Tagir Taalaibekov from Kyrgyzstan

18 year old Tagir with a rating of 2223 plays in the Olympiad on board 5 for his country Kyrgyzstan. He is currently the 6th rated player overall in his country and the top player U18.


But where is Kyrgyzstan we hear you ask – Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian country along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the south west and China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.




We met with Tagir and his Team Captain Mamytov in their hotel before the 3rd round and using google translate, we were able to communicate and talk chess!


Chesslife: How old were you when you started playing?
Tagir: I was about 7 years old. My father and uncles played chess and I was able to watch them play. One day I suggested a move to my father, which was a really good move and I was hooked!



Chesslife: How many hours per week do you study chess?
Tagir: Approximately 2 hours per day. I use chessplanet for my online training.


Chesslife: What is your favourite chess book
Tagir: Dvoretsky’s Endgame manual {note to readers; this book is really only suitable for players with a rating >2000}




Chesslife: Is this your first Olympiad and what was your first International Tournament
Tagir: Yes this is my first Olympiad, however I have participated on board 1 for 5 years with the U16 Youth Olympiad. {in 2015 Tagir lost to Ari Dale.}


My first international tournament was the Asian U12 Championships in 2009 to New Delhi.


Chesslife: Who is your favourite player?
Tagir: Magnus Carlsen. I love his ideas and his style of play.




Chesslife: What is the junior chess league like in Kyrgyzstan?
Tagir: The junior chess league is quite large with around 300 juniors playing regurlarly at tournaments. This is in the Open only, the women events attract around 200 female junior players.


Chesslife: What has chess taught you?
Tagir: It has taught me how to think about my future and how I am accountable for every step and every decision.


Chesslife: What has chess given you socially/mentally and at school?
Tagir: It has helped with my maths, increased my concentration and given me friends around the world. I now have friends in Russia, Kazakhstan, Slovakia and Azerbaijan.


Chesslife: What is your style of play?
Tagir: I am not a standard player, I play very differently depending on the colour on my board. For example with White I play more like my coach using 1.d4 combined with Bf4, while with Black I have developed more my own style with the sharp Najdorf lines.


At this point in time his team captain Mamytov casually tells us that Tagir is in fact the national golf player and he will probably need to make the decision between being a professional golfer and chess player at some stage.


Chesslife: What is your most memorable game?
Mamytov pipes up again ‘this must be your game in Sri Lanka, that was just beautiful to watch!’


At the point of writing the blog, Tagir is busy preparing for his game against Venezuela. Check back in a little later for a review of his favourite game.


board 1


Chesslife: What are you future goals?
Tagir: I would like to be a Grandmaster before I turn 20. I think I will keep golf as a hobby. From next month I will be going to the Moscow Institute for chess and hope to rapidly improve.


Chesslife: What advice would you give Australian Junior Chess players?
Tagir: Practise! Practise! Practise! and Love Chess!



Upon leaving Mymatov gave us a banner from the Kyrgyzstani chess Federation. Something we will treasure for many years to come!


Click on the chess board below for a review of Tagir’s game against Matej Sebenik (2526) from Slovenia.
board 1

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