Azeri Grandmaster Vugar Gashimov confidently outplayed his opponent of the 1st Round Erik Hansen from Canada and was qualified to the next round.
In his conversation with our correspondent Maria Fominykh Vugar shared his impressions on his game and the tournament organization.
— Vugar, how is your visit to Khanty Manisysk this time? How do you perform, all is ok with the organization? — I think that this time the conditions are better thanks to the fact that it is not that cold now. The previous World Cup was held in November and it was freezing. I like Russian winter but not to that point! (laughing). At the time the participation in the tournament looked like some extreme adventure. As for the organization is concerned, I would underline some improvements this time. I live in «Ugra Valley» — a nice hotel near the woods where the air is clear and the cuisine is perfect.
— What do you think about the new venue of the tournament — Ugra Chess Academy? — Last time when I was here the Academy was not constructed yet. It was not that comfortable to play as now. Especially during the first Round — there were too many people in the hall that could not admit them. From time to time it seemed that the stage with tables was shaking. Now the conditions to play are comfortable. It is more pleasant to perform in the place with only chess players: you feel that here we have only interested people. According to the results of today’s games there will be twice as less participants and it will be perfect!
— You managed to win in the classical games. How important is it for you to do without additional games? — It is a question of principle at the World Cup. If you reach the final after all rounds and tie-breaks, you play for one month with only one rest day. It is very hard to play this much, that is why it is better to pass this distance without extra games. On the other hand, there is no difference how you overcome rounds, the most important is to go ahead. To win in tie-breaks is a also a huge success.
— How was your game developing in the first Round? — I wanted to convert the first Round into the opportunity to warm up, I tried to play sharper in both games.
— Did your opponent let you do this? — Let’s say he was not against! (laughing).
— Have you analyzed your games with him? — We discussed some variations with him. I would have analyzed them in a more detailed way, but he did not propose to do it. As for me, since I won, I did not feel comfortable to suggest it to him.
— If we take into account that this is a «knock-out» tournament, there is some tension between opponents or it does not matter? — It does not matter for me. If a game was interesting, then not depending on the result I am always ready to discuss it with my opponent.
— Even if it is a kind of game after which you are supposed to give up the competition? — Yes, of course! I agree that knock out is a stressful tournament. However, to my mind, we should not draw attention to this fact, it is better to play game after game as at any other tournament.
— Did you prepare for the World Cup in some special way or was it just a usual start for you? — Obviously I was preparing very seriously to it. If you count all the tournaments where I planned to participate, the World Cup would be «№1» in the list. Therefore, I tried to make my timetable in a way that I am as fresh as possible for this tournament. Before coming to Khanty-Mansiysk last time I played non stop and it was rather hard for me to perform here even if I reached quarterfinals.
— The last tournament where you played before the Cup was the World Team Championship? — Indeed. This year I played only 20 games in classical chess.
— What do you think do you have to have any special features in order to perform successfully in the knock-out format? Have you tried to work them out somehow? — I think that you are supposed to play as in a Swiss tournament, because playing White in a «Swiss» you always try to outplay anyone, whereas playing Black you are playing for win with a weaker opponent. If you have such an approach to every game, psychologically it is easier to play.