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Natalia Pogonina: Exclusive interview with GM Sergey Shipov

User Rating: / 18
Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Article Index
Natalia Pogonina: Exclusive interview with GM Sergey Shipov
Page 2
Natalia Pogonina and Sergey Shipov, Women Russian Superfinal, 2007

Sergey Shipov, international grandmaster, winner and prize-winner of many international chess tournaments, chess author (The last plot of the century, 2000, together with Y. Damsky, and The complete Hedgehog, 2004), renowned commentator, coach, owner of the website Ex-member of Garry Kasparovs team.

  1. What do you like most about chess? What is their role in your life?


Its hard to explain logically why they are attractive. For example, love towards a woman cant be explained by some separate features of her, butYou just love her. As a person. No matter what her positive and negative sides are. And you cant verbalize the feeling and explain it to another man. My situation with chess is similar. I just love them. They play a great role in my life as a job, hobby, life style.


  1. At one period of time you had a quite respectable rating 2666, but then decided to quit professional chess. Could you please explain your choice? Are you planning to return to competitive chess?


The number 2666 is an infernal joke. I was at 2662. Not a big difference though, since the rating was quite good. Played not worse than many (top players).


I retired step by step as my commentators career was developing. It turned out that this occupation has certain benefits as compared to playing in tournaments. The main one you can save your nerves. I amnt planning a serious comeback. But playing from time to time is a must. One needs to stay sharp, and blitz is no substitute for classical chess. Unfortunately, Im a bit lazy

GM Sergey Shipov, Isle of Man, 1999

  1. When and how did you arrive at the idea to create the website?


I and my colleagues have started off from the Kasparovchess guestbook, which became a great place for communication. Joy of ones soul. We have recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. For a long time it had been just a guestbook, but in 2006 we have reconstructed it into a forum, having kept the main participants and expanded the websites capabilities. And then, when I had a break from my commentators job, we decided to create a full-value informational website. The key principle behind it is user- generated content provided by chess enthusiasts. Gradually some volunteers turned up, who were eager to comment on chess games, finding in this a way of realizing their potential.


It happened so historically that I became the official representative of the Kasparovchess forum and the website A chess leader. Id also like to thank Anton Kulchizkii the software developer who coded the initial versions of the website and forum, and Vasilii Lebedev a devoted fan of chess analysis, who creates at least half the materials of the website. I dont have the opportunity to name everyone, but we have a great team of commentators. Btw, if you are young, energetic and willing to comment on games heres your chance. There are many tournaments and enough games for everyone.


  1. Crest (Sergey Shipov's handle at internet chess portals - N. Pogonina) is a brand in the world of blitz and bullet. And who is, on your opinion, the best bullet player in the world? And what about blitz?

Bullet addicts who spend a lot of time on it and polish their skills attain the best results. I wont be original in naming the leader its GM Nakamura. As to blitz the best chess players in the world are the best in blitz too. With the only exception of those grandmasters who dont like blitz. There are still some classical players of that type

I recall playing blitz against GM Andrey Sokolov about 20 years ago, and was astonished at how slow and unsuccessfully he played. Not a blitz player at all. And in classical chess he was a member of the elite. But this is a rare case. Usually blitz skills correspond to general chess skills. From the current players the most notable are Anand, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Radjabov, Morozevich, Grischuk, etc. Of course, not to mention Kasparov.

  1. Are you writing any new chess books (except for re-editions of the best-selling The complete Hedgehog?)


No, thanks, the Hedgehog is enough for me. But in the future I am planning to expand my chess authors interest.

A new book of GM Sergey Shipov - don't miss it!

  1. Did the grandmasters whose games you annotated express their gratitude or, on the contrary, argue with you when you met them in person?


The job of a chess commentator has its own drawbacks. When you comment well, precisely, accuratelyNo, even this isnt enough. Sometimes the players are unsatisfied even with excellent annotations. Some of them suffer after a painful loss very much, and cant put up with a public display of their failure. But I understand them. Hold no evil. Know myself what it feels like

Naturally, sometimes I make mistakes in the analysis. In such cases I am positive about people sharing their refutations or expressing complaints. Because finding the truth is more important than the illusion of greatness and faultlessness.


  1. As far as I know, you have been a sparring partner of Kasparov himself. And how do you evaluate his chances in the upcoming match against Anatoly Karpov?


Yes, Ive been playing Garry for a few years in the late 90s-early 2000s. And a lot of time has passed since thenBut I am sure that Kasparov has remained in good playing shape. So, if Karpov plays like he did in San-Sebastian 2009, hes going to be mercilessly crushed. Besides, based on the age the older champion should be weaker than the younger. However, a lot will depend on the preparation and psychological state of the players. If Garry will be rusty, then anything can happen.


 Garry Kasparov and Sergey Shipov, Chess Olymipad in Bled, 2002

  1. Who is your favorite in the Anand-Topalov match?


A tricky question indeed. Before the Anand-Kramnik encounter I predicted that it is going to end with an impressive victory of one of the players, and I was right. But I didnt exactly choose Anand. Now it makes sense to question the experts if the match will take place at all (We did that a long time ago see one of Pogonina.coms polls Natalia Pogonina). For example, I amnt sure that it will happen. However, if everything goes smooth with the organization and allocating the prize money, my bet would be on Anand. With lots of effort, in a great struggle, but he will eventually win. If, of course, he is going to prepare for Topalov as diligently as he did against Kramnik.


