Chessdom: Olga, we met during the European Club Cup on Rhodes. What are your impressions from the event?
Olga Dolzhikova: I am not used to participating in many official events, that’s why it gave me quite a festive feeling of something great and interesting to be part of.
And generally, Rhodes is a wonderful place, I remember being in high spirits all the way through, combining playing chess with sightseeing, swimming, windsurfing and taking hundreds of pictures.
Chessdom: How did you feel when you sat across Shakhriyar Mamedyarov?
Olga Dolzhikova: For me it was both a great honour and sheer joy. No pressure for the result, right, just was very curious to watch the way he thinks. I didn’t quite know the opening, unfortunately, but was glad that he had to sacrifice a quality at one point (even though I knew I was losing anyway).
And after the game he was very patient, kind and open to analyze the game with me and explain some ideas. I do hate arrogant players who think that if they are good at something, other people do not deserve their time, but this was definitely not the case :)
Chessdom: I understand that you are very active within the Norwegian chess community. Can you say more about the projects that you work on with Simen and about other chess-related activities?
Olga Dolzhikova: We have combined our efforts with Simen Agdestein and gathered all the activities we are involved in under Stormester&Stormester organization (it means Grandmaster&Grandmaster in Norwegian).
The central part of it is the chess faculty at the Norwegian Elite Sports Academy “NTG Sjakklinja” and the chess line for kids “Dragulf”. We are arranging after-school chess courses, evening courses for kids and adults, regular rapid tournaments, lectures with GMs, training camps for talented young players, international chess tours and publishing books.
We are both so enthusiastic and believe that chess is a fantastic lifestyle, that decided from the very beginning that we want to work towards delivering the high quality product whatever effort or money it takes. More about all our activities is available to read at www.stormester.no and www.dragulf.no. We have also started a FB page in English www.facebook.com/stormester.no
Chessdom: Introduce your book?
Olga Dolzhikova: I do believe that chess is a perfect tool to develop certain cognitive abilities and should be introduced in schools. At the same time, an easy and joyful introduction into the game would be a great asset.
While living in Kiev and working as a chess teacher I got a feeling that chess is too abstract sometimes for young children. Psychological peculiarities of their brain development are such that they begin to grasp abstract concepts at later stages, and they appreciate concrete associations with the real-life ideas and objects.
Together with my husband, Timofey Galinsky (who is IM himself), we developed a chess programme heavily based on visual associations, which resulted in a book – “Chess: easy and fun”.
Nowadays we are working on parts 2 and 3 and several accompanying materials. I would like to introduce some chapters from the book here, as well as an example page from our new product, chess notebook, which also contains 30 pages devoted to the great chess players. (Ed. book excerpt will be published on Chessdom in a couple of days)
Chessdom: And finally what are your predictions about the FIDE World Chess Championship in Chennai?
Olga Dolzhikova: I may be too rigid in my judgments, but, as I mentioned before, I have a feeling that Magnus has all the elements now to win the match easily. Many experts have admitted on different occasions that such a match has more to do with psychology than with chess skills themselves. I would say that Magnus gives an impression of a heavy iron train at full speed. God knows what happens, of course :)