How to become an Olympic Champion?


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Recently I’ve been analysing the games from the 39th World Chess Olympiad, where Ukraine got the gold medal. By the way, I am from Ukraine, so I know a chess situation here very well. I guess it will be interesting for you to know “how it is possible to become an Olympic Champion?”. This is what I will be telling you in this issue.

First, I have to say that a chess situation in Ukraine is quite sad. Maybe it sounds strange, but it is true. Ukrainian chess players don’t have any real support from the side of their country. I remember that a few years ago those guys from the Olympic team did NOT even want to go to an Olympiad.

It is a funny situation really:

normally any sportsman dreams to be in an Olympic team and to take part in a World Olympiad. At the same time Ukrainian chess players don’t want that (despite of the great results of the Ukrainian team)!

It happens because they don’t get much profit even if they become a Champion. These players can earn much more playing individually in international commercial tournaments.

Also I remember that about about 5 years ago the 1st prize in a Championship of Ukraine was 200 usd  (in the country with a lot of 2600-2700 players!) Of course nobody played there…

It is only a few facts, while I can write many similar ones.

At the same time Ukraine got almost all the possible gold medals in the last few years: Individual World Champion, World Team Champion, Olympic team Champion, Europe individual Champion, World Cup Champion… etc (even Woman World Blitz Champion – E.Lahno )

Here we come to the main question: How the Ukrainian chess players can achieve so great results despite of the facts I mentioned above?

It happens because Ukraine has a chess School. I mean a School in the broad sense – the system of chess teaching. For example, when I was a schoolboy, I have been learning in a Sport School also. In the end I got the diploma of a chess teacher and a local chess arbiter.

We have special Universities, which prepare chess teachers. It takes 5 (!!) years of a constant learning. You see that everything is very serious. A chess player (or a chess teacher) is a job; and same to all other professions it requires a special system of preparation.

For some strange reasons many chess players don’t understand it. They think that it is enough to buy some chess books, to read them, to have some practice, and “voila” – you are a strong chess player.

What if doctors (let’s say surgeons) start using the same method of learning? Luckily, they don’t do it. Otherwise they would sometimes cut off something by mistake

By the way, chess players often ask me something like this: “Why are my results not stable? Sometimes I can beat a strong opponent, but sometimes I play like a patzer.” The answer is very simple and logical: random study brings random results. (do you still remember our surgeon? )

There is a same problem with a chess coaches in the world. Nowadays everyone thinks that he/she can be a chess teacher (and it is enough to be a little higher rated player to do so). It is a very harmful situation, because such “teachers” damage the chess career of a lot of talented persons.

I know many “teachers” who teach little kids, showing them modern lines of Najdorf variation along with Rybka analysis… Of course it is totally useless for a kid, who makes blunders and loses the pieces. Moreover, after some time such “teachers” say “it is a bad pupil” or “you don’t have a chess talent” or something like this. Some players believe in these statements and lose their enthusiasm. Such stories makes me angry.

The conclusions.

–> You need to have a serious system of chess training. This will make your progress constant and steady.

–> If someone says that “you don’t have a chess talent” – do NOT believe them! Everyone can become a Grandmaster one day (or at least an International Master).

———————————>

In the end of this issue I’d like to show you one game from the World Chess Olympiad:

Saric I (CRO) – Efimenko Z. (UKR)

Black’s turn.

It seems like a calm endgame position. It is important to mention that black moved his king previously, thus he can’t make castling. Black has some problems with a development, while white is putting the pressure on the black’s queen-side.

Now black can take one of the pawns (c2 or f3), but white will play Ra7 and will get a powerful compensation.

Let’s see how black solved the problems:

17…c6 It is an interesting move, which suddenly makes the position very sharp. 18.Nb6-Rb8.

19.Nc4 is bad for white, because of 19…Ne2 and 20…Nf4.

In the game white played 19.Rd4-cd 20.Nc4.

Now I’d like to give you a little task: what should black play now?

You have 3 attempts to guess the right move. In the next blog post I will write the answer.

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