Friday, November 23, 2018

Alexander Belyavsky: “The title of world chess champion is worth more than the presidential post”

Alexander Belyavsky: “The title of world chess champion is worth more than the presidential post”

His chess achievements are unique. Lviv Grand Master Alexander Belyavsky in the USSR team four times became the winner of the chess Olympiad and twice the world champion.

Alexander Genrikhovich is a four-time champion of the Soviet Union (only famous Botvinnik and Tal have more "gold"). The Ukrainian received titles in the period from 1974 to 1990, when the USSR had a whole galaxy of outstanding masters, starting with the same Tal, continuing Spassky, Korchny, Petrosyan, Karpov and ending with Kasparov.
Unfortunately, the circumstances were such that soon after Ukraine gained independence, the titled domestic chess player changed his sporting citizenship and, without leaving his native Lviv, represented Slovenia on the international stage. More precisely, it still represents, although it is no longer in top tournaments. At 64, Belyavsky remains in the sport, although he continues to earn money through activities not related to chess.
Actually, in this interview for the site “24”, Alexander Genrikhovich Belyavsky showed himself a very multifaceted figure, with a deep understanding of the economic and historical processes in Ukraine and the world. Of course, we talked a lot about chess. Our guest explained why he didn’t consider Kasparov a politician, remembered the details of his conflict with Karpov, told why he didn’t become a world champion and why, despite such historical parallels, he would never compare Ukraine with Slovenia.
And our meeting began with Belyavsky’s autograph in his book “Uncompromising Chess,” published in Russian in Moscow in 2004.
Alexander Genrikhovich, not so long ago in the Vysoky Zamok newspaper you wrote a blog with an eloquent headline - “Translations into Ukrainian”. It called on all native speakers of our language to translate foreign books and promised to do it themselves.
To begin with, I note that “Uncompromising Chess” I wrote in English. My good friend translated to the Russian book - journalist Oleg Stetsko. If there is an interest in the Ukrainian translation, I will be glad.
And I already fulfilled my promise of the sample of summer 2016 mentioned by you. He translated the War on Catilina into the Ukrainian work of the ancient Roman historian Guy Sallust Crisp. So far it has not published it, because the book is historical and requires many notes. These details take more time than the actual translation.
He also made a proposal to the Ministry of Education - to exempt schoolchildren who translate books into Ukrainian from the exam in their native language. I even thought of a system for introducing this practice. If my initiative was supported and the children of all Ukraine began to make translations, there would be a lot of books in the state language. However, for the time being, due to internal misunderstandings, my proposal at the ministry is not reaching its hands. It is clear that the school translation will not be perfect, but it would be a good basis for improvement by professional translators and proofreaders. In this case, we could get a large number of books in Ukrainian. Hundreds of thousands of books by foreign authors have been published in Russian, Polish, and German, only tens of thousands have been published in ours. And it is not surprising, considering that Ukraine’s independence was received only 26 years ago.
“Before the Revolution, linguistic integrity was not as relevant as it is now”
What language is your everyday communication language?
We speak Russian with my wife at home. We turn to Ukrainian when guests come to us. Vynnyky where we live is a small town near Lviv, where almost no one speaks Russian. Of those who were born there, so sure. Russian speakers can be found only among people who have moved from the regional center. But those, I think, get used to Ukrainian. Even chess player Sasha Areshchenko from Lugansk, who married a Lviv woman, has learned Ukrainian quite well. But Yury Kuzubov from Kramatorsk, on the contrary, did not make the transition. He did not learn to speak Ukrainian, but he was shy in Russian in Lviv.
Shortly after the end of the Revolution of Dignity, a documentary appeared - “Spring that changed us”. Why am I doing this? In 2013, you gave a great TV interview to Dmitry Gordon. A person who reads you now, it will be difficult to compare that Belyavsky with the present.
If we touch on the language question, then at the beginning of the conversation Gordon asked me: “In what language will we speak?” He replied that we would start in Ukrainian, and then we would switch to Russian. Then the language principle was not as relevant as it is now. Just as I did not touch on many other issues that have become important for our state in recent years. Then we talked exclusively about chess. I became a blogger after the Revolution of Dignity, when, during one of the press conferences, I expressed thoughts that relate to public life, and not to chess. Natalya Baluk, the editor-in-chief of the High Castle, liked what he heard, and she offered to try writing.
