In a recent interview, Gelfand discussed some similarities between chess and soccer, described the necessary mindset for a champion (pay attention LeBron James) and explained why his relatively advanced age has not slowed him down. Here are some highlights from the interview:
1) Gelfand said that chess and soccer are similar because "in soccer, like in chess, you constantly have to pose threats to your opponent." This analogy can be extended across to other sports and even to life itself: it is impossible to win if you are always on the defensive (which should not be confused with suggesting that offense is more important than defense: the best defensive teams generally play an aggressive, attacking defense that makes the opponent uncomfortable and thus forces mistakes). When LeBron James stopped attacking the hoop in the NBA Finals and stopped threatening the Dallas Mavericks the balance of power decisively swung from the Miami Heat to the underdog Mavericsks.
2) Gelfand noted two valuable lessons from watching the Barcelona-Manchester United soccer match:
- Always remain humble
- There is always room for improvement--you cannot be satisfied by your performance, even if you win.
3) Gelfand rejected the idea that his age is a factor even though so many of his competitors are much younger: "The only thing I feel is that it takes me a little longer to recuperate between games, and perhaps it is a bit more difficult for me to achieve consistency, compared to past years. However, by no means do I feel any decline in my tactical ability. When I play I am in full concentration, a condition I attribute to the healthy life style I lead."