Interview with GM David Arutinian
As the World U-16 Olympiad goes on we managed to make an interview with the coach of Australia-A in the analysis lounge, GM David Arutinian. He kindly accepted our offer and gave us mortals and aspiring young players valuable advices.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself both as a chess player and as a chess coach to make our readers more familiar with you?
I began to play chess when I was 5 years old. My grandfather taught me and I didn’t like it first because he used to beat me all the time. Then I learned some things to beat him and went to some chess school only to quit it later because from my family nobody had time to bring me there. Then we found some place which was easy to go and I can say that from the age of 10 I started to play chess seriously, motivated by my first successful result at that time. Then I became GM in 2006 but before that I hadn’t played in lots of tournaments. From 2006 on I started to play more and more and at the same time started coaching.
Since when have you been working with Australian team? Are you working with them regularly or just at tournaments?
Generally before World Youth Championships, they contact me. Since 2006 I have coached them every year for World Youth Championships. I just missed one year, 2008, since it was very far from here, in Vietnam. However this is my first youth Olympiad and I’m glad to be here.
Do you also coach other teams?
After I coached Australian players in World Youth Championships, some players have contacted me and I coached them via internet.
So what do you think about your teams’ standings? What is your aim in this tournament?
It is little bit difficult to say what we wait from this tournament. Some games are a little bit hard for players. Even if the game is easy, sometimes they tend to miss some things. I think those are not purely chess-related problems but tiredness and other factors take their toll.
How do you find the kids who are playing in here? How are they ranked in Australia comparatively?
When I started to work with them in 2006 there were not so much good players. Some players were good, but generally the level was not so high. But when I came this year, I was little bit surprised of their level. The kids here are very talented and I enjoy working with them. Unfortunately we are not yet in the position we wanted to be in the tournament standings, but I think everything will be fine. We still have rounds to play and will try to do our best.
How is your training method, can you give us some details?
I miss the times when we were all using chess books. We simply needed them. Nowadays kids have Chessbase and they are not fond of books. This is a problem for young players. I try to teach them strategy because the tactics part can be handled by them. I give some advices about reading chess classics too.
How many hours do you work with kids?
It depends on their ages. If they are under 10 or 12, I think 1 or 1,5 hours are enough. When you are working one by one you can see how he/she listens to you, is he/she tired or not and you know kids are getting tired very quickly. Even strong chess players can get tired after two-three hours.
Sometimes playing and coaching at the same time doesn’t go well…
It all depends on you. For example I was coach of Georgian Woman Olympic team for three times and we had some camps after which I used to play in tournaments and even went on to win some of them. Also I was in Armenia in June, I had some training there and played a tournament afterwards. The most important thing in today’s chess is to be fresh. When you are working with kids you have to show them some new ideas and you also learn something in that process. But there is just one problem with coaching; it takes much of your time which you might dedicate to your personal needs.
Let’s talk a little bit about you as a professional player. How many hours do you work?
I am little bit lazy but I try work minimum three hours per day. Before a tournament it is a little bit harder. But normally you have to work at least three hours a day.
How do you work in those three hours?
It depends on what I need. If I have got some opening problem, I just work on openings. I try to analyze classical games too; you can always learn something from these games. People are writing new books, you can learn new things from those books. Then there is internet too, you can always find new ideas, games and some analyses. Like here in the Olympiad; there are many new games to follow between high-rated players.
Finally here there are three tournaments running at the same time; 40th Chess Olympiad, U16 Olympiad and 11th İstanbul Chess Festival. How do you find the organization?
Olympiad is really a big festival of chess and the organization is also good. Also U-16 Olympiad is okay and I think it is a good idea to have three tournaments at the same time because kids can go and see elite GMs and it is a very good experience for them.
We know that you are visiting Turkey regularly. So how do you feel about being in here; in Istanbul and in Turkey again?
Organization is always good in Turkey, like I said before. Turkey is a chess country now as it can be seen from the staging of this huge Olympiad. I know a lot of people here and it always feels nice to be in Turkey.
Thanks David for this nice interview.