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GM Merab Gagunashvili vs GM Evgeny Shaposhnikov – Interview "How to be a Chess Grandmaster"

About GM Merab Gagunashivilli (from English wikipedia)

Merab Gagunashvili (Georgian: მერაბ გაგუნაშვილი; born January 3, 1985) is a Georgian chess grandmaster and Georgian Champion in 2004. In 2001, he won the silver medal in the World Junior Chess Championship. In 2009 he tied for 3rd-8th with Anton Filippov, Elshan Moradiabadi, Vadim Malakhatko, Alexander Shabalov and Niaz Murshed in the Ravana Challenge Tournament in Colombo. In 2010 he won the Tbilisi Municipality Cup. In 2011 he tied for 1st-4th with Gadir Guseinov, Evgeny Gleizerov and Sergei Tiviakov in the 19th Fajr Open Chess Tournament. He took part in the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004, but was knocked out in the first round by Smbat Lputian. He played in the Chess Olympiads of 2002, 2004 and 2006.

Watch the stunning game where he plays GM Evgeny Shaposhnikov (MUST SEE)

My interview with Gagunashvili

When did you learn chess?

I learned at age 6. I worked very hard at it.

When did you play your first chess tournament and how did you do?

My first tournament was when I was 6 year old, but it was some local tournament in Georgia – let’s say a not so serious event. I remember that the first game I won very easy.

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

At age 10 I did very well in the U-10 Tbilisi Championship: I got 13 points out of 13! At that time I had a really good chess coach, Shota Intskirveli. He was also a trainer for Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

Can you recall a specific turning point?

I had many such periods, but my best results were in 2001-2003 – 2nd place in the world cup under 20 when i was 16 year old, then the male European Championship I took 4th place and I became a GM at age 17.

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

Well i was working on many things in chess. In general I can say in 2001-2002 I was really working a lot, maybe 9 hours per day. I think theory is very important.

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?

The top players are of course very talented, but many other GMs and other players can be also be less talented. I think they are top players because they love chess more, and they work harder. They are like the gladiators of chess.

Who is your favorite player and why?

My favorite players are Fischer and Kasparov, because in my opinion they both brought something new to chess. I think they developed chess a lot.

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.

By Chess Coach Will Stewart (USCF 2256, FIDE 2234). Follow William on Facebook and Twitter Thank you to for letting us use their interface.

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Damian Lemos
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One Comment

Armen says:

Please continue with the videos, and interviews!!

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