26 Dec 2012

Holiday Sales


Don't miss to get the holiday sales package with special offers!

Click Holiday Sales or Special Offer to grab the packages!

24 Dec 2012

Merry Christmas


Our GM Igor Smirnov wishes you all a wonderful holiday season and gives you some amazing offers for his courses.

He said, 


I wish you a wonderful Holiday Season! May it bring you lots of smiles, presents and positive emotions! :) And of course I’d like to wish you many pleasant victories: both in your chess battles and any other challenges you may have!
Also I’d like to thank everybody for participating in a recent survey! We received a lot of feedback and now are analyzing everything carefully. During the next 2013 year we’ll be working on answering your questions and realizing your proposals.
What are YOUR chess plans for the upcoming year? New Year is a very suitable time to sum up your past results, and arrange future plans.
If you develop a good training plan for 2013, it will favor your steady progress.
In order to simplify this task for you, I combined the courses into PACKAGES suitable for different level students. Choose your package, and it will become your training guide during the next 6-12 months. Make 2013 the best chess year you ever had!
Good news: during this holiday season, till December the 31st you can get any package on a special discounted price.
Isn't it amazing? So don't miss it. So you can choose your package on discount price.
And also you can get his other chess courses here !!! Have fun friends! :) Merry Christmas!

11 Dec 2012

Happy Birthday Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand is an Indian chess grandmaster and the current World Chess Champion. Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000, at a time when the world title was split. He became the undisputed World Champion in 2007 and defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008. With this win, he became the first player in chess history to have won the World Championship in three different formats: Knockout, Tournament, and Match. He will next defend his title in the World Chess Championship 2009 against Veselin Topalov, the winner of a challenger match against Gata Kamsky in February 2009.He have also won his championship against B.Gelfand in 2012.

Source: Anand's Chess Biography on Wikipedia.

28 Oct 2012

Happy Birthday GM Igor Smirnov


Chess Strike wishes International Grandmaster and Chess Coach Igor Smirnov a very happy birthday!

And not only that, there is 20% Discount in his all courses. So hurry up and get them!

The Grandmaster's Openings Laboratory : http://chess-teacher.com/opening#oid=1096_2_csb

The Grandmaster's Positional Understanding : http://chess-teacher.com/understanding#oid=1096_11_csb

Hurry up! And grab the 20% Discount courses!

And also read his nice post here : http://gmsmirnov.com/birthday-cake/

Thank you!

26 Oct 2012

What obstructs 95% of players? (part-2)

Hello friends, 

So our GM Igor Smirnov continues his post on "What obstructs 95% of players?" with his second part!

Here it is......
In the previous issue we been talked about the typical problems many chess players have. You may want to refer to the previous issue here: LINK
In short, people read A LOT of chess books, but the benefit is MARGINAL at best. Why does this happen?
I’ll tell you something seemingly easy, yet it will have a tremendous effect!
There is a HUGE (I mean extremely HUGE) difference between reading andstudying. Unfortunately most players don’t fully understand this, so let me explain this difference in detail:

1.     Time:

How much time do you spend reading a book? Anywhere from a few days to as much as several weeks. Thus reading can be quick.
Studying a text book can take a month or a lifetime!  I’m not exaggerating. For instance studying a religious book can take a lifetime, and even then you may still not fully understand it.
This is closely connected with the next item:

2.     Repetition:

Once you have read a book, you never read it again. It seems boring and unnecessary.
When you study certain material, you try to implement it in your practice. In this case you’ll need to repeat the process several times to make sure you understood completely how to proceed.
Once you’ve applied this knowledge in a practical application, you will develop new questions. You will then need to study this material again to find solutions to your new questions.
This process may occur many times until you finally get 100% effect out of this knowledge (book).

3.     Your activeness:

When you read a book or watch a video, the author of this material is active. He prepared some materials and is providing them to you. You go over this material however, by yourself, without really do anything active. This is passive learning, much the same as when you watch a new Hollywood movie – you are a passive viewer.
When you study something, you are independently active. You try and develop solutions yourself, and only after that will you compare your ideas with the author’s ones.
You try to understand every author’s idea. If you don’t understand something – you don’t skip it, but study the material over and over again until insight comes to you.
You try to understand and remember everything. After that you go and try it in practice. You may fail, but you keep trying until you train this new skill enough to get good results.
To study requires one to be very active.

