This week I am joined by 25 year old GM Alex Ipatov. Alex is quite an accomplished chess player who is well known for winning the 2012 World Junior Chess Championship, among many other distinctions. These days, Alex is graduate student at St. Louis University, and he has recently published an original chess book called Unconventional Approaches to Modern Chess Volume 1: Rare Ideas for Black. His book is available from Thinker’s Publishing, Amazon and Forward Chess. Please read below the break to see more details of what we discussed, as well as relevant links and contact information.
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0:00-Intro and discussion of Alex’s new book. It is based on the thesis that the trend of memorizing too many opening lines has become unhealthy. Alex believes that we can learn from the very strong GMs who utilize offbeat lines, such as GMs Baadur Jobava and Richard Rapport. Naturally, GM Ipatov also relies heavily on his own chess repertoire to find lines to recommend, but he wishes to stress that adopting an original and practical approach to chess openings is more important than buying his book and copying his lines.
7:30- We discuss Alex’s life away from the board for a bit. He discusses his academic pursuits, his enthusiasm for soccer and how he enjoys life in St. Louis.
11:00-We return to the topic of how the club level player should approach studying openings. A couple supporters of the podcast wrote to ask about how to balance avoiding getting bogged down in theory, while also making sure that they know a bit about classical structures.
21:00- What did Alex think of the news that FIDE is sponsoring a Fischer Random World Championship tournament?
25:00- We delve a bit into Alex’s background. He spent his early years in Lviv, Ukraine. We briiefly discuss the past and future of chess in his native Ukraine. As Alex tells, chess standouts like GMs Vassily Ivanchuk and Yuriu Kryvoruchko, Oleg Romanishin, Alexander Beliavsky, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Martyn Kravtsiv Yaroslav Zherebukh and Ilya Nizhnik were all born in or not far from Lviv, but many have relocated to different countries.
29:00- Chess improvement! Why should we study the classics? Which classics should we study? Alex is a big fan of Alexander Alekhine’s Best Games and recommends that stronger players study Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual.
39:00- Who does Alex think we might see in the next World Championship? Who are the strongest players he has ever played? What lesson did he learn from GM Vladimir Kramnik when he played him at the 2013 Olympiad?
47:00- How did Alex end up representing Turkey in international chess competitions? Has he lived in Turkey?
50:00- Before we say our goodbyes, we briefly discuss an interesting game Alex annotated in his book with online bullet star, GM Andrew Tang. You can see Alex’ annotation in his book, but can also see notes to the game here. You can follow Alex on twitter here, or reach him via email here.