This time we have an interview with European Champion Fatih Atakisi ( pronounced as Faa-tihh Ata-kishi) on his victories and the current situation of chess in general.
1) When did you attain the European Championship? What kind of stages did you have to pass during the process?
In 2000 I won the 53rd European championship. A year earlier in the 47th European Championship although I scored half a point more (11,5/15 p ) than the tournament where I became the champion, I came second. In those days you had to pass a preliminary stage. I came 1st in the preliminary stage tournament (EU/M/GT/315 ) and obtained the right to enter the Master's tournament. I came 1st amongst 15 masters in this tournament and reached the final. In the final I played gainst very strong players of the time and grasped the championship on tiebreak points. I have to say that to clinch this title is very difficult and requires the application of strict discipline.
2) When you became the European Champion the chess software weren't as strong as they are now. Are you using PCs during your games? Can you elucidate?
When I became the champion PCs were just begining to be used and did not add up to anything. During my championship I never used a PC. Nowadays I use PCs because everyone has a few of these things at their disposal and to beat anyone has become more difficult than ever. However I have something interesting to say: Since 2006 due to my intensive vocational obligations I entrusted myself to PCs. The result is a complete catastrophy. The PC lost most of its games. From this I deduct the following: If you play tied to your computer it is difficult to beat your opponent, however if you can direct your computer according to your own moves, it is poassible to beat the opponent who is receiving PC assistance. Now of course correspondence players do not follow the PC move without probing. This is making draws the final outcome of most games and it is becoming nearly impossible to win any games at all. As a result I can say that PCs are about to totaly annihilate high level correspondence chess.
European Champion GM Fatih Atakisi
3) Can you analyse 2 of your games that you like the most.
3a) Does the perspective of Turkish Chess Federation on correspondence chess satisfy you?
I don't think that TSF has any study or planning on correspondence chess. I f there was any labour worthy to be mentioned the number of Turkish players would have increased. When I became a GM nobody from the Federation congratulated me which is interesting. They only gave it as news on their website; it seems that I couldn't attract any of their attention.
4) Can you comment on the World Championship of Tunc Hamarat...
I cannot find any words to praise the achievement of Tunc Hamarat.
The Austrian Government for which he played on behalf of,
is planning to print a stamp in his name to commemorate this achievement. What a great way to honour someone...! I hope one day it will be our turn...
5) Can you comment on the concession of the World Title by Tansel Turgut on tiebreak points?
There is rumour that Tansel was defeated by the tongs of other players. Whatever the reality may be in my eye the champion is Tansel Turgut. I never came across someone who plays correspondence chess so easily and cleanly. I think his personal life is also under discipline and it won't be long before we see him as the Champion.
6) Who is the player who inspired you the most?
I am quite fond of Tansel Turgut as I mentioned above.
7) What is your advice for the people who want to become strong correspondence players?
Don't played tied to a computer, try to direct them. Spare time for personal analysis.
8) Which one ICCF or FIDE?
ICCF is a bit amateurish, for the progress of chess I say FIDE. ICCF is ideal for people like us who can't find time for OTB play due to vocational obligations.
9) You are also a FIDE Master and a Senior Chess Trainer. Do you have goals like developing your FIDE title or becoming a Technical Director.
When I retire in the future I would like to become a Technical Director. My age is not suitable for OTB chess, to cope with young players is difficult for us. However I have some humurous friends who say that I haven't said my last word.
10) Can you comment on the progress of Turkish Chess? What do you think of the performance of our National Players?
Relative to the past the progress and the emergence of new masters catches the eye but I personally think that day by day chess is becoming a rich man's game. Sooner or later the negative impact of this factor will be noticed. I am also against converted masters. This will only help to camouflage insufficient progress. Foreign trainers may be useful but foreign (converted) national player idea is to me is displeasing and it won't be beneficial. In the way it stands now I think that only masters with monetary possibilities will proceed and I don't expect other achievements.
11) What are your favorite openings? What stage of chess do you like the most?
I like d4 openings and middle game is the phase that I like the most and where I am more succesful.
12) What will be your next move and do you have a message?
I plan not to play correspondence for a while after I finnish about 15 games that I have in progress. Then I will only take on a small number of games to increase my rating and I will watch out for World Championship Finals.
As a player who served the purpose of the development of correspondence chess quite a bit I invite people who cannot play OTB chess to play correspondence chess. The idea should be to improve chess not to win or loose.