One cannot name absolute leaders in the American national teams in chess as well as in football. However it does not influence the process of enriching the collection of national medals. The secret was revealed to us by the coach of the men’s national team of America Varuzhan Akobyan and GM Alexander Onischuk playing on the 3rd board.
А.О.: In principle, we try to play on the character. Maybe we give in a little to the leaders of our level, but the team spirit and healthy atmosphere in it give the best results.
V.А.: Indeed, we are a very united as a team. The most important is that we are not afraid of any opponent. The fact that we are number 9 according to the Rating will not prevent us from defeating those who has a better performance in this respect. We feel very confident.
– Despite of the fortitude, you did not manage to match the key to the first national team of Russia. Tell us about this match.
А.О.: Exactly, they won this match rather persuasively and to be objective we had almost the same team compositions when we played against each other at Torino Olympiad. «Russia-1» is stronger. Nevertheless, we were not afraid before the match namely due to the same team compositions of both teams in 2006 when we defeated them.
V.А.: Yes, the match with “Russia-1” was hard. Our positions were obviously worse on the second and third boards, but we counted on the 4th one very much. Unfortunately, it did not work either.
– What can you tell us about your results in general at this Olympiad?
А.О.: It is early to speak about it; however, our team’s position inspires us for optimism. Moreover, so far we have lost only to favorites.
– What are your objectives here as bronze medalists of the previous Olympiad?
А.О.: We have been bronze medalists at two previous Olympiads in a row – in Torino and Dresden, and the team composition was practically the same as today. It would have been great to perform in the same way, moreover that we had the same rating position – 8-9 in the general list. In fact, we will be happy if we get to the Top-6.
V.А.: We have a good team and we will be fighting for medals, moreover that we won the second place in the World Team Championship this year. I believe in my players, we only need to break out.
– Varuzhan, how did it happen that you have come as a coach?
V.А.: Frankly speaking, I would have loved to play, but there are only 5 places and I came as a coach. In general, I am happy to be here with my team, all of them are my good friends. I hope that I will have an opportunity to play for my national team in the future.
– Varuzhan, what about your achievements in bodybuilding?
V.А.: (laughing) Ok. I do not train much but soon I am planning to visit fitness club more often as before.
– Alexander, tell us about your injure?
А.О.: The thing is that I go in for triathlon (swimming, cross cycling and jogging). Just before the Olympiad I took part in a mass cross and after 50 km I fell down and broke my collarbone and finger (laughing). I feel better now.
– One of you is a bodybuilder and another is a triathlon athlete. It turns out that one has to be in a perfect shape to be a chess player?
А.О.: I do not think it is necessary. The thing is that I have been playing chess for a long time already and I am in need of something new, so to say, to render life more interesting. So I discovered triathlon. It is up to you to judge if it helps me or not.
– Tell us about your impressions on Khanty-Mansiysk?
А.О.: If I am not mistaken, it is my 15th time in Ugra and every time I was here only in winter. I like the city very much and I am observing its dynamic development very carefully. As for the organization of the Olympiad I would give it 5 points out of 5!