Boris Gelfand: I have no rituals, but before the game I listen to music to get ready for the game. As a rule the music is quite different, depending on the mood.
Levon Aronian: I also have music rituals. As a rule I prefer jazz.
Peter Svidler: I have rituals and I have a good answer for this question: I won’t tell you. When I was very young, music helped me to get ready for a good game. Recently I have returned to this practice but it didn’t influence my play. Sometimes a lot depends on the way you spent the day.
Vassily Ivanchuk: It can’t be called a superstition, you just need to be in optimal state, and music and a walk in the open air help to get into this state.
Etien Bacrot: I’m quite superstitious. One of the signs is that I don’t shave when everything goes well. It’s one of the details. And it works as long as it works.
Evgeny Alekseev: Sometimes I try to write with a lucky pen at tournaments. So you take a pen, if you have success in tournaments you continue to use it, if not you change it. Everything goes well here for the time being so I don’t change the pen.
Vladimir Akopian: Chess players are apt to superstitions. Many of them are attentive to the clothes. If they lose they put these clothes away. If the game is successful they go on playing the tournament in the same clothes. Some care about the pen. If the tournament is successful with one pen they write with it, if not they change it. I also care about clothes and pens. This tournament was not successful for me at the beginning, so I put away the suit I played in. Now I’m playing in other clothes. And it works for the time being.
Pavel Eljanov: Many people have their superstitions. Chess players often care about the lucky pen. As for me I don’t have any omens and superstitions. I use nothing but regime and training methods.
Alexander Grischuk: I don’t shave at playing days, either before or after games. I always wait for the day off.
Gata Kamsky: The situation with omens and superstition in chess is as difficult as in other sports. For example: I haven’t put on my tie today. The pen is of great importance. One more omen is that one mustn’t change his dinner table and also should keep one regime and repeat everything thoroughly.
I hope they change their under garment at least once a tournament.
I doubt they do. Air-fresheners have since become a regular tool of the arbiters, aside from the chess bible – the handbook of laws.
“Etien Bacrot: I’m quite superstitious. One of the signs is that I don’t shave when everything goes well. It’s one of the details. And it works as long as it works.”
Translation: “I want to be like Mike! (Michael Jordan reference.) In this case Aronian.
Aronian has set a bad example for the younger male players. A chess king should be clean shaven and neat. Not like crazy chess hobo.
“Alexander Grischuk: I don’t shave at playing days, either before or after games. I always wait for the day off.”
I want to be like Levon too!