Today on the eve of G.E.Nesis'es 60-ieth anniversary we offer our interview with the jubilee hero.
Gennady Efimovich how did it come that you chose chess? When did you make familiar yourself with and have passion for chess?
- I came into chess late; late without hope nowadays, - at thirteen years. It is the more astonishing that somewhat mythologized atmosphere of chess play surrounded me even before my birth, what is, by the way, quite characteristic for Leningrad youth at the end of the thirties. Even having become students of humanitarian faculties of the University once in a while they dropped in their dear chess club of Palace of Pioneer. My father Efim Nesis, was a chess first-rater, but a representative of the famous Ukranean school. A wonderful man and outstanding Grandmaster Isaak Boleslavsky was his partner and friend in the youth. They met after the war as well. There exists a legend in our family that the first in my life orange I got from Isaac Efimovich hands who returned at the end of the 40-ies from some big International competition and on his way home he dropped in to see his old friend in Leningrad. Having coming from front after the war he studied at the Politechnical Institute, was much friendly withLeonid Shamkovich a well-know Grandmaster. I was taught to play chess by my mother when I was seven years old. But I got keen on chess really when I was thirteen years old. Then I learnt chess guided by V.G.Kirillov, and after ward I passed to the City Chess club named after M.I.Chigorin. During two seasons I overcame a height from the fifth category schoolboy to a first-rater. Then I passed to the DSO (voluntary sport society) "Dynamo" where I continued chess studies till I entered the Technological Institute. There I made familiar with friends, and I'm friendly with many of them up till now. There are A.Shashin, A.Fershter, L.Tolonen, I.Ajzenshtadt, M.Tseitlin. With the last, and V.Fajbisovich, G.Sosonko and I.Blechtsin as well I'm though long years of co-operation. Being in such a company, I "fired" at chess seriously. From time to time I substituted at work at CChC for G.Sosonko when he helped M.Tal, and later V.Korchnoi. After the tournament in February 1975 I accepted already finally a professional chess work.
- Gennady, this work in your life included participation in chess competitions internal (real competition and by correspondence), trainer and pedagogical work, you seconded accomplished chessplayers in tournaments of the highest level. But what is sweeter to you in your heart?
- In the middle of 60-ies chess play was tournamental, from the middle of 70-ies it was done by correspondence. Sometimes I played, (still before computer "time") 80 games simultaneously. I gave up more than 20 years of my life to chess by correspondence. It was a very hard work, without days off. I managed to go a long road to a title of the world vice-champion in chess by correspondence. But it is a separate theme. All the participants of my creative work and chess life are described by my friend Leonid Schulman in a book which, I hope, will be issued soon. I got keen on trainer's work from a moment of my acquaintance with A.Khalifman. Who was not a trainer himself he would not understand that he sometimes undergoes keen passion for those under his guidance and adds his power into victory not less than a chessplayer himself. We may remember decisive games of Alexander with V.Anand at the world championship in Groningen, and also his winning with black at the championship of the USSR among juniors in Kirovobad, scarifying a rook at "h4". As to my literary activities when I studied in the ninth form February, 1964, I had several meeting with Bulat Okudjava. I visited him at his flat in Ordynskaya street at that time when the poet lived in Leningrad. Intercourse with him made indelible impact upon me. I got keen on poetry and author songs. I like A.Galich very much, and V.Vysotsky performed his songs in our oral magazine at the Technological Institute, but our Intercourse was rather short. I have been writing already poems and short stories for many years. But it is much easier to me to let out oral stories. In rearranging the thoughts on a paper, if is not simple to keep up "a high note" throughout the writing. L should note that in my literary work, more than a quarter of century, my wife Svetlana Leonidovna Tikhonova a graduate of the philosophy faculty of the Leningrad University rendered much assistance and continues to do it for what I am very much grateful to her. She continues also to keep hospitality tradition in the Baskov street.
