Roseto, Saturday ,12th of June, 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the Roseto tournament has just ended, and we settle down at the bar for a coffee with Oleg Mikhajlovic Romanishin : it’s time for that interview that was promised us. Romanishin speaks fluent English, as was evident during the magnificent coaching session held on Wednesday night. Luckily, the Scacchierando team is in full force, with LightKnight and Stefano Bellicampi who are far more proficient than me.
For about twenty minutes of the interview young Lorenzo Pescatore has come to sit with us and listen, all along handling an ice cream : a very special young man our Lorenzo, not only chess-wise ! The conversation is very pleasant and cordial : we don’t start with a question, but just talking about the state of Italian chess in general.
Romanishin : Chess is definitely growing in Italy, as shown by the many tournaments held here. I have met many Italian players : I played against mariotti in Leningrad, in 1977, a very creative player, many times with Godena, who is an interesting player, very solid, and with many more. I also had the opportunity of holding a brief training session with Vocaturo and Piscopo, which was organised by Nicola Pienabarca.
Scacchierando : what is your impression of Caruana ?
Romanishin : Caruana is clearly a talented young player, but I couldn’t say more without knowing him personally and playing and analysing with him.
S : Here you played against Axel Rombaldoni
Romanishin : Yes, I’d played him in Bratto before. I won both times, but he’s a quality player, with good potential. Maybe , at the moment, he tends to overpress. I played twice against his brother Denis as well.
S : when was your first time in Italy ?
Romanishin : In 1978 I came to Genoa, for a Festa dell’Unità, holding various simultaneous events. I came back in 1984, where I played other simultaneous matche sin different cities. My first tournament was Reggio Emilia 1984/85. I have since come back to Italy many times and I’ve always enjoyed it, I like Italian food a lot, and I love the coffee. During the Frascati tournament in 2006 I had the chance to walk around Rome with my family, and have a coffee in Piazza di Spagna, I have very fond memories of that day. Before I leave ( to a tournament in Heviz, Hungary, on lake Balaton ) I want to spend a day walking around Rome again, I like that town very much.
S : you learned to play chess when you were 5 …
Romanishin :Yes, with my father, who was a strong player, he was able to win the Lvov championship, our hometown. My father had a loit of books at home, and there was a nice “ chess “ atmosphere. I was the youngest in my family : my brothers also played, but were less dedicated.
S . Chess was very popular in the Soviet Union, back then .
Romanishin : Yes, definitely, it was the sport with the most following after football ! The government actively promoted the game, which was really very popular. Chess was talked about on mainstream media, not only on specialized publications, and there were radio shows. During the 1963 Botvinnik – Petrosjan match ( Romanishin was 11 at the time ) , there was a news bulletin every hour, and the moves played were given. My father and I used to follow these games with a chessboard, analyzing while waiting for the following moves
S : You then studied with Viktor Kart. Aside from being an excellent coach, was he also a strong player ?
Romanishin : Not really, back then, he was a good Candidate Master ( a Russian CM of the time was usually strong modern-day FM strength ) , in some way he developed as a player with us, his first group of students, which was myself, Alexander Beliavsy and Adrian Mikhalcisin. Stein’s successes, who was a good friend of Kart’s, boosted the chess scene in Lviv. In 1973 I won the Youth European championship, while Beliavsky won the World Championship. Viktor dedicated himself to us with passion and competence.
Here is a full article.
Sign up for my free email chess course for Beginners and Club Players. In this free course, I focus on helping beginner chess players see the entire board. You will learn how to attack your opponent from move 1 and create a new threat with every single move! I’ve created this series of lessons designed to help beginner and club level players understand the game at a deeper level so that you can start beating higher rated players immediately. Start getting free tips from me directly to your inbox!
– GM Susan Polgar