Vitiugov espera que lo mejor aún esté por venir

por Macauley Peterson
21/03/2019 – El gran maestro ruso Nikita Vitiugov recientemente ganó el I Torneo Magistral de Praga en la capital de la República Checa. Ha sido uno de los éxitos más grandes de su carrera hasta ahora. Tras la ceremonia de clausura, Vitiugov se tomó su tiempo para responder a las preguntas de nuestro colega, Macauley Peterson, editor de la web con noticias en inglés de ChessBase. | Foto: Macauley Peterson

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"Es mejor ser un hombre atareado que quedarse en casa" 

Nikita Vitiugov ganó el Primer Magistral de Praga por medio punto de ventaja. Terminó el torneo invicto, con dos victorias y siete tablas, mostrando un rendimiento de 2794 puntos. La victoria de la séptima ronda frente a Jan-Krzysztof Duda, quien en aquel momento encabezaba la clasificación fue "tremendo" para él. A continuación de la ceremonia de clausura, nuestro compañero, el editora de la web de noticias en inglés de ChessBase, Macauley Peterson tuvo la oportunidad de hacerle una entrevista a Vitiugov. 

Vitiugov portrait

Nikita Vitiugov en el bar| Foto: Vladimir Jagr

La entrevista en inglés

Macauley Peterson:  How did you approach your last round game with a half point lead?

Nikita Vitiugov: I was just trying to be solid, and play a normal game of chess, but of course I understood that a draw very likely is enough to secure first place, so OK, first of all I just wanted to be solid. I played my own game and I think it was an equal game, nothing special happened. 

Jan-Krzysztof Duda, at the moment, is a very strong player, but he might be a Candidate, maybe a World [Championship] challenger in the future. He is good. He proved it for instance in St. Petersburg, during the [World] Blitz Championship. It means the guy has a talent.


Jan-Krzysztof Duda | Foto: Vladimir Jagr

There was a moment when I definitely could have played better. I played h1 at some moment and allowed him to push b5. After that I won in ten minutes maybe, but it wasn't so easy because he had some chance to get some game. It was a very important win for me but it came quite easily. 


21.e3 aiming for b6 was best to stop Black's counterplay

MP: How does this tournament win rank in your career?

NS: One of the good ones but definitely not the best one. Actually, it kind of sounds strange, but I didn't feel a huge tension here. The win came a bit easily. Of course there were some tough moments — for instance I got a bad position with White against Boris [Gelfand], and he could have pressed me more than he did. And then with Sam [Shankland] I was worse, but survived, equalised. These games were the toughest for me because the two games I won weren't something special. I was better prepared in the opening. With Hari[krishna], it wasn't his best game — he got an almost lost position after the opening — and with Jan-Krzysztof I was just much better, and he spent a lot of time and was in time trouble. So I consider this win as a very good one, but I hope my best ones are still to come. 

It was a very strong tournament but there were no absolutely top players here. All the players here are strong but not from the top ten for instance. Without these guys the field doesn't look so tough. It's a very competitive tournament, very equal, but anyway it's easier to play without them. I'm very used to being here in Prague, even in this hotel I've been here many times, so it helps me to feel more comfortable when I'm used to this atmosphere, to Prague, to [the] Czech [Republic].

Vitiugov with trophy

Vitiugov con el trofeo | Foto: Vladimir Jagr

MP: What's next for you? 

NS: Russian Team Championship and then I will start the Grand Prix cycle in Moscow. 

MP:  Do you look forward to the Grand Prix?

NS: At the moment I'm just tired and exhausted, but yeah, it will be my first time in the Grand Prix and what can I say, I'm happy to be there. Finally, finally, there will be only one wildcard, and due to that I was able to qualify by rating. For instance, five years ago I had like 2750 and had zero invitations — absolutely zero — I played three or four tournaments a year, maybe one open and two team events and had almost nothing, and now I got older and rating got down, but it's still enough somehow, I don't know. It still depends on many factors, and somehow these days — last year I played in Karlsruhe, in Shenzen, Olympiad and these days I have plenty of tournaments and I'm really happy of this face. 

MP: So you are also in favour of doing away with wildcards in general?

NS: This is a very bad thing. For me I think it's one of the worst things in chess. There is no such thing in any normal sport. Of course in the football World Cup there is a place for the home team. For instance, only due to that Russia participated in the World Cup last year, but I really don't like this — any criterion is better — because "wildcard" what does it mean it only means that some guy was chosen...just a matter of taste, maybe not only taste but something more. I don't think rating is the absolute criterion, but anything is better than just giving some place to some random guy — not random, maybe a very strong player but why him and not some other player?


MP: What do you think of the Grand Swiss?

NS: First of all, it's a great idea. It's great that we will have one more very very strong tournament. This [qualification spot for the] Candidates — it's good that there is such an option, but I don't think that it affects dramatically on the calendar or the plans of chess players. Many great chess players will play there and me too probably. So nothing particularly special, but of course it's great that there are more strong events. This year it's going to be very intense, but I can just repeat that I remember years when I had four tournaments a year and I didn't reject any invitation for many years, so I think it's better to be busy than to stay at home. 

MP: Unless your friends and family will miss you?

NS: Well, probably they will miss me but I feel better being busy than staying home and complaining and your know, it's better to be at home for a week, but it's a good week, rather than two months but with a pessimistic mood.

MP: You've been married for how long now? 

NS: (Thinks) Three years. 

MP: You had to think about it for a second! 

NS: Yeah, I always think — yeah, three years. 

MP: So, is your wife happy to see you playing so much? 

NS: I think she's happy to see me happy and I'm happy when I'm playing well, so it's in her own interest — me playing more, and more successfully — than me staying at home.

All Vitiugov's games in Prague




Es el editor jefe de la página de noticias en inglés de ChessBase en Hamburgo (Alemania). Además es el autor del podcast de ajedrez "The Full English Breakfast". Ha sido coproductor del documental "Magnus" en 2016.


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