CHESS

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT PUZZLES -

The pop­u­lar Amer­i­can au­thor and player, GM Yasser Seirawan gave a lengthy in­ter­view to El But­l­letí d’Es­cacs, the of­fi­cial mag­a­zine of the Cata­lan Chess Fed­er­a­tion. Here fol­low a few ex­tracts. Q:Your ca­reer has been tremen­dously suc­cess­ful in all as­pects. Apart from win­ning a lot of pres­ti­gious tour­na­ments and hav­ing been the ninth high­est rated player in the world, you suc­ceeded in chess writ­ing, pub­lish­ing, or­ga­niz­ing, found­ing, as a com­men­ta­tor. What is your pri­mary oc­cu­pa­tion? YS: I’ve al­ways en­joyed be­ing busy and like work­ing on projects. These days I mostly do read­ing and writ­ing and fewer projects. I do some fi­nan­cial in­vest­ing ad­vis­ing oth­ers but I’d say my pri­mary oc­cu­pa­tion to­day is as a writer. Q: Tell us about your fam­ily YS: I’m mar­ried to a Dutch lady, Yvette Nagel, who is a FIDE FM. We live in Am­s­ter­dam where Yvette works for the city and Mayor’s of­fice. We don’t have chil­dren but we have brothers and sis­ters who do. Q: Be­ing a chess pro is tough. We are con­stantly trav­el­ling. What is your se­cret to deal with jet lag? YS: Sadly, I have no se­cret for jet-lag. Through­out my ca­reer it has had a neg­a­tive im­pact on my play at the start of events. Ter­ri­bly so I might add. Q: And your se­cret as to how to re­cover from a bit­ter loss? YS: One can never over­come a ‘bit­ter loss.’ The way to deal with a loss is be­fore the tour­na­ment. I think most pro­fes­sional play­ers sim­ply have to ac­cept that when they play in a tour­na­ment, to win it, they will have to take risks. So if be­fore a tour­na­ment a player men­tally girds him­self and says, “Okay, I’m go­ing to lose a game, two or three, but I’m go­ing to play hard for a vic­tory,” then ‘ac­cept­ing’ a loss is eas­ier. Although the bit­ter­ness is long last­ing. Q: What is your opin­ion about cheat­ing? It is be­com­ing a very se­ri­ous prob­lem. YS: Cheat­ing has al­ways been a con­cern. Long be­fore com­put­ers ever be­came strong. That is play­ers re­ceiv­ing ad­vice/in­for­ma­tion dur­ing a game. In truth, at the most elite level charges of ‘cheat­ing’ are sim­ply ridicu­lous and don’t ex­ist. On the am­a­teur lev­els, how­ever, cheat­ing, again even be­fore the com­puter could have been a prob­lem. A coach telling his stu­dent what move to make. Now with elec­tronic de­vices, such charges are far more wor­ri­some. Q: What would be your ad­vice to young peo­ple who are just start­ing to play chess and take it se­ri­ously? YS: Have fun. En­joy what you are do­ing. Take your work se­ri­ously. If you get too stressed, take a break. If you ap­ply your­self, you will get men­tally tougher, much more dis­ci­plined, feel a greater sense of per­sonal em­pow­er­ment and learn to suc­ceed in any­thing you want to do. Be­lieve in your­self. Q: You have played so many in­ter­est­ing and le­gendary op­po­nents that oth­ers only dream to meet. Which player im­pressed you the most both chess wise and in per­son­al­ity mat­ters? YS: My good­ness! So many to men­tion. Bent Larsen was my per­sonal hero and I’m much in­debted to Vic­tor Kortch­noi just to men­tion two. Then at the board the man­ners of Alexan­der Beli­avsky, Jan Tim­man and Ju­dit Polgar are sim­ply ex­em­plary. In terms of writ­ers, Mikhail Tal, John Nunn and Jeremy Sil­man are all su­perb. There are so many oth­ers as well. Chess is full of fas­ci­nat­ing per­son­al­i­ties and in­ter­est­ing peo­ple! I’ve got no proof what­so­ever, but I’m deeply con­vinced that when you spend a long time at the board you can pick up your op­po­nent’s emo­tional state. When I don’t like my game I try to spend more time off stage so as not to show what I think about what’s go­ing on at the board. (Peter Svi­dler)

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