Ukrainian Championship 2008
The 77th Chess Championship of Ukraine took place from December 2nd to 12th
in the city of Poltava, located between Kharkiv and Kyiv in Ukraine. There were
26 participants, including 17 GMs. The top seed were Evgenij Miroshnichenko
(2632), Yuriy Kryvoruchko (2627), Vladimir Baklan (2625), Yuriy Kuzubov (2622).
Also taking part was the 12-year-old youngster Illya Nyzhnyk.
Top seed and new Ukrainian Champion GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko, 2627
Tied for first, lost on tiebreak points: GM Yuri Drozdowskiy, 2587
Third, half a point behind the leaders: GM Anton Korobov, 2605
Twelfth in the Ukrainian Championship was 12-year-old Illya Nyzhnyk
What it feels like: tournament winner Miroshnichenko, 2627,
needed 54 moves to beat Nyzhnyk in round five
Before the final round young Illya had a performance of 2633 – unfortunately
the lad lost the final game and finished the event with a 2594 performance
The winners: Korobov, Miroshnichenko, Drozdowskiy
Group photo at the end of the 2008 Ukrainian Championship
Oops, I did again!
Anastasiya Karlovich interviews Evgenij Miroshnichenko
GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko, 29 years old, from Donetsk, Ukraine, became the
Ukrainian Champion this week. He is a strong and well-known grandmaster (best
rating ever: 2671), and an interesting person with a keen sense of humor. In
his interview he expresses his views about the Ukrainian Championship and his
result, his attitude to Ukrainian youngsters, and also shows his way of bringing
interest to chess.
Anastasiya Karlovich: In 2003 you assesed your first
place in the Ukrainian Championship as the best result in your career. What
does it mean for you to be a champion of Ukraine again five years later? Is
it important for you to be the champion of your country?
Evgenij Miroshnichenko: No more euphoria this time. "Oops,
I did it again" – that is what I said to myself after escaping from
trouble against Drozdovskij in round seven. Somehow I felt I was going to win
the tournament. Anyhow, it’s a pleasure to win, and it’s twice as
pleasant when the tournament is the Championship of my country.
What do you think why were there no players from the national team? And
do you have a guarantee to play for the national team as a champion?
Well, I’ve expected this kind of questions, which I can gladly readdress
to the officials of Ukrainian Chess Federation. The absence of the Ukrainian
Olympic team players is quite understandable – the Olympiad finished only
few days before the Natioanl Championship was scheduled to start, and, besides,
the prize fund was a bit lower then the team players could expect.
Many youngsters played in the tournament. Some of them you faced on
the board. What can you say about their level? Don't you have a feeling that
they came very close in level to the players of your generation?
I’m far enough from being “truly experienced”, and I don’t
feel any right to give marks to somebody’s play. That’s why I would
not say “outstanding talent”, even If I thought so. And if we talking
about my generation… hmm… I still believe we’ve got something
to teach these youngsters.
Aren't you afraid they will tell you the same in some years?
I won't be very surprised if it happens. Nowadays there is no difference in
age when we play chess. I just have a feeling that they studied a different
kind of chess then we did. But maybe they will also teach us something in the
How did you prepare for the tournament and games? I heard you didn't
have a laptop with you? Is it still possible to win such a tournament without
I have no idea, I did nothing special. My tournament preparation was mental
rather than theoretical, most of the time. You are right: one week before the
championship my laptop broke down and it was impossible to repair it in time.
Without the laptop I was walking on thin ice – it’s nearly impossible
in the modern world to play a tournament and not to fall in a trap without using
computer assistance. I have to share some of my success with maestro Kuzubov,
who was so kind to show me some ideas before crucial games. Every game I was
trying to convince myself to play another interesting game and to escape from
the opponent’s preparation. And last but not least – coffee was
another little help.
Perhaps my question should be not how did you prepare but how did you
rest between the games?
Billiard in the evening and reading a book during the night – there
is no better way to keep your brain fresh, instead of 3-4 hours of preparation
with a chess engine. I wasn’t surprised when it worked out five years
ago – those times computers were not that important for a chess player
as they are now, but somehow I managed to prove it’s still possible nowadays.
