Born to a family of chess players, grown up with grandmaster sisters, his name is Shahriyar... Apparently, all with an ulterior motive folded so that he became the first and so far only in the history of the double world chess champion among JUNIOR!
However this achievement is only the beginning of Shahriyar Mammadyarov, the world champion in rapid chess, gold medalist and three-time World Chess Olympiad champion of Europe in the national team of Azerbaijan.
Passionate about speedy chess, Shahriyar prefers playing with white, understands economics, believes in ambiverts, and on our questions, following the game habit, answers quickly and clear...
What is it like to grow up in a family where everyone is professionally involved in chess?
I did not have much rivalry with my sisters because of the difference in age, especially with Turkan. On the contrary, as I became a chess player, I began to help the sisters more in preparation for tournaments and directly to the games.
If you had a choice, would you like to be someone other than a chess player?
I think I didn’t have much choice but to become a professional chess player. I just never imagined myself in any other role or environment. In my childhood, I played football, wasn't that bad, but never professionally engaged in it.
And what do you think, in which area you could find a use for yourself, if there were no chess in your life?
I could probably be a good financial analyst, banker or psychologist... I never made plans for the future without chess.
Do you think that playing chess in childhood influences the development of a personality?
It all depends on how to do it: professionally or not. Professional chess can also interfere with your studies - you have to spend a lot of time on trainings and trips. But chess lessons for the soul are only for the benefit: they help the development of a mathematical mindset, logic, decision-making skills in a limited time environment. For me personally, chess often helps to catch up on many subjects. Chess definitely develops memory and speed of thinking.
Will you teach your children chess?
To teach – maybe, but I will not force it for sure.
To become a world champion among youths for twice – is this a big responsibility or just a step in a chess player’s career?
Rather, the second. And the more they get, the better.
Is chess, in your opinion, more sport, science or art?
Of course, mostly sport and only then - art and science.
For a good game, do you need enough talent, perseverance and ability to concentrate? Or do you need something else?
It needs all of the above, plus more. For example, psychological and physical training - in fact, you often have to sit at the board for six to seven hours.
Why is there no woman in the list of the best chess players in the world? Is chess a more masculine game?
If you do not talk about physical sports, then in chess, women lack a bit of assertiveness inherent in men.
Who do you like to play with the most?
With those who constantly beat.
And who are you fighting during the game: with a rival or with yourself?
With rivals, of course. With my weaknesses, I have long fought.
They say that only a really strong chess player knows what he is weak about. Do you have any weaknesses that you would like to hide?
One can fix weaknesses rather than hiding. Yes, there are such qualities, and I try to get rid of them.
Who is your main rival?
Probably the current world chess champion Magnus Carlsen.
What is more important for you in chess: the victory or the process of the game itself?
The result, of course, is more important. But the quality of the party is also important. A purely won game can bring great pleasure!
What do you think about the game against artificial intelligence?
Professional chess players use chess programs mainly for training. Playing with "prog" is of no interest: they have no nerves, they do not make human mistakes. Nothing replaces the pleasure of playing face to face when you see the partner's emotions.
Can increased public attention, the general love of the audience interfere with the game?
Cannot interfere in any way, but to help - completely. Chess players are also kind of creators, and they certainly enjoy creating for the sake of the audience.
How important is family to you, spouse support?
I would say - invaluable! For example, after I started a family, my rating began to grow rapidly.
What does your typical day look like?
I usually wake up at 10 in the morning, spend time with my family, play chess, and in the evenings I meet with friends.
How do you get distracted from chess?
I like to watch football, play dominoes with friends. From active sports I prefer table tennis.
Do you think you are more an extrovert or introvert? And which of these qualities helps more in the game?
Introverts, of course, are easier in chess. But I would not divide chess players into two camps - extroverts and introverts. After all, there are ambiverts, they can also become big chess players.
Are you a team player or individualist?
It is difficult to answer ... Probably both. But I prefer to play team tournaments, although it is much more difficult: you often have to think about the interests of the team, and not about your own.
Despite the peaceful mood, chess is a military strategy. Do you think a chess player can become a leader in real life?
I think maybe. Professional chess players have many qualities that a manager also needs: perseverance, leadership, the habit of acting in a competitive environment...
The age of the best chess players in the world is decreasing. Do you think victory and age are interrelated?
Everything is individual here: someone opens up at a very young age, and someone starts playing very well in a fairly mature one.
The reputation of the most intellectual game reliably protects chess from criticism. Do you think being a genius chess player means being a very smart person?
There is certainly a connection.
It is impossible not to notice that you love to smile. Does this help you in the game?
I do not smile during the game, it makes it difficult to tune in as necessary. So it is unlikely.
You once said that you gave the sport more than you received in return. Do you, the first Azerbaijani who rose to second place in the FIDE rating, really think so?
I would like to clarify: the second in the world I was in a live rating. And now I am the third. I hope that I will be the first and stop counting so!
Are there such awards and victories, after which you could say: “I have achieved everything I wanted”?
There is always something to strive for, until one wins the world championship among adults.
Интервью: Нигяр Оруджева Фото: Халид Зейналов