Tiviakov: "You have to work hard on chess"

by André Schulz
7/12/2018 – A few days ago Sergei Tiviakov became Dutch Champion 2018 and added another victory to his impressive list of successes. In an interview with ChessBase the former World Junior Champion and successful coach talks about his career, his style, about training, and his series of 110 games without defeat. | Photo: Harry Gielen

Realizing an Advantage Realizing an Advantage

It’s a problem every player encounters when he stands better in a game: how to convert his plus into a full point? In this DVD the author answers this difficult question of chess strategy, considering both the psychological aspects of the realisation of an advantage and the technical methods.


An Interview with Sergey Tiviakov

Congratulations on winning the Dutch Championship. How often did you play in the Dutch Championships — and how often did you win?

I played my first Dutch Championship back in 2000 in Rotterdam. I shared third to fifth place with the Fritz SSS computer and Paul Van der Sterren. Loek Van Wely won the tournament. Since then I have played many Dutch Championships - so many that I lost count.

You were born in 1973 in Krasnodar. When and how did you start playing chess?

I started to play when I was five and a half years old. I had found a chess book at home and became very interested in chess. So my parents sent me to a chess school in Krasnodar.

Who was or who were your trainer(s)?

My first coach was Alexey Osachuk . Later I was a pupil in the Vassily Smyslov school of chess. I was also coached by Boris Postovsky and Orest Averkin.

You quickly became better and became one of the world’s best juniors. What were your greatest successes as a junior?

In 1989 I won the USSR Junior Championship and became World Junior Champion U-16. In 1990 I won the World Junior Championship U-18.

Did you have idols as a junior, players that impressed and inspired you?

Smyslov since I was at his school. But also Karpov and Petrosian.

What are your greatest successes after your junior days?

In 1993/1994 I qualified for the Candidates Matches and at the Chess Olympiad 1994 I won gold with the Russian team. In 2008 I became European Champion and in 2001 and 2005 I won the European team championships with the Dutch team.

You were born in Krasnodar which in 1973 was part of the Soviet Union and is now in Russia. But now you live in the Netherlands. When did you move to the Netherlands? And how often did you play for the Dutch national team?

September 1998, and I played many times — the first time in 1999. And after a long break this year I will again play for the Dutch team at the Olympiad in Batumi.

How would you describe your style? Is it true that you are a “master of technique”?

I have a pure, positional style. But I can also play sharp chess, if necessary. And yes, I think, I have (or maybe had) a very good technique.

The Art of the Positional Exchange Sacrifice

The positional exchange sacrifice is one of the most powerful and fascinating strategic weapons in chess. On this DVD Sergey Tiviakov explains why the positional exchange sacrifice is such a strong weapon and how to use it.

You love to travel and you play tournaments all over the world. How many countries have you already visited? What countries do you think are the most beautiful?

87 countries. But there are too many beautiful countries on earth to just name a few! Countries that combine a rich cultural background with nature.

Do you keep track of the number of tournaments you have played in your career?

No, I do not.

You are a player that is difficult to beat and at one point in your career you did not lose a single game for a quite long time. When did this series begin and how long did it last?

It lasted from 2004 to 2005. In this time I played 110 games with classical time control in eleven months and did not lose a single one. So far, this record has not been broken.

What would you say is your best game ever?

I played many good games. But I consider Razuvaev - Tiviakov, Rostov on Don 1993, to be my best game.


The Art of Defence

The purpose of this DVD is to explain the viewer all main methods of defence: exchanging pieces, creating a fortress, eliminating dangerous enemy pieces, escaping the danger zone with the king, improving the position of the pieces.

You are not only a strong player, you are also a successful coach. When did you start to train students?

I have been coaching for many years. But until recently I did not give many lessons. However, because I have been playing quite badly recently my income from tournaments is not as high as it used to be and I had to find other ways to earn money.

How many students do you have?

I do not have many students. Up to 10... My most famous students are Jan Werle, and Jorden and Lucas van Foreest. Recently, I also started to work seriously with Machteld van Foreest.

Did you also work as a coach in other countries or just in the Netherlands?

I worked for a number of countries as a coach: for the Russian Chess Federation, the Dutch Chess Federation, the Turkish Chess Federation, the Indonesian Chess Federation, the Bangladesh Chess Federation, the Chess Federation of Turkmenistan, and for chess clubs in Colombia and Iran.

What would you say as a coach: how can a young player improve his chess? What are the best methods and are there good books or DVDs you would recommend?

You need to work hard on chess. Don’t be lazy. And don't work too much with computer analyses. Try to understand chess and chess positions by yourself.

Focused: Sergei Tiviakov | Photo: Alina l'Ami

Does it make sense to study classical games?

Of course. You can learn a lot from them.

Any tip regarding the coming World Chess championship?


All right. Thank you for the time and the interview!

Learning from the World Champions

With famous classical examples from the works of the giants, the author talks in detail about principles of chess and methods of play that we can use during every stage of the game.


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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