Hi everyone, We are still awaiting final confirmation but according to the final standings published on Chess Results, Gawain finished in 15th place therefore qualifying for the 2013 World Cup. This is an amazing achievement and I’m sure he’ll be working hard to play in Tromsø.
These questions were asked by Colin Patterson last December and Gawain has now answered his questions! You’ll be pleased to know that we haven’t forgotten about GOTM and it’ll be coming out this week.
1) I wondered if you felt an obligation to play the FIDE Open this year in order to be considered for the top group next year or was it just a feeling that you ought to defend your title?
GJ: The Kensington Olympia is very close to our flat in London and so it definitely makes sense to play in the tournament. While I’d love to be playing the top section I couldn’t turn down the chance to at least play in the same building and soak up some of the atmosphere, although it is a bit distracting when I find that section is so much more interesting than my own games!
2) Has David acknowledged to you that he considers his place in the Classic under threat? Presumably, Matt Sadler would also be in the reckoning as long as the both of you are gaining Elo at such a rapid rate? I have a theory that Matt’s passion was re-ignited by the first London Classic, so playing there may well appeal.
GJ: David and I haven’t discussed it. I’m just trying to play as well as I possibly can and hope for an invite. I’m not sure Matthew Sadler has enough spare time to play in the tournament but should he come back to chess properly I’m sure he would be considered too. I don’t have any knowledge whether the tournament is even going ahead this year, let alone if it’ll be the same format.
3) With Luke and Matthew poaching from the sidelines as it were, has it occurred to David and yourself that you are now established as England’s long-term successors to Short and Adams? Does this growing expectation that you will make 2700 Elo, put any extra pressure on you or has it always been a pressure that you’d put on yourself anyway?
GJ: The chess scene at the top of England is a bit depressing at the moment, it’s not clear who’s coming through to challenge the current top six. I don’t think I feel much pressure based on my rating, I’ve always put pressure on myself to do as well as I can, often over pressing trying too hard.
4) When you play through a Carlsen or Aronian game, do any of the elements (such as the depth of calculation, conceptual ideas or technique) strike you as scary, beyond reach? How much confidence do you take from defeating other aspirants like Cheparinov?
GJ: The 2800 players have amazing technique, intuition, calculation and preparation, the whole package! I try to learn as much as I can from watching their games. Even a player like Kramnik who is known for his positional player is an amazing calculator and so it’s very tough to match up. It’s always tough when you play up a level but I was happy that I generally held my own in the recent European Championships against a 2700 field and I feel I am slowly making up some of the gap. Of course beating these guys is great for confidence.
5) Have you ever been invited to the Tata Steel tournament? Would you like to play there?
GJ: No I’ve never been invited to Wijk aan Zee but would love to play if asked. I haven’t really had much experience in strong closed tournaments and I’m hoping if I can get my rating higher that I’ll receive more invites to these kind of interesting tournaments.