Eteri Kublashvili interviews the winner of the FIDE Grand Prix.
– Fabiano, congratulations with your victory in the series and qualification to the Candidates! How did this Grand Prix stage and the whole series go off for you?
– It was important for me to qualify for the Candidates tournament. There were good and bad moments during the Grand Prix legs, but the main goal was achieved.
– Which game in this event was the hardest for you?
– For sure, the hardest was the one against Karjakin, not because the game was long but because of all the things that happened during it. The game against Grischuk was also very difficult.
– What game did you like most of all?
– The game against Tomashevsky was pretty good. I think it was my best game here.
– What do you think about the organization in Khanty-Mansiysk?
– I think that the playing conditions were very good. I enjoyed the city as well. The main problem was with the food: in the hotel it was extremely bad. I decided to go out every day and eat in restaurants.
– Who helped you here in Khanty-Mansiysk?
– I came with Vladimir Chuchelov. We work together almost at all tournaments.
– Is he your only second?
– He is not only player I work with, as I work with many players. But at the moment he is my main second, so to say.
– What do you think about the whole World Chess Championship cycle? Do you have any suggestions to FIDE?
– I think this system to determine the qualifiers is pretty objective. I don’t know whether it is a coincidence that more or less highest rated players qualified from the Grand Prix series. As for the World Cup, it is also a very interesting competition although a bit more random. I think it is a decent way to determine who should play in the Candidates.
– What is your opinion about the changes in the FIDE Grand Prix system, i. e., four tournaments instead of six?
– I think this is a big step down. Last time, in 2012 and 2013, there was much more money, there were more tournaments; the events were more professionally organized. This time it was not that good. There were a lot of troubles with changing venues: from Moscow to Khanty-Mansiysk and from Teheran to Tbilisi. That is why the number of players had problems going there. For example, Boris Gelfand and Hikaru Nakamura could not go to Teheran, so they had to play two tournaments in a row with a very short break, and then the venue changed to Tbilisi.
– What do you think about the fact that the current classical time control will be changed in the next WCC cycle tournaments?
– The majority of people prefer playing with increment, but I don’t care so much about it. The conditions are equal for all players and I don’t think time to be a decisive factor. My position is that the FIDE should keep the same time control for all events in the cycle: with or without increment as for me it’s not a big deal.
– What do you think about this new Golden League series?
– They have more or less combined tournaments that have existed before. Stavanger, St.Louis, London… At the start they wanted to include the fourth tournament in Jakarta but I think they had some complications organizing it. I hope that the Golden League will continue in future, maybe there will be more tournaments included. In general, it is a very interesting idea.
– Chess players are getting increasingly concerned with the problem of cheating. Do you have any ideas how to defend tournaments from cheaters?
– Here we had metal detectors that weren’t used at all. You go through it and the detector goes off and does not check you. So basically there were no anti-cheating measures here in Khanty-Mansiysk, but I think nobody from this tournament can be a cheater.
– What about the open tournaments?
– That is a serious problem, but it’s up to organizers to solve it. Of course, they should implement more anti-cheating measures: metal detectors or checking players more carefully. And the FIDE Anti-Cheating Commission should be more efficient about this issue.
– You have already said about your future transfer to the US Chess Federation. I wonder how much time do you spend in the USA?
– In the last couple of years I haven’t had much time to visit the USA, but after switching to the US Chess Federation for sure I’ll be spending a lot of time there. I haven’t got plans yet but obviously I’ll be there for much time.
– Aren’t you going to study there?
– No, I’m not going to university (smiling). At least for now.
– How many hours per day do you spend on chess? Do you play blitz and bullet on the internet?
– It depends on how I feel. I’m looking at chess every day, but in terms of strict work it depends on my motivation and state, whether I’m tired or not.
– So you don’t have a rigid schedule.
– No, no. I also don’t play on the net very often, for me it’s more interesting to play with someone in person. Playing online is somehow less fun.
– What do you do in your free time?
– Many things. I like sports, although sometimes I have troubles finding somebody to play with (smiling).
– What kind of sports?
– I like football. Also I swim pretty much every day, but this I can do alone. Besides this physical stuff I’m very interested in cinema and music, but I cannot say that I have a favorite genre.
– Do you watch all the new movies and stuff?
– No, only if something really looks good I try to watch it. But still I don’t have much time for it.
– How do you relax during tournaments?
– Again there is not much free time. I usually go for a walk. Actually this time I had one movie in store and stretched it for number of days.
– And as the last question I’d like to ask you about your next tournament.
– I’ll play in Stavanger. Very strong tournament!
Photos by Vladimir Barsky and Eteri Kublashvili