  1. Best chess player of all time?


Kasparov, by far.


  1. What do you think about womens chess? Do you believe in their future?


Strongly positive. Some of them I admire, from some of them I learn. As to the future thats harder. Even in mens chess there are serious problemsFor womens chess to be successful new ideas are a must. They should be promoted, served to the public with a special souse. Of course, playing in bikinis would be over-doing, but the factor of beauty should somehow be exploited. And only then their smartness and foresight. Otherwise we just have a bad replica of mens chess, which leads to a large gap in popularity.


  1. The most gifted and promising young chess player?


Who comes after Carlsen, Karjakin and Hou Ifan? Its hard for me to tell. I dont pay much attention to junior chess, so I would rather abstain from commenting.


  1. What do you think about Karjakins decision to play for Russia, and about transfers in general?


Its his personal business. The same, for example, applies to the Soviet chess players who emigrated. Its their life, their choice how to spend it. And no one be it federations or public opinions are a law for them.


  1. Which countries, in your opinion, are going to be chess leaders in 2010-2020?

China both in womens and mens chess. The China of today is like the Soviet Union. Russia is losing positions, and the trend will probably continue. Only Karjakins win in the World Championship in the nearest years may bring a new impulse. But I hope so! In womens chess I dwell on the persistence and ambitiousness of Kosteniuk, but for her and other of our young chess players it will be tough to fight against the Chinese. The forces are not equal.

  1. What do you think about copyright in chess (moves, commentary, etc.)?

This subject is complicated and ambiguous. Briefly and without arguments, my view is the following. The moves belong to the whole chess world. I dont think one can trade them. Just makes no sense. Annotations, as a piece of literature, belong to the author only. Discussing it seriously requires writing an article or a forum conversation

  1. Chess a school subject, special course, or no need to teach them in schools at all?

For non-chess countries theres no such question. For Russia there could be some options. A subject in the school curriculum is too much. The education level in the country has fallen so much that its just painful to see. We had better spend the efforts on trying to return to the previous level. Let pupils study Math, Russian, Biology, Physics, etc. Such subjects are, after all, more important for the society than chess. Special classes, clubs, some other forms of organization that could be possible. But even the first question that jumps to the mind is tough to answer. Who is going to teach kids? Where can we find so many qualified coaches? So far there are not available, and theres no reason to believe that theyre going to appear from nowhere. The second classical question Wheres the money? would probably sound as a death toll for the discussion. So, Im pessimistic about chess I schools.

  1. Where was chess more popular in USSR or in the modern Russia?

Strange question. Of course, in USSR, and by a large margin.

  1. Attitude towards chess playerss addiction for poker?

Their private decision. Poker may be regarded as business. And business attracted, attracts, and is going to attract chess players. Its natural. Everyone needs to lead a life, earn money, support their family. Discussing poker itself isnt interesting for me, since I amnt at all obsessed by the game.

  1. Favorite chess books?

The birth of a variation by Polugaevsky.

A story about Morphy by Zagoryansky.

  1. What do you think about breaking the sport regime? A funny episode from your chess practice?

Once again, tastes differ. During chess tournaments I didnt drink alcohol, and wasnt involved into any love affairs. I could name a few colleagues whose experience is infinitely larger than mine in this respect, but, excuse me, I wont. You may interview them all, may be someone will make a confession.  I will just stay that in the environment of tough competition its better to allocate all your powers to chess.

  1. Your business card, the most favorite game of yours?

There are 5 very good games in the Hedgehog, e.g. with GMs Friedman, San Segundo, Espig, Fillipov, Popov. Theyre all in my book. The game Carlsen-Shipov, Tromse, 2006, is good both because of the chess value & the names. Theres also a nice game Shipov V. Ivanov, Moscow, 1995. You may consult Chessbases Megabase. I cant choose one.

GM Carlsen - GM Shipov, Tromse, 0-1 (GM Shipov won that tournament)

Date of interview: 07/22/2009

Comments (12)
1. Written by Shaq on 20:00 22 2009 .

- .
2. Written by jenya on 20:21 22 2009 .
. . 10: : 
3. Written by Peter Zhdanov on 20:29 22 2009 .
Shaq - ! 
jenya - , !
4. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 15:28 23 2009 .
- ( !) ). , , ( ), ! , , ;-). , . 
, ! )) , , ..., )), - ! )) 
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5. Written by Wanix on 11:12 23 2009 .
, - . " " )), , ). , ;-).
6. Written by GT on 14:02 23 2009 .
7. Written by Peter Zhdanov on 15:28 23 2009 .
B]Wanix[/B], . , , . .
8. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 01:53 24 2009 .
Knowledge, Sales, and Project Manager
Natalia, very nice interview. And hearty greetings to GM Shipov, one of the nicer Grandmasters in the world. We chatted on line years ago, and he was SO nice to take a moment to chat. Big impression! 
Congratulations also for your recent wedding, and I wish you and your beloved peace, prosperity, and--of course, health!
9. Written by ProstoTak on 14:29 24 2009 .
Knowledge, Sales, and Project Manager
, , . - :)
10. Written by Natalia on 20:35 24 2009 .
Knowledge, Sales, and Project Manager
Thanks, David! 
ProstoTak, -, :)

Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 July 2009 )
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