18-year-old Vladislav Artemiev is the highest-rated Russian junior, the World Junior Championship runner-up and, after a spectacular win in the recent Russian Blitz Championship, the third highest rated blitz player in the world at 2850, behind only Ding Liren and Magnus Carlsen. His classical rating of 2658, though, is slightly lower today than it was two years ago. In an interview with Dorsa Derakhshani he talks about his career so far and his hopes for the future.
Dorsa was planning to interview Vladislav in person during the Baku Open, where the youngster started as top seed and finished third, but in the end the interview took place online, after Artemiev had starred in the Russian Rapid and Blitz Championships.
Dorsa Derakhshani: How did it all start? How
did you start playing chess?
Vladislav Artemiev: My father taught me to play chess when I was six years old. At around about six and a half I started attending a chess club.
When was your talent in chess recognised? Did you believe in it as well?
Frankly speaking, I’ve never considered myself a gifted player. I just enjoy the games themselves. However, back in 2010, when I showed myself as a great blitz player, everyone started talking about me as a talented chess player.
When did you start looking at chess professionally?
I guess it all happened after the Russian Cup in 2012, when I beat Galkin, Sjugirov and Andreikin.
You’re an amazing blitz player and currently number 3 in the world in the blitz rankings! Why do you think that is?
I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone when I got a top place in the blitz rating list because I’ve always been quite a good blitz player.
Here Artemiev played 28…c2! in his final round win over Nikita Vitiugov in the Russian Blitz Championship. He ended with a stunning 18/22, 2.5 points ahead of his nearest rivals Dmitry Andreikin and Alexander Morozevich
You mentioned before that you’re not so fond of openings. Is that still the case?
I was never very good at playing openings, but I’ve been working on them a lot recently and have become better.
How do you choose them for standard games?
Firstly I consider my opponent’s strong and weak sides when choosing an opening. I have to be a flexible player.
Is there any difference between your opening choices in different time controls?
There is a difference, for sure. Sometimes in blitz games I can play more freely, wildly, which I never allow myself during serious games.
Do you think your openings could cause you difficulties to reach 2700?
Obviously openings are very important during preparation, but I still believe it’s important to play well during the whole game.
How important would you say it is to be a 2700+ player?
Ratings are not the most important thing but nowadays tournament organisers are only interested in high ratings. That’s why i need to reach 2700+.
How would you describe your style?
I’m a flexible player, but mostly i play in an active position-oriented manner.
When do you expect to join the Russian national team?
It depends on how fast I reach 2700+.
How does the Russian Chess Federation support you? Did they do better when you were younger?
Last year the Russian Chess Federation gave me financial support to hire a coach, Pavel Maletin.
Do you think the Russian Chess Federation should support young talents a bit more rather than making them fight like everyone else to play?
Young gifted players living in cities other than Moscow and St. Petersburg often don’t have the financial opportunity to travel and take part in top tournaments. That’s why federation support would mean a great deal.
In 2015 you qualified for the Russian Superfinal by winning the Higher League. Could you explain the system for us?
It’s quite simple. To be eligible to play the Russian Championship Superfinal you have to be among those five lucky ones (who finish in the top five places) which is not easy, as the tournament is full of strong players with 2600+ ratings, as well as several 2700+ players.
Which tournament was the most satisfying for you?
Winning the Russian Higher League in 2015 was unforgettable for me, and it was quite a success to win the last Russian Blitz Cup tournament.
Which game of yours do you like best?
I won quite a lot of interesting games against interesting opponents, so it’s difficult to name one of them. Maybe the game with Jakovenko in the 2015 Superfinal is quite remarkable.
I’m also very proud of
victory over the strong player Emilio Cordova in the 2016 Aeroflot Open, as
I managed to defeat him using simple "dry" technique.
What are your tournament plans?
On November 5th I’m going to Serbia to take part in the 2016 European Club Cup, where I’ll be a part of our national team from Tatarstan. Later I might be joining the Russian Cup Final tournament.
What are your ambitions in chess?
I’m quite ambitious, but my priority for now is to reach 2700.
Who do you work with these days? Still Pavel Maletin?Nowadays I don’t have a coach and I improve my skills myself.
What about studies? University?
This year I became a student of the Volga Region State Academy of Physical Culture, Sport and Tourism. My major is Physical Education.
What other sports do you like?
I’m keen on a few sports such as Russian billiards, soccer and skiing.
I also like watching movies or theatrical plays with my good friends.
What are your thoughts on the Carlsen-Karjakin match?
Magnus Carlsen is the leader in the upcoming battle. As a chess player he may be stronger than Karjakin, but the latter has great potential and is great at playing openings. If Sergey manages to trouble Magnus with the openings the match is going to be very interesting. Personally I’m looking forward to watching the games!
Thank you for your time.
Vladislav is currently playing on top board, above Gata Kamsky, for Ladya Kazan
in the European Club Cup. In Round 1 he
beat Kalle Kiik.
Other interviews by Dorsa: