Interviews
Arkady Naiditsch: Azerbaijan plays like FC Barcelona

Arkady Naiditsch: Azerbaijan plays like FC Barcelona

The new member of the Azerbaijani National Chess team, Arkady Naiditsch, told Azerisport about his new team and plans for the European Team Championship and the upcoming Chess Olympiad.

How did you get the offer to play for Azerbaijan?

We had a first conversation about this in December 2014 and in February your federation made an official enquiry.Then there was a period of finalizing the documentation and only recently we made an official statement about me joining Azerbaijani National Team. For a long time I was playing for Germany where chess is not a priority. The main thing there is to participate in the main events but nobody expects any result from you. Even after winning European Championship 2011 there was not much attention from the press to the chess players in Germany.

What do you think, will it be hard to adapt to your new team?

Chess differ from other sports – this is not soccer. I know the Azerbaijani players very well – I played with Mamedyarov and Radjabov several times in different tournaments.I also know Rauf Mamedov very well and I think it will not be hard for me to play in the new team. I will be happy to play for the Azerbaijani team.

How would you evaluate the Azerbaijani team?

This is one of the strongest teams in the world. It would be very interesting for me to be its part.But we will not just play in the main events – we will fight for the medals. This is very important for a chess player; I really want to get medals in tournaments where I participate.

Will you participate in the European Team Championship this November?

Euro-2015 will be my first team competition under Azerbaijani flag. This is one of the strongest team tournaments in the chess world, I really want to participate in it and next year I will play for Azerbaijan in the Chess Olympiad in Baku.

Azerbaijani Men’s team won the European championships for two time, but never took medals in Chess Olympiads and taking into account that the next Olympiad will be in Baku we expect more success from the team.

In the 2016 Olympiad we will have very strong competitors. USA is very strong now with two elite players joining the team – Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana. China is very strong as well.

Everyone who lives in Germany is interested in soccer. What do you think, which soccer team reminds the Azerbaijani Chess team the most?

Of course, people in Germany love soccer. I watched Borussia matches several times. Azerbaijan looks like a very emotional team, plays like FC Barcelona. Sometimes Azerbaijan is a favorite but does not make it to the medals. Just like Barcelona ,which sometimes loses to weak opponents.

You are the first naturalized player in the history of the Azerbaijani chess. Do you feel that people have high expectations from you?

Professional players must be ready for everything. I will try to play for the team as good as possible. I was invited because people trust me and I should justify these hopes. Of course, there will be pressure but I will do everything so that my first team performance for Azerbaijan would be successful.

Germany will compete with Azerbaijan in the Euro Championship and the Olympics, will it be a problem for you?

(laughing) This will be interesting, but it will not be a problem for me. I hope, we will meet Germany team in the first rounds. It would be hard to play with Germany at the end of the tournament.

I hope we will see you often in Baku…

I moved to Baku with my family. I would like to thank the Azerbaijani Chess Federation for the great conditions created for us. We like Baku very much, it is a very beautiful city. I want to win with the Azerbaijani Team and stay in this country until the end of my career.

2015-08-26