World Champion Magnus Carlsen was in good form at the opening press conference of the 2016 FIDE World Chess Championship in the Fulton Market Building in New York. He talked up Sergey Karjakin’s resilience in defence, only to express the desire to knock him down, and answered a question on the best player in the world: “If I may be so bold, I would say myself!” Karjakin had some good lines of his own, though, as they prepare to face off tomorrow in Game 1 of the match.
The seven participants spoke first in the order in which they were seated: FIDE VP Israel Gelfer, Agon CEO Ilya Merenzon, Phosagro CEO Andrey Guryev, EG Capital Advisors’ Michael Stanton (both representing sponsors), Magnus Carlsen, Sergey Karjakin and Chief Arbiter Takis Nikolopoulos. That meant we had to wait a while to get to the players, and there were some awkward moments. Gelfer became the second person at a press conference about the match to refer to the Kasparov-Karpov match in New York in 1990, which makes it seem that the 1995 Kasparov-Anand clash on the top of the World Trade Center is being airbrushed out of history as not an “official” FIDE match.
The most substantial answer of the day was when Carlsen was asked about his opponent’s best quality:
Sergey is very well-prepared. He has studied the game very well, is very knowledgeable and, most of all, he’s extremely resilient in defence. He’s very, very good in finding resources even in difficult positions – finding positions he can defend. For me, it’s a matter of when I get the chance I’ll try to punch him until he finally knocks over!