An interview with one of the leaders of the US National team Alexander Shabalov was slowly moved to a story about a professional chess player’s life in the USA.
• Chess in the US is mostly coaching, and not the participation in the tournaments, – says Alexander. But there is no reason to complain. Personally I have a chance to combine coaching and playing, without poverty.
• You have your own chess school?
• I had. The school management is very serious business. You should have special skills and knowledge, a business intuition. For example Yuri Shulman or Gregory Kaidanov are successful in it, their schools are prospering.
• What is the chess development level in the USA?
• The progress is obvious. Nakamura, Hess, Robson – these are few American stars that appeared in the chess sky of the USA lately. And comparatively not long time ago it seemed that chess has no future in the US.
• There has been a joke lately that only Russian speaking chess players can be members of the American team.
• The first to break this tradition was Nakamura. Now we have Robson and Hess. They also have big chances to be in the National team. They both are Americans. I think that English speaking chess players will dominate in the team soon.
• Can you tell us about Nakamura? They say that he is crazy in chess as well as in life…
• I don’t know what he is in his life. I can judge only per his chess activity. To my mind Hikaru started seriously training chess just few years ago. Before that he was good at chess thanks to his talent and experience. But he has changed his approach now and it influenced his results. Let us see how Hikaru will finish the London tournament, which is in fact a serious test for him.
• Would you agree that Nakamura is a phenomenon in the world’s chess?
• Not really. Hikaru is like a computer, he calculates almost without mistakes. But he has his own lacks of course. It is important that a player realizes it as well. He is very proud of the fact that he became a professional chess player without any chess school.
• Who will play on the first board of your team in the Olympiad?
• So far it was not decided who play which board. But Nakamura will be surely in the team, as well as Kamsky and Onischuk. There are two seats left.
• Will you play on one of the left boards?
• I will try to get this right.