hibault de Vassal (2012-09-27)
Eros Riccio wins 6th and 7th chess WCH
By beating Alberto Gueci in the final match of the 6th chess championship & Ostap Hladky in the candidates final of the 7th chess championship, Eros Riccio will remain FICGS chess champion for at least 16 months! After this huge performance, Eros accepted to answer a few questions:
Thibault de Vassal: Hello Eros and congratulations again for winning your 3rd and 4th (respectively 6th and 7th cycles) FICGS chess championships in a row, beating Alerto Gueci in the 12 games match of the final match and Ostap Hladky in the 8 games match of the candidates final so that you meet yourself in the last round that thus will not happen for the 3rd time of the championship (first time was during the first cycle because there was no champion yet). All games of the two matches were drawn, but it does not say much on the intensity of the match as we all know your strategy since your win in your first final match vs. Edward Kotlyanskiy when you explained that your preferred a draw that guarantees the victory than a possible win where a mouse slip is still possible. Obviously your strategy works very well but one can add that you had an impressive number of running games at the rapid time control, so very much pressure... How did you live these last months of correspondence chess and these two matches?
Eros Riccio: Hi Thib! And thanks once again for the congratulations. These 28 games (let's not forget also the 8 games match against Gino Figlio) probably started in the worst moment for me, just a few months after the very important European Team Championship on ICCF had started. When I told my captain that I was starting another 28 games... he was very disappointed and worried, as he had repeated a lot of times to every player of our team not to start new tournaments and to focus only on this tournament. Also for this reason I had decided not to join the new Italian Championship and other tournaments and to withdraw from the Champions League, but unfortunately I had no control on when to start my FICGS games. So... my priority was for my ICCF games, and fortunately for me all I needed to do in my FICGS Matches to win was to make draws, and that's what I tried to do in most of my games as fast as possible, and to my surprise my opponents accepted to draw many games quite quickly, not trying to fight each game "to death" like I would have done if I would have been them. This of course only created quick boring games, but I didn't see the point in putting energy in trying to win games myself.... I think my opponents should have done that!
Thibault de Vassal: We all know that you and Alberto are good friends from long time, did it influence your match in the 6th WCH in any way according to you?
Eros Riccio: Well, it's a good think knowing your opponent's habits... you can send your moves as soon as you know he goes to bed
Thibault de Vassal: Ostap Hladky is undoubtly one of the strongest players at FICGS, was this match (7th WCH candidates final) very different from the other one?
Eros Riccio: Hladky was the strongest player I had ever played on FICGS, he is very unpredictable, he simply plays unexpected moves that engines don't suggest, but if you show them those moves, they slowly realize those are very good moves. I risked to lose more than one game vs him, even as White. Luckily I still managed to draw, and in my opinion he also accepted some draws too quickly.
Thibault de Vassal: With the last evolutions of chess engines, playing better & better chess, would you say that you now spend less time on each game or not at all?
IEros Riccio: don't spend less time on my games, I still try to use (almost) all the time on my "clock". Trying to analyze as many variations as possible with the time you are given has little to do with engines improvement, who still are far from being able to always suggesting the best move by simply letting them run for hours on a static position. You need to analyze going "forward" in the position in order to be able to find the best moves.
Thibault de Vassal: By the way, it is said sometimes (again) that correspondence chess will not survive the decade, what do you think? Do you envisage to change for Go or poker like many players?
Eros Riccio: Wins and Losses still happen even at the highest levels at the present time. I think that many years still have to pass before having all draws in high level tournaments. When that happens... and it will probably happen sooner or later as chess in my opinion is a draw with perfect play... then probably new rules will be introduced, maybe the board will be enlarged and even new pieces with new movements might be invented.
Thibault de Vassal: You now are ICCF GM with an impressive 2624 rating, how are going your other correspondence chess competitions? Do you have any goal to reach yet?
Eros Riccio: All my ICCF tournaments are going good, and very soon I will be Italian Champion once again (just waiting my last opponent to resign a lost position). I still haven't reached the first place in the italian elo rating list though. That would be a goal I would surely have pleasure in reaching, and of course I would like to win the ICCF's World Championship at least once. After that I can retire
Thibault de Vassal: Thank you Eros, also for this great correspondence chess lesson.
Eros Riccio: Welcome Thib! A pleasure for me.