CHESS

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT -

Chess­base re­cently in­ter­viewed the Dutch grand­mas­ter, Er­win L’Ami. Here are a few ex­tracts on a player who now spe­cial­izes in Open­ing DVDs and be­ing a trainer to some of the world’s best... Q: You are a chess pro­fes­sional – as a player, au­thor and se­cond. What fas­ci­nates you about chess? I like ev­ery as­pect of it; the fight be­hind the board but also the more sci­en­tific ap­proach when you are at home an­a­lyz­ing open­ing vari­a­tions or one’s games. The im­mense depth of the game con­tin­ues to fas­ci­nate me. Q: Do you still re­mem­ber when the chess virus in­fected you? Very well! I have three older broth­ers so when it came to foot­ball or other phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties it would be hard to com­pete with them. How­ever, I quickly dis­cov­ered I could beat them at chess... Q: Cur­rently you sup­port Anish Giri as a se­cond and in the past you also helped Ve­selin Topalov as a se­cond. What does a se­cond do? A se­cond tries to take away work that would oth­er­wise lay on the shoul­ders of the player. The se­cond pre­pares open­ing vari­a­tions for the next game while the player can re­lax and un­wind. Q: How much do top play­ers such as Topalov and Giri work for chess? And what do they do? I worked with Topalov un­til 2011 so I don’t know how hard he is work­ing to date, but ob­vi­ously he used to def­i­nitely put his hours in! Anish has an enor­mous work ethic and can lit­er­ally work from early morn­ing un­til late ev­ery­thing. Play­ers typ­i­cally work on all as­pects of the game: endgames, solv­ing po­si­tions, an­a­lyz­ing games but the em­pha­sis is def­i­nitely on open­ing prepa­ra­tion. Q: After the Gam­bit Guide you pub­lished a DVD about the Stonewall Dutch. What are the ad­van­tages of the Stonewall? In times when open­ing the­ory de­vel­ops very, very fast it’s nice to be able to fall back on an open­ing that is more or less solely based on ideas. There is no need to mem­o­rize long vari­a­tion, here un­der­stand­ing the po­si­tion is more of the essence. I can imag­ine that speaks to the imag­i­na­tion of many play­ers and it may be the rea­son for why the Stonewall-DVD has been sell­ing as well as it does. Hon­estly, not much! Ama­teurs tend to spend most time in this area be­cause re­sults are im­me­di­ately vis­i­ble. It’s all short-term though, and longterm one would do bet­ter to spend the time on an­a­lyz­ing one’s games, endgames, solv­ing etc. Q: But why study chess at all – would it not be eas­ier and more fun to just play and sim­ply en­joy the game? We are walk­ing a very philo­soph­i­cal path now! Per­son­ally, I like to broaden my hori­zons and deepen my un­der­stand­ing of the game. I can’t imag­ine sim­ply play­ing the game and not draw­ing any con­clu­sions from it. Q: Can blitz help to im­prove one’s game or is it just fun and en­ter­tain­ment? If you take it se­ri­ous, I think it can be a help­ful tool to test new open­ings or play strong op­po­nents. As a young player it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence that I could just go on­line and play with grand­mas­ters.

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