The latest World Junior Champion always provokes interest. Who is he, where did he come from and what new trends will he bring to chess? Should we expect a further breakthrough or is he a king for a day, set to vanish back into obscurity a few months later and never be heard from again?!
The general impression and opinion is that the Ukrainian Alexander Ipatov, who played the tournament under the Turkish flag, is a player “with a future”, one we’ll hear much more about. True, you can’t call Alexander a chess prodigy like Carlsen or Karjakin, but when you get to know him a little better it immediately becomes obvious: he’s really got his head screwed on. He’s perfectly capable of “calculating variations” and making the correct choice, both on and off the chessboard. Ipatov is hard-working and determined, and even if it turns out he’s not fated to become World Champion Alexander is unlikely to make a tragedy out of that – he’ll unquestionably find himself in something else, where you can count on his reaching the top.
For now chess comes first for him, and he’s making every effort to achieve as much as he can. It would be foolish to abandon an ambitious dream when you’re 19 and have only just become the “chess prince”. Alexander Ipatov – remember that name!
First of all, how valuable and prestigious is the title of World Junior Champion nowadays? Do you feel as though you’ve achieved something special by winning in Athens?
I think the title of World Champion is cool in itself, but so far it hasn’t entirely sunk in that I’ve won it. For now it only feels as though I’ve won a strong open… I’m also very glad that I’ve qualified for the 2013 World Cup.
So you haven’t yet got the sensation that you’ve joined the ranks of Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov, Anand and Ivanchuk, who also became “chess princes”?
For the moment I don’t feel very comfortable alongside such famous chess players… With the exception of Ivanchuk they all went on to become adult World Champions as well. For now I’d like to get into the world’s Top 100, and then it’ll be possible to look higher…