Pavel Eljanov's opinion
What do you think about the situation with Fischer receiving the Icelandic citizenship? Is it good, bad or neutral news for chess?
I didn’t watch the development of affairs too closely. Fischer's recent behavour is very strange. His reaction to the events of the September 11th had really exasperated me. If someone is happy about somebody else’s disaster, he's not quite right in the head. Nevertheless I approve the fact that Iceland has given a dare to the laws and has decided to defend a chessplayer. It seems that there are great fans of chess there. This cannot but please.
What changes of the present situation with the world championship are the most probable from your point of view?
It’s difficult to give a forecast. It would be nice to see Kramnik coming to an arrangement with Kasimdzhanov or even with Fischer if needed. It’s clear that the match- tournament of the eight is nothing but bluff. It would be great if this tournament takes place, but nobody has any illusions about Kramnik's participation. I don’t consider him as a world champion; however, if FIDE has certain agreements with him, then they should be accomplished.
The only achievement of Kramnik is the that he won the match against a brilliant contemporary player Garry Kasparov. After this match his play somehow went wrong, he defended his title with great difficulty, however, everyone remembers that London result, and he uses it to conceal his numerous failures.
Who of modern young players could in your opinion feel Kasparov's shoes in the future? Who could break to the elite?
Karjakin has good chances. I know him well. It is said that it is all promotion and good advertisement, but it is not. He is only 15, but he is playing very solid chess, he is good in openings, he seems not to have evident weaknesses, all the disadvantages are surmountable. The limit of his potential is unknown. He is very talented. It is significant that Sergey is a very well-balanced player. He often produces purely positional games, and it is needless to say that he has a great tactical sight – everyone remembers that when he was 12, he was invited to the world championship to help Ponomariov exactly in tactics... I think that in 5 years he could ascend to the top.
I would also like to mention Volokitin. His potential is probably lower than Karjakin’s, but he is very ambitious, he works a lot and plays all the games with the maximum effort. One could compare him with Kasparov as to the attitude towards chess and motivation.
I observed Carlsen last year in Dubai. He’s playing non-standard, fresh and interesting chess. He is very talented, but as to my mind, Karjakin is stronger.
Photo from ChessBase Archive
Questions were asked by Misha Savinov.
This article is published with permission of Association of Chess Professionals