WCC Bonn: Press conference before the event

10/13/2008 – On Sunday, just two days before the start of the World Championship, the two players attended a press conference and answered questions from journalists who had already arrived at the playing site. World Champion Vishy Anand and Challenger Vladimir Kramnik were in a relaxed mood and their responses were often in a light-hearted vein. Highlights and photographs.

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World Chess Championship pre-match press conference

Before the press conference Anand and Kramnik pose in front of the sponsor wall The press meeting took place almost exactly 48 hours before the first move of the World Chess Championship 2008 in Bonn.

The photographers have a chance for some close-ups before the start of the conference. Two young ladies with banners of the main sponsors then take their places behind the main actors, and the conference can begin.

Josef Resch, Executive Director of the organising committee and Match Director of the Championship: "Universal Event Promotion was founded in Germany in the year 2005. The main reason for our company is to present international and outstanding chess events on the highest level. One might ask: why chess, why not some other sport? The answer is very simple: we love chess."

FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos: "We have a very nice town, an excellent venue, the best players in the world, excellent organisers, good sponsors, who have done everything for a very high-level match for the World Championship."

Vladimir Kramnik on how he feels: Really well, except for yesterday's football game [Germany beat Russia 2:1 in a World Championship qualifier]. After half a year of preparation our match is getting closer and closer, which is pretty exciting and I feel in a good mood. I am ready to start the match, I am tired of working and feel it is time to play.

Vishy Anand: "I've been training on and off since about April, this is the highlight of the year and I have been waiting for it, and now it starts. I'm quite eager to get going."

GM Ian Rogers: "Is there something about your opponent that has annoyed you over the last year or two?" Kramnik: "I am really very annoyed by the good level of chess which my opponent has been showing. This was the only thing that was really, really annoying. The rest is completely all right."

Robert Huntington: "Both of you have spent the majority of your career as second or third behind Garry Kasparov. What does it feel like to be out from under his shadow?" Anand: "Looking back I can say that he was one of the greatest players in history, but after some time the practical details of life take over."

Kramnik: "You know, somehow life goes on. I am very happy that the prominent part of my chess career was connected with his presence and his career, and it feels good to have beaten especially him and become World Champion. He was a very significant chess player, one of the best in history, but I am happy that we are now facing players of a new generation, and who knows, maybe [Magnus] Carlsen will be the next Kasparov, or even more than that. But I am happy that I'm still around. People are coming and going, but I am still here, I am playing chess and fighting for the World Championship."

Vladimir Kramnik on never having won a classical chess game against Anand with black: "The theory of big numbers is on my side, and I hope that the day will come when I am able to win a game with black. But actually it is not easy at this level. For instance, in all the games I ever played against Garry Kasparov I won only one game with black, and he never won any black game he played against me."

Kramnik: "I am very happy to have Peter [Leko] in my team. It is difficult to find any better candidate. First of all he has match experience, secondly he is a very strong chess player – I can really feel immediately the difference – and also we have very good personal relations, apart from the fact that we played a match, and a pretty dramatic one, but it never spoilt our relations, and we respect each other as humans."

Anand: "[Peter Leko] was working with me for my match against Karpov, but it has been something like ten years since we last worked together. For me it is normal – Peter had an interesting offer and he considered it."

Question: "There was a rumour that you worked with Magnus Carlsen – to what extent is that true?" Anand: "Well, we have worked together, but, er... more details will not be forthcoming. He's a very nice guy, we've been friends for a couple of years already, and I respect his absolutely incredible chess skills.

Anand on his second, 21-year-old GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek from Poland: "I met Radik over some Bundesliga weekends – he plays for Hamburg and I play for Baden Baden. We played a couple of times and he made a very positive impression on me, both technically and at a human level. Some time last year, after we played again, I sort of got his contact details, and later I asked him."

Kramnik on the younger generation of chess players: "They are not that much stronger than Kasparov at his best or Ivanchuk at his best, and we used to play with them, quite successfully. So I don't see why we will not be able to compete with the top young generation. I don't feel like they will push me out of the top elite of chess. I think I will play for a few more years at this very high level. I believe that the young generation still has something to learn from us. We can teach them some lessons from time to time."

Kramnik on his advantage of having played a match (against Deep Fritz) in this venue before: "It will be easier for me during the first game to find the rest room. That's the only advantage I see."

Kramnik on the effect of the live video broadcast by Foidos on his concentration: "I will try to comb my hair a little better for the games. But I am not an actress – I'm just going to play chess. Of course it is very nice that the public can see everything so well, even better than TV. I hope it will be a success and that in future we will always have this kind of broadcast." Anand: "I don't think that Maria Sharapova should be too worried about competition from us."

Question from GM Rogers: "Your last World Championship match had a lot of off-board incidents. Is it a different task for you to play against someone you like?" Kramnik: "Well, you have a feeling you can concentrate better on the things that are on the board. Even before my match with Topalov I knew with whom I am dealing and expected some kind of trouble. I did not think it would go to such extent, but it was clear to me that especially in the case that I was leading they will not leave it like this. I didn't have any illusions about it. I just did not expect that it would be at such a low level. Here I am sure it will be very gentlemanly, and I would be really surprised if there would be any conflict during this match. I always like to play over the board, and I don't like all this around the board political games. I like to win on the board."

Press chief Rolf Behovits tells the public that the world-wide interest in the event is very large and that some days are close to being sold out – for example Saturday October 18 is completely sold out, and others are close. So it's a good idea to obtain your tickets soon. There are about 400 seats in the theatre.

Transcription and all photos by Frederic Friedel


2008 World Chess Championship Anand vs Kramnik in Bonn

When: From October 14 – November 02, 2008
Where: Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn
Prize fund: 1.5 million Euro (= US $2.35 million)
Patron: German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück
Main sponsor:   Evonik Industries AG

The match consists of twelve games, played under classical time controls: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. The prize fund is 1.5 million Euro (approximately 2.35 million US Dollars) including taxes and FIDE licence fees, and is split equally between the players.

Schedule

  • Tuesday October 14   Game 1
    Wednesday   October 15 Game 2
    Thursday October 16 Free day
    Friday October 17 Game 3
    Saturday October 18 Game 4
    Sunday October 19 Free day
    Monday October 20 Game 5
    Tuesday October 21 Game 6
    Wednesday   October 22 Free day
    Thursday October 23 Game 7
     
    Friday October 24 Game 8
    Saturday October 25 Free day
    Sunday October 26 Game 9
    Monday October 27 Game 10
    Tuesday October 30 Free day
    Wednesday   October 29 Game 11
    Thursday October 30 Free day
    Friday October 31 Game 12
    Saturday November 1 Free day
    Sunday November 2   Tiebreak

Tickets cost 35 Euro (= US $54.80) per round. They include entry to the playing hall and to the commentary room, where there is analysis and discussions with prominent grandmasters. The tickets are available at all ticket agencies in Germany. You can also buy tickets for the match in advance via BONNTICKET, by email (tickets@bonnticket.de) or telephone (+49-180-5001812).

World Championship live broadcast

Live coverage is available on FoidosChess, an application based on Mircosoft's Silverlight technology. The system uses five parallel video streams to present the players and commentary by grandmasters in German, English, Spanish and Russian.

The games will be also broadcast live on Playchess.com, but without videos and commentary. If you are not a member you can download ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games.

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