- Tell us, please, how did "World Young Stars" tournaments arise and how did You make acquaintance with Vanya Somov?
- In 1999 a meeting with Vanya Somov influenced my life.
He was an intimate person to me. First meeting with Vanya took place quite
all of sudden. My old acquaintance sport commentator Gennady Orlov, Head of a
football chair in the Lesgaft academy at present, rang up and asked whom I
could recommend as a coach to study chess with a 8-9 year old boy, being done without any particulars and simply. I answered that it was difficult to me to say at once who could do it and called some names, but I said that it were interesting to look at this boy, in older to understand his capabilities and interests and determine what he was able to do after this. Everything took place at the end of 1998. We could not meet just before the New Year, but after it somewhere at the beginning of January 1999 which was very significant for me in this connection that just in that year Alexandr Khalifman became a champion of the World and very many critical events in general took place in my life on a plane of work. We agreed that Vanya together with his father Vadim Evseyevich and Gennady Orlov would come time. I remember: a bell rang, I opened the door and made acquaintance with Vadim Evseyevich, his boy was with him, he looked younger than his age, - such a thin and subtle one with a funny simile reminding more a prospective dancer than a sportsman or chessplayer, though I learnt afterwards that he was keen on different sporting games. We sat down at our big table and I offered konyak (brandy) to my guests, - the most ordinary simple Armenian which they drank next to nothing (I didn't understand yet whom I probably dealt with). Vanya was not long at the table, naturally he was eager for my chess room, a chessboard, - it was a good sign, of course. I must say, in a similar manner Gata Kamsky appeared in my flat as well a well - know wonder boy at that time, his father also offered me to teach him, when the boy had no coach. Gata also rushed into my chess room, but he was interested not so much in chessboard, or in playing chess with me, as just in my chess library because many western magazines which stood on the shelves of my rack were inaccessible to him and he was quite self-sufficient grasping a Yugoslavian "Informator" and a Holland "New in Chess" and being absorbed in reading them, that is why I at once used his mad love for chess as a fine stimulus for studies because I gave permanently some commentary and appraisals, pointed out his mistakes, explained sometimes a meaning of my move, i.e., the teaching was processing during a practical game. Of course, some variations and sharp opening schemes were shown, but it was not his element, to play was most important for him, and the stronger was his rival with the greater passion and interest he played. Thousands of chess games perhaps were played by us in those years. There are chessplayers quite of another type, say, such as Alexandr Khalifman who in general prefer to study individually, to work with books and then with comforter from childhood such chessplayers as say, Khalifman don't need a sparring-partner, he himself is best sparring - partner for him, and a coach plays rather a role of psychologist and consultant, but not a partner in playing chess...
Here both different right types and individual properties of the character and attitude of chess gift make themselves out to display. There are analyses - chessplayers, such was great chessplayer Mikhail Moiseevich Botvinnik and there are practice chessplayers, and each of these spheres has a right for existence. And a task of the coach is to find that nerve of preparation which gives the best results and most pleasant and interesting to his pupil. It is the same as a teacher of music - one should not make one's pupil to play musical works endlessly if he doesn't like them, one needs a definite freedom of self-expression and distinction of the talent, and one should give him such a freedom. Vanya's charm was in that he was not touchy and defeats didn't upset him great, but he was ambition at the same time what is a fine quality for sportsman. That's, if he played with intimate friends he was glad of winning, but he was not upset after a defeat. This is a fine quality of such a kind, open-hearted person which I like very much, because there appear such little wolves among young chessplayers who begin hating their rival after a defeat and their strength is displayed when the fury is seen first at their creative work. Sometimes it brings a sports success, though. Of course, on a human plane such people as Mikhail Tal are more sympathetic who after quite an offensive defeat even could, in joke and with kind irony, analyze the difficult game just played with his rival