It was then that everything began with an article on the geopolitics of energy. I think that my material is relevant even now, especially taking into account the fact that a few weeks ago the Russian government decided that the Russian Federation would independently decide who would issue licenses for activities in oil and gas fields south of Crimea. That is, the relevant licenses that Ukraine granted to the American company Exxon, together with the contract that concerns Prikerchenka and the rights to which our state delegated a small company from the USA (75%) and the structure of Rinat Akhmetov (25%) are automatically canceled. The price of the issue is at least 200 billion dollars. It is more expensive than any other Russian business on Ukrainian territory, with the exception of the 2009 gas agreement, when Ukraine over the next ten years was forced to buy completely unnecessary 52 billion cubic meters of gas. Recently, the Stockholm court decided that the maximum for our state should be 5 billion cubic meters.
Later in his blog, he focused on several areas - energy geopolitics and macroeconomic issues of economic regulation. I was interested in this topic long before the events on Maidan and the war with Russia. Never was a public figure, but sometimes discussed such issues with friends.
In general, I rarely leave the topics mentioned in my blog. For example, I could not stand the decision on the genocide of the Poles in Volyn after the adoption of the Sejm and wrote about the lost gene of the Polish conscience. Once again, in a somewhat sarcastic tone, he answered the writings of ex-Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin in the "Observer".
"The title of world chess champion is worth more than the presidency of the state"
To understand such topics, it takes time. Where do you find it on condition that you continue to perform?
I gradually began to repurpose myself after I realized that playing chess would not be able to provide for my family as I was able at the time when I was in the grandmaster’s elite. The peak for me was 1997. Then there was a high rating of 2710. However, quite a bit of time passed, and I was no longer invited to the Linares or Tilburg caliber supertournaments. My earnings plummeted. Not two or three, but immediately ten times. Naturally, I didn’t want the family to feel on my wallet that I was playing worse. In chess, you can earn only when you are in the elite. There is practically no profit from participation in ordinary open tournaments. In the end, until 2004, I still won these “openings” regularly and could earn money from a material point of view. However, this was not the level.
Therefore, I began to look for other types of earnings. Having tried many directions, I stopped at the securities market. It seemed to me that there would have to carry out an analysis similar to a chess one. It turned out that this is a little wrong, but for the last 15 years I have been doing just that. The blogs mentioned are a by-product of the analysis that I order for individual companies. In general, my life is now divided into two parts. One is chess, the other is the stock market. When I research the activities of various companies in the securities market, I spend 11 hours a day. It is clear that these days I do not play chess at all.
I think chess players are not very happy to hear such words from the lips of one of the legends ...
Undoubtedly, at a young age, chess must be given fully. But at the same time do not forget that in modern conditions a chess player in 35 years can safely retire. Accordingly, we must take care of alternative sources of income. Chess is younger - and this is obvious. Before the New Year, I played in Kiev in the “Match of Chess Stars” against the young Kirill Shevchenko. At 15, he knows that I knew at 30. Previously, man developed more slowly. The heyday of a chess player accounted for about 30 years. Today, the heyday comes somewhere in the 20.
Due to computerization?
Of course. Today, using a computer, a complex position can be analyzed in a day. It used to take three to four weeks. And at least. At the same time, technologies are developing, and considering this, professional chess players should understand that chess will continue to grow younger in the future. And a person who will not become a world champion before the age of 20 will never do this. Accordingly, in order not to end up after the end of a career, you have to learn, get an education. Unfortunately, I started to develop in another direction too late, only when I turned 50. If I received economic knowledge as a 30-year-old, I would now have the opportunity not to do anything at all, just play chess for my own pleasure. But this is also a stick at both ends.
You can surrender to chess completely and become a world champion. And this title, as for me, costs much more than to occupy the post of president of the country. Another thing is that the champions of the world are one.
"In chess there is a" Balzac age "
Judging by your words, the talented Ukrainian chess players Areshchenko and Ipatov, who ended their careers early, made reasonably? Remember, when Kasparov announced that he was leaving chess at 42, Korchnoi called this decision nonsense?
You can not find a formula that would fit all. Each individual has its own limit and level of ambition. There comes a time when a person is determined with priorities, with what he is able to achieve in life and consequently protects health, does not spray him where he cannot fully reveal himself. I can only say that the world’s champions are not the smartest, but only those who take risks.
The book of the Catalan journalist Marty Perarnau about Josepe Guardiola begins with the memoirs of an outstanding football coach about dinner with Kasparov. Guardiola's most misunderstanding was caused by this phrase of Garry Kimovich: "I can beat Carlsen, but in practice it is impossible." The deep meaning of these words Josep helped understand the wife of Kasparov: “Perhaps the problem is in concentration. If this is a regular two-hour match, Harry will win over Magnus. But in fact, this fight will last five or six hours ... "
I have my own reasons why Kasparov left chess. Harry Kimovich is an extremely ambitious man. He used to win all the tournaments in which he participated. The problem is that there is a “balsack age” in chess. In women, it occurs in 35-36, and in men - in 42-43. This is the limit after which a person starts playing chess worse. It is difficult to explain the physiology or psychology of the cause, but the fact remains. There were a lot of examples. In my opinion, at some point, Kasparov felt that he was no longer able to win all the tournaments.
