Being the top seed is no guarantee of success and GM Ivan Sokolov has not enjoyed an easy ride at the Indonesia Open Chess Championship (IOCC) 2012. The 44-years old has twice had to fight hard to be back in the running.
His efforts have paid off as Sokolov managed a win in round eight to reach six points and earn a last round match against the tournament leader GM Yu Yangyi from Cina who is a whole point ahead. So what does Sokolov think?
Q: You have not had the best of tournaments at IOCC?
A: I have won six times but unfortunately have also lost twice. The Chinese play very well and are dominating. In the last around I meet Yu and I will do my best to become the champion in this tournament.
Q: What was your target at the start of IOCC?
A: As the top seed of course I wanted to win. Even if I am not the favourite I always try to become the champion but of course there are many factors that determine the success of a chessplayer in a tournament. But of course my results at IOCC were not what I had hoped for. I have not made a single draw and this is a very rare for me.
Q: Is there a tournament you will be playing immediately after?
A: I will play in a closed tournament in Barcelona, Spain four days after IOCC ends.
Q: How do you maintain your performance and look after your fitness?
A: I work out at the gym and swim. On chess I train everyday, study what happens at competitions, play chess, work on openings by use a variety of computer programs. So I work like I would any other job, 7-8 hours a day.
Q: You still wish to increase your rating?
A: I don’t know. Of course I would like my ranking to return to the time when it was better than it is today. I have been in the top 12 in the world and that was great but now I am focused on being in the top 50.