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Interview with Alexander Morozevich

by IM Vladimir Barsky. (‘64-Chess Review’, No. 8, 1998, after Alexander won the Russian Championship.) Translator omitted some parts of the interview in order to make it more compact.

English translation 2000 by Alexander Baburin.

How did you prepare for the Championship?

Just before the championship I played in the Russian Cup in Tomsk, so there was no time for any preparation. Only 2 days before that tournament I decided that I could play in the championship. I decided that I would just play 11 games — after all, this is my work. And the championship is the key chess event in Russia.

So, did you plan to play 11 good games here?

No, once I went here, I wanted to qualify to the World Championship.

Do you often initiate peaceful talks?

My opponents offer a draw much more frequently than I do, while I decline such offers more often than my opponents. Here to allow myself short draws would be a mistake, so I forced myself to play in order to keep my ‘chess tonus’. But I did not want to burn any bridges too early either.

Did the game against Alisa Galliamova become the turning point for you?

I think that if it was a game Morozevich-Galliamov (Alexander means that if it was a game between two men — translator’s note), nobody would have noticed it. Particularly as the play, which we both demonstrated, did not deserve such an attention!

Did you not think that you might lose after the undefeated run of 50 games?

I am not afraid that I can lose a game. I am ready for it — I play rather aggressively.

Does it bother you when people say that you play ‘incorrect’ chess?

Such talks does not bother me at all. I play, as I understand the game and see fit. And my opening repertoire is not any ‘weirder’ than, say, that of Rublevsky.

What does play on the national team mean to you?

First of all, responsibility. In Moscow in 1994 our Youth Team (Morozevich played there on board one — translator’s note) did not have any special plans, while the first team must fight for the top place.

Are you a team player?

Because of my sharp style, some say that I am not a team player, but so far I played well in team events. I always remember that I play for the whole team.