“It should have come earlier”: 14 year old Vincent Keymer and the Grandmaster title

It took Vincent Keymer 15 months to secure his third and final Grandmaster norm. “It should have come earlier,” says Vincent. But several times he was very close and failed, nothing to blame himself for. “That was just bad luck.”

On Saturday night on the Isle of Man, it was finally done. With a draw against Russian Grandmaster Vadim Zvjaginsev, Vincent Keymer secured the desired third norm – and the Grandmaster title. Although 15 months have passed, Vincent Keymer (14) still easily is Germany’s youngest chess grandmaster ever.

In the Twitch studio of the Isle of Man Grand Swiss he answered the questions of Fiona Steil-Antoni after the game against Zvjaginsev.

“It’s done”: Vincent Keymer with Fiona Steil-Antoni. (Photo: Maria Emelianova/chess.com)

You needed a draw today, you got that – and the Grandmaster title came with it. How does that feel?

I am happy – and relieved. So many times I just missed the third norm. Now it is done.

In the Bundesliga you last played a 2599, you missed it by one performance point.

Even less than that, and not only in the Bundesliga!

After these missed opportunities: How do you handle a game like today? How big is the pressure?

I was so close so often, and then it was never quite enough, without me having to blame myself. It was just bad luck. Today’s game began unlucky again: two blacks in a row. At some point you just have to accept it, be above it. Maybe that’s why I did not feel as much pressure today as in previous attempts to make the third norm.

“Not my favourite pairing”: Keymer’s Coach Peter Leko. (Photo: Niki Riga)

Two blacks in a row, not the only bad luck in this tournament. In the fifth round you had to play against your coach Peter Leko.

Yes, that was not my favorite pairing (laughs). We know each other so well, each other’s repertoire, the style, everything. No matter what I would do, what I would play, it would always be difficult. For him I am like an open book.

What did Peter say when today’s desired draw was sealed?

He was happy of course. Not euphoric, though. My third norm should have come sooner.

How is your cooperation going? Peter plays himself in this tournament.

That’s why he does not have much time, he has to prepare for his games. We will have short exchanges of ideas of course, but the lion’s share of my concrete preparation I have to do alone. I did not arrive unprepared, though. Peter and I have trained together before the tournament, have analyzed openings. That’s something I am feeding on now.

It’s been about half a year since you found yourself at the board against the best in the world at the Grenke Classic. At the start, you came close to drawing Magnus Carlsen. Tell us about this experience.

Unique. The tournament was a very special experience for me. Very tough, very strong opponents. The pressure before the game against Magnus felt ambivalent. On the one hand, it was huge, because this game was in the spotlight. On the other hand, not so big. Everyone expected me to lose anyway.

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