Elina - the Armenian celebrity
In case you missed Elina's interview, placed under the 'media tab-interviews', here it is, once again! Today she is facing Harika Dronavalli with Black.
Elina has been included on the list of the most famous Armenian women of the 20th century. This is a direct consequence of the popularity of the royal game in her homeland.
Armenia is one of the fortunate countries where chess, to no lesser extent than football, is one of the dominating sports. Armenian chess players are very well known in our country and it frequently happens that they are recognized on the streets and greeted with respect or even asked for autographs. I had this pleasant kind of experience, too.
I am traveling a lot and even though this starts being less easy than before, I don't complain yet. I am married with a Dutch man and share my time between Armenia and Holland. But my favorite place remains my home city, Yerevan.
Elina kindly shared her views on a worldwide topical issue:
In my opinion the idea of the "Chess in Schools" program is a good one in itself, but needs a lot of improvements since, as a compulsory subject, it could turn into a "stick with two edges". You know, chess is a very specific subject ,which has to be introduced to children in the right way. Children are different, with different perceptions and a teacher must be not only the person who knows how to play chess but to have a high pedagogical education as well.
And here are some insights of the super GM laboratory:
I recommend to solve studies and I like to do it myself. Kasparian is one of my favourite chess composers. For me it was always a problem to relax and "switch off" my working brain during tough tournaments. Mostly, I like to listen music, to solve crosswords, watching comedies and, when I'm not lazy, I practice some fitness :)
With the typical modesty of the great champions, Elina gave only some vague hints about her expectations for the approaching Grand Prix:
As a rule, I don't have special expectations from my results before the tournament starts. My main task is exerting myself to the maximum and playing interesting games. This tournament is no exception and it is too early to try guessing anything about my final result. Tournament duration and my condition will have their tell in the decisive moments :)
And, from a wider and more general perspective:
I prefer individual tournaments more. Why? Because they are just less nerve-wrecking than the team competitions :-) You are responsible only for your own result. But team competitions are very interesting events with their own specific rules, psychology, fight and spirit.
Looking back, it's difficult to pick up just one favorite achievement...none of my victories did come easy and each single one is important for me. Of course, team achievements are very special to me.
For Elina, chess rivalry doesn't have a conflictive character, as it sometimes happens among top sportsmen.
I just don't want to believe that true conflicts can happen in our chess World. For me, the simple human relationships are more important and with a greater value than the over-the-board rivalry. Chess is just a game and we are opponents only for a couple of hours and nothing more. Life outside of the chess board is more important.
What makes her different from the other chess players?
To be honest, I have never thought about it, maybe because I never compare myself with anyone. I believe everybody is different, either in chess or in life.
If she regrets anything from her chess life...
No, it is actually the other way around completely. I'm very thankful to chess. Chess gave me everything I have in life and made me who I am.