Hello, Vladko, where are you now?
Hello, we are currently in Sunny Beach, a nice resort on the Black Sea near Bourgas (Bulgaria). We are getting prepared for the World Women Championship in Nalchik with Antoaneta Stefanova.
What is the subject of your preparation?
Mainly we look at some important theoretical lines. This is a sort of a general preparation.
Are not you having some special preparation for the matches?
Yes, we also take a look at Ety’s most probable opponents.
And what about the physical preparation?
We take care of that, too. I am going to wake up Ety earlier this morning, and we go straight to the swimming pool. There is an excellent indoor pool, which is not as crowded as those outside the hotel. And you know swimming is one of the best sports for the chess players.
What else do you do there?
Nothing special, we try to relax as well after the tournament in Krasnoturinsk.
This was a tough competition really and the highest-rated tournament in the history of the women chess. How was there?
Ety played the tournament for the sixth time. She is the only player who took part in all the editions.
Until this one without big success…
True. She did not show everything she is capable of until this year. But now she managed to claim the win in the hardest one. She always needs new challenges.
Were you always with her at these tournaments?
Only once- in 2004 after she became a World Champion. She was very close to the overall win then, and pushed hard in the final game, but eventually lost it thus finishing on “plus one”.
This year Eti started well with two wins.
That looked quite convincing to most of the audience.
Actually the first game against Koneru was a bluff at one moment. The line that we chose was not the best one. Against Nata (Natalia Pogonina) we predicted the line that she will play and everything went well until Ety won a pawn. Unfortunately she gave to her teammate (they both play for the team of Krasnoturinsk) too many chances later, but to our luck Natalia lost on time.
The decisive game without any doubt was against Marie Sebag. Ety managed to confuse her opponent and to turn the tables in seemingly lost position.
But then came untypical lost against Pia Cramling in a three against four rook endgame?
This can happen to anyone, especially if he or she has to defend a poor position for a long time. In that particular game Ety was defending well for a long time but finally when a drawing position was reached she erred badly.
How do you feel with so many girls around?
I must confess- it is an enormous pleasure. They are always smiling, and friendly outside the board. It is nothing like Topalov-Kramnik way of not-standing each other or in sports like tennis for example.
True, when they get over-the-board for the game it is a different story. But I do not need to face them there :)
I saw that you had a party in the free day.
Yes, there was a karaoke and dances.
Did you sing?
Nooo, neither me, nor Ety. But we danced a lot. By the way the organizers in Krasnoturinsk do always try their best to entertain the players. Last year it was sports shooting, this year dances, and every year is something different. Despite the fact that they lost one of the sponsors they received additional support from the government and managed to raise the status of the tournament even higher. The town is very nice, there is a picturesque river. People recognize Antoaneta and she has a lot of supporters.
You were commenting the games for the audience?
Yes, and this was also nice, since the people here have excellent chess education.
Why do skip the press-conferences after the games?
We realized that they are not only time-consuming, but that they also are very bad for the concentration. Ety took my advice at the WWC in Elista when she became a champion and we both skipped the press-conferences. It cost us some money, but it was worth. The best is to give one final press-conference :)
Imagine that we finish our game after two-three hours. Then we need to wait for some more hours until the others finish their games, instead of having some sleep for example.
In Krasnoturinsk the organizers understood our motives, and permitted me to speak instead of Antoaneta at the conferences without penalties.
Tell us something from the kitchen of your team. What is your preferable way of relaxation after the games?
As most of the girls Ety likes shopping, and I do not mind joining her. I realized that she always fills the batteries after a nice long shopping. (By the way Ety says that it is also a pleasure shopping with Vladimir-he is never complaining, and usually supports her choice, without being stingy in his compliments.)
You are also an active player. How do you feel after working with Stefanova?
We are bringing benefits to each other. Since I need to be up-to-date with her openings I need to learn them well, and of course I can use them too. This was best shown last year in Drezden at the EICC where Ety took the silver, and I managed to qualify for the World Cup.
Will you have some acclimatization before Nalchik?
Our preparation ends a week before this important event. Then we shall have some rest in Sofia, and shall travel a couple of days earlier before the start of the championship.
Thanks a lot, and good luck there! Bulgaria wishes you another crown!
While preparing for my game against Steven Geinaert at the Atlantis Master tournament in Groningen I discovered this game:
Korneev,Oleg (2611) - Fierro Baquero,Martha Lorena (2353) [B01]
Huila Centenary op Neiva (2), 11.05.2005
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 c6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd2 Bf5 7.Ne4 Qc7 8.Nxf6+ gxf6 9.g3 e6 10.Bg2 Nd7 11.0–0 Be4 12.Re1 f5 13.Ng5 Bxg2
14.Rxe6+ Be7 15.Qh5 0–0–0 16.Rxe7 1–0
Nice idea, I thought for myself, but not very likely to happen. It really did not in that particular game (although Steven went in another home-prepared line), but a few days later:
Bojkov,Dejan (2498) - Festas,Georgios (2172) [B01]
36th Teams Ch-GR Kallithea Halkidiki (4.8), 08.07.2008
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 c6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd2 Bf5 7.Ne4 Qc7 8.Nxf6+ gxf6 9.g3 e6 10.Bg2 Nd7 11.0–0 Bd6 12.c4 Be4 13.Re1 f5 14.Ng5 Bxg2
15.Rxe6+ (The only insignificant difference is the inclusion of the moves c2-c4 for White and Bf8-d6 for Black) Kf8 16.Qh5 1–0
Funny, is not it? Thanks to the very few moves that I have memorized (and some luck, sure but we always need it) I managed to win easily and have some time for a beach. Chess can be fun!