“I just played the logical moves”

A conversation with Alireza Firouzja after winning his game in less than two hours

After his quick win with Black over Ding Liren, Alireza Firouzja has more than one foot in the “small final” for fifth place. The 20-year-old does not sense any pressure. Firouzja is having fun. In a conversation with Peter Doggers, Firouzja says that he is looking forward to everything else. The World Championship Candidate hopes to “play a few more good games”.

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Alireza Firouzja. Photo: Lennart Ootes

You won a game in under two hours, because there was a piece dropping already in the opening for Ding. How could that happen?

Yeah, of course he’s not in good shape in this tournament. This blunder is very obvious. It just shows that he’s not at his best.

How difficult was today’s position?

I didn’t think about it so much. I just played the logical moves, but I think Black has a comfortable position, more than other days probably.

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Today’s starting position (left) and Ding Liren’s Knight on h5 being lost after 6…Nge7!

To me, it felt like it was the closest to classical chess. Do you agree?

Yeah, for sure, but our game today was not so close to classical chess! It’s very hard to blunder on move three, four, in classical.

Do you think it was because of his bad shape or was it also because this game is just very difficult?

No, it’s just because he’s not in a good shape. On a good day, he would not blunder like this for sure.

Yesterday, against Magnus. I think the key game was that long endgame with bishop versus kight, which you failed to hold. How difficult was that endgame to play?

I wrongly played for a win in the endgame before that. I should have just bailed out and make a draw but it was a mistake in time trouble. I thought I had good chances, but I underestimated his pawn pushing. After, it’s very difficult to hold that draw. I analysed it a bit; I have to make several critical moves.

And I guess after losing that endgame it was very difficult for you to play another game.

Yeah, especially in 960, like, you have to play always symmetrical because especially the position that we got, I should just play as Black like symmetrical otherwise, I’m much worse, like we played in the game. There was not much creativity I could do.

You’re now in a in a fight for fifth place. How do you feel, for the coming days?

It’s fun for sure, without pressure, of course. I am here just to have fun and play a couple of more good games.

And you have played a bit of Chess960, for example, in St. Louis and online. To what extent can you actually use that experience in this tournament?

Yeah, I think it helped a bit, because in St. Louis, it was just one year ago. We played 10, 11 games, so it helped, but it’s always different. I like it a lot, 960, because you think from first move and you don’t spend a lot of energy before the game for preparation. So, I like it a lot.

And a question about the actual tournament. It’s the first time this is being organised. How do you like the the general vibe here in Weissenhaus?

I like it a lot, everything is professional. I like a lot the rooms that we have in the playing hall so you can have privacy for some time, and yeah, the hotel is also amazing. Everything is top class here.

Peter Doggers

By Peter Doggers

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