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Interview with GM Mikhail Golubev
Written by content team 20 March 2009

Ukraine Grandmaster Mikhail Golubev is a fine Chess player, Author of the 3 popular chess books and a journalist. He is working with GM Alexander Baburin’s ChessToday.net since last 7.5 years. He is also involved in the main Ukrainian sport newspaper Komanda, he often contributes to the most popular chess site in Russian, chesspro.ru. He has worked as a regional correspondent for Kasparovchess.com. He was a member of the Board of the Association of Chess Professionals.
In this interview with GM Mikhail Golubev, he talks about his transition from playing to writing, his books, experiences working with Karpov, Korchnoi and Ponomariov, FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE and ACP.Interview with pictures.

LatestChess :- Hello Mikhail, We are glad to have you on LatestChess. You are working for Chess Today, you have worked with top chess magazines like New in Chess, BCM etc, you are a tournament organizer. Could you please share your experiences with these activities?
GM Mikhail Golubev :-
Thank you for presenting me in that way. I would not say that am a tournament organiser though. I was involved in organisation of the Odessa ACP events, but mainly as a press officer, it is not the same thing. Yes, I contribute occasionally, when there is mutual interest and possibility, to New in Chess (as it happens, most often my articles are for the NiC Yearbook rather than the NiC Magazine), and British Chess Magazine, which has outstanding traditions. GM Alexander Baburin’s ChessToday.net is my main basic occupation. I am very glad to be involved in this unique project, already for 7,5 years. (Annotated more than thousand games there, and working on news and most of other types of content). I am also involved in the Russian language chess journalism: for six years I am observing chess in the main Ukrainian sport newspaper Komanda and quite often I am contributing to the most popular chess site in Russian, chesspro.ru.

LatestChess :- You have written three books - on the Dragon, the Sozin Attack and the King’s Indian. Authoring a book must be a time consuming job, you need to do a lot of games analysis. Can you say a few words about your book writing experience?
GM Mikhail Golubev :- These three opening topics are most known to me, it is logical that I wrote/was offered to write books about them and not about something else. Yes, it is anyway difficult to write opening books these days, as quantity of material grows all the time. More and more often authors came up with original solutions, not trying to cover everything. In any case I believe that professional players who employ a specific opening regularly are, normally, the most suitable authors for the opening books. Ideally it could be the world’s top professionals.

Professional players who employ a specific opening are the most suitable authors ...

The book by Polugaevsky about his variation is my favourite chess book. Despite I never played the Polugaevsky Variation as Black up until now, perhaps, thanks to Polugaevsky, I understand this variation better than many of lines that I am playing myself. But the top stars usually do not reveal secrets of their preparation that easily. So, readers have to deal with books by the average GMs, what to do? Anyway, only those who are earning or losing money as a result of their opening choices, may know all sides of playing chess. This is my opinion.

Readers have to deal with books by the average GMs ...

During the Arcapita International Chess Championship in Manama, Bahrain
Photo courtesy of Bahrain Chess Club.

LatestChess :- When and why did the transition from playing to writing occur?
GM Mikhail Golubev :- In my case, in the middle of the 1990s I was still trying hard to improve my play, but after becoming the Ukrainian champion in 1996 and making the final GM norm in the same event (the first two norms were in Lucerne 1994 and Biel 1995), I gradually started to feel that my peak is most likely behind. Actually, the peak was in 1993-1994.

I become ready to do something else than just to play, and opened a website about the Ukrainian chess in August 1998. Incidentally, shortly after playing two unsuccessful for me big opens in Hamburg and Bavaria in the end of 1999 (though I had a free accommodation and, as I remember, a little pocket money at both tournaments, and performed not far below my level), I was offered a work as a regional correspondent for Kasparovchess.com. It was a big and interesting project, particularly the world school championship on the internet. I was responsible for the participation of 18 (as many as I was able to find) school teams from my town Odessa, Ukraine - they played from the Internet cafe. Also, I prepared articles of various types. In 2000, I played only 11 games. After some 1,5 years of the activity Kasparov Chess collapsed. Probably they spent too much money in different directions. But I remained in journalism, and started to work for ChessToday in 2001.

In August 2003, for multiple reasons, I closed my Ukrainian Chess Online website (the archive is available in internet), which was a very hard decision indeed, and began to be involved in a work in Chess Today much deeper.

Kasparovchess.com was a big and interesting project...

closing the Ukrainian Chess Online website was a hard decision...

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