The Magistral Ciutat de Barcelona 2017 took place between 9 – 17 of November in the emblematic venue of Atenéu Barcelonés. The event was eventually won (jointly) by the “Benjamin” - youngest participant - Benjámin Gledura of Hungary (18), who shared the triumph with France´s Laurent Fressinet. Italy´s Daniele Vocaturo was the third.
1) Hello Benjámin, welcome to Barcelona and congratulations!! You had an amazing tournament indeed. Could you please, describe to us your preparation process for the Magistral? What chess analyzing program do you use?
Thank you! Basically I had a traning session with one of my coaches right before the tournament, we decided what opening I should play againts each oppenent; and then during the tournament I prepared 3 hours before the games. So I think this is the reason why I had good results (I use Stockfish 8 and Houdini 5).
2) Whom were you expecting to be the most difficult opponent? Which was the best and the worst game and why?
Somehow I felt during the tournament that I will have a difficult game againts Hipolito (Asís) and then it happened... I had a clearly lost position, I was lucky to survive.
3) Had you been to Barcelona before? Did you plan any sightseeing now?
Yes, I had been once with my mom, but that was not a holiday, it was just passing by on our way to Budapest.
4) How is the situation of chess in Hungary? Is it implemented in schools as a subject? Do you have club championships?
Yes, there are some chess classes at schools and I think our sport is getting more and more popular in the school as well generally. Yes I think we have a quite strong Hungarian team championship.
5) Is there any opening or specific line you really love how others play it and would like to really master, but didn’t succeed so far?
I don’t really have specific opening that I like the most, but I like the people who play many openings! Because I think it is definitely important nowadays.
6) Being a chess pro is tough. We are constantly traveling. What is your secret to deal with jet lag?
well , I think I’m too young to have such an excuse :)
but I think every chess player who travels a lot gets used to it somehow quite soon.
7) And your secret as to how to recover from a bitter loss?
Of course nobody likes to lose (especially the Hungarian players J)but it sometimes happens... After a lose I usually do something that makes me less unhappy, like watching a movie, or going to the gym.
8) The number of Chess fans all over the world is growing every day, however, it is not yet meant as popular a sport as, for example, football or tennis… What do you think would be necessary to do to make chess more popular? What would be your strategy or ideas to attract more Sponsors?
I think it would be a good idea to make more blitz and Rapid tournaments with bigger prizes, which is necessary to have TOP players in the tournaments, because I think blitz and rapid is more interesting if you are a spectator.
And maybe it would be easier to broadcast on the TV!
9) What do you think about the “short draws phenomenon”? What would be the mechanism to avoid them?
Well , I think it’s sometimes okey to have a short draw, for example in the last round, but in general I don’t like to play short draws.
10) What is your opinion about cheating? It has become a very serious problem.
I am not really afraid to play against a cheater, because if the player is very low rated then it is very easy to say that she/he is cheating, and I don’t think any good grandmaster would cheat nowadays.
11) What do you think about the World Championship cycle and matches?
I think it´s extremely difficult to be a World Champion or a Candidate anyway, so I think it´s pretty fair the way it is now.
12) Which time control do you prefer and why?
I prefer the regular one which is 1:30 and after 40moves 0:30 hour, I think this is the best time control.
13) What would be your advice to people who are just starting to play chess and take it seriously?
I would definitely advice to them to enjoy chess, not to take so seriously especially if the person is young, but later on if you are 10-12 years old and you still want to be a chess player, then you have to work every day 6-10 hours; unfortunately this is the only way to improve fast!
14) Which legenday opponent would you like to face if you had an occasion and what question would you ask him or her?
I would face Bobby Fischer, and probably I would ask something like:” - how can you train everyday and be on top always?”
15) What are your plans for the future?
I would like to be TOP 100 as soon as possible. I think I’m not that far from that but I have to play tournaments and prepare as I did in Barcelona! Later on I would like to be World´s TOP-50. I think that would be a very big result.
Thank you very much for an extremely interesting interview!