Andrej Sidorov's
Morozevich Digest

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interview

by E. Atarov
1998

You are always in the center of public attention. No matter how well you play, you are always talked and written about. What is the source of this interest, and has it always been like that?

Frankly speaking, it is very pleasant to be in the limelight, and I am sometimes flattered. And it has always been like that! People come up to me during different tournaments and tell that they have come to support me. The come themselves, bring their children, and relatives. They even phone home to congratulate me. Well… there must be something special about me! They congratulate me if I win, and support me if I lose, but they always wait for something from me. If they are trusting themselves upon me during the game, it might be disturbing sometimes, but it is always a powerful doping after the tournament, when you come to understand that everything you are doing is meaningful, that your game gives people pleasure…

Has not it irritated you a couple of years ago, when you were not doing so well, and your fans were always making nuisances out of themselves?

No, it is a matter of personal choice, whether to be somebody's fan or not. Thus, I treated them with understanding, and it did not irritate me a great deal. Actually, there were hardly any problems even when some of my ill-wishers discussed my lost game in a newspaper or in a magazine, simply because I hardly ever read them, and thus I never find them out first-hand.

Is life with super-star image difficult?

Why do you think I have this image?

Well, you have always been introduced to the public as the future of our chess; you've always been made overtures to…

It is rather a strange statement! Public interest towards me has always been foreseen by my successful performances. Do you remember at least any advances in the last two years!? No one has ever pulled the strings for me. From time to time there were some favorable reviews, some said I was very talented, promising… The "64" magazine supported and backed me from the very beginning, and that, I believe, is much more important than narcissistic dithyrambs in my favor. So, I can not say that I had an unusual image. On top of that, the mighty of the earth have never treated me seriously.

And how did the chess world treat you in the beginning, or did they take to you at once?

No, I do not think so. At first, due to my age (I was far too young and it was not easy to find common language), and then due to different views. I am an alien in the world of chess: I do not drink alcohol, I do not smoke, I do not play cards, don't go to casinos, and I am not a philanderer. I do not feel any need for it during the tournament, I am different. And it turned out that there was nothing to connect me with the world of chess but the game of chess itself. From time to time I have one problem during the tournament: it is difficult to find somebody to communicate. On the other hand, I have recently become respected in this world due to my victories. Before that, my victories looked accidental for them, and they were ready to put up with them. They thought I was just being lucky, and that it was not going to last. Now that I have won so many prizes, it is becoming more and more difficult to plead fortuity. There must be something to justify it. Either serious work, or big talent, or just luck – let everyone decide for himself.

Some years ago, when you were 17 or 18 years old and it was so easy for you to get passes to the tournaments in Spain or Holland, did you feel the hostility of other players who thought you must have taken their places?

Frankly speaking, I have never been interested in it. I had all possible ground to play there for the moment. I won two serious tournaments in the West: London-94 and Pamplona-95, I also played on the first board for Youth Russia at the Moscow Olympiad… From the other hand, they had all possible ground to envy me: I did not have the necessary basis, and my results confirmed that it was still very early to play there, or at least, to be a success. In the long run, everything returned to where it started, and even Svidler, who lamented for not being invited to the tournament, eventually went there. Therefore, I did not go myself, and somebody else did not go, but does it mean that we were on somebody else's place?! Actually, I am in a very similar situation now: I've added up a great deal to my rating, it is now well above 2700, but there aren't any invitations. No vacancies! I do not in the least envy those who have barred my way for some time. Time will come when the situation turns over.

And how did you feel when you were left aside? According to your own words, in the spirit you were participating in elite round robins, while in reality you had to take part in ordinary swiss tournaments?!

But I wanted to play in swiss tournaments! I thought it to be a new turn in my chess career. Before that, I had stepped over them, and I did not get the due use out of them, as they can really teach a lot of good. At least, they harden you. As for my inner discomfort, I had only three serious round robin tournaments, and I was not a success in any of them, and it could hardly be called a fortuity. That is why, I did not feel any particular discomfort, I just had to switch myself over to the style of game, appropriate for the opens: I have not had them for quite a while. It took me about half a year, and then I started winning again.

And what sort of switch was it? A psychological or a chess one?

A bit of each. I was just trying to get used to the new atmosphere, to new faces, to my new self as well. I had to start everything anew. Till 1995, up to the summer of 95, I was constantly, with very few failures, going up. And then, for the next two years, I was gradually going down. It was very fortunate that my downfall was not as steep as that of Glek: I went only about 150 points down, but I steel turned out to be below 2600. It was ridiculous to talk of any victories in those days, the level of my chess was not enough to win any open, leave alone the rest, and I had to be reasonable. You should not forget that I was working all that time. I understood that the run of bad luck would be over one day and I would go further. I did not know how far, but it turned out to be even better than I have expected!

