Blogs Player Profiles: GM Anton Demchenko Player Profiles: GM Anton Demchenko

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When Russian grandmaster Anton Demchenko isn´t playing table tennis, going for five hour rides with his bicycle over the mountains to visit his grandparents or dreaming of living in the wild, wild west with the villains and the cowboys, what he really does is to live and breathe the game of kings. He discovered his first chess hero Jose Raul Capablanca when he was nine, impressed by his simple and clear style, but his all time favorite is another Russian player...

Name: Anton Demchenko

Title: Grandmaster

Born: 1987

Fide rating:  2587

Country: Russia usernameAnton_Demchenko

What is your favorite movie?

It is very difficult to name only one favorite movie, because I have seen so many excellent movies. Besides that, at different times we are in different moods and feel the need for different movies. So I choose 2 movies, one Russian and one American. The Russian movie is «To Kill a Dragon» with Alexander Abdulov and many other excellent russian actors (1988). The movie was made at the end of the Soviet era, but I think it is now even more relevant! This fantastic comedy story reflects the problem of the relationship between man and government. Sadly, it fairly reminds me of the situation in the modern Russia. The American movie is I choose is  "Leap of faith" with Steve Martin (1992). I like this movie because it is funny and philosophical at the same time. It makes us think about our goals in this life. And for sure it also is remembered for it`s absolutely unexpected plot twist at the end.

"To Kill A Dragon" is a top rated Russian movie about Dragon, a bloody dictator, and the hero Lancelot. 

Is there any chess book that has had a deep and lasting influence on you?

When I started to play and learn chess at the age of 9, I was lucky to read what in my opinion is one of the best chess books. It was «Textbook of chess» by Jose - Raul Capablanca. This book is written in simple and clear language, understandable even for beginners. In addition, I found the games of Capablanca. I was so impressed by his simple and clear style, that for a long time after this, games of other grandmasters seemed to me hard to understand and uninteresting. There is no doubt that this had a deep influence on my style, approach to decision-making and chess development.


What would your last meal be?

A question worthy of Epicurus! I think if I´d known what my last meal would be, I´d  lose my appetite.

If you could choose to live one day of any time in the history of mankind, which time would that be and why?

 I'd like to visit the Wild West in the 19th century. I have read a lot of books and watched many movies in the "western" genre, so I would like to dive into this romantic atmosphere with brave cowboys, hunters for the gold, mysterious strangers, notorious villains and fearless sheriffs. However, I`m a little bit afraid that I would have been shot in one of the saloons in the late afternoon -).

What is the best chess-game you played?

I have played many interesting and memorable games in the last 4 years. For example, wins against Nepomniachtchi (2013), Riazantsev (2014), or Jakovenko (2014). But I selected my game with another strong Russian, GM Boris Savchenko, from the Belorechensk-open in 2012. We played in the final round of the strong swiss-system tournament. I took the sole lead with 7/8, but Boris was behind me with only half a point. He played with white and fought for a win. You can see what happened later on in my comments.



Who is your favorite chessplayer?

Again, it is very difficult to say just one person. In my childhood my chesshero was Jose-Raul Capablanca. Some time later I was impressed by the classical styles of Bobby Fischer, Nigel Short, Mickey Adams and Gata Kamsky. I admit that Fischer was the strongest chess player in history (although, perhaps, Kasparov and Carlsen don't think so). But I choose David Bronstein. In my opinion, in the understanding of chess he was one of the greatest grandmasters of the world. He didn´t have enough sport qualities and practicality, therefore he failed to become world champion in 1951. But his unique, whimsical and dynamic style really appeals to me.


What music are you currently grooving to?

I`m a big fan of a different music. I`m not impressed by most modern pop music. Therefore I prefer pop-music of the 70-90's. For example the Scorpions, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Adriano Celentano and in general melodic italian pop music from this period. Among  russian bands and singers I like «Melnitsa» (this band is one of my favorite in the genre of folk-rock), Igor Tal`kov, Andrey Makarevich (and his band «Time machine»), Youry Shevchuk. Last but not least, a special case is classical music. For me it is a source of relaxation and harmony. Of the great composers from the past I prefer Beethoven.

What do you do when you relax?

I prefer the «active rest». For example, I like to play table tennis, going to the beach in the summertime or just take long walks on foot. Several times in a year I travel to the village to my grandparents on the bike - it's about 90 kilometres from my house. The five-hour trip through the mountains is difficult to call rest in the full sense of the word, but it helps relieve the brain. By the end of the journey, all thoughts about chess is gone, and only one remains : "When will this end?.." -) If I have no desire to move, I can listen music, audio-books or play on the guitar. Also like the russian family board-game «Find the word» (similar to english-language game Scrabble).


What five words do you think best describe you?

The man who plays chess -).


Is there any lesson you’ve learned in chess that resonates in your real life?

Chess is a struggle, therefore, it is a model of our life. Here are some of my thoughts that can be applied to chess and life: Always fight. Better to try and fail than not to try at all. Use all your chances. Even if your efforts are not successful now, it is good that you are working to increase your likelihood of success. Do not resign ahead of time!


Do you have any thoughts on how can get even better?

Nothing comes to mind - maybe it's because everything is excellent?