“Improve my chess” is Grandmaster Mesgen Amanov’s website with training program. Mesgen Amanov, a native of Turkmenistan, who for the last years has been living in the United States. The title refers to the byword by Leonardo da Vinci “Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master”. Having discovered the resource and its founder ORIENT contacted Mesgen and he graciously accepted the invitation to talk.
– Mesgen, would you, please, share some information about yourself here – how did a chessboard become for you a hobby first, and then a lifelong business?
– I started playing chess when I was 5 years old. My dad taught me, he was good chess beginner level. In addition, in my school, chess was a curriculum. So was going to chess class once a week, obviously I was beating everyone in my grade. When I was 10 years old, my father passed away. I decided to go the chess club and study chess with more advanced kids. So, I was in that chess club, within 5 years I became 2200 level that equals to the FIDE master level.
– And you have resolved to devote your life to chess, right?
– Yes, I went to the National Institute of Sports and Tourism in Turkmenistan, majoring in chess coach. That allowed me to study chess all day. When I graduated university, I was 20 years old and became International Master. Then, due to the some circumstances, I came to USA to play in tournaments. I studied enormous amount of chess here in Chicago, where I live now. Here I met with Grandmaster Yury Shulman, who became my friend.
– What are your achievements representing Turkmenistan, where your love of chess has grown and gained strength?
– I played bunch of International chess tournaments including Chess youth Olympiads, Asian Championships etc. Then I played at Chess Olympiad in Dresden in 2008. This was my most successful tournament; I had 7.5 points out of 8 with the performance of 2730 – FIDE rating.
In May 2011, I got second place at Chicago Open with more than 25 Grandmasters. In July same year, I got third place at World Open with more than 30 Grandmasters. In August, I placed second at the Metropolitan Invitational with more than 10 Grandmasters.
After 2012, I was teaching more and more. At the moment, I am focused on teaching and training of future chess masters.
– Mesgen, what does psychology and psychological balance in chess mean to you? Is it about a mood only or something more?
– Psychology in chess, as in any other sports, is so important. If you go to the tournament in a good mood, motivated, striving to play best moves and ready to fight till the last move your chances on doing well are very very high. I’ve seen my students preparing so much, worrying about the tournament and when the time comes to play a game, they make very simple mistakes, blunders.
Being worried and sometimes scared is a big enemy that you need to overcome first. To be a good tournament player it is to be in a good physical shape. I often recommend to my students to gym 3-4 times a week, soccer and tennis 1-2 times a week, jogging and simply walking on the fresh air, as it all helps to stay focused during the game. Endurance is very important especially for them, because their tournaments are very long.
– We learned that in addition to teaching in chess schools, you are also the author of articles for the US Chess Federation. Your Article “Path to the Podium: GM Mesgen Amanov on Training by Grandmaster Mesgen Amanov” became the winning article in Best of US Chess 2018. What was the idea of opening a chess academy?
– In 2012, I opened chess academy in Glenview, Illinois. Idea is that kids from 6 to 18 years old could get together and study in a group. Over these 4 years I had about 20 Grandmasters giving lectures in my academy.
In September 2015, we launched the Improve My Chess program. After few months since launching, we have received hundreds of amazing feedback.
My chess philosophy in teaching is very simple: to make my students happy. What do I enjoy most about my teaching? The results! I enjoy when my students say to me: “Mesgen, I did so great at the tournament!” with a huge smile on their face. Nothing else matters to me.
There are some examples: two of my students from an elementary school in Chicago, 7-year-old Aren Emrikian and 9-year-old Arthur Xu, took first and second places at the 2017 World Cadets Chess Championship, respectively. Among my students, there is also the gold medalist of the 2018 World Cadets Chess Championship.
– Thank you, Mesgen, for the interesting and inspiring interview. Good luck to you and your students!
Mergen NUR OGLY