Interview with Alexander Goldin
by Boris Schipkov
The 25-year-old Alexander Goldin has recently qualified for GM for the second time.
Boris Schipkov: When did you get started in chess?
Alexander Goldin: When I was four, my father taught me the rules. First he gave me a queen and two rooks for a start, then only a queen, up to 8 years of age, when he began to treat me seriously. Sport has always been popular in the family, but chess came first on the list. All the members of our family played chess at different times. My elder sister, Maggy took part in women's quaterfinals in the USSR Championship. My twin-brother Roman, who happens to be just a quater of hour younger, is also a Candidate for Master. Mother played for her factory last year. You see I've never been bored and the main thing is that chess athmosphere has always prevailed in the family.
B.S.: Who is your coach?
A.G.: My first coach was Iogan Ioganovich Dukart, the deceased now, I am very grateful to him for the first lessons and for the love for chess he inspired me. Under his guidance I reached the level of a good Candidate for Master. And since then, I can't really say that I have a regular coach.
B.S.: When you became known nationally?
A.G.: In 1981, together with A.Sokolov I won the USSR Youth Championship. The same year I won the Championship of the Army Forces of the USSR (among juniors). In 1982 and 1984 as a junior member I played for the Soviet Army team in the USSR Cup Final Competition. I had to play against such well-known players as Sokolov, Salov, Khalifman. In 1982 I was the runner-up, and in 1984 I came first.
B.S.: Splendid! And what are your results in adult competitions?
A.G.: In 1986 I was among the winners of the Russia Men's Final. The same year together with Psakhis, Ubilava, Novikov I won the USSR semifinal in Sevastopol. Twice (in 1986 and 1988) I played in the First League of the USSR Championship, but the results were not very good. And I think my major success in the USSR is the victory at the Young Masters in Vilnius in 1988. I didn't lose a game and came first before such good players as Khalifman, Dokhoian, Smirin, Naumkin, Oll, Akopian and others.
B.S.: As for as I know, you were not "overpampered" with international events, one may easily count them, but even that limited number was enought for getting all the qualifications. Please, tell about it.
A.G.: You are right. I've played only in 3 Round-Robin tournaments, two of them - in Poland, and one - in Czechoslovakia. In June of 1987 I won the tournament in Naleczow (Poland) with 9.5 points out of 12 (Category 8), but, unfortunately, I couldn't qualify for GM as none of them took part in that tournament. In August of 1988 in Polanica Zdroj (Poland) I shared the victory with A.Chernin with 10,5 out of 14 (Category 9) and that was enough for GM. In March of 1989 I came first with 9.5 points out of 13 in Trnava (Czechoslovakia) and qualified for GM again. That's about all. Now I hope that after getting this title I'll become a welcome guest in many international tournaments.
B.S.: I know that you are in the Army now. Do you think you'll have any trouble with participating in such tournaments?
A.G.: It's a sore subject for all sportsmen who are in the army. Now that professional sport is openly talked about in this country, I feel optimistic about the future, and I think that common sense will prevail. I mean that the Army will do it's job - and sportsmen - theirs. Then neither the Army, nor our State Sports Committee, but I myself will decide where and when to play.
B.S.: You are in the team of the Siberian Military district, which confidently wins in two Championships of Armed Forces running in 1987 and 1988. Who plays for your team?
A.G.: I joned up 1982 and since then I've been playing for this team. For the team played Timoscenko, Pigusov, Demina, Serper, Makarov and others.
B.S.: The city of Novosibirsk, where you live, has recently become one of the leading chess centers in the USSR, which was proved by the first National Chess Club Championship where the Novosibirsk team won. Please, tell about that event.
A.G.: Yes, that was a major success of our players. We surpassed two very good teams: Moscow Region and Moscow Petrosian Chess Club (Gurevich, Dolmatov, Razuvaev, Kaidanov played for the first team and - Vaganian, Smagin, Bareev, Dokhoian, Balashov - in the second). For our "starless" team, besides the some Army players (Timoscenko, Pigusov, Goldin) also played Anatoly Vaisser who did wonderfully as the leader of the team. This victory got us into the Europian Champions Cup.
B.S.: Let's go back to you. How much time do you spend on chess and how do you perfect your game?
A.G.: All my chess life is tournaments where I play, study and perfect my game. In between the competitions I try to spend on chess as little time as possible, to save it up for all the rest.
B.S.: But what is "all the rest"? Do you have many hobbies?
A.G.: My first hobby is my family. I spend a lot of time on the upbringing of my wife and son, Alexander (1,5 years old). In my free time I like reading, waching television, lying and thinking about life. Such thoughts lead me to a poetry.
B.S.: Do you write poetry?
A.G.: One can't do without it. My soul demands action. I am a restless man. And such people always write poetry.
B.S.: Let's return to chess. Who is your "idol" in chess?
A.G.: Nobody. That is - all the greats I try adopt Kasparov's aggressiveness, Karpov's art of manoeuvring, Spassky's elegance etc.
B.S.: Who do you think is the strongest player in the West?
A.G.: At present - Timman, Short, Ljubojevic.
B.S.: Now about young players. You played against well-known people such as Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Dreev etc. Which of them, in your opinion, will fight for the world title in the future?
A.G.: I think, Gelfand. Boris, unlike Ivanchuk, for example, is more calmer and more level-headed, and it is sure to be important at same stage. But, young players future is always hard to predict. Time is the best judge.
B.S.: You are through with the 4th year of the Institute of Water Transport. Is it difficult to combine your studies with chess?
A.G.: Not so difficult, as it is unnecessary. Hydraulic engeneering is not my vocation and I am going to give it up for the sake of chess. Why do unnecessary things? It's foolish and has no sense. I wish I had understood a bit early.
B.S.: What do you love chess for?
A.G.: For what it gives, and it gives a lot.
B.S.: And the last question - your plans for the future?
A.G.: In the next three years - to become an extra-class grandmaster, i.e. to raise my raiting up to 2600, and then we'll see.
© 2000-2001 Boris Schipkov