4.     Level of difficulty:

As you may have guessed reading is easy. That’s why most of people like it so much!
You read something, you feel like you should be getting smarter. You digest a ready-made material with little or no effort required from you. This comfortable situation makes you feel good because it is not difficult. Studying is much harder. Here you have to face your weaknesses, admit them, and then put hard efforts to confront them. You need to spend a lot of timeand effort, do unusual things, and develop new habits. Inwardly you have to admit that somebody is smarter than you in this area, which is painful for a lot of people.
Reading is entertainment. Studying is a hard work.

5.     Memorizing:

A few months after you read something, you only remember the most general ideas from this material.
Let’s create a little test. Have you studied any of my paid courses? Do you remember the titles of each video lesson? What rules were presented in each lesson? How many practical tasks were presented in this course?
If you only study my free lessons on this blog, do you remember the lessons you’ve read 2 months ago? What were we talking about then?
Unfortunately most people can only give very general answers. It means you have NOT studiedthese lessons.
When you study something seriously, you won’t forget it later because it is learned. It becomes a part of your nature, your new habit.
In many countries people shake hands after a meeting. You never forget to do this. You don’t need to write it in your notebook it is automatic and becomes a habit.
Studying develops new habits. Reading develops… nothing.

6.     Free/paid:

Not always, but often you can get reading material for free. More often than not you have to pay for your study course materials.
There is some good news for you here. I’ve been an active chess coach for the past 7 years. During this period I’ve charged $ 0 (in other words helped for free) and as much as $ 100U.S per hour. I’ve noticed an interesting thing: the more the student pays, the better results he/she gets.
I always try to do my best, so my coaching is the same but the students’ ATTITUDE is very different.
For instance, those who paid a lot never come late to the lessonFree students sometimes even skip the lessons.
Those who made serious investments write down all important information. Some of them even use a voice recorder so as to repeat the lesson later on. Those who paid little never do.
After an expensive lesson, a student always performs his home tasks (even when it seems unnecessary for him).
In the same way you will probably eat the dish if you paid a lot for it in a restaurant (even if the dish looks unusual for you). It seems silly to pay for something and then not use it. We avoid making silly things.
After a free lesson a student decides by himself which tasks to perform and how. So he distorts the training and doesn’t get any real results.
All in all when you pay for something you take it much more seriously.
That’s why some tricky guys download tons of free chess materials from the internet, but their real progress is miserable. It’s just fair.

7.     Effectiveness:

After you study something new, you can take a qualitative leap forward. You develop new (more effective) skills. You change (improve) your way of playing. You start getting unusually great results.
After reading something, you feel good. You may be enthusiastic. But when it comes to practice – nothing changes. You still get the same results as before. This upsets you. You want to bring your mood up again and… you start reading another exciting book…
Now that we have discussed this topic in great detail, it’s time for you to ask yourself “Am Ireading or studying chess materials?
Be honest with yourself. Be objective and take all criteria (your results) into account.
P.S. Have you enjoyed this lesson? Share it with your friends by using the buttons below.

So it is really another fantastic post! Please share your comments below!
Thank you!

21 Oct 2012

What obstructs 95% of players?


I have read another impressive article from our GM - Igor Smirnov in his blog,

The post is about "What obstructs 95% of players?". Read that article below....


There are literally millions of chess books and tutorials that are available to us these days and all chess learners study from this same pool of material.
However, only a very small group of players (less than 5%) will experience any significant progress. The majority of players (95%) will unfortunately experience only slight advancement, or worse, no progress at all.
How to deal with such a sad situation? There are 2 typical approaches:
1) The 1st group of players is a little confused and ask themselves the question (or send the question to me :) ), “Why am I not progressing despite all of my desire and efforts?“
If you are in this group, please, accept my congratulations – you have very good chances for improvement!
2) The 2nd group of players prefers to believe in what they want to believe. They think that they are “experienced,” “advanced,” “experts” or that they “know all the chess basics already,” etc.
However, there is a well-known refutation proverb, “If you are so smart, then why are you so poor?” In regards to chess, this proverb basically translates to: “If you know so many things about chess, then how come your rating is so low?
In reply to this obvious question, this 2nd group of players will start providing various lame excuses such as:
“ I’m a good player, but only have problems with tactics (or opening repertoire or anything else)”.
I don’t want to memorize opening lines, because I like creativity.
I have problems with concentration, and sometimes make blunders.
Being under the delusion of their “advanced” level, such people produce a lot of lame excuses for their poor practical results.
They also start blaming chess books, authors, teachers, etc.  OK, maybe a certain book was bad, but it’s quite unlikely that all of them are bad, right? So maybe the problem is not there?
All in all, if you are a 2000 rated player and honestly believe that you’ve learned all of the main strategic and tactical motifs – you are in this 2nd group.
In this case, I wish you good luck, because there’s nothing else that can help you.
Yes, I’m not here to say pleasant things, but to tell you the REAL situation.
Now let’s get back to the 1st group of people who wonder, “Why am I not progressing despite all of my desire and efforts?
Please, think about this question. I’ll give you the answer in the next lesson, but in the meantime your independent thinking is very important. Perhaps you’ve learnt A LOT of chess books (or other tutorial materials). Why didn’t it bring you A LOT of a progress?