Today, looking at the row of your victories, it seems strange that the beginning of this year was not very successful for you, I am talking about the first half of the Moscow Cup… What was a crucial moment for you? Kishinev? Maikop? Or, may be something else?

Actually, this crucial moment was not very evident. I think, I just matured, and my old stereotypes have altered. That is why I could check myself much better, and I could, at last, start realizing my "great talent". Circumstances were in my favor as well. Strange as it may seem, my victory of the Russian Cup in Perm, was of most psychological support to me. First of all, it was not that easy, and secondly, it was probably the first time in my life when I won two tournaments in a row. It elevated my spirits, faith in my chess abilities, and that is why my game in Maikop was indomitable!

And which of your victories was most pleasant or sudden for you?

It was very encouraging to win in Kishinev. It was the first tournament that I won this year. And such a result! As far as the significance of the tournaments is concerned, I'd put the event in Kishinev on the first place and the Championship of Russia on the second place.

And when you came to the Championship of Russia, were you, subconsciously, going to win it? So to say, mechanically?

I did not even think about it. I felt that I had very little strength left, and it was necessary to devise something. At a certain point, I was going to refuse the championship and to take good rest, but I wanted to have a pass to Las Vegas. The thought that it was possible to become the Champion did not even occur to me, it would have been too presumptuous… On top of that, there were no objective prerequisites for the moment.

But by that time, you had not been loosing for more than 40 games running, and you won more than a half of them!

It does not mean anything. The point is that due to a fortunate coincidence, this victorious succession went on, I won the Championship and then the Final of the Cup. However, it was clear that one day it had to be over.

Did you feel that it was like a load off your mind when you lost to Philippov in Samara?

No, as there was no load! It was all made up. I simply played chess and I was glad that I was not losing, but naturally I realized that I could lose to Galliamova, Kharlov, or Philippov in Tomsk. But I did not regard it as a tragedy. Life is not life without defeats!

In St. Petersburg, when did you realize that luck was on your side?

I don't know, I just played to the end, and it was pure luck that everything turned out fantastically well at the finish!

What did you feel when you outstripped Volkov in the last game, when you won the first prize at the final of the cup, when you won the sixth tournament running? Have all these victories become usual?

Yes, my feelings were no longer that rich. When one is spoilt by success, one takes victories for granted. I realized that it could soon be over. I was glad that I fulfilled the sports goal of the tournament. But I did not feel any specific joy: I shook hands with myself and that was it.

Once you said that zonal tournaments in St. Petersburg-93 had nearly ruined your chess career. Do you still stick to this opinion?

Not quite. When I say that it did me a lot of harm, I mean that for that moment I was not yet ready to absorb this amount of sudden fame. For some time I lost my own self. The same thing happened to Bakker when he won Wimbledon at the aged 17. Later he said that this victory ruined all his life. Great risk and popularity stir up your inner world in one moment and do not let you objectively judge yourself and the events around you. Bakker won the most serious professional tennis tournament aged 17, leave alone me, as I was only 15! Obviously, at that time, I was matured neither as a man, nor as a personality, nor as a chess player, and such a chance! Probably, at that moment I subconsciously decided not to waste time but to gain experience moving forward. I did not realize that I was going to step over an important phase. I forced this advancing, and the result turned out to be not as smooth as I expected. This disharmony provided extra tension, I was drawn into some failures that were later transformed into a lingering downfall. I am not complaining now, but if only my game had been more reserved in that tournament, I would have been moving forward gradually, without these sudden changes.

Indeed, you could hardly be noticed in some tournaments at all, but as long as you were in good form…

I am not aware of the reason myself! I can be strong today, but then suddenly I am playing very badly. It must be one of the peculiarities of my character. Some people are moving forward gradually, others learn by their own mistakes. Sudden falls and rises are characteristic of my style. Very few expected me to step up this year, as well as I did not expect a failure three years ago.

Are you a maximalist?

Yes, of course.

Are you planning before the tournament what prize to win?

