“Where is Bacrot? At home in front of his computer"

The leader of the French team Maxime Vachier­-Lagrave and his captain Arnaud Hauchard visited the press­center of the Olympiad and shared their impressions on the event.
Maxime Vachier-­Lagrave: I wouldn’t say that everything is working well for me, but the game against Boris Gelfand was okay. It was a complicated game, but early on Boris committed a mistake that made a big impact on the game.

– This is your debut on the first board. How do you feel?
M.V.­L.: First of all, I became a team leader only because Etienne Bacrot did not come here. I feel big responsibility and will try to meet the expectations.

– Where is Etienne?
A.H. (after a long pause): At home in front of his computer, I think. It is better to ask him why he did not come.

– Harnaud, three weeks before the Olympiad we heard that the first board will be given to Vladislav Tkachiev. Was it your way to trick the opponents?
A.H.: No, we actually planned to put him on the first board, but his practice last year was very limited. I talked to him and finally decided to give him the third board instead.

– Which result will be considered successful for France?
A.H.: It would be nice to finish among the top-­5.

– And what about the women’s team?
A.H.: It is difficult to judge, but I would like to see them among the top ten teams, although they’ll have to work much secure that.

– Less than a year ago you visited Khanty­-Mansiysk. Since that time the city was getting ready for the Olympiad. How do you like their preparation?
M.V.­L.: It was too cold during the World Cup 2009, so I just stayed in the hotel and did not see the place. Now I can say that Khanty-­Mansiysk is a nice city, as the weather allows me to do sightseeing without risk for my health (laughs)! However, we have to do a lot of preparation and don’t have enough time to fully enjoy the place.

– Maxim, how did you life change since your last visit to Khanty-­Mansiysk?
M. V.­L.: There weren’t many changes. The only thing I can note is my graduation from the University in June. Now I am a mathematician with a degree.

– Was it a happy year for you?
M. V.­L.: It was a stable and good period, but not more. However, there is still time left, and I’ll have to work a lot. After the Olympiad I’ll play in some tournaments and hope to improve my individual result.