Serge 'n Kath: interviews with the youngest Super-GM couple

by ChessBase
8/25/2009 – Recently Sergey Karjakin, once the youngest GM in chess history, and WIM Kateryana Dolzhikova, student of English linguistics, were married. After a brief honeymoon in the Crimea the two rushed to Jermuk, where Sergey played in the Fifth FIDE Grand Prix. Press officer Lilit Mkrtchian spoke to the pair about marriage, plans, chess and general interests. Interviews.

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Fifth FIDE Grand Prix in Jermuk, Armenia

This event took place from August 8th-24th 2009. It was a Category 19 tournament, with eleven of the 14 players rated over 2700. The event was a memorial to former world champion Tigran Petrosian, who held the title from 1963–1969 and would have turned 80 on June 17th this year.

Interview with WIM Katya Dolzhikova

By Lilit Mkrtchian

Yet another young and beautiful chess family has been created recently: Chess star Sergey Karjakin married WIM Ekaterina Dolzhikova. After the marriage the newlyweds enjoyed a short honeymoon in the Crimea before continuing to scenic Jermuk to take part in Grand Prix tournament. Ekaterina was happy to share her impressions.

Lilith Mkrtchian: Congratulations, Katya, on your marriage!

Katya Dolzhikova: Thank you.

How would you describe Sergey, how is he in real life?

Sergey is very romantic and full of care. When I am in a trouble, he always encourages me. He is optimist, always has a good mood and I am very happy when I am near him.

How do you like to spend your spare time?

Serge 'n Kath, the youngest Super-GM couple in chess

We love poetry and often enjoy spending our free time reading classical Russian literature and poetry. For example, we recently read Pushkin’s Evgeny Onegin. Also we love music. I play the piano and guitar, and Sergey is learning to play the guitar as well and soon he will play. One interesting addition: when we began dating, sometimes Sergey called me on the phone and we would play blind chess. Not surprisingly, those games ended with Sergey’s victory.

How do you picture your future family? With many children or is one is enough? And would you like your children to be chess players like their parents?

Ekaterina Dolzhikova chatting with Russian journalist Yury Vasiliev

I would love to have a girl and a boy; I think one is not enough. It would be great if they become chess players, but Sergey doesn’t think so.

How is the world of the kitchen? Do you like cooking?

Yes, I do. I have been taught to cook delicious dishes, especially Ukrainian things from my mother, and I should add that Sergey likes my cooking. In particular, he likes dishes with meat as well as sweets very much.

Sergey and Katya on their honeymoon in the Crimea

Please, tell me a bit about yourself.

I study at Kiev linguistic institute, in the English department. But above all I like to play chess and Sergey helps me in this matter. Generally, all members of our family are chess fans. My sister is an International Grandmaster, and my father and mother very often play chess in the evenings.

Then they are of course happy to see Sergey by your side.

Yes, they welcomed my choice. I am glad to have a chess player as a husband too. I guess when spouses have the same profession they understand each other more easily.

Katya, thank you for the interview. I hope to always see you as cheerful and vivacious as I do now.

Interview with Sergey Karjakin

By Lilit Mkrtchian

Lilith Mkrtchian: Sergey, we have already heard from your wife regarding your new marital status, so now why don't we turn our attention to matters related to chess. As you know the Jermuk Grand Prix tournament is dedicated to the ninth World Champion Tigran Petrosian’s 80th anniversary and I would like to know your opinion about our legendary compatriot. What kind of useful things have you learnt from his games?

Sergey Karjakin: Thank you Lilit. Of course I have studied Tigran Petrosian’s games quite deeply, as I have done with other World Champions’ games. He was a very intriguing player with a signature counter-attacking style. Of course he is deservedly famous for his exchange sacrifices and for his implementation of the concept of blockading, which resonate with me strongly.

Sergey Karjakin at work in Jermuk

What do you think about Fischer Random Chess?

I am very interested in participating and watching Fischer Random Chess. Twice I have had the great pleasure of participating in the tournament in Mainz. It is not good that there is only one such tournament per year. I would like to be able to take part in such tournaments very often.

Do you trust computer’s estimation or do you disagree with it sometimes?

Surely you shouldn’t trust a computer’s estimation blindly. You should investigate all the possible variations and then choose the best one. For example, in the game against Bacrot, in the opening Etienne followed computer’s estimation where the computer gave the OK, despite the fact that White’s position was preferable. One should follow the axiom “trust but check”.

What do you think about the upcoming Anand-Topalov match? What would you identify as their weak points?

It is going to be an interesting and hard-fought match. I can’t guess who will be the winner because they are both very strong players. I think it is impossible to consider any aspects of thier game weak. If there are, then I am sure they will try to correct them.

Team Karjakin in Jermuk: GM Alexander Motylev, Ekaterina, Sergey

How do you think, what should be done for popularizing chess.

I guess it has to do most with organizational skill. I don’t want to say anything bad about FIDE or other organizational bodies, but I think FIDE hasn't been able to solve all its problems as of yet.

How do you play when you wife is near you?

This is my first experience (laughing) and I think I have started the tournament not so poorly. I sense my wife’s encouragement. We are already planning to go to tournaments together in the future.

Tell me about your impressions in Jermuk.

Every day we walk together in the nature, drinking the famous mineral water of Jermuk. It is wonderful to be here: the nature is beautiful and the air is clear and crisp.

Source: FIDE


The games were broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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