Person of day - 17 JUNE 2023
Alexander was born on 17thJune 1979 in Yekaterinburg, or Sverdlovsk, as it was called at the time. On that day, Tigran Petrosian was celebrating his 50th birthday and Alexander’s mother wanted to call her son Tigran. However, in the end she decided on a more traditional Russian name.
Sasha learned to play chess when he was four, thanks to his grandfather. When he was six, he joined the Etude club, where his mentors were Anatoly Lytovsky and Anatoly Terentyev. Alexander Motylev achieved notable success at a young age- he was the Russian U16 and U18 champion. He became a grandmaster at 21 and won the adult national championship at 22. Mark Dvoretsky, a recognised trainer of the USSR who mentored Motylev for several years, wrote about him in his autobiography: “Sasha is an exceptionally harmonious individual. He is a wonderful sportsman who seems apt at any sport. In Motylev, strength and courage combine with intelligence, erudition and a desire for exploration. He is a determined, self-confident man who is also friendly, amicable and attentive.”
According to analysts, Alexander lacked the elusive killer instinct, which precluded him from reaching the pinnacle of chess. He studies chess rigorously, he performs deep analysis and comes up with results few imagine possible, but in the context of battle, with the clock ticking above him this approach often led to time troubles and bitter defeats. At the same time, everyone needs imaginative ideas for their openings, and so, many invited Motylev to be their second. An erudite, studious and pleasant man, he was a dream of a second. Alexander assisted Peter Svidler, Vladimir Kramnik (including his scandalous match against Veselin Topalov in Elista in 2006) and Sergey Karjakin (including the match against Magnus Carlsen for the 2016 world championship in New York). He also helped outstanding female grandmasters, such as Alexandra Kosteniuk and Judit Polgar. At the moment, Motylev trains the Russian national men’s team.
Alexander Motylev continues to play beside his trainer’s career. In 2005, he split 1st-5th places at the Aeroflot Open, in 2006 he won the B tournament in Wijk aan Zee, in 2009 he won a super-tournament in Poykovskiy and in 2014 he reached the pinnacle of his career- he won the European championship. This prestigious tournament, which took place in Armenia, was dedicated to Tigran Petrosian: perhaps it wasn’t an accident that the winner was someone who was born on the same day.
Alexander Motylev won the Russian team championship with Tomsk-400 and Malachite. He also won the European Club Cup with Ural.
He graduated from the Ural State Mining University. He is married and has two children.