Somehow our Vasily Ivanchuk approached me. “Explain to me what's going on,” he says. - Sometimes I play so badly that I myself am terrified. And I cannot find the reasons. ” “Vasily, look how old you are,” I answered. Ivanchuk was reassured that this is a normal process. By the 50th anniversary, he is still able to win two tournaments out of three, and when there are 50, he will be able to win a maximum of only one competition out of three.
And at 55 you won’t win one, I say. “So don’t think that you’ve done a bad one or two games.” You have the opportunity to win - win. You can't do anything with yourself. Take these changes with understanding and enjoy what you have.
Anatoly Karpov’s wife once said that at 50 her husband was tired not only of chess, but also of life in general.
It can not be. Unlike Kasparov, Anatoly is a very capable businessman. Harry Kimovich once tried his hand at business. Relatives on my mother's side persuaded Kasparov to invest 80 thousand dollars. For them were supposed to buy and bring oranges. The vessel with the fruit waited a long time. When it arrived, it turned out that during the long idle time in the port oranges had deteriorated. And with them, and lost money. Did these citruses really exist, Harry did not tell me.
But Karpov is well versed in banking. I remember how in 1980 I played in a tournament in Amsterdam, my personal fan, the director of a major Dutch bank, told a story. “Once I invited Karpov to our bank branch,” he said. - I thought that I would have to chew on certain details concerning the activities of the bank. However, in fact, it turned out that Karpov, on the contrary, explained it to me. ” In the end, the Peace Foundation, which was headed by Anatoly Evgenievich, was in fact a large bank. As you know, the Foundation financed the revolutionary governments of different countries - in Angola, in Cuba. Later, when the government did not allocate money for this, and Karpov remained chairman of the board, he turned the Fund into several banks. Over time, the bank that remained afloat, Anatoly Evgenievich pulled the assets of all the others. It is also indicative that in modern State Duma Karpov is a member of the Committee for Natural Resources, Nature Management and Ecology Anatoly Evgenievich would like to hold a position related to finance, but he is not allowed to go there.
“Kasparov’s main virtue is extreme honesty”
Kasparov is not a businessman. And the politician?
What he does is not politics. As Mikhail Gorbachev once said, “politics is the art of the possible.” Kasparov in this case tends to the impossible. I have known Harry Kimovich for a long time and I can say that his main virtue is extreme honesty.
That is all that he is doing, sincerely?
Yes. Kasparov sincerely mistaken. The problem is that Harry Kimovich is not a politician. He is probably the best human rights advocate after academician Andrei Sakharov. Andrei Dmitrievich was also sometimes called a politician. In fact, he was a public figure who penetrated human rights. In my opinion, now Sakharov’s niche is occupied by Kasparov. The only problem is that Harry Kimovich has political ambitions.
What is Kasparov's future?
It is difficult to predict. Much will depend on what will happen in Russia in the coming years. I am inclined to consider this issue from an economic point of view, so there is a certainty that our neighbors will always have people associated with oil and gas in power. After all, they provide 52 percent of revenues to the budget. Historically, it has always been the case that in Russia, the group that formed the budget was in power. Viktor Chernomyrdin at one time became prime minister primarily because he was the chairman of the board of Gazprom, a company that provided 25% of the revenues to the state treasury.
Later, when the St. Petersburg group of comrades struck an oil window to Europe, Vladimir Putin rose to the top. This is not surprising, because at that time deductions to the Russian budget from oil exceeded deductions from gas. Moreover, they have seriously exceeded - 240 billion dollars against 60. To understand the structure of Russian exports, it is worth noting that in second place is the sale of arms. But revenues are significantly less - only $ 13 billion.
Considering all the above, I believe that the ambitions of any Russian politician who will not be related to oil and gas are doomed. Take Boris Khodorkovsky. Now he is like an oppositionist. But they can once put it on him, because he never renounced the oil and gas complex. I do not know, perhaps Kasparov is not aware of this. Or aware, but he is not allowed into this cohort.
"The coach was worried for me to climb out of the water and run to the end"
When was the last time you talked to Harry Kimovich?
Not so long ago, in the summer, when he was a coach of the junior world team in a match against the US team. True, we did not talk about politics. It turned out to be at that match almost by accident, after another Lviv player Adrian Mykhalchysh could not take part at the last moment. Adrian called me himself and told me to go. For some reason I thought I would have to play. The fact that I will be a coach, I learned only a day before departure.
