like a classical concert”. Tennis would instantly lose its high TV ratings. But look: they play in bandanas and trendy shorts, like Agassi. They dress this way not just to create a certain image, it’s a business strategy. That’s why they are rich, famous, and girls love them. Isn’t it wonderful? Why don’t we want to be like them?

Blitz is not just about Tal’s magic, it’s also Fischer’s technique…

That’s right. But I am talking about the esthetic value of chess. I think a skillfully played endgame is as impressive as some stunning combination. I watched Arbakov playing an odds game with quite a good Croatian GM, Sulava. It was a rook endgame, and Arbakov had a bishop for four pawns. He was so precise with his piece play that it is still one of the strongest impressions in my chess life. And he only had a few seconds to do this! Right, Sulava made mistakes, Arbakov surely did too, but the way he played in terrible time trouble with only a few pieces left made as big impression on me, as Rubinstein’s endgames, or Korchnoi’s surreal moves.

The thing is in blitz everything happens faster, and merrier! We all know what happens during classical tournaments: people come to the playing hall, take a sulky look at the games (well, okay, we may have one interesting game today, here there’ll be a quick draw, and a big question is if Kasparov will be able to beat the outsider). People chat for 15-20 minutes and then do what? – go to the bar! All they do there is drink alcohol, or coffee and tea, depending on their temperament. What kind of nonsense is this? Have you ever seen that during a blitz tournament? Would anybody go to the bar? Hell, they reserve places around the table well in advance. The emotions and the action is so highly concentrated, the special alchemy is created between the wooden pieces, players (who are more wound up than they ever get in life) and spectators. How can anybody leave the venue with all this?

It’s time for blitz to take the niche that it was created for. Let’s take what we are entitled to. And we are entitled to be the leaders of the chess mass culture. I am not afraid of this word: let’s vulgarize chess. By the way, in French, for example, this word doesn’t have a negative connotation, it means “to make popular”.

Do you seriously believe that blitz can change the image of chess in the eyes of average people?

I think if anything can change the present poor image of chess, then it is blitz. There is no alternative. But many people don’t even know that such a magic wand exists. Believe me, this will happen exactly the way I predict. The only thing I don’t know is if this will happen while we are still alive, if it will be for us to make it a reality. But this WILL happen. In the 21st century such slow speed is unacceptable, a seven hour time control is like a fifty-year-old Russian made car – you’ll not be able to drive it for too much longer. Now we need another cosmic speed. Let’s fly to Mars, let’s make chess players the most popular sportsmen on Earth. I only wish we could accelerate this process somehow, and contribute to it.

Blitz players bore chess lady: Grischuk and Tkachiev at the Moscow Blitz

Without blitz – and I am firmly convinced in this – the situation in chess will never improve. Blitz is like Cinderella who is the one chess sister who’s feet is small enough to wear a shoe offered by the prince – which is television. Or take the Internet: it’s a great means of communication, and chess plays an important place in it, but in what form? There’s no demand for classical chess on the Internet. Millions are playing blitz online, and if there is a place for the ‘slow’ chess fans on the internet, then it must be some special club where people have fun analyzing some beautiful endgames, combinations, this or that move from an old Karpov’s game…

Vlad, aren’t you going too far in one direction? As much as I love blitz, every building must have a solid foundation, and our foundation has always been classical chess…

But nobody wants to ban classical music! Welcome: 2010, Linares, Carlsen-Karjakin, a ticket costs $120, enjoy all the finer points of the ‘white square’ rhapsody. And rapid will still be there, although I don’t understand it too well, and I don’t love it too much. In my opinion, this is like stopping in the middle on the way to your destination, like an arrow that didn’t reach the other side of the river and dropped in the water. Rapid will stay like ‘art-music’, or ‘alternative music’, as many like to call it. It will be a special kind of performance art – I am talking about tournaments like the PCA Grand Prix.

All this will have the right to exist, and the sponsors’ interest will be there, but… only when mass-culture will be created in chess, and this culture will be represented by blitz. It will be a locomotive that will have enough power to move the whole chess train forward. Without creating mass-culture first we will not be able to get further ahead.

Didn’t anybody else before you come up with the same idea? Didn’t people try to push rapid chess on TV? FIDE even ‘curtailed’ classical time control to please the TV people?

But all this was beside the mark. The only moment when chess almost won a million in a lottery was in 1988 in St John, when there was a brilliant first World Blitz Championship… The venue was great, all the electronics was already used then. Moreover, the winner was the chess saint Mikhail Tal. I heard that Canadians were willing to sponsor this project for many years, they were very interested but…

Tkachiev vs Morozevich – this is how hard blitz chess can be

Soon the Soviet chess federation wrote an ’open letter’ in which they expressed concern that our ancient and very intellectual game may soon disappear because of this ugly newborn, a new form of chess. So blitz championships should be stopped once and forever. Everybody knew who was behind this letter, whose interests it defended.

As a result, soviet players didn’t take part in the next championship, and soon the project was closed. It’s a great pity that this happened. Generally speaking, I feel very sorry that at a certain moment chess went in the direction ‘prescribed’ by Botvinnik. I personally always preferred the way Bronstein viewed the future of chess. I think there’s more life, light and fresh air in his comments from the book “David against Goliath” than in many pages written by the chess analysts.

The question I must ask: what do you think about playing online? Blitz is played most often in the Internet, so that’s where most of your associates can be found, right?

All my life I have been very skeptical about Internet technologies, and I do realize this is not right to feel this way. Maybe online blitz has big and bright future (but I don’t exactly see at the moment, how big and how bright), but let’s be objective: until we find a reliable way to stop Internet cheaters we can’t seriously talk about how the Internet can contribute to the creating of chess mass culture. Now it’s all too easy to use the opening data bases during a game, or to let a machine make a few key moves for you. This can influence a game greatly, and this is practically impossible to control…

Poster boy Vladislav Tkachiev

Only after an adequate means to prevent this fraud will be created, we can get back to this conversation, and surely the number of people playing chess on line will be not less, or may be even more than the number of ‘regular’ players. So now it’s no use seriously talking about Internet blitz. At the current time ‘real-life’ blitz should be the flag-ship of our revolution.

The other reason I am skeptical about Internet blitz is that there’s no way to involve television in it, and only where there’s television, there’s real money.

So, what is the near future of chess in your opinion?

I think in just a few years we can make a giant step forward. But, as Chubais says, we must act “aggressively, quickly and passionately: whatever we take will belong to us!” That’s right, we have to fight for our ideas.

Text and pictures by Eugeny Atarov – Chess Pro
Translated by Maya Dyomina

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