So that's really a nice one, isn't it? You can also share your comments here!

Thank you!

17 Oct 2012

Chess Puzzle - 87

 White to move and White is Siegbert Tarrasch. Can you find an incredible checkmate combination for Tarrasch?  

14 Sep 2012

Story of Karjakin

Hello friends, 
I have recently visited GM Igor Smirnov's blog and I have found an interesting article from him. Here it is!
A few days ago the 2012 Chess Olympiad concluded. Armenia won the gold medal and continues to get great results in team championships. My congratulations to the winners and all chess fans! This was an exciting event with many interesting games.
When observing such games people often admire the genius moves played by the top players. I often see comments like “Black’s position was tough, but the genius Ivanchuk found the right way.” It’s a bit funny to hear. It seems that Ivanchuk’s talent “tells” him what the best move is. :)
In this issue I’d like to reveal the REAL truth. Let’s use Sergey Karjakin as an example. I know him pretty well (initially we lived in neighbor cities and often met at tournaments etc), so I can provide the true facts.
Nowadays Karjakin is considered a “natural talent”, one who chess successes come easily to. Let me tell you how this story began however.
–> Karjakin’s parents hired all the good coaches they could find.
–> He spent a lot of time on chess training starting from a very young age. He’s the only person I know, who studied the entire series of endgame encyclopedias as a child!
–> Sergey took part in all the top tournaments. His father always accompanied him (I even was thinking “When does this man find time for his own job?”).
–> Karjakin didn’t really study in a school or university. He dedicated all his time to chess.
–> He traveled around the world to train with good coaches.
–> When he was school age he moved to another town which offered better possibilities for chess development.
–> Later he moved to another country to join the Russian team and meet even better coaches.
–> Even his wife is a chessplayer and I bet they met at a tournament :)
As you can see, his chess development required a lot of effort and sacrifice (from himself and from his parents as well). Remember this the next time you hear about “natural talent” :)
I know some of you will argue: “Some people just have a better aptitude for chess”
A man with long legs has better prospects as a runner. Does this mean others can’t run? Can’t others also improve their results in running? Can’t they become professional sportsmen and run faster than the majority of people in the world?
You may be thinking “Yes, but a natural talent progress’s faster”. I can tell you this: the way you train combined with your enthusiasm are MUCH more important factors!
So don’t overestimate the value of aptitude. And don’t underestimate yourself!
You CAN improve your current results significantly! And realize MUCH greater progress than you originally expected. I know PLENTY of such examples and publish them regularly. Here’s one more.
Sir, you may be happy to know one thing that “I have become Champion” in All Assam State Open Rapid Chess Championship’ 2012 held on 28th & 29th July at Guwahati, Assam. It was a state level (15 minutes rapid) competition and I got 6.5 points out of 7 rounds. 
Before 1 year, victory in my state was a dream for me, but after going through your courses and keeping in touch with a GM like you, its become so easy to me to achieve the goal!! I get the championship title effortlessly for the first time in my life.
Bidyut B. Handique (India)
I hope to receive the next e-mail with a success story from you!
At the end I’d like to show you a very interesting position from the recent Olympiad.
Try to find black’s next move and calculate the following lines.
After that, download the solution and check yourself: LINK
Hope you all liked it guys!
You can get his courses by clicking here

24 Aug 2012

Chess Puzzle - 81

White to move. How should white proceed?

