Boris Postovsky: Caruana already secured his ticket, but the second one is still up for grabs

Boris Postovsky: Caruana already secured his ticket, but the second one is still up for grabs

Boris Postovsky, Chief Arbiter of the final stage of the FIDE Grand Prix, visited the press-center before the start of today’s round. He discussed tournament organization and fighting spirit of the participants, and even compared some of the players to the NHL stars.

– What can you say about organization of the Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk?

– I like it very much, everything is organized at the highest level. I worked at many major international events, and Khanty-Mansiysk is by no means inferior to the best of them. The players have everything they need to fully concentrate on their games. I think everybody is happy, there are no complains. Maybe the number of spectators in the playing hall is rather small, but this is normal for our age. Only the Alekhine Memorial in Paris 2013 was surprisingly crowded. Most spectators prefer watching games online, in the most comfortable conditions, drinking tea and listening to the grandmaster commentary. By the way, the commentators here are doing a great job.

– How does this tournament work out for you as an arbiter?

– Frankly speaking, it is always easy to be an arbiter at such a strong tournament with many players from the World’s top 10. I know all the players for many years and have great respect for them. They are also very respectful for me, and it is very easy to work in such conditions. There are no conflicted persons here. We are doing our best to create ideal conditions for the players, and they know they can talk to me about any issues, and I will help.

As for the competitive side of the event, the games are very exciting and tense. Some of them end around 10 pm, after full seven hours of struggle. Not everyone is in an ideal shape, but everything can change in the forthcoming rounds. Although it is already clear that Caruana secured a ticket to the Candidates. He is a very strong player, and luck is also on his side. The second ticket is still up for grabs and can go to either Tomashevsky, Karjakin, or Nakamura.

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– Five participants of the Grand Prix are from Russia. Is there any concern about possible fixed games between them in order to help their compatriots qualify for the Candidates?

– It is absolutely impossible. Players nowadays are very independent, and they need every rating point they can get. Of course, some players are good friends or they work with each other a lot, and in this case their games sometimes end peacefully without much fight. But losing games on purpose is totally out of question! You can see Russian chess players fighting for 7 hours, like NHL stars!

– Why the Russian national team does not play very successfully in the recent years?

– I would even say they play poorly, not just unsuccessfully. I can give my subjective opinion. The team was badly prepared at the recent World Team Championship. The lineup was strong, but the leaders, Grischuk and Karjakin, were for some reason not ready for the event. Maybe training sessions before the championship were too short. I watched the games online and felt the team was lacking energy. The strongest team must make its opponents tremble in fear even before the first move, but it wasn’t the case with the Russian team.