Shinya Kojima: "Nanjo is just like Einstein"

Shinya Kojima, the 1st board of the national team of Japan, together with our journalists extended their birthday greetings to their teammate Nanjo Ryosuke.

– We met in a school chess club 10 years ago. Even then Nanjo was not like others. I remember once we came under heavy rain. No one would have been thrilled about it, but he started showing the characters of "The Matrix” movie and shouting: "Look, I can escape raindrops!" Such behavior seemed very strange at first but then we got used to it. Strange things happen to geniuses sometimes and he's really a genius, like Einstein. Here is another story. Nanjo is one of those few people in the world who do not bother having a mobile phone. Once he lost the phone, so we begged him for six months to buy a new one. He resisted: "I can always find you without the help of a phone." The arguments that we, in our turn, can never get in touch with him quickly, did not work.

– I heard that Nanjo was not born in Japan?

– No, he was not. He was born in the United States where he started playing chess. From the age of 9 he started playing in the tournaments, and two years later moved with his family to Japan. This is his 4th Olympiad.

– What kind of opponent is he?

– He is a strong opponent. We always have something to learn from him.

– What other particular features can you name?

– He is capable to cheer up the entire team. He always jokes and shines with wit when meeting girls!

– The players of older generation say that modern youth calculates moves like a computer. Can you say this about Nanjo’s style?

– Sometimes Nanjo thinks like a computer however he has a creative approach while playing and in life.

– Does Nanjo go in for any other sports besides chess?

– He was in judo for 5 years and his master was the famous Shigeru Kanesaka. You see, martial arts in Japan are not just a kind of sport. First of all, it's a way to achieve mind serenity. To be exact, judo teaches concentrating and believing in yourself that is necessary for a professional chess player.

– Japanese culture is distinctive and mysterious especially for a western man. Is Nanjo fond of anime or manga?

– Just like any Japanese.

– What progress in chess has he achieved lately?

– This year he became a Champion of Japan and I think that he will soon get FIDE Master Title.

– How did you spend the first rest day?

– The whole team went sightseeing in Khanty-Mansiysk. Your town turned out to be very small, but very nice and cozy. Most of all Nanjo was impressed by the Archeological Park with sculptures of mammoths.

– What have you prepared for his birthday?

– I think, in the evening after the game we will get together, buy a cake and present him a gift – a chess book. We also have Anna – a lovely accompanying person, who is going to congratulate him on behalf of volunteers as well.

– What would you wish him on his birthday?

– This year, he became the champion of Japan, this is what we wished him last year. Now it is time to wish him something new: to glorify Japan in the chess world. We believe he will succeed and we want to wish him the most important – health, happiness and, of course, to find his love!