Exclusive Interview with World Junior Champion Ipatov

The latest World Junior Champion always provokes interest. Who is he, where did he come from and what new trends will he bring to chess? Should we expect a further breakthrough or is he a king for a day, set to vanish back into obscurity a few months later and never be heard from again?!

The general impression and opinion is that the Ukrainian Alexander Ipatov, who played the tournament under the Turkish flag, is a player “with a future”, one we’ll hear much more about. True, you can’t call Alexander a chess prodigy like Carlsen or Karjakin, but when you get to know him a little better it immediately becomes obvious: he’s really got his head screwed on. He’s perfectly capable of “calculating variations” and making the correct choice, both on and off the chessboard. Ipatov is hard-working and determined, and even if it turns out he’s not fated to become World Champion Alexander is unlikely to make a tragedy out of that – he’ll unquestionably find himself in something else, where you can count on his reaching the top.

For now chess comes first for him, and he’s making every effort to achieve as much as he can. It would be foolish to abandon an ambitious dream when you’re 19 and have only just become the “chess prince”. Alexander Ipatov – remember that name!

First of all, how valuable and prestigious is the title of World Junior Champion nowadays? Do you feel as though you’ve achieved something special by winning in Athens?
I think the title of World Champion is cool in itself, but so far it hasn’t entirely sunk in that I’ve won it. For now it only feels as though I’ve won a strong open… I’m also very glad that I’ve qualified for the 2013 World Cup.

So you haven’t yet got the sensation that you’ve joined the ranks of Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov, Anand and Ivanchuk, who also became “chess princes”?
For the moment I don’t feel very comfortable alongside such famous chess players… With the exception of Ivanchuk they all went on to become adult World Champions as well. For now I’d like to get into the world’s Top 100, and then it’ll be possible to look higher…

Have you thought about how this victory might change your life?
I hope I’ll start to get more invitations to round-robin tournaments, and the terms I’m offered to play in leagues might improve…

Do you consider yourself a complete chess player or do you still need to “learn and learn”?
I think it’s simply obligatory for people to keep learning over the whole course of their lives… A person who doesn’t strive to improve deteriorates. Well, and in terms of chess it first and foremost wouldn’t do any harm to tighten up my openings: in the last three white games at the World Championship I came out of the opening worse.

You play a lot in various leagues and in Swiss events… How much harder is it to play against your contemporaries after you’ve got used to playing against adults?
A good question! I think that whoever you compete against the main thing is to play chess rather than to try and grind out a win “on class”. In this tournament I played the way I usually do and wasn’t afraid to go for dynamic positions against younger players.

How did you rate your chances before the start of the tournament?
Of course I realized I wasn’t the favourite! That meant I was under no psychological pressure, which I was very grateful for. Nevertheless, I set myself a goal: to score +7 without losses, which ultimately was what I managed. Just as I expected, that was enough to take first place. I guessed right!

Why didn’t you consider yourself the favorite?! And who did you consider that to be?
Above all Ding Liren, Yu Yangyi, Zherebukh and Shimanov. They were the main contenders for victory, while I didn’t consider the Hungarian Rapport to be a contender.

So you’d already singled them out for victory, but what about your thoughts on +7 and first place?
But it’s an objective thing… I thought and continue to think that Ding Liren plays better. I always have critical games against Yaroslav (it’s something like the Barca – Real clash in football), where things are usually decided not by the level of play but a struggle of nerves. Well, and I simply consider Aleksandr a very strong chess player. If he also had a more serious attitude to chess he’d probably long since have been a 2700 player…

Do you consider yourself self-confident or are you prone to underestimating yourself?
I think I’m reasonably self-confident, although in the last games it was precisely self-confidence I was lacking… Finding myself in first place I was already afraid of going for complications, although in the last round I simply wasn’t given a choice: my opponent really wanted to beat me and straight out of the opening he went for a direct attack.

Did your impression of the strength of your rivals coincide with what happened in the tournament? Or does one tournament show nothing…
In the case of the Chinese players it did coincide: Ding Liren didn’t lose a single game and demonstrated a very high quality of chess, although overly solid play prevented him from scoring more points. Yu Yangyi, in turn, also played in his own style: he went on the rampage with both White and Black. He started off well, but towards the end of the tournament he “dropped off”. Things simply didn’t work out for Shimanov and Zherebukh, so I think it’s true that one tournament doesn’t indicate anything. For some people everything came together, for others it didn’t…

Was there anyone who particularly surprised you, who outdid himself?
The Chinese player Wei Yi! He’s only 13 years old but his live rating is already 2450. He was the one who inflicted the only defeat on Rapport and cleared my path to victory.

