An Interview with GM Dr. Murat Akdag

By winning the Jaroslav Hybl Memorial A tournament you have completed your GM norms and acquired the GM title. Can you narrate the poignant stages of the tournament highlighting important points.

 I became a GM after the game where I beat the Croat GM Ljubičić, Ing. Leonardo (2630) on 12.2.2014 by making a novelty, in the Jaroslav Hybl Memorial A tournament . Ljubicic became the World Champion recently. I started correspondence chess in January 2004. It took me 10 years to become a GM. A. Dikmen and Fatih Atakisi have contributed greatly in my introduction into Correspondence Chess. In the first 6 years I generally played in a non-assertive way. The successful results of my close friend Tansel Turgut motivated me. I acquired GM norms in 4 of the 5 high level tournaments that I played in the last 4 years. According to the finished 253 games so far I have 82 wins, 165 draws and 6 defeats (65.02%).
GM Dr. Murat Akdağ

Previously you won the Turkish Championship and gained a second place in the AA Zonal. What are your next targets? Do you have plans for the World Championship?

My next target is to become the World Champion. I am planning to exert intensive effort in this direction in the following 5 years. Also I will try to surpass the 2600 resistance level by playing in category 12 or higher tournaments that I am invited to.

Do you use game databases while searching for moves? In general when you are searching for moves what kind of a procedure do you use?

During my search for moves I use 4 different databases. 1- OTB database I particularly check games with 2600 and plus rating. 2- Correspondence database 3- Engine database (with ECO code feature) 4- Opponent database In the opening stage I investigate my opponents games and try to find out positions that make them uncomfortable. In my choice of move with White this becomes the most important factor. After this investigation I either chose e4 or d4. I play Nf3 and c4 less often. I think in general d4 is better in Correspondence Chess. In general I check every position of a game with Komodo 9, Stockfish 6 and Houdini Pro 4. Apart from this I use engines like Fire 4 , Gull 3, Equinox 3.30 , Critter 1.6a , Deep Rybka 4.1 , Bouquet 1.8, Black Mamba 2.0 , Naum 4.6, Deep Fritz 14, Deep Shredder 12, Ivanhoe series and Hiarcs 14 in some positions.

There are negative thoughts that appear in forums about the use of PCs in correspondence chess. Can you tell us your opinion on this issue. Due to PCs and tablebases can correspondence chess come to an end?

The most important hazard of the technological advances against humanity is its induction of the reduction of the use of the brain. Correspondence chess is a discipline where engine analysis, published and visual material research and intuitional abilities are blended. Unfortunately the technological advances in the recent years gave rise to soulless games where many people play by engine moves. However to reach the summit is possible only with human evaluation.

         Can you analyse 3 of your games which you like the best for our viewers. 

Do you find the prize money allocated for the Turkish Championship adequate? Do you think the Federation is showing enough interest towards correspondence chess? Can we take your opinion in these matters?

Unfortunately correspondence chess culture in our country is not at a sufficient level. An average tournament takes 1-1.5 years. Thousands of hours of labour and intensive toil.

It is good to see that in the recent years there are news about correspondence chess on TSF web site. The TSF under Gulkiz Tulay administration is the most successful federation I have seen so far. Thanks to her the community has taken a sigh of relief. The positive and constructive attitude of Gulkiz Tulay is the most important factor in this. I hope this administration continues in this direction for a very long time.

What are you insights about the future of correspondence chess in Turkey?

I played in some OTB games this year and I will continue to do so. My observation is this: there is a very talented below 20 generation that is slowly emerging. I think that this resource will feed the correspondence chess in Turkey.
Which player influenced you most?

Among Turks Tansel Turgut, from foreigners Reinhard Moll ( He has 10 GM norms!!)
What are your favorite openings and which stage of a chess game do you like the most?

With Black Queen's Gambit Accepted and Petroff. With White I chose the opening where my opponent has the worst score. In other terms I play every opening with White. I think I am much better in the endgame stage of a chess game. Frankly I don't think I have solved the opening stage in a satisfactory level.
Do you have a message and what are you advices to players who want to progress in correspondence chess?

I think correspondence chess will help to improve the repertory of professional OTB players. For chess fans it will help them to learn the opening techniques. Players who want to progress should not take on more than 30 games during a year. They should follow the computer and engine technologies closely and should own an equipped PC. They should have CB13. They also should have wide database potential.

Thank you.

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