Ghazal Hakimifard: «I do well without going out dancing»

The representatives of the national team of Iran: General Secretary of the Chess Federation Hadi Karimi, national chess champion Ghazal Hakimifard and the captain of the women’s team Aloyzas Kvenis spoke about chess development on the motherland of this ancient game.

– Your impressions about Khanty-Mansiysk?

H.K.: I am happy to come finally to Khanty-Mansiysk, moreover this is the city that I voted for at the Chess Olympiad in Torino 4 years ago. I am happy with organization.

In fact I have never been to the places situated higher than 60 degrees of latitude north of the equator. We are southern people and to visit the country with the temperature of 50 degrees below 0 is rather a rare experience. However, so far my worries are groundless – the autumn is mild and I hope that the weather will remain the same till the end of the tournament. I would like to express my gratitude to the Organizing Committee for the perfect organizational level of the tournament. This Olympiad is a record breaker as far as the number of the participants is concerned for the history of “Nations Tournaments”

А.К.: In my turn I can say that I am pleasantly impressed by this city, and taking into account that I have played in many Olympiads starting from 1992, I can say that the organization here is perfect.

– What is chess in Iran?

G.H.: It is known that chess is an ancient game and it appeared in ancient Persia. Today this is the territory of India and Iran. This is the reason why we have many folktales, poems and proverbs about chess. It is obvious that chess is one of the most important sports in our country and we try to develop chess in 30 regions of our country. I would say more, we have about 400 chess clubs in various places of our country. The next step in developing chess is introducing it in schools. A couple of chess lessons to start with and maybe more later on. Our goal while teaching children to play chess is to contribute to their development as personalities. Any country looks into the future by developing chess.

– Are the photos of women chess players published in magazines in Iran?

А.К.: Now that I've been the national team's coach for 2 years I can say that the Iranian Chess Federation publishes the results of the leading chess players’ games in many famous magazines. Besides, we have good websites in Internet that are constantly updated. Once again I would like to emphasize that chess is extremely popular in Iran.

– How come that the former soviet citizen lives in such an exotic country?

A.K.: I have played for many chess clubs of the world from Island to Bangladesh. I wanted to visit Iran since long time ago and after conversations with Iranian Grandmasters I decided to come to Iran. I planned to stay there for a week and it has been 2 years already…

– What are your ambitions for this Olympiad 2010?

H.К.: Of course I don’t count to win this Olympiad. I can say that we have rather definite goals. If we go 10 places up comparing to the results of the previous Olympiad, i.e. to be among Top-30 for a men’s and in the Top-20 for a women’s team, we will be happy about this result since 10 places up is a very good result for us.

– What would you like to see in Siberia?

H.К.: I would love to take the part of Ugra in my heart. It would have been nice to visit some museums, the Archeological park with mammoths and ancient men. Besides, there are many cultural events held at every Olympiad that are worth visiting. So far we are busy with chess and we do not have much time to do something else.

– Ghazal, would you like to go to the Bermuda party?

G.H.: Of course not. Neither a wish, nor possibility! – answers the chess player laughing, -I live in a Muslim country and my religion does not allow me to visit the events of such kind. My main hobby is chess. We are playing with free time to rest in the morning and it is enough for me. I like to go for walks in Khanty-Mansiysk– it is so beautiful here!