Nothing else surprised you over the course of the tournament?
Nothing in particular. As I said, it was an open…

You said you had a plan for the tournament. Does such “planning” help and how do you react when it proves impossible to implement a plan?
To be honest, it was the first time in my life I’d set myself a concrete goal for a tournament. Before that I simply tried to play well… I think if a plan doesn’t work out you need to take a deliberate decision to think up another plan. Being overly stubborn isn’t the best quality in chess, as you always need to be able to manoeuvre.

How did you score your +7, and when did you experience the turning point in the tournament when you realised you could become champion?
In the first four rounds it was all very simple as the difference in class was just too great. I think in this tournament I only beat one really dangerous opponent – Nils Grandelius, in the 6th round with Black. Philidor would have been happy: I managed to crush my opponent with pawns alone. The turning point, meanwhile, came after the game with Ter-Sahakyan in the 9th round: I ended up worse with White in the opening and then spent the whole game trying to escape. Samvel conducted the whole game at the very highest level, but at the end he failed to make a move after which I’d simply have had to resign. I don’t think I deserved a draw, but after managing to survive that hopeless position I realised fortune was on my side – and I was obliged to fight for nothing other than first place!

So there’s no need to ask which game you consider your best?
No, the one against the Swede. I really respect Nils both as a personality and a chess player. I was very glad I managed to beat him. I think I’m quite good at getting to the bottom of dynamic positions, and against Nils that quality really helped me. Incidentally, that turned out to be his only loss. Ultimately he shared 3rd-4th place.

To what degree did that game reveal your strong points? And in general, who do you consider yourself to be in chess – a romantic or more of a practical player?
I think I’m more practical than romantic. Or rather I don’t think that, I’m sure about it. That quality was particularly evident in the 12th round, when I had Black against the 13-year-old Chinese player. Although his rating is only 2418 I decided to play to squeeze the life out of the game, so as not to take any unnecessary risks. I’m only romantic in life, and rarely at that.

What did you feel when you realized you were the champion? Or have you already become used to victories?!
(After a pause) What I want to say is that… it was the first victory of my career! Before this I’ve never taken first place in a tournament at the classical time control, although I’ve led many of them before the final round, for example Cappelle la Grande.
Before the last game (against Shimanov) I was very nervous, as I was afraid my nerves might let me down at the most inappropriate of moments … I was really helped by the support of those close to me – my mother, girlfriend, coach, friends and of course the Turkish Chess Federation, whose representatives have right from the beginning provided all the conditions for my success. At some point I simply realised I didn’t have the right to let people down. I drank some coffee and went off to shuffle the pieces around! I realised I was champion when my trainer hugged me.

It was the first victory of your career?!
Yes! I’m not used to victories at all, although it’s probably high time…

Studying your “childhood” biography all the second places really do jump out at you … In the Ukrainian Championship alone you took “silver” four times! It’s amazing you hadn’t won once until now. You must have been overwhelmed with emotions?
That’s not the word for it! I wanted to embrace the whole world. I’d like to dedicate my victory to my dad, who unfortunately didn’t live to see it. He passed away in May this year… A huge thank you also goes to my mum – from the moment I was born she supported and protected me, and also to my girlfriend, who inspired me with her presence… After all, the closer it got to the end the tougher it became, and when a real fight began she really supported me, for which I’m incredibly grateful. I want to thank a lot of people…

Keep going – now’s your chance!
I’d also like once more to express my gratitude to the Turkish Chess Federation, and also personally to Ali Nihat Yazici for his great support and faith in me. I’m convinced the transfer to the Turkish Federation was one of the most important and correct decisions of my career. I’d like to thank all my coaches: Efstratios Grivas (he was in Athens and was a great help with the openings and psychological preparation), Miodrag Perunović (he supported me by e-mail and gave valuable advice), Mikhail Kozakov, Viktor Zhelyandinov and Viktor Shcherbakov. Before the championship I also had a training session with Sergei Tiviakov in Turkey. His tips helped… Besides that, during the tournament itself Pavel Eljanov also supported me, for which I’m very grateful to him.