Which game was the most important for you?
Black against bronze medalist Korobov in round six. This guy is quite dangerous
for me – he knocked me out twice in the Ukrainian championships 2004 and
2006. I managed to get a promising position right from the opening, but I felt
tension untill the end.
What is more important for you: the result or the quality of the games?
What about the creativity on the chessboard?
I think the quality of the a game is basic, because I believe it's impossible
to have good results without it. I am not ready to abandon interesting ideas
for fear of damaging good results. But it has happened in my games many times
before. You know, ideas can be interesting and dangerous at the same time. Sometimes
I go for them because I want to check what will happen. It doesn't bring too
many points, but maybe some pleasure for the spectators. During the Ukrainian
Championship I was trying to be more “quiet”, because the sportive
result had a big meaning for me. Any way some games are supposed to be quite
In a previous interview you said you are a moody person. Do emotions
help or disturb you during the game?
Emotions, emotions… For me it's much more important to play with great
emotional tension then to be quiet inside. All my good results came from such
high tension. I know it's possible to read emotions on my face, but I don’t
care if it's good or bad – that’s my way of playing chess. That’s
why, by the way, spectators are so important – they are making the tension
even higher. But for example after the tournament I felt emptiness instead of
being glad, probably spent all my emotions before.
Which languages do you speak? You played for many years in German Bundesliga.
Did you succeed in learning German?
I speak Russian, Ukrainian, English, Polish and Serbian. Somehow my English
is good enough to speak with my colleagues from the Bundesliga team. So I wasn’t
forced to learn German. But after playing few years in Germany I’m already
able to answer almost any question in German with “Ich habe keine Ahnung”
[I have no idea, not a clue]. Ok, kidding aside. I’ve learned couple of
words connected with traveling and chess, but you can hardly call this “learned
Some years ago you gave blindfold
simultaneous exhibitions on 10-20 boards. The idea was to break the record
of János Flesch. Could you please tell us about it? What prospects
does this project have?
It needs some correction: the idea was to play on 64 boards (quite a symbole,
isn’t it?). János Fleschplayed on 52 boards, but the world record
holder is George Koltanowski with his unbelievable 56 boards performance. To
be honest I still believe I can do that (or at least I'm going to try, even
if I risk my life). You are asking about the prospects? Most probably I will
go mad, but it is also possibile that I will bring some publicity to chess,
to prove it’s not only a game of short draws and long thinking. Nobody
from “out of chess world” going to be impressed with “GM X
calculated Y moves to GM Z”. But with this blindfold chess we can show
some skills unknown to the general public.
Which goals do you have? Are you going to be a chess player all your
Goal in my life? Thank you for your interest, but I cannot answer this hard
question, even to myself. In chess it’s more or less clear – to
play on and try to improve. What for? Well, that’s another question.
Don't you think it's very difficult for a professional chess player to
make a family?
This question is too personal to be answered… I don't think it's really
harder for a chess player compared to any other human who is addicted to his
Do you have any desire to undertake some other chess activities, such
as commenting for the press, coaching, book writing?
Well, I’ve written few articles and commented on a few games as I believe
any other grandmaster has done. About the books… well, I have two projects,
but I cannot predict how long it’s going to take to finish them. In one
of them (for the moment it’s called “Chess as a martial art”)
with help of my collaborator I’ll try to answer a rare question about
chess: not “How to play” but “What to play chess for”.
And the second one is too early to do – I’m not old enought to publish
something like “My best games”.
It is difficult for non-Russian speaking people to pronounce you surname.
That's why many people call you “Miro”. What is your attitude
I’ve considering using “Yours, Miro” instead of my normal
signature. Actually I like this nickname, which is certainly better than “The-Ukrainian-Evgenij-with-the-horrible-surname”.
Anastasiya (Nastja) Karlovich was Ukrainian
champion and vice-champion among girls under 16, 18 and 20. She was European
Champion with the Ukrainian team in the Youth Team Championships. She is also
a candidate officer in the National Law Academy “Yaroslav the Wise”; a member
of the chess club “Law Academy”; a member of the German club Grosslehna; the
organiser of the WGM and GM closed tournaments “Cup of Rector”; a Woman Grandmaster