Interviews mit Kramnik und Leko

18.09.2004 – Nächsten Samstag um 15 Uhr wird Peter Leko mit den weißen Steinen seinen ersten Zug machen und damit die Weltmeisterschaft im klassischen Schach eröffenen, die sich über insgesamt 14 Partien bis zum 18.Oktober im Centro Dannemann in Brissago erstrecken wird. In letzen Interviews haben sich Titelverteidiger Kramnik und Herausforderer Leko zum Stand und zur Art ihrer Vorbereitung geäußert. Außerdem wurden die Sekundanten der beiden Spieler bekannt gegeben. Wer nicht im Centro Dannemann dabei sein kann, wo der Veranstalter für das Publikum ein attraktives Rahmenangebot bereit hält, der wird auch auf der WM-Webseite mit Liveübertragung der Partien, Audiokommentaren und vielen weitern Angeboten auf sein Kosten kommen. Offizielle WM-Seite...Interviews, Presseinfo (engl.)...

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Kramnik gegen Leko
Centro Dannemann, Brissago
24.September bis 18.Oktober .2004
Offizielle Wettkampfseite...

World Chess Championship Kramnik vs Leko    Press Release, September 17, 2004
September 25 – October 18, 2004

Brissago, September 17, 2004. The Classical World Chess Championship at Centro Dannemann (Brissago/Switzerland) between titleholder Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and Peter Leko (Hungary) is starting in one week. The chess coaches of the two participants in this Championship are all well-known and successful International Grandmasters:     

for World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik (Moscow/Russia, born 25 June 1975):
Grandmaster Evgeny Bareev (Russia) born 21 November 1966

Grandmaster Miguel Illescas (Spain) born 13 December 1965
Grandmaster Peter Svidler (Russia) born 17 June 1976

for Challenger for the World Chess Championship Peter Leko (Szeged/Hungary, born 8 September 1979):
Grandmaster Vladimir Akopian (Armenia) born 17 December 1971
Grandmaster Arshak Petrosyan (Armenia) born 16 December 1953
Grandmaster Vladislav Tkachiev (Russia) born 9 November 1973

Interviews with Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Leko:

Vladimir Kramnik

How are you organizing your preparation for the match, and is it different from the 2000 preparation?

Kramnik: Rather similar in comparison with my match against Kasparov. Of course you are always ready to optimise and to adjust a bit.   

How important are the computer chess programs in the preparation and during a match?

Kramnik: On the one hand it is very important to use the computer in your team for getting a certain basic level in your preparation. On the other hand it is not good to use it all the time. In a way you have to become independent from it so as not to affect your own play. Let me put it like this: my trainers are working with the computer permanently – I do not.      

In 2000, you told me that your victory against Garry Kasparov was psychological; how do you prepare psychologically for this new opponent?

Kramnik: I do not think I defeated Kasparov just because of psychological resilience. The psyche is of course an important part as in every sport especially in a World Chess Championship match. But your general understanding of chess, your preparation, your physical fitness, your mental energy, your strategic and tactical abilities are very important as well. It is complex: You have to be strong in every field to become World Champion.

Can you define your style and point out the differences between your style and Peter Leko's?

Kramnik: Our styles are a bit different because we are different personalities. But at the same time we are both universal players. In modern chess you need to adjust your play to the situation even if this is not in accordance with your style or your preferences. There is a famous saying: “It is not important whether one plays a strategic or tactical style. Nowadays it is just important to play a winning style.”  

This match is supposed to be the first step towards a unification match; do you think this reunification match will occur some day and do you include this prospect in your preparation?

Kramnik: This match in the Centro Dannemann is not a step, this match is for the World Chess Championship title in accordance with the classical bloodline starting in 1886 with Wilhelm Steinitz. It is the main chess event of the year. Meanwhile the chess community is more and more aware that a possible unification will not depend on the Classical World Chess Champion alone. But please let me stop here. I have to defend my title first of all. If I am successful I will start to analyse the entire situation.      

Peter Leko

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.           

How important are the computer chess programs in the preparation and during a match?

Leko: You can analyse certain positions with the computer and you are able to develop them. In addition the machine is increasingly useful for simplifying your training. Nowadays you need this because your opponent is using the same technique. But all this should not be over-estimated. A computer is just an instrument - nothing more. You have to control the technique and not the other way round. On the highest level you still need to develop your own ideas and you should never forget to be creative. Human decisions, by creating moments of surprise, are still the most important factor in a World Chess Championship fight.  

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.       

Could you define your style and point out the differences between your style and Vladimir Kramnik’s?

Leko: There are certainly some similarities between Kramnik and me because we are universal chess players. I think we both have a classical, positional understanding of chess and we are always looking for creativity. In my opinion Kramnik is the player with the deepest understanding of the game in the world, but like every human being: he has weaknesses as well. It is clear that he is a strong, a very strong champion but I think I will get my chances because of my own strong points.

This match is supposed to be the first step towards a unification match; do you think this unification match will occur some day and do you include this prospect in your preparation?

Leko: You know, I am challenging Kramnik, the man who defeated Kasparov convincingly and one of the strongest players ever. I need to concentrate fully on this. Anything else would not be very professional. Fortunately I have not been really involved in chess politics up to now. In general I am positive concerning a unification but I am only ready to think about that after the World Championship.

These interviews were originally done for Mr Barthélémy (Le Monde, Paris). We would like to thank Mr Barthélémy to put the interviews to our disposal.


World Chess Championship Kramnik vs Leko
Press Release, September 10, 2004

September 25 – October 18, 2004

Brissago, September 10, 2004. The Classical World Chess Championship at Centro Dannemann between titleholder Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and his challenger Peter Leko (Hungary) is starting in two weeks. Various activities will accompany this event.

The official website offers a lot of entertainment, information and attractive prizes. All games will be broadcasted and analysed live. The audio commentary, presented by Grandmasters Dr. Helmut Pfleger and Artur Jussupov, will be transmitted. Chessfriends all over the world will find great entertainment at the site: a chat forum, auctions, online chess, sms votings and a daily chess quiz with attractive prizes, for example chess boards signed by Kramnik and Leko. The website will include latest news and background information about the matches and the Championship. In a shop various products are available, for example the official book of the Championship, written by International Master Martin Breutigam and Grandmasters Artur Jussupow and Christopher Lutz.             

The programme at Centro Dannemann includes chess tournaments for spectators and journalists, organized by Swiss Chess Federation. The dates are:

-September, 28: Press tournament (blitz), 10 a.m.
-October, 3: Spectators’ tournament (blitz), 10.a.m.
-October 10: Simultaneous games vs Grandmasters Yannick Pelletier and Joe Gallagher
-October 16: Spectators’ tournament (blitz), 10.a.m.

The live commentaries of the Championship matches by Grandmasters Dr. Helmut Pfleger and Artur Jussupov can be followed in the playing hall by headphones. Interesting guests will be expected, for example Joel Lautier, President of the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP). Literature about chess and live analysis of the matches will be constantly offered to the spectators.

The opening of Dali exhibition on October 18 is the high spot in the various programme at Centro Dannemann. Detailed information will be given in the next weeks.  

Special offers for visitors: In a part of Switzerland which has always been a magnet for visitors on account of its warmth and Mediterranean light, Lake Maggiore has been attracting visitors for over 100 years. Chessfriends and visitors who would like to watch the World Chess Championships live and spend a few days in Ticino, can take advantage of special offers. More information at the official website

(World Chess Championship Centro Dannemann.  Official Press Release, Sept. 10, 2004.)  







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