Norway's second World Champion interviewed

by Niklesh Kumar Jain
12/8/2017 – Magnus Carlsen single handedly uplifted the chess culture in Norway when the 22-year-old became the World Champion in Chennai in 2013. Thanks to Magnus' achievements a major chess boom has been witnessed in Norway. One of the players who is a product of this boom is GM Aryan Tari, just 18 years old, who has already broken into 2600, and recently won the World Junior Championship. ChessBase India caught up with the young achiever for an interview on his fantastic achievement. | Photo: Regani CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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"Magnus Carlsen has helped me to become a better chess player by just existing"

The World Juniors 2017 held in Tarvisio, Italy was a very strong and important event. There were 29 players above the rating of 2500 and players from 64 countries participated. Although the top seed was Dutch GM Jorden van Foreest, and the second seed was Russian Grigory Oparin, in the end it was Norwegian Aryan Tari who became the champion. In a very tense final round, Tari had to hold the knight endgame against the top seed to secure victory. He did, and now Norway boasts both the World Champion as well as the World Junior Champion.

Aryan Tari standing on top of the podium at the recently concluded World Junior Championships 2017 at Tarvisio, Italy | Photo: Jamie Kenmure

Rd. Bo. SNo   Name Rtg FED Pts. Res. we w-we K rtg+/-
1 5 79 IM Tran Minh Thang 2361 VIE 6,0 w ½ 0,78 -0,28 10 -2,80
2 34 75 IM Saiyn Zhanat 2374 KAZ 6,5 s 1 0,77 0,23 10 2,30
3 14 52 IM Petrov Martin 2431 FID 6,0 w 1 0,70 0,30 10 3,00
4 6 36 IM Van Foreest Lucas 2474 NED 7,0 s 1 0,65 0,35 10 3,50
5 3 20 GM Sarana Alexey 2543 RUS 7,5 w 1 0,55 0,45 10 4,50
6 1 11 GM Alekseenko Kirill 2563 RUS 7,5 w 1 0,53 0,47 10 4,70
7 1 14 GM Liang Awonder 2558 USA 7,0 s ½ 0,53 -0,03 10 -0,30
8 1 2 GM Oparin Grigoriy 2606 RUS 7,0 s 1 0,47 0,53 10 5,30
9 1 26 IM Praggnanandhaa R 2509 IND 8,0 w ½ 0,60 -0,10 10 -1,00
10 1 21 IM Xu Xiangyu 2543 CHN 7,5 w ½ 0,55 -0,05 10 -0,50
11 1 1 GM Van Foreest Jorden 2616 NED 8,0 s ½ 0,45 0,05 10 0,50

Aryan went through the tournament unbeaten!

 ChessBase India's Niklesh Jain caught up with Aryan and asked him about his historic victory.

Niklesh Jain (NJ): What does being the world champion mean to you? 

Aryan Tari (AT): It really means a lot, and is of course the biggest achievement in my career. It really motivates me and gives me energy to continue and do my best to keep improving.


NJ: You have played a lot of World Junior championships, how difficult was the competition in this one as compared to the previous ones?

AT: So this was my third world juniors as I played in Pune 2014 and Khanty Mansiysk 2015. World Juniors is always a very tough tournament in my opinion, as there are a lot of talents and especially underrated players from India and China. I would say this time was as difficult as the others.


NJ: What do you think was your best quality that helped you to win the World Junior title? 

AT: I played with much energy, and my calculation and openings were generally pretty good in this tournament, and that helped me to win. 

Everything worked out well for Aryan in this tournament | Photo: Ruggero Percivaldi

NJ: Whom would you like to dedicate your World Champion's title to? 

AT: I would like to say thanks to my father who taught me chess when I was five years old and has been there for me since I was five, helping financially and taking me to all tournaments. My coaches have also been important, probably the most important were Evgeny Romanov and Axel Smith with whom I worked during my career. '

Little Aryan with his parents and elder brother in 2003!| Photo: Aryan Tari's archives

And this one is in 2016! | Photo: Aryan Tari's archives

NJ: Which was your favourite game in this tournament? 

