By Anna Matnadze
From November 2nd to 10th, 2009 the Chess Tournament Magistral Casino de Barcelona 2009 has been on its way. Ten internationally recognized Grandmasters participated in this Round Robin Tournamet. One of them was the world known chess legend Ulf Andersson of Sweden, who showed an exciting fighting chess and caused a huge interest amond spectators. We decided we had to talk.
1) Hello Mr. Andersson, welcome to Barcelona. Could you please, describe to us your preparation process for the Magistral Casino Tournament? What chess analyzing program do you use?
Thanks. I hope that I do not need a special chess program for my preparations.
2) Whom were you expecting to be the most difficult opponent?
You have shown a very good chess and played very well. Are you happy with your play yourself?
All my opponents are difficult for me. I always hope that I will play well in my games. If I can do so, then I do not worry. If I cannot play well, I worry.
This invitation to play in Barcelona Casino has been a very nice thing for me, despite my poor result. I lost three games,which I consider very bad. In any case it was a beautifully organized tournament!
3) Had you been to Barcelona before? What are your impressions? Have you done any sightseeing this time? If yes, what have you visited?
I have been to Barcelona many years ago. I do not know the city at all practically. I have not done any sight seeing either. I was so busy with the tournament. I enjoyed playing in the Casino. It was a very nice playinghall and a nice atmosphere to be and play in the Casino for me.
4) You are well known to be the most difficult opponent to beat, as well as “the Endgame King”. Tell us your secret. Is this all about skills, the sixth “endgame” sense, or what?
I have nothing to say about this.
5) You are a GM both in classical and Correspondence chess. Which one do you like best?
I received my grandmaster title 1972 in normal chess. I took part in a correspondence tournament in 1996. I think it was 1996. It was a new experience for me. It was going well for me in that tournament. I even received the grandmaster title for my result in that tournament. I cannot say that I am a correspondence player at all, yet. For me, in order to be a correspondence player one should have played many more years of correspondence chess in order to be a correspondence player. I have only been smelling a little bit on the correspondence world. It was very hard for me, but a very nice experience. In general, in the correspondence tournaments there is no prize money. You must only play for the love of chess. I am a professional player so I need to play for both love and money.
6) Is chess your only main occupation, or do you have any other profession as well? If you weren’t a chess player what would you be?
I have only been a professional player in my life. Who knows what I would have been, if not a chess player.
7) Please, introduce to us your home and tell us about your first steps.
I have my apartment in a small town in Sweden, named Arboga. My father showed me the first moves of chess. Later on when I was around 13 years old I became a member in the chess club of my town. There I remained playing until I became a professional player, 1970. Of course, I visit my club yearly.
8) Being a chessplayer is tough. We are constantly traveling. What is your secret to deal with jet lag?
I am travelling mostly in Europe these days. There is no jetlag for me.
9) And your secret as to how to recover from a bitter loss?
All my losses are bitter. It is normal to suffer when it is going bad! That is nothing new about that, I believe. I suppose all players suffer when they lose. I suppose, when you put your heart in something and when it does not go how you wish, then you suffer. If I played, lets say table tennis and lose, then I would not suffer at all, because table tennis for me would just be a little hobby, for fun, so to speak. By the way. Do you have any medicine to sell? A medicine that takes all the suffering away?
10) I am sorry, I don´t have… But maybe we can find a solution for other things. For instance, What do you think would be necessary to do in order to make chess as popular a sport as, for example, football or tennis… ? What would be your strategy or ideas to attract more Sponsors?
I do not consider chess as a sport, what so ever. Of course, it should be good if you have a good condition. For instance, if I am a taxi driver and have a good condition. It would also be good, as a taxi driver. Why would chess be as popular like football or tennis? It is how it is! Just to realise the fact. I like sports a lot. I prefer to look at sports, rather than chess on TV, when there is chess on TV. I prefer to look a game where Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester or Chelsea are playing, than to look at a chess game. I would look at a chess games on the professional interest, not for fun!
11) What are your plans for the future? Any more tournaments?
I am very glad when I am invited to play in a chess tournament. Today I play almost only open tournaments.
Thank you very much, Mr. Andersson, for an extremely interesting interview!
Hope you enjoy it.
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– GM Susan Polgar