Hardly ever. It is not like me to make points, places, or let us say, ratings of prior importance. It seems to me that I am more flexible, that I have a "healthier" approach to chess. I became a chess player myself, no one has ever crammed me up since childhood, my own experience formed my style, and I knew that if I could not do it that time, I'd manage another! This self-assurance is based on a sort of inner optimism, I am sure that sooner or later everything will be all right. At a certain tournament, however serious it might be, I am never determined to outstrip everyone at any price. The reason of my advancement is not only the desire to be a prizewinner, to win money, and to gain points, but also the desire to show a good game. If we compare the significance of the tournaments in St. Petersburg and Samara, the former made me the champion of Russia, provided me with a pass to Las Vegas and made me a member of the national team for the Olympiad, while the latter brought me nothing but self satisfaction. However, after the championship of Russia, I had to prove myself in the right once again, and I did it successfully at the final of the Cup, this tournament turned out be not less but even more significant for me.

Have you ever dreamt… No, do you ever dream to become the World Champion?

No, dreaming is not my style; I am a realist, that is why I had not thought about it before I got some objective prerequisites. Now that I have won such a variety of different tournaments, I have started thinking about it. Whether my expectations are real or not, this is another question, but strange as it may seem, my ambitions are growing.

Some chess players, who envy your victories, say that you are playing well in the opens and average round robins, but if you were to play Kasparov and Co, you'd be beaten. They blame your style and opening preparation…

My style is OK! Though openings are seriously backward. It happened because I played too much and there was no time for training. But all the tournaments are occupied now, and strange as it may seem, it does me a lot of good, as for this half a year I will be working at everything I've missed during the non-stop flow of different tournaments. Of course, it is going to be difficult at first, but I shall overcome…

Are you psychologically ready for these changes? Or do you need some time, as you did last year?

Yes, I need some time. I have to reappraise my own self, to apprehend myself slightly differently. For the moment I am "a chess player with ELO rating above 2700". My inner self does not catch up with the results. And now I have time to sit down and think, to study the games and to comprehend everything.

Do you know where the myth, that in comparison with so called "classic chess players" Morozevich can play his best only if he has White, comes from?

Does that mean that I am not a classic chess player? I do not consider myself to be a "crooked" chess player! This is the wrong image that I acquired because of the openings. I have already explained several times that I did not play basic openings because I had problems with preparation, I did not have the appropriate amount of information. But… my game is all right!! My game is quite clear and logic and I see absolutely nothing unusual in my chess at all. Now that I have worked at the openings, I regard the word "unusual" as an insult.

And what about the word "White"?

I really gain more points with White rather than with Black. But still I gain enough with Black, as my games are very resulting in general. (Later Morozevich commented this phrase of his as "nonsense".) I am ready to fight with any color, but if I play White, it is easier to impose such a position on the adversary, that suites my tastes best, and thus I gain more points. By the way, do you know a lot of chess players who can gather more points with Black than with White? I am just more risky when I have White, but in fact, the color of pieces does not matter that much for me. The best example is the Olympiad in Elista, where five out of my six victories were made with Black…

Is risking in your character, or does it reveal itself only at the chessboard?

I do not know. I have not yet been tested by other serious life events.

And still, openings is not the only important thing… Your moves nonplus your opponents very often, others do not understand your chess, do not comprehend your ideas…

Yes, I often make unpredictable moves, but this does not necessarily mean that I am wrong. If Tal was unpredictable, did it also mean that his style was "crooked"?! Those, who did not comprehend his game, said so. Therefore, if some chess players do not comprehend my chess, I can only feel sorry for them. It reveals the problems of their perception. I never play to vex anybody, this is the way I see chess. Somebody else can see it differently. Besides, my games have recently become clearer, more understandable, if you want. Well, can you name any of my games where I made "mysterious" "unusual" moves?

Well, the best example would be your game with Gleizerov from Tomsk. For several hours the grandmasters could not make out what was happening on the board, and who was winning?! He seemed to be firm on his grounds, then you made several moves and his position collapsed.

Yes but I did not do anything unusual, I made proper moves! They seemed to be strong and unexpected from a detached view, though to me they were quite natural. Moreover, I've always played like that. Now, however, I manage to avoid a lot of mistakes that could ruin my strategy or position before. For example, I realized that it was impossible to fulfill some plan, but I could not make myself give it up, and as a result, I fulfilled it with inexplicable stubbornness. People who watched me were outraged: what a "crooked" game. But I have never changed my style, I have never tried to adjust it to regular canons. I play according to my understanding of the game.

You are also known as a "total tactic". What, to your mind, prevails in your games: tactics or strategy?

