2 January 2017

1TV Hero

The young and gifted boy Misha Osipov in the review of Boris Dolmatovsky.

It goes without saying that the 2-month children's TV show "Better than others", finished on 1TV on December 25, seems to have left nobody indifferent with kids aged 3 to 12 years participating in it. What a great number of talented children are we blessed with indeed!

Misha Osipov, who turns four in January, had us taken by surprise with his chess genius. The TV program featured him challenging Anatoly Karpov and Sergey Karjakin. Even though he lost to Anatoly Yevgenyevich by overstepping the time limit, he managed to hold Sergey to a draw. 

For the recent two months Misha has been studying chess with the T.V. Petrosian Chess Club, which has the children section running since 1976.  The school students are known to constantly take prizes in the Russian, European and World championships. It is here that the world-renowned grandmasters Andrei Sokolov and Alexander Morozevich started their careers.

Misha's coach Evgeniya Nikolaevna Kuchumova, the highest category coach, PhD psychology, describes him as follows:

- Misha is a very rational kid. He knows about the goals that a player is to go about in the opening and middlegame. He has a clear picture of the ultimate goal he is supposed to reach. He blunders infrequently at that. He has no problem keeping his concentration for an hour and a half that it usually takes for a game to run. He goes easy about his defeats, even if he is distressed somewhat. However, he does not take it in as a drama. It is essential to keep close track of his further development...

I make acquaintance with Misha's parents who wait out in the adjacent room for the entire duration of the class. His father's name is Yury Yurievich, and his mother's - Ksenia Sergeevna. Both of them are lawyers aged 24.

– How has Misha come to know about chess?

– When aged 26 months, Misha saw me and my farther playing, answers Yury. – He started asking questions about the names of pieces and the way they move on the board. Seeing his interest to chess not waning over time, we decided to take him to the chess study group, which was not far from our residence at the South-West region, adds Ksenia. - The classes were given by the coach Ekaterina Popova, who introduced him to chess openings. He was taught to attack and defend. Several classes were given by her husband, grandmaster Ivan Popov. Now that Ekaterina is on maternity leave, we have joined the Petrosian club. It was Ekaterina who advised us to get in touch with the organizers of the TV program "Better than others!"

Misha knows the names of every chess world champion and greatest player of the past and modern times. From time to time he would name a player whose game he wants to go over, be it Rubinstein or Keres, Karpov or Kasparov...

At this moment Misha ran up after having finished yet another game of the New Year's tournament "X-tree" for players rated below 1300. (That tournament saw Misha scoring 4,5 out 8 with 50 participants). He joined the bunch of other kids in their lively in-between round games while munching eagerly on a cheesecake that his Mom gave him. He is just like any other kid.

– It is not only chess that we spend time doing with Misha, - added Yuri. – Misha is an intellectually curious child. He learnt to read a month ago. He already knows to fill out his game scoresheets all by himself. He has recently asked me: "What is the earth made up of?" Prior to that we had discussions about space and stars. Then he asked: "Which place on the earth do people live the longest?" When I told him about Japan and Singapore, Misha asked me to show these states on the map. He likes searching the map for countries, seas and oceans. He likes committing their names to memory as well as those of the country capital cities.

– Mathematics, biology and physics appeal to him as well, – says Xenia. – We treat Misha as if he were an adult person. On his part he behaves in a very restrained manner and is not inclined towards lively expression of emotions.

– Misha has recently taken to playing chess online. We have registered with one of the websites and he takes pleasure in challenging players from other countries.

When Misha finished eating his cheesecake he was asked by his farther:

– Which grandmasters are your favorites when it comes to analyzing games? 

– They are Anand and Carlsen.

– And what about women players?

– Sofia Polgar.

– Why? 

– She plays great blindfolded chess.

– Misha, which openings do you prefer for White and Black?

– I prefer the Scotch Opening and Ruy Lopez for White and the Grunfeld and Sicilian Defenses for Black.

During the final show of the program "Better than others", broadcasted on 1TV on December 25, the host Maxim Galkin stated that the current interest to chess in Russia is on the immense rise owing to two persons. They are Misha Osipov, whose chess encounter with Anatoly Karpov was watched over Internet by 1.5 million people, and Sergey Karjakin. The latter's world championship match against Magnus Carlsen was keeping everyone in our country on the edge of their seats.

Meanwhile, here they are facing each other on the stage of the TV center "Ostankino". Sergey Karjakin, one of the best Russian chess players, and the future of our chess Mikhail Osipov, whose favorite player is Magnus Carlsen.

– Why Carlsen?

– He plays nice chess! – according to Misha.

– Do you think Karjakin has any chances at all for success in today's game? – inquired Galkin.

– I think he has, – answered Misha. 

Even though they were given a big-size outdoor chess set for their game, Misha refused to be helped by the host. He carried the pieces all by himself.

They handled the game opening into the Sicilian Defense, and after a while White offered a draw, which Misha agreed to.

– Thank you! – said Sergey while shaking a young player's hand.

Pictures by Boris Dolmatovsky, Kirill Zangalis; screenshots borrowed from the TV program