World Cup: Interviews with Fressinet and Onischuk

by ChessBase
12/2/2009 – The organisers in Khanty Mansiysk, FIDE, are providing us with great material. Apart from live coverage, prompt delivery of results and games, they are also doing regular interviews with the players. Today Laurent Fressinet tells us that his wife Almira Skripchenko is the main breadwinner in the family; and Alexander Onischuk has a solution for punctual appearance at the game. Interesting ideas.

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The FIDE World Chess Cup is taking place in Khanty-Mansiysk from November 20th to December 15th 2009. It is a seven-round knockout event with six rounds of matches comprising two games per round, with the winners progressing to the next round. The final seventh round consists of four games. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move from move one. Games start at 15:00h local time, which is GMT +5 hours = 11:00 a.m. European time = 5 a.m. New York. The World Chess Cup is an integral part of the World Championship Cycle 2009-2011.

FIDE Interviews with the Grandmasters

Laurent Fressinet: "My wife Elmira is the main breadwinner of our family"

In Khanty Mansiysk, Laurent had an “average” performance. He easily beat his opponent Sanan Syugirov in Round One, but then lost in the tiebreaks to Evgeny Alexeev.

Laurent: I like Khanty Mansiysk very much. Beautiful city, brilliant tournament. It is a pity that my stay here was so short…

So stay here… It would make everyone happy.

No, I have to go home [laughs]. My favorite place in the world is Paris. I live there with my family. I like to travel. But wherever I am, I feel nostalgia. I want to go home. It is wonderful when you have a place to come back to.

Is your family waiting for you – your daughter and wife, the famous chess player Elmira Skripchenko?

Yes, but now Elmira does not play a lot of chess. She started playing poker recently and has achieved a lot of success. The biggest success was her participation in the poker tournament in Las Vegas. She won 80,000 US dollars within just four days. In principle, you can win a lot in poker. So, now my wife is the main breadwinner of our family [laughs].

Almira Skripchenko, chess IM and poker player

Don't cherish vain hopes: everything is possible in poker, you can win but you can also lose.

Well, we are safe there. Elmira has a personal sponsor in poker: a famous poker site supports her financially: it covers her trip expenses and more. So, we don't risk our money: she wins – perfect. If not – we don't lose anything.

Do you play chess or poker with your wife?

We play chess against each other. In poker, there is a different situation: we support each other when playing against our opponents. But in general, we don't have time to play at home. We have more important business – our daughter.

Almira and Laurent's two-and-a-half
year old daughter Ludivine

Alexander Oinschuk: "I propose we provide every chess player with a pager"

The American Grandmaster Alexander Onischuk has his personal opinion of the situation with the Chinese grandmasters Wang Yue and Li Chao. To recollect the situation: they were two minutes late for their second games of the tie breaks. According to the regulations of the tournament their games were forfeited.

Onischuk: I was very disappointed with the situation with the Chinese players. To my mind a lot had been solved unwisely. We all know the rules: who is late, loses a game. But there is a difference with the two late appearances. If a player knows that a game starts at 15.00h sharp and he comes at 15.01, he deserves a defeat. No matter why he was late.

But here we have another situation in principle. The participants of the tie breaks are ready for 14 additional games. But no one knows the exact time of the next game. I mean everyone can miss the start of the next game. Today the Chinese players were unlucky, tomorrow – someone of us can be in the same situation. Now tell me, what is good in the fact that two brilliant chess players lost the opportunity to fight for the World Cup because of an unfortunate misunderstanding. Not only they who suffered. Their fans suffered with them. Chess in general suffered.

What can be done to avoid such situations?

There are several variants. They can fix the exact time of the next round. As the Chinese players proposed, a big screen with the relevant information of the tournament can be arranged. But the easiest way is to provide every participant with a pager. They will receive a message about the start of the next round. In American fast food restaurants every visitor receives a token, which starts to vibrate when an offer is ready. It costs “two cents”. It is not difficult and expensive to distribute such a token among the players.

Is it so difficult to follow what is going on the stage?

Yes, taking into account that you can finish your game in two minutes and the rest of the games could last about an hour. Or less. Or more than less. It means that each participant must come into the playing hall every five minutes, in order not to miss the start of the next game. It is awfully uncomfortable.

The Chinese players were late for their games because they were smoking… Everyone remembers that since Soviet time smoking in the stadiums and sport palaces were strictly prohibited.

Thanks God we don't live in the USSR anymore. But I agree: an excuse of the Chinese players does not sound convincingly. But anyway, they could be in the toilet or in the bar. In general, I just hope that the organizers could make a conclusion of this incident. They are interested in it not less than us.

Interviews by FIDE, photos by Galina Popova


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