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Interview with GM Alexander Ryazantsev, coach of the Russian Women's team

Press conference Alexander Ryazantzev thumb

Anastasiya KARLOVICH: Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce our first guest today GM Alexander Ryazantsev, the Russian women’s national team coach. And my first questions to Alexander are how does he feel here in Istanbul, does he like the organization of the Olympiad and what are his impressions in general. And whether he has had a chance to walk around Istanbul.

Alexander RIAZANTSEV: Good afternoon. My impressions in general are good. If there were some difficulties in the first day connected to food or transportation to the playing venue (we had to wait in a queue for the bus), but already next day the organizers managed to overcome them. The playing hall is excellent. There is enough light, the hall is big enough. I think the participants feel comfortably there. As far as the chance to go around Istanbul is concerned, so far I did not manage, but I hope I will do it one day to go sightseeing.

KARLOVICH: Alexander, we know that you used to be a coach of men’s team and now you work as a coach of women. Tell us about these changes and how do you feel being a coach of women now? As far as I remember, there were two coaches before and now there are three. Why did they increase the number of coaches?

RIAZANTSEV: I feel perfectly. I liked to work with men and I like to work with women too. In principle I am patriotic, I like to help Russian team. I am trying to do my best to make them achieve good results. As for the number of coaches, I would like to say that the Russian Chess Federation pays a lot of attention to the sporting component of preparations. Recently they organized the excellent training camps for our teams. So, the decision to widen the coach stuff has been made as well. Now we have three coaches in men and women team. Everything is done to try to achieve better results.

KARLOVICH: This is too early to speak about any prognosis, only two rounds have passed and the third one is under way. But maybe you could try to say something about the shape of the girls, how can you comment their performance at the first two rounds.

RIAZANTSEV: After two rounds it is difficult to make any big comments or prognosis of course. Our girls met less strong opponents so far. So, first two rounds were easy to win for our team. Further prognosis could not be done at this stage. We should wait for the opponents of an approximately same level. For instance today, the Ukrainian team is playing against the Chinese one. I am sure the coaches of both teams can make some conclusions after this match.

Press conference Alexander Ryazantzev


KARLOVICH: Another question was already discussed in the Russian press but I am sure it would be interested for foreign journalists as well. The women’s team shows better results in comparison with the men’s team. Being a coach of both teams, tell us what could be the reasons?

RIAZANTSEV: To my mind, during ten years since the computer chess programs started to exist, Rybka program for instance, chess has completely changed. The new ideas, positions, new methods of defense, initiatives and sacrifices have appeared and the chess players all over the world got a chance to know them quicker and faster. So, many chess players who played on a comparatively good level started to play even better, they see more resources. The average of the level became higher and the difference in class might not be that obvious. As for the chances of our both teams, it is difficult to say something now, we have many strong teams here, the Ukraine, Armenia, China. The victory is not guaranteed to anyone.

KARLOVICH: Alexander, you are also a strong chess player. Don’t you want sometimes to join the players and have some games played?

RIAZANTSEV: I feel comfortable being a coach. I like chess in general, I like to play, to analyze also I like to help. I try to divide my responsibilities. If I am a coach, I try to help my team. But if I have time and I play in individual or team competitions, I try to play well and help my team this way.

KARLOVICH: I remember your PHD was connected to the Chess in school program. Tell us about to this project?

RIAZANTSEV: Yes, my PHD was about the influence and adaptation of children who play chess to the mental loads. We wanted to see how mental loads and stress situations influence children in general. After many medical investigations, it turned out that children who learn how to play chess during the period of about two - three years work better under stressful conditions. So, the children, who play chess, solve the non standard problems easier than those children who don’t play.

KARLOVICH: Let me wish your team good luck and thank you for your time.