June 23, 2017

On a rest day of the World Team Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, some participants of the tournament had a meeting with trainees of Ugra Chess Academy.

The first half of the Team Championships is over, so it is time to have a little break. Some of the participants decided to spend their day-off meeting future players – who are learning how to play chess in Ugra Chess Academy these days. Boys and girls were watching the rounds of the World Team Championships with great interest and now they got their chance to meet grandmasters from 4 participating countries outside the playing hall. During the meeting kids were able to chat with the 14th women’s world champion Anna Ushenina (Ukraine), WGM Olga Girya (Russia), GMs Alexander Onischuk (USA) and Aleksej Aleksandrov (Belarus).

Professional chess players meet amateurs rather often: give lectures, conduct workshops, talk about sport and life. According to Alexander Onischuk, such activities are common not only for Russia but for the USA as well, where he visits schools very often.

“The idea to arrange this meeting was really good. When I was young I very rarely had chances to meet grandmasters so such events were very memorable for me. I think, kids are looking forward to meeting strong players and asking them their questions, – says the representative of the US team. – Most of the audience here is very young. I was surprised to notice that some kids are already very strong chess players, chess becomes more and more young in the last decades. On the one hand, this is good but on the other hand, you need to work even harder. Starting from such a young age children need to analyze a huge amount of information”.

Young chess players were really well-prepared, they had dozens of questions to ask. Those who wanted to talk to the famous grandmasters made a long queue to a microphone. The biggest number of questions was addressed to a local chess star – a player from Ugra Olga Girya. Some wanted to know about the technical aspects of chess, others were asking about training, favorite books and plans for the future. Being asked “If not chess, then what?”, Olga confessed that she would probably become an artist.

“I like such events very much. I think that when you are hosting a big tournament like the World Team Championships, you need to use this chance to the full. Once when I was a school kid, we went to the World Cup for a couple of days just to see how it went. This trip gave me so much motivation”, – said Olga Girya.

When all the questions were asked, grandmasters had an important task to do. They needed to choose the four most interesting questions. Anna Ushenina preferred a question of Artyom who wanted to know if grandmasters know some poetry about chess.

Alexander Onischuk liked a question of Dasha, who presented chess players with a challenge: “What would you prefer in a critical situation – to ask your coach, to consult a computer or to use the help of the audience?”.

Aleksej Aleksandrov chose a question of Daniil who wanted to know if the grandmaster ever lost his games. Among many questions addressed to Olga Girya she had chosen the most perplexing one. Dasha was curious why in recording moves the letter P for a pawn is not used whereas other pieces are identified by their initials. The answer was found by joint efforts.

“This is a very interesting question. We have abbreviations for all the other pieces, still a pawn is not identified somehow. Probably, this is because pawns are the most frequently moved pieces so this is done to save time”, – supposed Alexander Onischuk.

In the end of the meeting kids and grandmasters were photographed together while the authors of the best questions got the posters of the World Team Championships with the autographs and good wishes from the grandmasters.

“I am so happy, I met Olga Girya and other grandmasters. I had wanted to ask them many questions but finally I chose the most interesting one. Now I want to train harder as I want to be like Anna Ushenina, because she was a world champion”, – shared her impressions Dasha.