What is your favourite colour?
White in chess, otherwise light blue
What is your favourite kind of food?
Russian, Italian, Indian, Chinese, in no particular order.
Which is your favourite drink?
White wine, vodka, cognac - in that order.
What was the best or most interesting book you ever read?
Probably Montaigne’s Essays
Who is your favourite historic figure?
Socrates — he lived well and died well.
What was your best result ever?
Isle of Man Open 1997
Is there a chess book that had a profound influence on you?
Bronstein’s Zurich 1953 — I realised that chess books could be fun.
Who is the biggest chess talent that ever lived?
Who is the greatest player of all time?
Who is the most promising player that you’ve come across lately?
Probably Radjabov. Grischuk is another one, but he is already part of the chess elite!
What is it that you appreciate most in a person?
Who would you have liked to be if you hadn’t been yourself?
A tiger or panther — any big cat, but not in a zoo.
And if it had to be a chess player?
Choosing any player alive would sound schizophrenic, so it has to be Lasker — he appeared to be a decent guy.
What is your best character trait?
What is your worst character trait?
I am always late — I struggle to be punctual.
What is your worst nightmare?
That I might get stuck with the Alekhine Defence for the rest of my life!
Why do you play chess?
I like challenges, particularly intellectual ones. Moreover I have noticed with the years passing that I more and more appreciate the chess milieu.
Do you have a life motto?
Live and let others live.