Alexander Riazantsev: “Finishing in the top 3 in such tournaments is a success for any player”

Alexander Vladimirovich Riazantsev is a Russian grandmaster (2001) and trainer of the Russian national women’s team.

– As a trainer of Alexandra Kosteniuk, you are staying in Khanty-Mansiysk for almost a month already. Do you also follow the progress of other members of the Russian national team?

– Yes, of course I do, although there aren’t many of them here, especially in the Grand Prix event. As a national team trainer, I simply have to. Other participants of these tournaments will also play for their teams at the Olympiads, World and European championships, so I try to observe all games to gather experience and use this knowledge later.

– Sasha finished 3rd in the Grand Prix and took 2nd in the World Rapid Championship. What can you say about her results?

– In my opinion, finishing in the top 3 in such tournaments is a success for any player. Sasha’s result is a bit higher than expected by her rating, so she even gained a few points. The same goes for the Rapid Championship. Finishing second in such a strong field, after such a marathon distance is certainly a success. In order to finish first one often needs luck, especially against the opponents of similar strength.

– You often talked to Alexandra between the games. Did you try to inspire her? Was it a quick opening fix?

– Of course I try to support her and give some advice, but I will not reveal all my secrets!

– Olga Girya also played quite successfully in these tournaments: 2nd place in the Grand Prix, 3rd place in the Rapid Championship… Will she be included into the national team for the coming Olympiad?

– Second place in the Grand Prix is an excellent and well-deserved result. She studies a lot, and it seems to help. Playing at home was also a factor, in my opinion. Of course, Olga’s results are noted, but all the decisions about our team are made by the head coach Sergey Rublevsky.

– How do you rate the quality of play in these tournaments?

– Everyone can occasionally play a bad game, but generally the quality was quite reasonable. Especially in the Rapid Championship – five or seven starting rounds were played at a very high level, reminding of men’s chess. Then the players got tired and started making mistakes.

– You are involved in women’s chess for quite a while. What distinguishes it from men’s chess?

– Men’s play is more stable, they are better in controlling their emotions. Chesswise watching men’s games is more interesting for me – they are deeper, more strategic, more subtle… Women’s chess is more emotional and less predictable – the situation often changes drastically a few times during one game. However, this is exactly what makes women’s chess so exciting.