It depends. My tactics overlaps with strategic shape of the fight, which I am trying to impose on the adversary. I am trying to play such games that involve different ideas in order to let people solve various tactical problems during the game. However, as chess players usually play in the opens as if it were child's play, I mean making beau gestures and philosophizing during the game, they therefore, often come across "sudden" blows. And then they say that I do not understand anything and that my blows are worth nothing. Obviously, "sudden" blows do not appear independently, they never crop up by themselves. …They are doing everything correctly and then a Mr. Morozevich makes a blow from round the corner?!

After the championship of Russia, a Mr. Morozevich was elevated to such a podium, that he surpassed heroic deeds of Svidler…

Yes, I am lucky, I can not reject it, but I think it would be an exaggeration to say that I am over-lucky. This is normal luck that I deserve due to my energy, risky character… There were cases, however, when my coefficient spoilt everything. Long ago, in 1990, at the semi-final of the Championship of Moscow, I shared places 1 to 6, and of course, turned out to be the 6th, while there were only 5 passes to the final. Or a fresh example, in Krasnodar, in October 98, I shared places 1 to 3, and due to some mysterious coefficient I turned out to be the third! Frankly speaking, this coefficient did me good only once, in the last two tournaments: in St. Petersburg and in Samara. For instance, in Tomsk, had I won the last game, I would have won silver…

Some more about your style… how did it happen that you, Sokolov, and Balashov, the three Yurkov's students, turned out to be so different in style.

That is simple, Yurkov never worked with our style, he took chess players as they were, and helped them to go further, that is why, if you compare Sokolov with me, you'll see that we are just different people. We see the world, as well as chess, around us under different angles. Yurkov never tried to change us, he tried to understand our ways and to develop our strong points. To a certain extent, we realize our character on the chessboard, out style of chess reflects our understanding of the world. That is why, one coach can have completely different pupils, and there is nothing unusual about it.

And why did you leave Yurkov?

This question is usually number two, after "are you married?". There were several reasons. Firstly, Yurkov spent a lot of strength when he trained Sokolov, and by the moment when I appeared, he had neither strength nor energy to start anew. We both understood that he would hardly want to go all over it once again. Secondly, despite the fact that Yurkov is a wonderful coach (I cannot say anything bad about him), our attitudes to life were very different. This caused natural problems in the intercourse and sometimes we used to make a mountain out of the molehill. It caused extra tension at the tournaments. I still keep in touch with Yurkov and, naturally, I admit the fact that he formed my chess fundament. Some think that my decision to quit him was hasty, that we could work together a little more… Of course, we could, but for that moment, it seemed necessary to part with him.

Did you take this decision independently? Do you prefer to act independently at such crucial moments of your life, or to consult somebody?

Strange as it may seem, from the age of 13 I tried to take independently any decision that could tell either on my chess career or on my life. I always consulted my parents and sometimes my coach, listened to their opinion, but I acted independently.

How could you develop such strength of character?

At the age of 13 one can not develop anything! One either has it or not. And then it simply continues: once you have started taking decisions independently, it would become part and parcel of your character…

They say that Yurkov could no longer give you anything when you split up…

This is not true. I benefit a great deal from my relations with Yurkov even now.

Yurkov helped Sokolov in Groningen… Has it ever occurred to you to revive your triumvirate at least for one tournament?

I don't know, we have never discussed it. But I could turn to him for help at any moment!

Have you ever envied Sokolov? Have you ever dreamt of a similar break-through?

No. I had very firm nerves.

But still: to participate in the final of a candidates match at the age of 22, to become the third chess player of the world at least for some time – is not it a good guiding star?

One moment's situation can never be important, whole life is important. I have never imagined one hour's success, I have never wanted to do something and to leave the stage?! I have always striven for stability, especially in important games. Sokolov, strange as it may seem, served a graphic and vivid example: he shook the world, nearly reached the match with Kasparov, but then he could not bear such tempo. It served me a good lesson, and I have always aimed to consolidate the achieved positions before going any further.

After you’ve parted with Yurkov, have you tried to find somebody else?

It has always been difficult to find a coach, it has never been a prestigious profession. They can not provide for their living, and it does not look as though the situation can become any better. It is very difficult for some coaches to be of regular help, first of all due to their age. That is why I have never looked for a coach, I try to content myself with the help of sparring partners.

Who is helping you now?

In the end of 97 and in the beginning of 98, it was Bologan. And Rustemov has been helping me since the Samara event.

