Person of day - 18 NOVEMBER 2023
Adrian Bohdanovych Mikhalchishin is a celebrated grandmaster, writer, trainer and agent for the popularisation of chess. In addition, he is one of the last witnesses of the greatness of the Soviet and Yugoslavian chess empires and he translated his recollections onto paper.
Adrian was born on 18th November 1954 in Lviv. Mikhalchishin received a rigorous education- he graduated from Lvov University’s with a degree in physics. His first serious successes in chess competitions happened closer to the end of his university career: in 1977, he came first in the Soviet Union’s tournament for your masters and he later won the juniors’ world championship twice as a member of the Soviet team. In 1978, after victory at a tournament in Vrnjačka Banja, he became a grandmaster and he entered the highest tier of the Soviet Championship that same year. The first team of Ukraine (Belyaevsky, Romanishin, Dorfman, Mikhalchishin) took gold medals in the Spartakiad of the People of the USSR in 1979.
He is the winner of the European Champions Cup in 1984, under the banner of team “Labour”. In the final of the Soviet championship of that year, he took 4th place. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he was the vice-president of the Ukrainian chess federation, but he later moved to Slovenia, where he represented the super club “Agrouniversal”, which won multiple Yugoslavian championships.
In the 1980s, he emerged as a mentor of the highest level. He prepared the USSR team for the victorious World and European Championships of 1989. He trained the Slovenian national team from 1997-2002, the Dutch from 2002-2006 and the Turkish from 2006 to this day. He is the chairman of FIDE’s Trainers’ Commission from 2009 onwards and senior-trainer of FIDE.
In 2008 and 2009, he was recognised as the best juniors’ trainer and he received the “Isaac Boleskavsky” award twice. In his career, he worked with world champions Anatoly Karpov, Maia Chiburdanidze and Susan Polgar, a candidate for the title of women’s world champion Nana Alexandria, the USSR champion Alexander Beliavsky, competitor in candidates’ tournaments Vasiliy Ivanchuk and celebrated grandmasters such as Peng Zhaoqin, Mateusz Bartel, Illya Nyzhnyk, Richard Rapport, Arkadij Naiditsch and other talents.
He is the author of more than 20 books- several of which he wrote with A. Belyavsky as co-author and master O. Stetsko – which are published in 11 languages. In Russian, he published “Intuition”, “Sicilian Defence. The Sozin-Fisher Attack”, “Behind the Scenes of the Chess Empire: an Eyewitness Account”, “The Strategy of Hanging Pawns”, “The Strategy of an Isolated Pawn”, “Magnus Carlsen: 60 Matches of the Leader of Modern Chess” and “Chess. The Technique of Endgame”.
Adrian’s son, Yuri, is a well-known politician in Ukraine and a people’s deputy.
“What do we need? Since this is a sport, we need our heroes, who we look up to. Secondly, we need out own history. Tales and stories that are interesting to hear. But for some reason people underestimate this. However, there are so many veterans who tell these things! For example, Gena Sosonko… his books should be read by young people first of all, not monographs about debuts. Journalists don’t understand this and speak with young players, who barely finished two years of studies. But they don’t speak with the objects of chess history like Portisch, Ivkov, Averbakh…and I speak about the ones alive. They can tell such interesting things! Who took a real interview of Reshevky, Matulovich or Velimirovich? Oh, how they could talk! And people listened with open mouths! But there are no written records…my friend who departed early, a great publisher of chess literature, Vladimir Eljanov said with sorrow that no one bought a compilation of tournaments from him in the last three years. What a shame, panowe!” (A. Mikhalchishin)