The Dutch first board Anish Giri made a draw in his game of round 9 against Boris Gelfand of Israel and came for the press conference with his coach Vladimir Chuchelov.
KARLOVICH: Dear ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce our guests: the first board of the Dutch team Anish Giri, he is the acting Dutch Champion as well and the coach of the Dutch team Vladimir Chuchelov. Our first question to the coach: tell us about the preparations of the team to the Olympiad and the performance of your team so far.
CHUCHELOV: we have quite experienced players in our team. Our first board – Anish Giri – is a new star. Then we have Loek Van Wely, Ivan Sokolov and Jan Smeets. They are famous grandmasters with some experience to participate in a team competition.
Our preparation for the Olympiad was pretty short but intensive. Somehow the start of the Olympiad brought us some worries at one point. No one had any hint that something will go wrong. Anish did not support us from the very beginning. He came later but since then our situation was improved.
GIRI: I will make it clear now. Basically I was preparing to participate in London Grand Prix and my passport got stuck in London for some time for visa purposes. As soon as I received it finally with visa, I went straight away to the airport and came here.
KARLOVICH: How do you feel to play the first board of your team?
GIRI: Yes, this is my second event I am playing on board 1. It was the European championship before. And during the Olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk I played on Board 3 or something. Basically I don’t feel any difference. I don’t feel guilty that I play the first board: I played in the National Championship, I won it; my rating became higher so I feel comfortable.
KARLOVICH: You made a draw in the game against Boris Gelfand. Tell us about your game?
GIRI: It was the most shameful game I played during this Olympiad. But ok, it was not a loss at least. Out of the opening I felt like I am in a sort of unknown territory and I tried to keep control.
FONTAINE: Vladimir, you have quite a strong team. Do you use any special strategy here? Do you prefer to push with white and to make draws with black?
CHUCHELOV: No, we don’t have this strategy. Despite the fact that this is a team event, we try to play pretty individual chess. It depends what opponent we have, what color and how things will go on after the opening. As it happened today for instance in Anish’s game. He found himself in an unknown territory and he decided not to take a risk. Should he play in an individual competition, it might be decided any other way. But when you play in a team, you should have some kind of reserve. You have a responsibility for the whole team. Well, the general idea is to win the match. We want to show that we deserve to be in one of the top places.
FONTAINE: You have quite young generation in the Dutch team. How do you select five players?
CHUCHELOV: well, there are Regulations in the Dutch federation that the top rated four players are selected for a team competition. And the fifth reserve player is chosen by the coach, myself.
KARLOVICH: How do you prepare for the games? Do you share some variations or everyone prepares individually?
CHUCHELOV: Generally speaking, since we have four boards to be prepared, basically the preparation is individual. But of course I try to supervise the preparations of all players. And if I have some novelties or ideas, I share with all of them.
FONTAINE: Vladimir, I have a tricky question: you are a coach of Anish Giri and Fabiano Caruano. Let’s imagine that we will have a match Giri-Caruano, what would you do in this case?
CHIUCHELOV: It is a tricky question indeed. Usually my students have no problems playing against each other. More or less they know the territory of each other. So they try to put an opponent to an unknown territory and they just play chess.
QUESTION FROM A JOURNALIST: My question is to Anish. It is well known that Max Euwe represented your country and became a real chess legend. Do you feel something special being now on his place? And do you feel something special to Max Euwe who made your country famous.
GIRI: Definitely he is kind of a hero in Holland as well as Jan Timman. Holland has a very rich chess tradition. I am really proud being on his place and represent Holland in general. I feel very nice.
PETER DOGGERS: Could you say something about the up-coming tournament in London, Anish? This is your first participation in a big tournament of the World Chess Championship cycle. How do you prepare for it?
GIRI: It is obviously going to be a big tournament for me. But I have had an experience to participate in top tournaments before. I keep on working on a high level, at least I am trying to do. So, I will keep doing and trying to work as before. I hope it will finish well for me.
GORAN UROSEVIC: Anish, what do you think about the football scoring system in chess: 3 points for a victory and 1 point for a draw?
GIRI: I played in the Biel tournament with this system. Generally speaking, if you play well, you just play and try to make good result whatever system it is. It is basically a detail. In Biel we had a lot of fighting games with lots of good results. Especially Wang Hao was playing aggressively, to my mind, because of the system. This is just a new system with its own advantages and disadvantages.
GORAN UROSEVIC: We had an interview with Wang Hao recently during this Olympiad and he mentioned that you and Nakamura forced him to play much harder because you played aggressively.
GIRI: Me? Well, maybe he had this idea because I lost two games. I would have made a draw otherwise. I must say that I played usual chess. At the end I had an idea that if I play well, I would have a chance to get a top spot which I would not have with an old system. I mean I really had no choice to play for a draw or not in the last game. It became very bad pretty quickly. It did not matter to me really.
GORAN UROSEVIC: What about your performance in Reggio Emilia? I remember an exciting finish.
GIRI: In Reggio Emilia I started very badly. The system seems to help me to come back. But generally I try to play well no matter what system we have and I try to stay objective throughout the game.
QUESTION FROM A JOURNALIST: You mentioned the problems with visa to England at the beginning of the interview. Don’t you have the Dutch passport which would allow you to go to London without any visa?
GIRI: I have the Dutch FIDE nationality, if I can say so. But I have Russian passport. That is why I need a visa to England and not to Turkey. Probably I will apply for the Dutch passport later, but for the moment I am still a Russian citizen.
KARLOVICH: Vladimir, you are quite famous coach in the chess world. You train such strong players as Anish Giri or Fabiano Caruano. How do you make your training strategy? Do you have any secrets?
CHUCHELOV: Actually there is no big secret. We just try to work hard, this is what chess demands. But of course one of the advantages is that we have let’s say a kind of network where we share the ideas and this way we go forward much quicker than individuals.
FONTAINE: how did you prepare for the Olympiad? I think I saw a picture of you with a group of players and some position you were studying? Is there any point to make studies?
CHUCHELOV: the point is that I look for a complicated position for strong players and I show it to my students. So, the normal mental skills don’t help to find the solution quickly. They have to calculate much. That is what we normally do during four days prior to a big event. The idea is to train the brains. Brains should be activated. The study lasts approximately 6-7 hours per day.
QUESTION FROM A JOURNALIST: I don’t know if you noticed or not, today Loek Van Wely was playing against Emil Sutovsky who was behaving very strangely, hiding his head in his shirt. Are you distracted from playing against someone who behaves abnormally?
GIRI: Everyone has its own way to behave during the game. As long as it helps him and an opponent does not complain, I don’t see a problem.
KARLOVICH: Do you have any tradition in a team? Are you superstitious?
GIRI: I think our tradition is to knock at Jan Smeet’s door to ask him to finally come out not to be late to the game.