Sometimes it seems to me that it is much easier for you to deal with various chess problems on your own, rather than wait for help from the outside. A sort of Fischer's model of self sufficiency…

I do not think so. Of course, I can solve a lot of problems on my own, there is no need to force me work under pressure, it is silly to reject cooperation with another chess player, it can't but enrich you. On the contrary, I have always been opened for contacts…

Do you work a lot? Have you got a "day's norm of chess"?

Not really. But I work quite a lot. Probably not as much as "elite" chess players. Though I think that I am well prepared, as dealing with the chess players whose rating is 2600 or less, I feel that I have a broader knowledge …

Do you ever get tired with chess?

Yes, but it happens very rarely.

Have you come across any games that completely changed your chess outlook? For instance, as the game with Anand at the “Kremlin Stars-95”…

Even if this game could have changed anybody, it would have changed Anand but not me. Of course, there were games that influenced me a great deal, but it happened at an earlier stage, from 12 to 17 years old. It is much more difficult to surprise me today, as well as in 1995, so this game did not influence me a lot.

I dare say, I do not believe you. To mate the third chess player in the world in 20 moves…

Well, not in 20 moves, and not mated… Though it was certainly a thrilling game. But I had only ten minutes between the two games, and thus there was no time for rejoicing. As a result, if you remember, I even lost the whole match.

And what about the succession of rapid chess tournaments of PCA, your meeting with Kasparov, Anand, Ivanchuk, have they changed anything in you? Or, do you feel that it was not but a continuation of the flow of tournaments where you did not manage to show your worth?

Probably, a continuation, yes… Because I did not prepare for either of these Intel events, and thus did not expect much of my game. I was simply gaining experience. I had a very modest goal then. Today, my goals are different. Now, playing Anand or Ivanchuk, I will behave differently. There is no more time to test myself any more, the time has come when I have to show my worth.

You have already managed to do it not once! There were cases in chess history when chess players won whole tournaments with huge advantage, but no one has ever managed to make such heroic deeds regularly. How did London (9.5 out of 10), Kishinev (8.5 out of 9), and Maikop (9 out of 10) tell on your life?

It is worth mentioning that my chess colleagues were offended, they said that it was very rude of me to leave only half a point to the rest of the tournament. They said: “We are not that bad!”

Can you be serious?

Seriously speaking, I will never forget Rashkovsky’s despair, when at the Championship of Russia they were counting coefficients in order to decide who would be the winner: Svidler or me. When it became clear that Peter was likely to become the Champion for the fourth time, Rashkovsky was terrified and lamented: “What for.., for the fourth time? What have we done wrong?” People’s reaction to my victories is the same. They do not understand what they are punished for: somebody comes and gathers nearly 100%. This is wrong!

Well, at least it has never happened before you appeared!

That is not true. There were Fischer, Korchnoi… Nowadays any strong grandmaster can win almost 100% of an open tournament, let me give you some fresh examples: Nenashev (Groningen’97 – 9,5 out of 11), Goldin (Philadelphia’98 – 8.5 out of 9), or Movsesian (Hamburg’97 – 8.5 out of 9). Please, do not idealize me. Yes, it is very difficult to gather 9 points out of 10 in the XIV category tournament, but it is not impossible. But as long as you are well fit… May be I derive benefit from such moments better than others? I am pressing and others can not bear the tension. They are simply not ready for that!

According to my calculations, you have achieved 2735. Have you ever wanted to gain recognition of the top players, or, as Shipov puts it, your goal is study to play chess better?

I think that I'll gain this recognition after I show good level of chess at the tournaments with strong membership, as my recent victories, to a certain extent are nothing but a test of strength. So, Shipov's motto is very important for me for the moment.

By the way, what do you think about all the chaos that is now reigning in the world of chess?

