Interview with Nona Gaprindashvili
Sunday, 04 July 2010
Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
I was born in the western Georgian city of Zugdidi, to a family of 6 children, though with 5 brothers, I was the only girl. Unfortunately, only three of those five are still with us. In the neighborhood, as there were few girls, I grew up playing games with boys, and competed equally with them.
My father enjoyed playing chess, and it was from him that we all
learned to play this game, and grew to love it. In fact, we often
organized tournaments at home. When I was 12 years old, we found out
by chance that the Georgian youth team championship would be soon
taking place in Batumi. Because there were no female players from our
town, I was offered a chance to play for our team. There I was pretty
successful, and the Georgian trainer Karseladze noticed me and advised
my parents to move to Tbilisi so that I can dedicate myself seriously
to chess. Two years later, I earned second place in the Georgian
Championship, and from 1956 onward, I was winning most of the
tournaments in which I participated.
So, would you agree that chess is your life?
To be honest, when I am reflective and consider myself, I think that indeed Nona Gaprindashvili understands only chess, and I cannot imagine my life without chess. And I should confess that chess never denied me anything, because it is due to chess that I was able to undergo my own self-realization and become truly content.
What was the happiest day of your life?
The day that I became world champion. I took a train back home to Georgia from Moscow, and starting in Sukhumi, the crowds were gathering to greet me. The train made several unintended stops along the way, as the large numbers of gathered fans forced the train to stop so that they could express their congratulations. And when we finally arrived in Tbilisi, the scene was indescribable. My father even lost his shoes in the packed throngs of exhilarated fans…truly an unforgettable day.
In chess, compositions or, so-called, “studies” are important. What is your opinion about Genrikh Kasparian’s creations?
I used to love to try and solve chess studies, and to be honest, solving them came somewhat easy to me. Studies help develop chess imagination. I honestly believe that any chess professional highly assess this branch of chess. Genrikh Kasparian is indeed one of the world’s best composers, the creator of some truly awe-inspiring studies, and I have had the honor to solve many of them on various occasions.
What personality traits or characteristics do you appreciate most in people? And specifically in chess players?
First and foremost, I look for humanity in a person, regardless of where he or she is, what they do for a living, or how they spend their time. Whoever that may be, they should have human values. To be a strong chessplayer, I am simply positive that one must also have: a natural talent for chess, strong nerves, a firm psychological profile, and a resolute constitution.
What are your comments for our chess players here in Jermuk?
Most of the tournament has already passed. Only one player is demonstrating a stable and strong game: Nana Dzagnidze. Of course, Tatiana Kosintseva is also performing well. I am sure that each and every one of the other participants could have performed better than they have. With the two rounds left, I wish all the players best of luck in the tense and vigilant struggles to come.