Honestly, I had no idea what exactly my role would be. They gave me children under 14 years old. As far as I understand, Kasparov invited this team with the understanding that among the 17-year-olds the Americans beat the world team. Accordingly, the victory of the world team to 14 years would bring a general draw. In fact, it turned out that both Americans lost the game with a big score. Harry was very upset because before that he had persuaded to finance this tournament of a millionaire from St. Louis. They say that this will be the advancement of chess in the United States, especially in the event of a victory over the world team.
For Americans in the tournament played by people of different nationalities.
No wonder. In the US, there is a competition between universities like Oxford and Cambridge. For individual universities, the opposition in chess is crucial. They call representatives of different nationalities, give them the opportunity to study for free. All in order to once a year defeat the team of another university. But at the same time, young chess players study on a par with the other students - they go to couples, pass exams. I was also offered something similar. But then he was already a 50-year-old uncle. If it were 20 years earlier, of course, agreed.
In your student years, athletes did not have to study.
It's a shame, but it was. At such a time we lived. In 1971, when he graduated from high school, he was already a famous master. I was then told that if the Ukrainian national team won the Games of the Peoples of the USSR, take me to the university without question. Accordingly, I did not prepare for the entry. I went with the national team, we won the Games, I played on the first board. It was a significant achievement of Ukrainian chess. He returned to Lviv and went to the University to take exams. I was surprised when I received only three. No one was going to enroll me in high school by “automatic”. I did not pass. “They promised me,” he was indignant. In response, I heard that they promised me in another department. The fact is that then there was the Ministry of Education, which was headed by the future head of the Council of Ministers, Valentina Shevchenko, and the Ministry of Higher Secondary Education,
“We can arrange you within the framework of the Ministry of Education,” said the Drohobych Pedagogical Institute. However, I did not want to leave Lviv. This is the first. Secondly, I entered the law faculty and after that I did not want to study as a teacher. As an alternative, friends suggested Fire School. Even better. Of course, I didn't want to be a fireman either. So in that year I did not go anywhere. And the next agreed the Ministry of Sports. I was admitted to the Lviv Institute of Physical Education. True, the exams had to be passed: I had to swim 100 meters, run 400. As a result, the coach said that he was most worried about me getting out of the water and running to the end.
"I call my education not the highest, but the top"
As a student of Infiza, did you take your physical condition more seriously?
Yes. Slightly scored form. Moreover, I learned to own surfing, water skiing. And I still try to keep an active lifestyle. I love skiing. I stop at the "Bukovel". If there is an opportunity, go to Europe. At an altitude of 2000 meters the snow lies all year round. Three or four days to unwind and ride, I have enough.
And in the infiz actively studied, while in 1973 did not become a world champion among youths. Since then, mostly went to the competition. He came only to the session, had a free schedule. And the teachers treated me condescendingly. For example, the professor of anatomy said: “Take yourself any chapter. Learn and come. ” So the Institute of Physical Education and graduated.
Interestingly, after winning the junior world championship, he met with the secretary of the Lviv regional committee. I remembered to him then that two years ago I did not pass to the Faculty of Law. It was August, entrance examinations at universities have already been completed. But from above it was ordered to take me to the law school. True, the first course, and in the infiza I was a third year student. Before graduating, only a year remained. I decided that I would not start over again.
Are you sorry?
Not. It was the Soviet Union. The effect of this formation was not. If we lived under capitalism, I would have no other choice but to study in good faith, on a par with other students.
And in the USSR and the very filling of education was questionable. He did not see the need to study “dialectical materialism”, “Marxist-Leninist jurisprudence”. That knowledge wasn't worth much. Actually, I call that infizovskoe education not higher, but upper.
That is, what you do now, achieved through self-education?
Undoubtedly. It so happened that throughout life I was interested in historical subjects. With all the tournaments carried with him the historical literature. So got acquainted with the philosophy of stoicism. The books of Seneca or Marcus Aurelius were with me. They reassured me, and most importantly - they helped me to take a punch. I won a lot, but often lost. The philosophy of stoicism helped to quickly come after failures in themselves.
And through the philosophy of stoicism he turned to Roman history. I read on this subject absolutely everything that is possible. You can find my blog on the Internet called “Caesar’s Memory”. He described the biography of the eminent emperor so that he would not find it in any historical work. This is purely my opinion. But behind that ten paragraphs there are mountains of books. I reread all the letters of Cicero, collected information drop by drop. I have a wonderful Roman library. Mostly books in Russian or English. Although now they are almost not needed, because on the Internet you can find everything much faster, more convenient. Yes, and for free.
It is often more comfortable for a person to hold a paper book in their hands.
Of course. Especially when you go on the train, you are tired and you want to sit at home and relax. Now I mostly read e-books on trains. But it is a little not that pleasure.

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