Interview with the new IECG World Champion

Miguel Angel Canovas Pordomingo

The 10th IECG World Championship is over and the winner is Miguel Angel Canovas Pordomingo from Spain. In the final he scored 11 points from 14 games with only six draws and no loss. He kindly accepted our invitation for an interview and so we can renew here a fine tradition that has been started already after the first championship.

The interviews with our champions were often accompanied by a commented game and we are glad that we can also continue this part of the tradition. Click here to go to Miguel's commented game with Istvan Schrancz.

Dear Miguel, congratulations to you for winning the IECG World Championship Final 2005! Would you please introduce yourself a little bit to our readers.

Many thanks! I was born in Sevilla, Spain, 42 years ago, but when I was two years old my parents moved to Tenerife, Canary Islands, where I live since then. I'm married and have a four years old daughter. I work as computer analyst and programmer. Besides chess I have also other hobbies: sailing , photography, cinema, reading, music, etc. I learnt to play chess when I was five or six years old, but seriously only when I was fourteen. Then I began to study chess and to play local tournaments, but I never was a very active player. I think my level was allways about 2000-2100 Elo. This year I get a FIDE ELO.

I commenced to play email chess in 2000 at IECG and a few months later at ICCF, too. Throughout these years I discovered my preference for this kind of chess. Compared to over the board chess I like the more analytical approach, which is also part of my job. I enjoy looking for games in books and databases, studying them and then creating and checking my own ideas.

You won the final with 11/14, a full point ahead of the second placed player. What are your feelings about this great success?

Of course, I'm very happy about this score but it doesn't mean it was easy at all. Only the last month the result became clear. Before I thought that I would finish with 10.5 instead of 11 points. So, if Alex Bubir would have won his remaining game, Sonneborn-Berger would have decided in my favour. But this would have been fine as well!

The tournament lastet 22 months. Would you please describe the aims you had at the beginning and when do you became aware of being the next champion?

At the begining I didn't aim for to be champion, because it was my first contest at this high level and moreover I was playing about forty games simultaneosly. Most of them at a high level at ICCF, too. So it was even difficult for me to decide whether to play the final or not. Now I'm very happy with my choice, but sometimes I felt exhausted.

I was aware of my chances when I saw that I could save the game with Emmanuel Hadet after tough defence, and that I was winning the game with Alex Bubir. This was about November 2007, 5 months before the end of the tournament.

Was the tounament decided by two of the last three games, where you scored 1.5 points against the only two remaining rivals?

The game with Alex Bubir was one of the two games you mentioned and my victory there was quite crucial to win the tournament. The other one was an interesting endgame against Nigel Robson where I fought tough for a draw. The result wasn't decisive for the title because 10.5 points would have been enough. But it was very important for me, because so I am still undefeated after playing about 140 games in eight years at IECG and ICCF. A nice record.

You thought that you could lose the game with Nigel, but did he missed the win or wasn't your position lost?

Good question. I discussed this with him after the game. Well, the position is still unclear. It looks very hard for Black to defend against these connected pawns, but I think now that the presence of queens shall give Black enough counterplay.

Which of your games in the final do you consider the best ones?

It's difficult to choose only one. The most games were interesting even when I was defending. I like in particular my game with Walter Bonatti, but probably this is only a personal feeling. I like the game with Istvan Schrancz, too. It is a King's attack with fine sacrifices. But looking at the final crosstable you see that the most important victory was that against Alex Bubir. I think my play was quite correct there. It's strange to see how easily White got a clear advantage after a normal Sveshnikov!

You played the whole WC 2005 cycle, i.e. you started in a preliminary group more than 6 years ago, and came to the final after a semi-final and a candidates tournament. Each time you reached a clear first place with 23 wins, 9 draws and no losses in the qualification process. This is definitely very determined. Was your playing strength the same all the time, or did you improve in certain stages?

Logically, one is going to make better with experience, but I think my playing strength was similar all the time, although it could be decreased at some time by the amount of games. However, I begun the final with many games and I was able to win it.

How would you describe your style?

I think it is very straightforward and at the same time I try to be enough flexible to adapt myself to each opponent. I have no problem to play almost any kind of position. I like attacking the king, positional play, endgames, and I even enjoy looking for hard defensive moves. But, if I'd be able to mimic someone's style, I'd choose Fischer style, no doubts.

Four players have finished the final unbeaten. But three of them have reached this result playing only from the safe side, I think. You took more risks, but thereby you had also to defend much harder and more carefully sometimes. How important is your good defence for your success?

You are right. I take risks, sometimes too much. This caused some problems in my games with Hadet and Robson, and then I had to fight very hard for the draw. The good defence in these games is very important for myself especially in an emotional sense, though it took much energy. On the other hand, taking such risks I won convincingly with the black pieces the game against Schrancz.

The qualifications groups have been played by email, and the final was the first one played on the LSS. Do you prefer one or the other?

I am experienced in server play at LSS and on the ICCF server. For me it is clear, the server is the best, no doubts. It prevents from typographical mistakes and the time management is much better and avoids cheating. When you are used to play at the server, it is a problem to come back to email chess.

What are your chess plans for the future? I hope you will be a playing champion and try to defend your title!

Now I concentrate all my energies on ICCF. But I don't reject at all to come back in the future to play another WC final on IECG taking advantage of the immediate qualification. I feel very comfortable with IECG people!

Thank you very much for this interview!

This interview was made by our correspondent Thomas Niessen.

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