Microsense Kramnik Gelfand Program 2020 Day 9: The most unique chess camp ever comes to an end
"This is the most unique chess camp ever," says GM Boris Gelfand, who was one of the trainers at the Microsense Kramnik Gelfand Training Program 2020. It is for the first time in the history of chess that a World Champion and a World Championship Challenger spent over 50 hours each with the young super-talents of a particular nation. Kramnik and Gelfand gave it their all to the 14 youngsters throughout the duration of the training program. It was possible that on the last day, they could take things a little easy. But it was quite the contrary. Kramnik and Gelfand came with the resolve to complete the entire syllabus they had prepared and they worked harder than all of the previous days. In this article you get to know about what transpired on the final day, photos from the last day of the camp and interviews with both Kramnik and Gelfand on their experience.
After eight days of intense training with Kramnik and Gelfand, one would imagine the final day to be a little light! Chat a little, discuss a bit on the future plans, wish everyone a nice goodbye... Quite the contrary! Kramnik arrived at the customary 12.30 p.m. mark and said, "Guys today is the last day. I have a lot of things to tell you, so it is going to be really intense. We may have to speed up a bit as we have a lot of lines to go through!" The 14th World Champion made it very clear that the last day was just like any other day! Gelfand on the other hand said, "If we finish the lines early, then we will go to Question and Answer session and if that is completed then I will be subjecting you to tests where every right answer will give you points and with every wrong answer you will lose some!" Basically both of them wanted to make sure that they could transfer the maximum learning to the kids on the final day of the camp.
What makes Kramnik and Gelfand excellent coaches is the fact that they come extremely well prepared for their lectures. But at the same time they are very strong chess players and hence every suggestion by the students is appropriately assessed by them. They never dismiss any move spoken by the student and always try to give a logical explanation for their conclusions. Here's a nice example:
Piket vs Kramnik, 1993
Just about everyone suggested the fine move ...Nxe5! The move is quite spectacular because Bxe5 is met with Rae8 and a subsequent f6 would win back the piece. After ...Nxe5, if White were to play Rxe5, then Black has a powerful move in the form of ...Rfc8. The rook on c6 defends the bishop on f6 and once the rooks are exchanged, not only is the bishop on f6 hanging, but also there is a backrank mate on the c1 square.
While all the students were convinced that ...Nxe5 was the correct move, young Aditya Mittal was not so keen to play it. His suggestion was directly ...Rfc8 (instead of...Nxe5). Now Gelfand could have simply discarded the suggestion and said that ...Nxe5 was better. But he asked Aditya as to why he didn't want to play ...Nxe5. The youngster, who was attending the class remotely from his home in Mumbai, said, "After ...Nxe5 Rxe5 Rfc8 White has the move Bxg7 and after Rxc6 there is Bxh6. Now White has two pieces for the rook and the mate threat on c1 has been averted.
Aditya had seen almost all of this and hence had decided that instead of going for ...Nxe5 on the first move, he would play ...Rfc8. Gelfand carefully listened to all the analysis and was impressed by the fact that even though ...Nxe5 was objectively the best move, Aditya's calculations were very accurate and definitely worthy of consideration. As Kramnik was playing with the black pieces, Boris said, "In the lunch break, we will ask Vladimir as to what he had thought about the assessment of the above position!" This is how you tackle the questions of these super talents - with respect and absolute truthfulness.
The camp began with 14 students. Aditya Mittal who met with an accident before the camp, attended it remotely through live streaming from his home. Prithu Gupta had to leave the camp on the third day because of ill health. Praggnanandhaa left the camp on the eighth day because of high fever. Although a lot of difficulties were faced before and during the camp in terms of organization, the dedication of the trainers, the resolve of the students to learn and the vision of the sponsors ensured that things kept moving smoothly no matter what the obstacles were! These Microsense Training camps are unique in chess history. Never have such strong players spent so much quality time with the young talents. It is bound to have a positive impact on Indian chess.
Previous articles of the camp:
Day 1: Fire and Ice
Day 4: Traits of a super talent
Day 5: Aesthetics in chess
Day 6+7+8: Celebrating Chess and Pongal