Michal Krasenkow is a Polish Grandmaster, who's active in quite some chess related fields: coaching, writing and of course as a player. The Russian born Krasenkow also is a master in applied mathematics. As a trainer he worked for youth prodigies, countries as Poland and Turkey, and even Viswanathan Anand. He is a prolific chess author and an opening expert of e.g. the King's Indian, the Sveshnikov, and the Open Spanish. Fun fact: another of his main contributions to theory is a line in the English Opening that has no universally accepted name, but is most of the time referred at as the Groningen Attack: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.g4!?. Krasenkow also insists on the name Groningen Attack, because it was first played at the FIDE World Championship in Groningen (1997), first in the play-off (rapid) game Zviagintsev-Benjamin, and on the next day in Krasenkow's classical game against Gildardo Garcia. It's a line that's adopted by many of the world's elite ever since, e.g. Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen. Krasenkow won many tournaments, a list too long to mention here, mostly in the aggressive, attacking style his chess is known for. However, he calls his best result the 5th round in the already mentioned, extremely strong World Championship in Groningen. Ever since he often competes here in Groningen, together with his wife Ilena Krasenkova.
Interview previous to the 2018 Chess Festival.
If you wouldn’t play chess, in what sport you would (want to) be a professional? And of all professions?
I can’t imagine myself a professional in any other sport :-). Of other professions – perhaps I could be a historian.
According to you, how big is the factor luck in chess?
I think as big as in the life as a whole.
If you could change one rule in chess, what would it be?
Fortunately, the most stupid rule regarding the pawn promotion has recently been changed. However, the new ‘one-hand’ rule is quite absurd too, as far as promotion is concerned.
What about playing some rounds Fischer Random? Or change the system of pairings to only announce it a few minutes before a game, in order to discourage preparation? Or to play on for three points, as where after a draw a blitz game decides the third point?
Please don’t destroy our beautiful game! Blitz and Fischer random are different games, don’t mix them up with chess!
How does a normal/standard day look like in the life of Michal Krasenkow?
There is no normal or standard day. Days are different at tournaments, training sessions, vacations and at home :-).
What was the best chess advice given to you?
If I have to mention one advice then it was the one regarding time management in rapid chess. It was given to me in 1988 by a certain chess player (alas, I don’t remember who he was), and I immediately became one of the strongest rapid players in the then Soviet Union and perhaps in the world, too.
How would you describe your playing style?
Active (I can’t describe it more precisely).
Who is your favorite opponent? And who do you really like to play one day?
It is hard to say who is ‘favorite’ but I would be glad to play against world’s top players (although I am not sure whether I am going to get such an occasion anymore).
Is there a way to recognize the chess player in a crowd?
I don’t think so. Most of chess players are just normal people.
Chess, is it – according to you – art, science, game, sport or just a way to keep the crazy people sane?
A bit of everything :-).
What’s the longest period after another, you are able not to think of chess?
I think of chess every day so such a period must be quite short :-).
Artificial Intelligence takes over chess, one could say. What do you think, shall it also take over life itself eventually?
Not in my lifetime, I guess, so I don’t think about that.
What memories does Groningen bring back to you?
Of course, 1997 FIDE World Championship – my greatest success in chess.
What is your best game and why?
A difficult question to answer. I’m proud of many games with quite some brilliant combinations, as well as good positional games during my career but my game against Nick de Firmian (Polanica Zdrój, 1995) is probably the most memorable. Once I was very proud of it, but then it turned out that it is far from perfect, and a number of mistakes and inaccuracies were found. Still, it is very instructive for every young player, and the mistakes are instructive too!
– Benno de Jongh –