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Grandmaster Interview with Martyn Kravtsiv and Game vs Varuzhan Akobian

Martyn Kravtsiv

GM Martyn Kravtsiv

I got to catch up with young Ukranian GM Martyn Krvtsiv who became a GM at only 19 years old. His FIDE is now over 2600 and rising. The game I will show is one of his favorite games that he played at the Mindsports tournament in 2008. He won the tournament beating many much higher rated Grandmasters in convincing fashion and many call it his most astounding victory in the chess world. The tournament was held in Beijing in 2008 2 months after the Olympics.

Watch Kravtsiv defeat Varuzhan Akobian after only 22 moves!


When did you learn chess and who taught you?

I stared to play at age 6. My father taught me how to play on my birthday. Later I trained in Lviv Chess Club. Since 2000, I have been training with Vladimir Grabinsky.

When did you begin making legitimate progress in your game and How?

At that time I studied Alekhine’s games – I think that really helped. In 2000 I won the under 10 championship of Ukraine and played on elo under 2000.

Can you recall a specific turning point? (a game, event, working with a chess coach, etc..)

I had a lot victories and failures, but it was not decisive. I think the greatest progress was getting the Grandmaster title.

What are your top book recommendations for beginner to intermediate players? (<2000)

I cannot recommend any specific book. One should learn games of strong players (Alekhine, Fisher, Kasparov, etc..) or play in tournaments with good players.

What are your top book recommendations for advanced players? (2200+)

It is more important to play opponents stronger than you and analyze your own games.

What was your exact study regimen when you were working towards GM?

I didn’t have a schedule of training. I learned from Kasparov’’s books (My Great Predecessors), trained with a chess coach, played in tournaments. I just gradually increased my level.

Nature or Nurture: Do you think top chess players are born with a natural ability/gift or do they become so talented through hard work and the right environment?

Of course you cannot become world champion without talent. But without work you cannot to be a good player. Talent just makes your achievements easier.

How do you feel about cheating in chess? (specific deterrents/punishments?)

I think cheating should be heavily penalized. But I have never felt that my opponent is cheating.

Who is your favorite player and why?

I don’’t have a favorite player. There are a few players that impress me: Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer, Anand, and Carlsen.

How to be a Grandmaster Series

People always want to know how Grandmaster’s achieved the extraordinary feat of becoming a GrandMaster. I noticed most Grandmaster interview’s focus more on recent and upcoming tournament’s and do not focus on how they became a GrandMaster. While most people assume that becoming a GrandMaster is simply a formula of natural talent and hard work, we’ve discovered there is more to the secret formula. Our interview series hopes to unlock these “GrandMaster secrets” so we can learn to not only work harder, but smarter as well. Our GrandMaster Interview series includes both audio and video interviews on our YouTube as well as text interviews with corresponding games on our site. We hope you enjoy these grandmaster interviews. Comments are appreciated and if you have questions you’d like to ask future grandmasters, let us know.

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