Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik (43) has announced that he will end his career as a professional chess player, the official website of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament said Tuesday, January 29.
Kramnik was world champion from 2000 until 2007. He dethroned Garry Kasparov by beating him 8.5 – 6.5 in 2000. Kramnik didn’t lose a single game during this world championship match. He has won virtually all top tournaments, including the Tata Steel Chess Tournament (in 1998).
Kramnik said: “I already decided to finish my professional chess career a couple of months ago and now, after having played my last tournament, I would like to announce it publicly.”
“The life of a professional chess player was a great journey and I am very thankful to chess for all it has given me. It has sometimes been difficult, sometimes more successful than I could ever imagine, but in any case it has been a priceless human experience for me. I have always tried my best to give it all from my side, being fully involved in it while working and playing chess.”
“But I have also expressed in interviews before that I would like to try doing something else one day, and since my chess player motivation has dropped significantly in recent months, it feels like the right moment for it. I would like to concentrate on projects which I have been developing during the last months especially in the field of chess for children and education. I will soon provide more detailed information about those.”
“I might still like to play a rapid or blitz chess tournament at times, or do a simultaneous like the Tata Steel Chess simultaneous in the Dutch parliament building this afternoon and will participate in various events connected with chess, popularising this great game.”
Jeroen van den Berg, director of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament: “I am honoured that Vladimir Kramnik has picked the Tata Steel Chess Tournament to be his last. I would have liked to see him to take leave with a better result, though. Vladimir is a great player. He is dynamic, all-round and a great fighter with a very keen insight. But above all he is a wonderful and warm person, with a great sense of humour. I will miss his presence in the top of the chess world, as will many chess aficionados all over the world. I wish him all the best with everything he is going to undertake and am sure our paths will cross again many more times.”
Armenia’s top chess player, grandmaster Levon Aronian said in a tweet that it’s a sad day for chess.
“Another giant leaves the game earlier than we all would hope for.Vladimir Kramnik leaves an incredible legacy behind him. Almost every opening line played in last 25 years has his major input,” Aronian said.
In the past weeks Kramnik participated in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. This afternoon he will play the Tata Steel Chess simultaneous (Torentje Schaak) Tata Steel has organised for members of parliament and journalists in the parliament building in The Hague. This simultaneous is always the last event of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament.