I first met Teymour Radjabov in September of 1999 during the European Youth Championship which took place in Litohoro of Macedonia, Greece. The feet of 12 year old Radjabov didnít reach the floor then when he sat! This didnít stop him though from winning the Championship U 18. Quiet, shy, polite, and modest as he is todayÖ
Born champion.

Argiris Kotsis
July of 2002

How do you feel about your being a chess genius in such a young age and possibly the future World Champion?

Actually, Iíve never thought about that. I donít know what to say except that I feel like a normal chess player. I donít have any special feelings about my being a chess genius or something. I just feel normal.

When did you start playing chess and who were your first trainers?

My father, of course, led my first steps in chess; he showed me the rules of the game and the game itself. I was in a chess school for some time training with a coach until 1999 but later, because of financial problems Ė paying for a trainer was much too expensive Ė I decided to start training myself.

Which chess players do you admire?

Kasparov, Fischer, Karpov, Kramnik.

What else, besides chess of course, interests you?

Sports, girls(!) normally. I donít do any sports though while Iím playing in a tournament because an activity like this would take a lot of energy from me. Otherwise, I do dedicate a part of my spare time in sports.

What do you consider a virtue and what a bad habit in chess players?

I like chess players with a fighting mood. On the contrary, I donít like drawers. For me a chess player should fight till the end and thatís what I like most in a chess player.

Youíve been here in Greece twice. What has mostly impressed you?

First of all, the sea and the beaches, the food, the food is really good, normal life and the whole atmosphere here in Greece, and girls of course!

How did you feel when recently you, among very few chess players in the world, came to play against Kasparov in the final of the Moscow Grand Prix?

Actually, I was too tired then to feel anything in particular because before I get to Moscow IĎd been in another tournament in Sarajevo. Of course, now, I believe that it was a very interesting experience for me to play against one of the strongest players in all chess history. As a matter of fact, Iím going to play against him again in March in the ďRussia versus the rest of the worldĒ match, so Iíll start preparing for this meeting in August, soon after this tournament ends.

After the so called ďreunificationĒ, how can you imagine the picture of world chess and which do you think will be your position in the international chess world?

Itís natural, of course, for me to want my position to be the first. I really cannot answer this question about the reunification since I donít know all the rules, but I understand that there will be one World Champion. We are waiting now for the next year when the matches between Kasparov and Ponomariov and between the challenger of Dortmund and Kramnik will take place. So weíre waiting for it and when weíll have an undisputable World Champion then Iíll be able to see how to establish my position.

Do you believe that 3 years are enough to accomplish the recent success of Ponomariov? Can you imagine yourself a World Champion at the age of 18?

Yes, OKÖ, but I have to play in the FIDE World Championship, in the FIDE knock-out system. Of course, it is a matter of fortune as well because when youíre playing 2 games anything can happen. Certainly, I prefer the old system of many games in a row which decided the real winner, but actually for me itís normal, I hope, it will be good enough.

Other future goals?

In my coming goals is to beÖ OK, in the top 20 players first and then in the top 10 players of the world. To be World Champion is, of course, a big goal! To be in the top 10, this is certainly my most important goal.

Teymour, we thank you very much. We hope to see you in Greece again soon.

Me too!


This interview was realized during the 31st Greek Premier League Championship which took place in Kallithea of Halkidiki, Greece, in July of 2002.


Copyright © 2002 Chess.GR