Congratulations! How do you rate this victory? How important is it to you personally?
Thank you! This win was very important for me, as Dutch Championship is of course a very important tournament and I hope I will get even more invitations for other good tournaments. I also must admit that this victory also gave me some self-confidence. And although this Dutch Championship was weaker then the previous one, I am still very happy with my result since in my opinion I showed quite a good performance and I managed to play some good and nice games.
Was it an easy win?
It was not easy as every opponent I played was very strong and tough, but to be honest some games were basically decided in the opening. For example my game against Roi Miedema, when I just had to finish him off after the end of my deep preparation, when I was already winning. Against Friso Nijboer and Karel van der Weide things were decided in the opening as well. But from psychological point of view EVERY game was very difficult for me.
What did you learn from this championship about yourself?
I think I knew myself as a chess player already quite well, but after this tournament I realized that I can play and calculate very well especially if I am in shape and if I am confident. But also some of my weaknesses (e.g. some impulsive fast decisions) were stressed in some games. So basically I now what to work on .
What did you learn from this championship about the Dutch chess scene?
I couldn’t learn a lot about the whole Dutch chess scene just after this tournament, but to be honest the incident with Tiviakov and the absence of a lot of top Dutch players didn’t make a good impression. However I think the sphere of the tournament was quite nice and we had a great time with all the participants.
What is your next goal in The Netherlands?
Of course I would like to continue winning some opens here, and I want to show a good performance in closed tournaments that I was invited to (Hoogeveen, Corus, Dutch Championship 2010).
Are you going to try to play for the Dutch Olympic team?
Of course I would like to play for Olympic team, but it would be not easy to get there, as there are quite a few Dutch strong progressing young players.
Are you planning to work with a coach/second? With whom would you like to work?
I have already had a short training session with Vladimir Chuchelov (trainer of the Dutch Chess Federation) in July, and I think we will continue working on chess. Daniel Fridman also helped me and I had a contact with him during the championship. I think those cooperations helped me in this tournament and I hope they will help me in the future as well.
What is your opinion about the Tiviakov story?
To be honest, since Tiviakov published his letter, I don’t know who is wrong and who is right. But in any case this situation is not something the Dutch Federation is proud of. As to myself this situation didn’t disturb me at all, as I just had to play one black game less against the strong opponent. But to be serious I hope such ridiculous situations will not occur in the coming future.
In the interview with NRC you said you play a lot on the internet and you read many books. Do you think one can become a better player from playing blitz online, and which is your favourite chess book so far?
To be honest, in the last few weeks I’ve been playing less on the internet; instead I analyzed some openings, but I think a player can improve some of chess skills like tactical vision, maybe calculation by playing online blitz (example is Nakamura ). I mostly check some opening books, but if I would have to choose my favourite I would choose between Kasparov’s Fighting Chess written by Tibor Karolyi and books written by Kasparov himself: My great predecessors.
Do you have a favourite player?
Kasparov. I liked the way he played, his style, his opening preparation, his choice of openings, his calculating abilities etc.
Who will win in Valencia, Kasparov of Karpov? What do you know about their rivalry? (Have your read Kasparov’s books?)
I think it will be Kasparov and I am looking forward to their match. I haven’t read those new Kasparov books about their match (I should have done it though), but to be honest in all books I read about their match I was mainly interested in chess part, like commented games, not political and psychological things.