AT: My favourite game was against Grigory Oparin from round 8. Here are my notes on that game:

[Before you get thinking about that game, here's a position for you to find Aryan's (Black's) best move:]


The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2

The Caro Kann is a very tricky opening. Black’s play is based on controlling and fighting for key light squares. It is a line which was very fashionable in late 90s and early 2000s due to the successes of greats like Karpov, Anand, Dreev etc. Recently due to strong engines lot of key developments have been made and some new lines have been introduced, while others have been refuted altogether. I have analyzed the new trends carefully and found some new ideas for Black.

NJ: What is your opinion about the young Indian talent R. Praggnanandhaa. Do you think he has the ability to become a future World Champion?

 12-year-old R. Praggnanandhaa not only finished fourth at the World Juniors 2017, but he also remained unbeaten and made his first GM norm | Photo: Ruggero Percivaldi

AT: Praggnanandhaa is of course very talented and gifted. I was impressed by how much he saw during our game, and he calculates pretty well. In our game we both made some mistakes here and there, but I think he is making less and less mistakes. Generally he has the chance to reach as far as he wants, but I think it really depends on the motivation and work he does for the next five years. For a 12-year-old he has the best starting point for a World Champion. It's hard to say more than that. We just have to see!


NJ: After nine years both the World Champion and World Junior Champion are from the same country. Before this it happened in 2008. It was Viswanthan Anand and Abhijeet Gupta from India. Do you think India and Norway are the two new emerging superpowers of the chess world? 

AT: I hope so, although India still has a lot more talents than Norway without any doubt. I think in the upcoming years Norway will produce more talents as chess is getting more popular here, and it feels very cool to think that we have two World Champions. 

NJ: How has Magnus Carlsen helped you to become better chess player? 

AT: He has helped me to become a better chess player by just existing. From my childhood he was always the big star in Norway and I was always following his games. You definitely get more motivated when the World Champion lives in your country. He always makes me wonder how does he do it, and that makes me want to try to reach far myself. We haven't looked that much at chess together, but we had like two training camps which was fun and useful. 


NJ: Does having a role model like Magnus Carlsen make your life difficult in Norway because it's like you have to emulate someone who is the best in the world? 

AT: I would say it is just very positive. If Magnus wouldn't exist, I'm sure I would be more lazy. Because we are from the same country and he is the best, it just gives me motivation.

"If Magnus Carlsen would not have existed I am sure I would have been more lazy!" - Aryan Tari | Photo: Ole Kristian Strom, VG

NJ: Can you tell us something about origin of your name? ”Aryan” is a very common first name in India? 

AT: So my parents are from Iran, and thats why I have this name. It is a normal name there. But I was born and raised in Norway. 


NJ: What are the next tournaments you are going to play? 

AT: I will play in Tata Steel in Holland in January, the B group. I might play something before, but not sure. 


NJ: What are your interests apart from chess? 

AT: Apart from chess I go my last year in high school. I like during my free time to go for walks, gym, spend time with friends and just talk. 


NJ: How does chess make you happy? 

AT: Chess really makes me happy as you meet interesting people and get new friends around the world. Of course winning is a very good feeling!

From a talented youngster to a full fledged grandmaster, Aryan Tari is Norway's best bet to create Magnus Carlsen's successor | Photo: Aryan Tari

Niklesh Jain with Aryan Tari when he was already tremendously strong! | Photo: Niklesh Jain


FIDE Instructor Niklesh Kumar Jain Jain is an international chess player who has participated in tournaments in almost in 20 different countries, winning the international tournament in Sri Lanka in 2010. He also worked for a television network as an anchor and news writer for two years and reported in Hindi during World Chess Championship 2013 and 2014.


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