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Interview with FIDE Vice President GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili
Friday, 26 December 2008

FIDE Vice-president, GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili among his responsibilities at the current tournament has the following one: monitoring the so called Sophia rule in action according to which the opponents cannot suggest a draw. He delivers verdict on the positions claiming a draw as a Grand-Prix expert whether to proceed with the game or register a draw. Azmaiparashvili says he doesn’t have much to do in this area because the players at the tournament are rather experienced and skilled. More...

- Zurab Alexeevich, have you stopped your tournament participation yet?

- Due to a great deal of work as FIDE vice-president I withdrew from professional competitions and ceased active tournament practice. I participate in some tournaments from time to time though. This year in August, for example, I took part in the international tournament in Vietnam and became the second prize holder thus increasing my rating.

- Georgia has always been known for its outstanding women chess-players. How does men chess develop nowadays? Is there a substitute to your generation players? Do you have new talents?

- It is first of all Baadur Jobava, a talented young GM. Last year he won the traditional Moscow-open. He has a good rating of 2604. Another promising chess-player, GM Zviad Izoria, have moved to another country recently but still plays under the colours of Georgia. By the way at the latest Olympiad in Dresden our national team performed well and took shared 11th place.

- Georgia’s women’s national team performed excellent and won the Olympic gold medals after a long pause. Our congratulations on the victory! What contributed to the revival of your women chess players’ glory?

- As you know our strongest chess players withdrew from the World Women Chess Championship in Nalchik. They had been elaborately preparing for the biggest tournament of that two-year period but politics interfered with the process. That’s why all the accumulated energy of Georgian women chess players found its realization in the World Chess Olympiad.

Besides, I think it was the new tournament rule forbidding the players to suggest a draw before the 30th move that contributed to our team’s success. Our team leader Maya Chiburdanidze in particular used to agree to a quick draw for different reasons. Now she had to constantly struggle and as a rule after the 30th move her opponents had a worse position. Maya was a head point supplier of our team. By the way she’s defeated World Champion Alexandra Kostenyuk and the runner-up Ho Yifan. From our young chess players I’d like to point out Nana Dzagnidze who is distinguished for her fighting spirit and tenacity of purpose.

- You used to be the Head of the Georgian Chess Federation. Who runs the organization at the moment?

- A famous GM Gia Giorgadze, he’s four years younger than me. A few years ago Gia gave up active tournament practice. He worked for different governmental departments; he even used to be the mayor of Kutaisi, the second largest city of Georgia. Now he’s an entrepreneur and having returned to chess, he wishes to contribute to chess development in the country.

- Let’s speak about politics now. After the notorious events in August Georgian woman chess-players withdrew from the World Championship. Was it the government of the country who forbade them to go to Russia?

- No, it was their personal decision. It was not only them who changed their mind to go to Russia, but our arbiters, coaches, journalists. Any sane Georgian wouldn’t go to Russia under the conditions because it would arouse national protest and condemnation. There were no orders to our woman, it was their will. Legendary Nona Gapridashvili didn’t go to Nalchik as well though she is opposed to the current Georgian government. I am not a hard-line patriot but I agreed with them, with my people. It a question of not only loyalty, not only consent with the Georgian government’s policy, but our national feelings that were rudely offended…

At the same time I am very grateful to FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who addressed President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili with an appeal to find a solution of the situation with our woman chess-players to give them the opportunity to go to the World Championship. If Saakashvili had considered the participation of Georgian woman chess-players in the struggle for the world crown very important he would have asked them to go to such an important tournament.








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