To my mind, the reason of such a prolonged mishmash is our inability to accentuate proper factors, we do not know what to change. For the moment, FIDE is interested in organizing championships, matches for the title, or matches that would be advantageous only for a certain number of people. However, very few understand that the whole image of chess should be altered, very few care to level the profit of chess elite with that of chess middle class, while it should be the basis of any professional organization. It seems to me that these problems are more acute than fixing the date of the world championship in Las Vegas. Furthermore, we should live aside such difficult things as "Fischer's chess", or "chess players' rights according to Sveshnikov", and we'd rather refuse the existing time control in order to fasten the game and to change the system of all championships to that of the matches. Then we would be able to schedule the World Championship, like in tennis (though the system, which nowadays exists in bid tennis, should not be idealized either, it has enough weak points). However, we should regard its strongest points, i.e.: all the tournaments should be held according to the knock-out system, with active time control (this should be a separate question); each match should go on for no longer than one day, and it should consist of not less than four games in order to define the winner. We should refuse a devaluated ELO system and introduce such system of counting points as big tennis has and modify it for chess. And the main point is: the chess player whose rating is the highest by the end of the year is announced the World Champion! Of course, such system of counting the points should consider the difference between the victory in a super tournaments and in a tournament with a weaker membership. What for? Firstly, this system will make even the World Champion play actively, and it will be very interesting for the public, for mass media etc. The system we are using today does not encourage Kasparov to take part in the tournaments. If it were not for his ambitions, he would be able not to take part in the tournaments for years and years, as Botvinnik had once done. Secondly, it would make chess a dynamic game: the one who is going up for a certain period of time, will get the title of the World Champion in the end of the year. Besides, in order to keep the title the following year, he would have to retain a better, or at least the same, level of game, as the rating will consider the results of one calendar year only. On top of that, we will get rid of a worship that exists around the title, as nowadays the World Champion is not just a winner, but the King standing above the others. And it is absolutely wrong! To my mind (and there are few chess players who agree with me), Anand is today's World Champion, but due to the absence of plays for championship, he will not be able to officially "register" this "honorable" title.

Do you believe that such serious changes can settle down in a stiff, I'd say in a sleeping, chess world?

It depends on those influential people, who can understand and evaluate the necessity of these changes, and who are ready to do their best for that (as Ilumzhinov does for organizing the World Championship). Then, as long as the majority of chess players supports this or that rational idea, all the changes become possible. Unfortunately, the situation in the world of chess does not depend on the chess players' opinion.

By the way, do you give the due to a modern craze and have your own suggestions on how to alter the game of chess?

I have! For example, I think that it is not fair that the majority of the games between approximately equal adversaries end in a draw. And I came to he conclusion that the Laws of Chess provide for this unfairness. To my mind, it would be reasonable to change two points. First, a stalemate should be regarded as the defeat of the weaker opponent. This will lead to the increase in the number of won endings and thus will raise the significance of material gains. For example, the King and a pawn on one side would always win against the King on the other side, etc. Second, the pawn that has reached the square of transformation can only be transformed into a piece, that had been captured before, or it can stay a pawn under the condition that its further substitution will cost it one additional move. This is aimed to prevent an absurd situation when there are two or sometimes even three Queens on the board, which does not correspond the logic of the game. (In the initial position we have an army with a certain number warriors and we should try to achieve the result with their help only.) This would also affect the "fast-food" opening lines, where the appearance of an extra Queen on 15th-20th move often passes sentence on the whole opening system. These changes, to my mind, are likely to increase the efficacy of the game of chess, and therefore, to make an enthralling sight out of it.

As soon as one starts talking about hobbies, and conversation with you comes to music. How did you achieve the fame of a great connoisseur of modern music?

It is hard to say… Everyone listens to music. However a lot of people tend to be "omnivorous" in what they are listening to. With some people it is carried out to a ridiculous extreme, for example, they are ready to play the fool at home on their own listening to modern disco music. It seems to me, that in music, as well as in everything, one should develop good taste and breadth of views, and that is probably what I am trying to do. And as far as my "fame" is concerned, I believe, that it is based on the fact that I have recently been sort of a "music expert" with some of my friends, who seem to have forgotten that beside pop there is also a lot of other good music. At one time, Max Notkin was such a teacher for me and "I was taught in his school" for several years. A bright pupil has "outstripped the master" and is now giving this knowledge away himself…

In my humble opinion, you, as well as the majority of chess players, has very rough, aggressive musical taste: rock, metal, and no tenderness or melody?!

I cannot answer for everyone, but I have been listening this music from childhood, and it quite corresponds with my tastes. And as for aggression… music is different, one always has some favorite style, groups, directions… I have always changed them, I have never been rigid, and I listened to different music at 14 and at 20. I have always striven for diversity of chess, too. I listen to something, choose something for myself, and at a certain point it helps. But I like different music, I can even listen to pop if I am in a mood for it. I am not that stubborn and do not divide music into good and bad.

Is music, in general, means of relaxation?

It is to a certain extent, it diverts my attention from various problems, settles a new rhythm of life… Though sometimes listening to multiple CDs in a short period of time, turns out to be rather a tiresome job…

What is the source of your dislike of the cinema?

Why, I like cinema, I just have not got time to see any movies. I'd watch a good film in a suitable situation with great pleasure! I have recently gathered a good collection of video tapes and thus enriched my knowledge in this area.