A genuine World Championship match team!
And that’s still not everyone. Special thanks to Anton Mihailov, the Chessdom website and also Yasin Emrah Yagiz, who really helped out in my career. Thanks also to the clubs I play for: İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi (Turkey), C.E.Barberà (Spain), SK Turm Emsdetten (Germany) and “Law Academy” (Ukraine). Also a huge thank you to all the organizers of the championship: the Greek Chess Federation and Georgios Makropoulos personally, Nigel Freeman and George Mastrokoukos. Everything was at the very highest level!

I’d like to ask: and what about the Ukrainian guys you knew and played with as a child? Did they congratulate you on your victory and encourage you during the tournament?
Of course they congratulated me, but I’m not sure how heartfelt it was… I don’t have any illusions about that… Not all the people who congratulated me really wanted me to win. Life is tough, and thankfully that’s something I understood quite early on.
Ah, I forgot to add that I was really inspired by a video selection of goals by my favourite football club – Barca. I never get tired of watching them.

Do you try to play in their style?
In chess there are very few capable of that. It’s more for inspiration! In order to play in that style you need to have a very high footballing culture.

And what about chess culture? Do you consider yourself a pupil of the “Soviet School of Chess”? Or in the computer age is it the same everywhere?
No, why? I wanted to mention it myself but forgot! I grew up exclusively on Soviet chess literature… Now I use a computer, but in my view books gave me much more when it comes to understanding chess.

On your own website you write that your dad worked with you when you were 4 years old. What was that – a conscious desire to turn you into a chess player, or was it simply that you got hooked on a childhood game?
My father once studied under the famous trainer Viktor Kart. He was the one who taught Beliavsky, Mikhalchishin, Romanishin and Litinskaya. So I assume my dad did nevertheless hope that I’d become a stronger chess player than he was himself. He taught me the rules and worked a little with me, but it was my mum who took me to the club.

Did they somehow push you into playing chess?
As a child I preferred more entertaining games like football or cards – so sometimes my parents simply forced me to sit down at the chessboard. When I grew up a little, however, I began to do it voluntarily…

“Voluntarily” is quite a stern word for a teenager! Did you never regret choosing the path of a professional chess player?
The path of a chess professional is very thorny and thankless, but I regret nothing. I’m ready to elbow my way upwards, given the world is so cruel and there’s no other way…

By the way, did you ever get to see Kart himself? Or to meet his pupils informally, if your father studied with them?
I saw Viktor Emmanuilovich in June 2009: there was a blitz tournament in Lviv in honour of his 80th birthday. He’s a very polite and pleasant man to talk to. As for his students, I recall Adrian Bogdanovich Mikhalchishin giving me a couple of lessons. Back then he selected some very interesting topics like “knight against bishop”. The things he showed me really were a great help, and I can still recall some of the patterns and conclusions. And this year at a tournament in Sarajevo I shared 4th-5th place with Beliavsky, although unfortunately I didn’t talk to Alexander Genrikhovich personally…
Perhaps I’d have seen more of them if my dad had been a chess player, but after all he left Kart’s group when he was 9 or 10 years old. As far as I know, however, he later talked to his students quite a lot, but no longer about chess topics.

When you realized you had a talent for chess did you test yourself out in other sports or intellectual games?
No, I always believed in my ability. As did my parents … If something didn’t work out I realized it was all temporary. And as for other things, I’ve always enjoyed playing football and table tennis, but at an amateur level, of course.
Lately I’ve taken a real interest in motivational and business literature. I read in my free time and widen my horizons. That really helps…

Do you have a goal in chess, something you want to achieve? Becoming World Champion, perhaps? Or is chess more of a trampoline for your future life?!
I think that’s a rhetorical question. Everyone wants to become World Champion… It’s something I want deep down and I’ll strive towards it. If I’ve become World Junior Champion then why not try for the adult title?! At the moment I’m planning on playing chess professionally, but you always need to have an alternative option. Now, for example, I’m studying at the Yaroslav the Wise National Law Academy in Kharkov.

Why there?
The Law Academy has always been renowned for its loyal attitude to chess. Pavel Eljanov, Alexander Moiseenko, Valeriy Aveskulov, Alexander Kovchan and many other famous grandmasters graduated from there. I was offered a free education, so I agreed. It’s not bad to have a law degree to fall back on!

Do you think you’ll ever work in that field?
It’s unlikely, but anything’s possible in life. After all, the competition in any sport is colossal, but I’ll say it again: I’m not bad at elbowing people out of the way and I’m ready to climb.

