“I haven't heard about any bid from India. The only one that is known to me is the bid from Moscow,” said Boris Gelfand, the twelfth ranked player in the world from Israel who qualified to challenge World champion Viswanathan Anand in April 2012.
“Good preparation, high quality chess and probably luck,” will be the decisive factors according to Gelfand which will decide the match. The World championship challenger spoke toThe Hindu in an exclusive interview:
Congratulations on winning the Kazan Candidates and emerging as the Challenger Candidate for Anand in the World Championship. How do you rank your matches against Mamedyarov, Kamsky and Grischuk in terms of difficulty?
Thank you for the warm words. I think the match with Mamedyarov was the easiest one, relatively, of course, as I had half a year to prepare for it. Everything was decided in the third game which I won brilliantly in the sharp way. The match with Kamsky was the most difficult. I was close to be eliminated from the tournament. But luck was on my side, and in the fourth rapid game I managed to win. The final with Grischuk obviously was tough. I defended well and showed my best play in the last game.
You have emerged as the Challenger for the first time. Will your advantage over Anand be ‘more motivation' since he has already won it and you are more eager to become champion?
I think, in the World Championship match both players are highly motivated, so I cannot count on the advantage.
If there was only one bid from India for your match would you like to play in India? You have played many World Championship matches here. Your win against Kramnik and defeat to Karpov at Sanghinagar might still be in memory?
I have very good memories of my Candidate Matches played in Sanghinagar (near Hyderabad) in 94-95 and FIDE World Championship in Delhi in 2000. However, for the moment I haven't heard about any bid from India. The only one that is known to me is the bid from Moscow.
You have played in many places. Which are the top three chess venues?
Belgrade, Monaco and Khanty-Mansiysk
Many chess events are not happening anymore: like Linares, Mainz. How much of a concern is this for elite players like you?
Of course, it is not very pleasant news. But we hope that those tournaments will come back. However, we have new events, such as Bazna, Tal Memorial, Bilbao, Nanjing. So I think that the situation is not bad, especially compared to the previous decade. The chess life in the world is growing. Slowly, but surely.
You are 1968-born and Anand is 1969-born. Will it be more of a relaxed match between two 40+ men. How much different it may have been had you met in the thirties?
I don't believe it could be a relaxed match for the title of the World champion.
Anand's current rating of 2817 is his personal all-time high. Your rating is 15 Elo below your personal best at 2746 now. Do you attach any importance to these numbers?
I don't put a big significance to the numbers. I believe in good and quality chess.
You and Anand are gentlemen at and off the board and also without any controversies. Both are married. So which factor you believe might be decisive for this match?
Good preparation, high quality chess and probably luck.
How long did your celebration run for the Kazan result? Do more people in your former country Belarus celebrate as much as in Israel?
I think that chess public in Belarus is very happy with my success. I don't have much contacts with Belarus, but I'm sure that my fans are following and rooting for me.
With the computers playing at huge strength these days, cheating using electronic devices is also widely reported. Do you believe that metal detectors should be used before players enter the hall like they did during the Kasparov-Kramnik match at London (2000)?
I trust my colleagues, but I do believe that it is better to be on the safe side, so I support anti-cheating measures