‘My main goal is to be chess world champion’: Sergey Karjakin to RT

‘My main goal is to be chess world champion’: Sergey Karjakin to RT


In an exclusive interview with RT, Russian chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin discussed his performance in last weekend’s Wijk aan Zee tournament in Holland, his plans of going into real estate, and when he will return to the chess board.
Sergey Karjakin once again obliged the Moscow public – visiting the capital’s famous bookstore ‘Dom Knigi’, fielding questions from fans, taking part in a simultaneous chess match with junior players and dishing out dozens of autographs.

Karjakin was asked to talk about himself – a part of his life he rarely talks about and which hardly features online. He admitted that before crucial match moments he doesn’t get nervous, but if he starts to worry, he remedies himself with candy.

During the meet, a young fan from Ukraine attempted to glean Karjakin’s favorite song, and he responded by saying that his friends beg’s him to perform Lady Gaga’s hit single ‘Poker Face’ during karaoke sessions.

The doping issue then reared its ugly head. To the surprise of many, Karjakin revealed that chess players are also routinely checked for banned substances, but added that what concerns him most is the technology used to cheat during tournaments by those who aren’t sure of their own intelligence.

Karjakin then suggested a simultaneous chess match session, where he went up against seven potential future stars of the chess world. The grandmaster soundly dispatched his young opponents but failed to reach checkmate on two boards.

The meeting ended with an autograph session, attended by Karjakin’s namesakes – the winner of the Dakar Rally and the modern pentathlon world champion, both named Sergey Karjakin.


Popularity is both challenging and pleasant

RT: The last few months, you have had a timetable packed with meetings and interviews. Does it feel a bit like Groundhog Day?

Sergey Karjakin: That’s exactly how it feels. Every new day in my life starts with a lift and then I go to a routine meeting where I have to give out autographs and pose for photographs. It stresses me out, but at the same time I love it. I feel the reaction of the people and see that I haven’t given my life to chess for nothing. People value my efforts. It so happens that popularity is challenging but at the same time pleasant.

RT: The meeting at Moscow’s ‘Dom Knigi’ began with a Q&A with fans. Is it more difficult than a chess match?

SK: The opposite, it gives me more of a mental challenge than when at the chess board. However, after the birth of my child I became sentimental, and when I host a simultaneous match session with kids, I wonder whether it’s worth beating them or better to play to a draw. I don’t have any thoughts to just give up, but I don’t want them to get upset. Evidently my paternal instincts have been awoken.

RT: How did you feel playing against the seven young players?

SK: It was great to play around. We had a couple of draws, and it was a credit to the guys. Those who managed such a result showed their best ability.