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From Russia, IM Lands in Ashburn

International Master's experience in chess training runs through Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines and Arizona.

It has been a long journey. Ashburn is the next stopover for IM Nikolay Andrianov.

Andrianov, former Soviet junior champion, will conduct the Ashburn Chess Camp this summer. The camp, now highly touted as the best chess camp in the area, produced the top three scholastic players in the K-3 section of the VA state championship in the past year.

From the Soviet Union in the early 1980s, Andrianov has circled the globe, and with the seeming touch of Midas has turned out great chess players from Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States.

Andrianov was, after all, the conqueror of Garry Kasparov during their junior years.

Andrianov defeated the eventual world champion in a 1978 match in the Soviet Spartakiad. He related this vignette, which can be verified here, in India at an Asian Under-16 championship. Andrianov won Kasparov in 46 moves of an English opening.

Though he was the rightful representative to the World Junior Championships, Soviet politics intervened. Mikhail Botvinnik sent his pupil, Kasparov, instead. The rest is chess history.  

Andrianov prepared for months to go the world juniors. With his passport ready, it was a great disappointment to learn one week before the event that he couldn't go. His chess career was shoved to the back burner. He also was prevented from traveling outside Russia to international places where he was invited.

Andrianov eventually recovered from the experience and decided that he would become a chess coach. It was the better option for a player whose career was affected by politics. He earned a bachelor's degree in chess training from the Moscow Central Physical Culture and Sport Institute, considered the top chess school in the world at the time.

But his background drops a somber cloud when his goal is to inspire others. "I like to have fun with chess and my students. I see chess more as a form of art," Andrianov wrote from Arizona, where is he currently based. He adds, "I encourage my students to succeed, not only in chess, but everywhere!"

Reading his philosophy of fun and success in chess has greater meaning considering what he has gone through. At a time when he was a trainer and second for former world champion Vasily Smyslov, he learned the value of emotions during a USSR championship in 1988.  

"The tournament had been held in one of the best hotels in Moscow," Andrianov recounted. He added that all the participants and their family members stayed there, excluding Smyslov's wife, who lived in a village house many miles away. Smyslov was handed three losses and a couple of draws at the beginning, and Andrianov could not believe the results because he felt Smyslov was so prepared.  

Apparently, Smyslov was concerned about his wife. He was not able to concentrate on his games.  Andrianov immediately asked the help of Nadezda Andreevna to summon Smyslov's wife. 

 "Once she moved to [the] hotel to stay and support her husband, Smyslov's games changed dramatically," Andrianov said. "He won three games, did not lose any more games and finished quite nicely! He got the brilliancy prize for his game with [Vereslav] Eingorn and the game with [Vassily] Ivanchuk got prize for the best strategic game!" The coach said he was “in heaven” with the turn of events.

Before heading to the United States Ashburn, Andrianov traveled a circuitous route as he circled the globe. Aside from Smyslov, he had stints coaching world class players like Vladimir Akopian, who became the under 20 world champion; world women's champion Maya Chiburdanidze; and girls under 20 world champion Nina Khurtsidze, among others. 

When travel from Russia became easier, Andrianov went to Greece from 1990-1996 where he became coach and trainer for the Greek National Team. He then went to train the Indonesian national team from 1996-1998, and at the height of that era’s economic crisis, went to the Philippines and eventually taught in the successful Milo Checkmate Program, where stalwarts like GM Mark Paragua and FM Paolo del Mundo, now in Virginia, were trained.

Later, he found himself in the United States until he had an auto accident, and met his wife Suzie, who was working in a hospital in Arizona. He became the trainer of almost all of Arizona’s best players, including national master David Aldelberg and national Grade 6 co-champion Kendrick Nguyen.

Andrianov started the Ashburn summer chess camp last year, producing top players such as state champion Trung Nguyen, Kevin Zhang and Tan Nguyen.

Adrianov was at the national scholastic championship in Clearwater, FL, where he helped Trung and Tan take second place in their respective grade levels.

Scott Knoke, one of the Ashburn club's organizers, noted Andrianov's enthusiasm, which was contagious to students.

"The students obviously enjoyed their days with the IM as they learned. He really made it fun for them," Knoke said.

"Success of my students is the most pleasure … even more valuable than my own success as a chess player!" Andrianov said.

Andrianov’s Ashburn Chess Camp runs July 11-15. For more information, visit http://www.ashburnchessclub.com.

IM Ajay Chatterjee Das May 20, 2011 at 05:10 AM
A teacher who cares for his students, is praiseworthy indeed.
Ryan C Roth May 20, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Here's hoping he molds another US or world champion here in Ashburn.

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