Hangin's take on Leko's pre-match interview

9/19/2004

Here is an interview from a Paris newspaper conducted by Pierre Barthélémy of the newspaper Le Monde, Paris. You can see the whole interview on chessbase.

This is your first classical match for the world championship title; so how are you organizing your preparation?

Leko: I have still not finished my preparation but I am almost there. I hope I will achieve the optimum. This event is the highlight of my career irrespective of all my achievements in the past. I have been preparing specifically for about six months. For more or less two months we have been working intensively and I have done all I could. I will be ready in Brissago.

 

Hangin's take: 
     
I was surprised to hear that Leko, a week before the start of the match, has not finished his preparation. I think he should have take a week or two off before the match starts to rest up. 6 months of training with two months of intense training is great, but you need time to recharge before the start of the match. Leko faces another two months of intense chess. In boxing you can over train and leave the fight in the gym. 

 

 

How do you prepare physically and psychologically?

Leko: I am mentally and physically strong anyway. These are important traits of my character and my nature and I do not need any special preparation in these fields. It is part of my philosophy that body and soul should be in a certain balance. I do not think that I will lose this balance during the match. Of course, at the moment I am exercising physically just to get relaxed and as a compensation for the very demanding chess training

 

Hangin's take:
  Leko is going to find out just how different a world championship match is.   Kasparov found out the hard way in 1984. He said he did not appreciate the world championship match. That cost him 4 losses in the first 9 games. Every move is pressure packed. There is so much on the line. Leko is just one step away from chess immortality. It's a giant step.  If Leko wins, he will become the 15th Chess World Champion.  I wonder if Leko has devised a way to tear down Kramnik's Berlin Wall.

 

Leko : In my opinion Kramnik is the player with the deepest understanding of the game in the world,

Hangin's take:
  This could be a dangerous concession. After 6 months of match preparation with two months of intense preparation. I hope Leko can see just as deeply. He will need to.