The captain of the Italy chess team GM Arthur Kogan was in Sofia and found some time to speak with our editor GM Marian Petrov.
MP Hello Arthur, welcome to Sofia. You are here for the VIII World Team Chess Championship for Blind and Visually Impaired. Can you tell us more about it?
AK It was a great event mainly because I saw it was done with care and love for chess players that really need and appreciate the efforts!
My team is based on good chess players but most of them also have hard daily jobs so it was hard to expect too much in the field of teams with more active players. But they gave their best and finished in very respected 9th place!
MP You are the coach of the Italian national chess team for many years now. Recently you won the Mitropa cup. Can you tell us more for the event?
AK Yes, it’s a pleasure to train a quite ambitious young team (Moroni, The Italian Champ is only 18!), and together with the legendary veteran Godena (who had an amazing result!), the already experienced fighters such are Vocaturo and Brunello, and the new solid addition of Valsechi, we managed to get a great team spirit that helped us to save and even win few crucial games… And achieve one of the best results ever for the Italian chess team!
MP How is the preparation for the Chess Olympiad going and what are your expectations for your team?
AK We will have one more training camp next month, but in total the mood is good, players are training hard and we will try to make the almost impossible (In Baku we fought for Silver medal last round vs… RUSSIA!) and improve our great results from last years… :-)
MP Fabiano Caruana was in the past part of your team. Do you miss his presence and do you think he has chance in the World Championship match against Magnus?
AK Well, we had great times with Fabiano and I was happy with his great efforts for the chess team, but as he himself noticed and told me, he knows and saw we could also do very well without him. But definitely I wish him the best of the best vs Magnus, I know he got the talent to beat the champion and I just hope he will prepare and come in his best form.
MP You are living in Spain and running the academy Olalachess. Can you tell us about this project, how and when it has started?
AK Yes, I live in Spain since more than 18 years and except training camps in my town and in Salou I mainly work online and with the so many good results of the students I am still motivated to teach and share more of my wide experience of work with all kind of chess levels and ages, mainly looking for new ‘Impossible Missions’ to complete.
MP You are from Israel, you live in Spain, coaching Italy. You speak Russian and English and have Bulgarian wife. Which country do you feel as home?
AK Well, since I lived in so many countries I am quickly adapted to new places…Now I am mainly Catalan. But my heart will always belong to Israel, where I grew up and learned so much about so many important life values.
Full interview here: