On September 15th, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, the 25th
rated player in the world, answered the 10 world championship questions.
Rustam said those who can handle the pressure will prevail.` I consider Rustam
the dark horse in this tournament. Rustam is no stranger to handling
pressure or being the dark horse. He burst on to the chess scene by winning
the FIDE KO in 2004. He had to do it the hard way by eliminating all the top
seeds. At the KO he defeated Topalov and Adams in the finals.
At Linares, Rustam held his own against the top players, but
he faded at the end and lost 4 out of the last 5 games. I am sure it was a
learning experience. Rustam feels Anand is the best at the moment. At Leon
2005, against Anand, Rustam had his chances and lost a close match.
I had the opportunity to speak to Rustam in New York City this past
June. He was in town for a one game match against Accoona's Al toolbar
silicon beast. Rustam said he was disappointed that his match with Kasparov
was canceled. He felt very optimistic about his chances against Kasparov.
Rustam also feels he is the 2nd best rapid player in the world.
In the interview Rustam mentioned that we will see a lot of opening
novelties. He must have many stored up for this tournament. He spent a lot
of time preparing for the canceled Kasparov match. I think Rustam could be
the most prepared player in this tournament. Rustam was the only play to tap
into Argentina's chess championship past, when he mentioned the Capablanca
vs. Alekhine world championship match in 1927.
Once, when ask to describe chess in five words, Rustam said
test, fight, patience, pain, suffering. No doubt all the players will feel
these emotions during this 14 round tournament. Rustam has been the
underdog before. He is the lowest rank player in this tournament. But letís
not forget he was the 27th seeded in Libya and beat the top four seeds to
win the FIDE KO.
Rustam knows that his road through San Luis goes through
Svidler, Polgar, Morozevich, Adams, Leko, Topalov, and Anand. However Rustam
is not stranger to marching through top seeds to win a championship. Rustam
has the nerves and the opening novelties to win this tournament.