Hangin answers 10 world championship questions

1. What are your expectations about this important competition?

Well there is a lot on the line here at San Luis. This is a tournament for the FIDE Championship. I expect the players to raise their level  of play to new heights.  

  1. What are your expectations about this important competition?

         Well I am expecting all the top players to be in fighting form and ready to duke it out for the FIDE Championship. There is much to prove in San Luis in the post Kasparov era.


  1. Which are your favorite players among your seven opponents? And who will be the toughest?

     Well itís been a strange year for chess. No one is dominating in the post Kasparov Era. Lets see, Leko won Corus, Kasparov won Linares, Anand took Amber, Topalov took Mtel, and Naiditsch took Dortmund. I think that if we learned anything from Naiditsch taking Dortmund, it is that this field is wide open.

    However I think that Topalov, the last man to defeat Kasparov, has been playing the best classical chess this year. He had a nice third place finish at Corus and tied for first with Kasparov at Linares. He also took first at Mtel. He also prepared deeply for this tournament.

    Anand has dominated the rapid events. He steam rolled at Amber and at Leon, he just got past Kasimdzhanov. Anand then went on to have an easy time against Grischuk at Mainz.  But lets recall these are rapid events. Anand hasnít won a classical event since Dortmund 2004.
      Peter Leko started the year strong by winning the strongest tournament in 2005. He did it in grand style by defeating Anand. However, Leko has since cooled and he is showing the same uncertainty he showed right before he took on Kramnik for the 2004 Classical World Championship. Leko is a great defender and we all know great defenses win super bowls.

But lets not forget about the dark horse here. I think Rustam Kasimdzhanov could show us his great form from the FIDE KO in 2004. Rustam has done deep preparation for the ill-fated match with Kasparov. So Rustam could be a dangerously prepared opponent here. Kasimdzhanov is probably the 2nd best rapid player in the world. He gave Anand a battle at Leon this year. Anand won that match. But Kasimdzhanov had his chances and came up a little short.

   Now Michael Addams has shown the world he can beat anybody. This year heís defeated Anand, Kramnik, Leko, and Topalov.  I think of Adams as a top 10 chess iron man. He plays in all the tournaments and is always in the middle of the pack. I wonder if Adams had the time to rest before this tournament. He did have a great start in his drawn match against Leko.  Adams did have a very tough time with Hydra. He was crushed by 5.5 - .5 score. But not many players could stand up to the 2nd coming of Deep Blue. So I am not sure about Adams' confidence coming into this tournament. However, this could be the place he makes his move. 

  Peter Svidler is just coming off is successful defense of the chess960 world championship. Svidler retained his title by defeating Almasi. However, Svidler was not happy with his quality of play. Almasi had his chances. Svidler is also a three time Russian champion. So heís no stranger to  tough tournaments.

   Now Judith Polgar hasnít played much chess since having her baby last year. She did return in 2005. She played in two major tournaments this year. She finished in the middle of the pack at Corus and Dortmund. In his new book fire on board two,  Alexi Shirov said he had trouble concentrating on chess and performing his fatherly duties for his young children. So with Judith being a new mother, one has to wonder if she has had sufficient time to prepare. However, the one thing this reporter has learned, is that mothers can do the impossible.

Now when we come to Alexander Morozevich, we are talking about a great rapid player. He has taken more than his fair share from the world's top players at rapid and blindfold. However heís not faired to well recently at classical chess.  But if his creative talent is high, he could definitely pose a serous threat to Anand, Topalov and Leko. But Morozevich must bridle his creative energies, if he wants to seriously contend for this title.

  1. How are you preparing yourself for the WCC Argentina 2005?


      Well I have been walking 3 miles a day. Itís a tip I picked up from the great Victor Kortchnoi, who after crashing a car into the back of a police cruiser, gave up on driving and took to walking.  Also I am  jumping back into the pool and will swim 300-400 yards daily.  I have been going over the playerís games and doing analysis.  I continue to  work on my own game in a general manner. So i will be prepared for the September 27 start of this exciting tournament.


  1. Do you think that you will be  in your best competition level?


       I think so. Coming off of my prestigious chess journalism award for most humorous contribution, I need to guard against being over confident. I've got to get back to basics and dot all my iís and cross all my tís. But I am no stranger to covering world championship events. I have been board ide for a few man vs. machine championships and I did extensive daily coverage of the Kramnik vs. Leko championship in 2004.



  1. Which will be the "tips" to win the competition?

         Well I think each player has to handle those players who give him or her the most trouble. For Peter Leko thatís Svidler and Topalov, for Topalov thatís Anand.  Players must take advantage of their whites. The winner could be the best endgame player. The winner could be the one who converts most of his advantages and who also defends very well.



  1. Will this tournament be very different from all the others you have already covered? 

       As I said above, Iíve done some world championship coverages. I plan on  covering this tournament similarly to the way I coverage Linares. I think I am prepared.


7. Will the spectators be seeing "new things" in the way of play?

Well hopefully they will see a lot of technical novelties and a lot of fighting spirit from the top 8. Spectators can also expect to see Hangin in their championship fox holes, telling them what he is thinking.
  1. Why should spectators not miss this championship?

      Well itís the biggest tournament of the post Kasparov era. I am hoping that the winner of this tournament will go on to face Kramnik for a unification of the world title. This tournament will show us who wants it more.


  1. Name the first things that come in to your mind when you think of Argentina.

         Since this is a world championship tournament, I am thinking about
    Argentina's rich chess championship history. Lets recall the great Capablanca vs. Alekhine match played in 1927. Alekhine would achieve chess immortality by defeating the unbeatable chess machine named Jose Raul Capablanca. Alekhine would need 32 games to win 6 games, while only suffering three losses.
          Lets not forget about the 1971 candidate final between two world champions. Bobby Fischer took on ex champion Tigran Petrosian. Coming from 2 perfect match shut outs of Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen, Fischer had a 17 game winning streak. After losing the first game, Petrosian would break Fischerís 18 game winning streaks by defeating Fischer in game two. However Petrosian would come down with a case of Fischeritis and lose the last 4 games of the match. In 1972 at Reykjavik, Iceland, Fischer became the 11th World Champion by crushing defending world champion Boris Spassky.



 San Luis - Chess Reporter