So in the 15 years you’ve been playing chess you haven’t managed to get bored of it?
I’ve also got other interests. I wouldn’t say I wake up thinking about chess and fall asleep with the same thoughts. As long as I enjoy playing chess that’s what I’ll do. I’m not going to pretend: chess doesn’t take up my whole life (the way it does, for example, for Ivanchuk), I’ve got a lot of different interests and I’m glad to be alive. Life is wonderful!
I clearly understand, however, that chess is the main thing for me just now. For example, I feel enormous fatigue after the World Championship, but I nevertheless can’t wait for the Olympiad. I want to help the team to a home triumph.

You write that you know four languages and play in leagues and tournaments in different countries – do you love traveling so much or is that simply how it worked out?
Now I’m intensively learning a fifth – Turkish. Yes, I really like to travel and meet people. I dream about visiting Australia and New Zealand. Well, and my favourite place on earth is the Nou Camp. Football is a religion in Catalonia…
Barca are really something! I’ve been lucky enough to go to six matches, and on one occasion that was El Clasico against Real, when Barca won 3:2 in the 2011 Super Cup. The Nou Camp is a holy place and everyone who loves football is simply obliged to visit.

Could you tell us how you ended up in Spain? It seems you were confidently rising to the top in the Ukrainian Championships, when suddenly – bam! – you changed federation…
It wasn’t sudden. While I was still representing Ukraine the chess federation was run according to strange principles. In general, they didn’t think about chess players as individuals, but only about how to live off them. Things have improved now: a new president is in place and the national team has a good trainer. It seems to me that the chess federation is now in good hands and I’m very glad about that.
And how did I end up in Spain? I was invited to play for a club and then they made me an offer to change federations. I didn’t need long to think about it. I started playing under the Spanish flag…

But you didn’t move anywhere?
No! I always lived in Ukraine, but I simply started to visit Spain more often – roughly 2-3 months a year. I played for a club and in local tournaments, although not so often.

Life’s in full swing there? The club system, constant Swiss tournaments…
Yes, Spain fulfills all the requirements for chess amateurs, but just not for professionals. In summer the lion’s share of the world’s chess tournaments are held in Spain, and particularly in Catalonia. Unfortunately, however, that’s all Swiss tournaments with a prize fund of no more than €10,000. There are exceptions, of course, but not many.

On the other hand, many strong players compete for the clubs: Anand, Topalov, Shirov…
That’s true. From 2007 to the present day I play for the Catalonian C.E.Barberà. I’m grateful to the club president Victor Pont, who’s done a lot for me. And among top players I’m acquainted with Alexei Shirov, who’s in fact my idol! He’s a wonderful person and a brilliant chess player. Actually, I can’t say that what I like most about Alexei is his style of play. For me he’s an idol more on a human level: he doesn’t boast and he treats everyone as an equal. That’s a very important quality in a sportsman.
I’ve also seen Anand and Topalov many times and I know where they live, but unfortunately I’m not personally acquainted with them. Perhaps at some point I’ll get to know them.

So Spain is clear, but how did you end up among the ranks of the Turkish Federation?
I received a personal invitation from the president and didn’t hesitate at all. You only get a chance like that once in a lifetime. It’s always pleasant to work with professionals like Yazici and his team. He’s actively helped and supported me.

In what ways?
In everything! There are a lot of aspects… He has ambitious plans and I’m very glad about that. In recent years it’s been one of the world’s most dynamic federations. They’ve made a real leap forward and continue to develop.
I was able to see that perfectly from their attitude to me, and the concern and willingness to do everything they can so the players are as comfortable as possible.

What’s included in your contract? Playing for the national team?
That’s part of it, and I can’t wait to play. It’s a great honor!

Seeing as we’re talking about Yazici it’s hard to avoid mentioning the scandal concerning his relationship with and prosecution of Atalik… What do you think about that?
I’m not very familiar with the situation, but as far as I know Atalik has bad relations with all the players on the Turkish Olympiad team. I’d also like to note that that’s on his initiative. Draw your own conclusions, as they say…

But you’re satisfied with how your chess career and personal life are going?
Apart from the death of my father things are simply going wonderfully for me!

If you were granted three wishes what would they be?
A long and healthy life for all my friends and loved ones, and that would do no harm for me as well. My second wish is to play football in the same team as the Barca players. And the third? To be a happy person and simply enjoy life!