for hours. And there are chessplayers who, having suffered a defeat, throw chess-men down from the board and blame not themselves in everything, but their rivals and go out of the tournament hall in rage. Of course it is not always pleasant to watch and such a behavior adorns neither the chessplayers themselves nor the chess art itself which remains an art undoubtedly though in the last years a sportive component of chess prevails over other parts of chess creative work: I remember, after the tournament when he won his first money prize in life we went to a big music shop in Dortmund, he bought a sound track CD of the film "Men in Black" there and I did a disk of favorite singer Marlen Ditrich, we were, of course, in different part of the shop. But nevertheless we listened together to this music trying to under the tastes of each other. Vanya was a brilliant, talented, and most sincere fan. He was with me and A.Khalifman at tournaments in Linares, World championships in Moscow and Las Vegas. He himself took part in international tournaments in Germany, Finland and other countries. It may be said l took his for my own son. I was very much shake in soul with the tragedy which had happened with him. The KINEF direction supported our wish idea to keep his name in the memory of people. A generation which was born in the end of 80-ies and beginning of 90-ies plays in his Memorial - tournaments. The fifth Memorial became a record of strength not only in the history of our tournaments, but in the world competitions of juniors as well. Five Grandmasters and seven masters are present the two of which, are waiting for Grandmasters title in June. An average rating of the tournament topped 2500 points! Even at the World championship among juniors an average rating is less. Such chessplayers as D.Linchevsky passed a road from an average master candidate to a strong International master, champion of Russia among the juniors up to 18 years old in our tournament! I.Khajrullin, and J.Nepomnyashchiy increased in class considerably and come up to completely another level of chess play and we are all the time in search and try to make the body of participants rather different. So, for example, a girl Elena Tairova played at ours last year. She succeeded in playing worthily, and at once after our tournament, Lena has won a silver medal in the championship of Russia among women. A cultural program is being carried out boys and their trainers can use sports constructions of the stadium and KINEF pool. The whole organizing committee guided by Executive Director of the tournament of A.Z.Kor plays great role does work in organizing and carrying out the tournament. Coaches of the strongest juniors display master class to young chessplayers of town of Kirishi that contributes to popularizing chess in the town and region on the whole. Such well-known trainers, as E.Vladimirov, E.Ubilava, F.Sideif-Zade, V.Popov, D.Evseev, M.Sorokin visited our tounaments. A.Khalifman, E.Alekseev, K.Sakaev, S.Janovsky and I.Blekhtsin displayed simultaneous game sessions. We'll find new forms for carrying out interesting tournaments in order to attract chessplayers as much as possible in participants and looker-on capacity.
- But this year a two-circular rapid tournament is being carried out for the first time with participation of chessplayers with whom you co-operated in different years?! By the way, please rename the best of them.
- Yes, really, such a competition will take place in May, 21st and 22, A.Khalifman, Grand masters, World Champion of 1999, E.Alekseev, Champion of Russia in the superfinal (2006), K.Sakaev possessor of the Cup of Russia (2006), and D.Komarov, M.Novika and S.Janovsky participating as well. I took part in the making of members of the Leningrad selection team in DSO "The Youth of Russia", (former "Trudovye Reservy"). I headed a team in which such chessplayers as V.Salov, L.Judasin, and I.Levitina played. I accompanied as a trainer-coach A.Kochiev, M.Tsejtlin, V.Epishin, G.Kamsky, participated in perpetrating E.Solozhenkin, D.Komarov, M.Rychagov, E.Porner, M.Novik, K.Sakaev for chess competition. I had the honour to fulfill the same pleasant, but difficult role with A.Khalifman at the World Championship (1999) in Las Vegas where Alexandr became a chess Champion of the World. The most of all people named are my younger colleagues and friends, I hope, that my participation in their creative work and chess life helped them in their making.
- Well, thank you, Gennady Efimovich for your exhaustive explanation and summing of intermediate results of your creative work, and rather event-saturated life. Taking an opportunity, I congratulate you in the name of our readers with you jubilee anniversary! I wish you great successes in all spheres of your tireless activity, a good health as well!