Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remarkable Interview: 'GM Levon Aronian answers your questions: Part I'

Except in the rarest of places, as a rule a Blog [1] should be made up of original content. For who needs to go to a blog to get the news, or read articles when these are easily available elsewhere? No. We write or read blogs to be individual at the least, and unique if better, and refreshing as the ideal. We want to learn or find what cannot be found somewhere else, or if it is somewhere else, not easily found.

And now our subject. Today we must make an exception. If you read the longstanding Daily Dirt, or what is to the editor the single most current and intelligent chess discussion place in the English speaking world, then you could not help but notice the most remarkable translations by the handle known as mishanp. He is a non-Russian native skilled at translation of Slavic Languages, notably Russian, with a great fondness for chess. Truth be told, these are not just renderings, but gifts. He takes the best chess interviews in Russian and makes them readily and accurately available.

And they are never dull.

The four time US Chess Champion told the editor, 'I had lunch with Aaronian [2]. He is a most interesting conversationalist'. How true. Try this on:

The link to the full interview is provided here (click in red), and as an invitation, the editor copies only the smallest part of the long interview here. Do not, do not, do NOT miss this one!

'GM Levon Aronian answers your questions: Part I
By mishanp on June 9, 2011

'KC-Conference with Levon Aronian

'The questions, and most of the answers, were written before the Candidates Matches in Kazan, which of course makes it hard not to regret that Levon didn’t emerge as the challenger to Vishy Anand. Nevertheless, he mentions Boris Gelfand as one of his best grandmaster friends, and in the post-Candidates section at the end adds:

"I think Boris deserved this win. He’s a man who treats chess with great reverence, and who works a lot… and is very, you might say, patient with it. You know, it’s easy to work when you can see an immediate return, but he’s had difficult periods, and still to believe in yourself and try to keep working despite that… I’m very, very glad for him, that his dedication and love for the game has borne fruit. This success shows that there’s chess longevity in his blood!"

'One of the merits of these in-depth Crestbook interviews is that grandmasters have the chance to set the record straight. In Aronian’s case, for example, you might crudely summarise the preconception of him as being that he’s “an easy-going late-bloomer, who despite his great talent is lazy and tends to win by setting tactical traps for his opponents”. Let’s look at whether that’s true or not!

1. “A diabolically talented lazy guy”

'This phrase comes from Sergey Shipov’s short introductory essay. When asked if he was offended, Aronian responded that it was definitely better than “a diabolically hard-working mediocre guy”. Is there any truth to the statement? The answer would appear to be yes…

"As a talented player I always had a great talent for being lazy as well. If it wasn’t for my family (and particularly my mother) and my friends, who did the majority of the work for me, then it’s unlikely I’d have been able to achieve success". Interview continues at link. On last sample that shows how truly remarkable this man is. Further down in the interview:

'I must confess, however, that I mainly added this section as an excuse to include the following quote. Levon is asked to explain the “bloodthirstiness” of his having the lowest draw percentage among elite chess players:

"So I’ve been found out. Yes, that’s how I am, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll give it a go. I think the thing here is my diet. For 11 years now I haven’t eaten any mammals – although it’s well-known that I’m a person with a bloodthirsty nature. So then, sitting down to play a game and, metaphorically speaking, meeting an animal face-to-face, I experience nostalgia and try to get my fill of blood in those short moments".

[1] Blog is short for Weblog, or web diary. Never meant to be perfect, but of the moment, if not informal, but saying what is not said elsewhere, and specific to the creator.

[2] Recently in China: 'The World Team Championship' took 'place July 15-26 in Ningbo, China. China, Ukraine, Israel, Hungary, Azerbaijan, India, USA, Egypt and Armenia' played.

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