Chess Interview: Harish Kumar from India

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Harish Kumar is an International chess coach and a chess enthusiast who is looking to promote the game of chess by teaching the growing players. Harish has been teaching since the age of 20 and trained many students across the globe. In a short playing career, Harish Kumar has been in top 20s Nationally, top 10 in the State and won many Regional events. He’s always been enthusiastic to do something for the game. Harish achieved the Title of Arena Grandmaster in Chess.

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General Questions

When and how did you start playing chess?

I was first introduced to the game of chess at the age of 9 by my uncle when I saw him playing chess with his friends.

What studying techniques have you used to get to your current level?

I used to play solitary chess which helped me a lot to understand the patterns and practice a lot of tactics. Moreover I like to go through master games, especially of my idol Viswanathan Anand. I like to play blitz chess over the internet as analyzing those games helped me a lot to improve my openings.

What is your most fond memory you have of chess? You may state multiple.

To be honest I can’t really differentiate which is the best moment, I have three unforgettable moments in my life, first when i defeated a 2100 elo player after sacrificing my 2 pieces. As a coach I became happy when my student won $2300 in an age group championship. Moreover maybe this is the best, as I met Vishy Anand and also invited him to visit my city.

Has chess helped you become the person you are today?

Definitely chess helped me a lot it helped me to plan my life. Of course it made me creative and imaginative person.

Who is your chess idol and why?

My Chess Idol is Viswanathan Anand, five times World Chess Champion. He is India’s first Grand Master and is a big inspiration for every Indian chess player. After spending some time with him, I found him to be a man of friendship which I like the most about him.

Is there advice you can give to a person who is interested to begin?

My advice to beginners who want to start playing is to enjoy the game, make milestones in their career and work hard to achieve it. I will suggest them to learn chess as a hobby and if you have a good feeling for it do not hesitate to become a professional. You can be a good coach, player or an organizer. There are lots of opportunities in chess. This game is endless!

Would you recommend this game to your family and friends?

Definitely, I will recommend chess to my family and friends because it is a great game. It will really help them to improve their life. It improves memory concentration, imagination and is helpful for everyone as I think that there is no age limit in chess.

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Harish Kumar  with 1st Australian GM Ian Rogers at the Fide World Chess Championship

Unique Questions

Do you teach most levels?

I teach chess to beginners, intermediate and advanced players ( up to 2200 USCF level).My experience and involvement in the game is helping me a lot to do this.

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Chess Student: Danielle from Texas

Do you use a different teaching method for beginners, intermediate and advanced players?

Definitely I need to use different teaching methods.

I need to slow down while teaching beginners because they take more time to understand. After teaching basics, we should ask them to play with each other. Practice is the key factor in chess. Intermediate section is different We need to go for different tactical themes. More basic openings we need to cover Level of problem is different. Advanced level is unique We need to teach them more complicated positions, advanced opening strategy, endings etc.

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Chess Student: Jack Baile from Hong Kong

Would you recommend your friends who have young children to start playing chess? Will it improve their school habits?

Yes, I recommend everyone who have young children to introduce this game to them because it improves their school performance. Moreover it improves memory concentration, will power and creativity. This game is a combination of math, science and sports.

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Chess Student: Joshua Lewis from California

What advice can you give other chess instructors out there?

My advice to all the chess coaches is simple that is to teach chess with utmost dedication. A coach should be honest and always be friendly with students. They should try to have a student for a long term and try to do self analysis instead of using computers.

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Chess Students: Shreyas Reddy/Nitin 1st place in Sai Baba Mandir Temple Chess Tournament

Do you prefer private/semi private lessons, group lessons or online lessons?

I prefer all kinds of lessons. According to my experience, private lessons are best. Online lessons are best when you work with advanced students if they don’t have the option for private lessons. I always prefer one to one coaching as its good for both the student and the coach’s growth.

Chess Student: Dhruva Patil, 2nd Place at K-12 National Chess championship – Kindergarten 2016

Thank you for the interview 😀

Chess Interview: GM Denes Boros from Hungary

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Denes Boros is an active Chess Grandmaster with a degree in Psychology. An experienced Chess Coach and Chess Journalist. Boros was the Chess Journalist at the Carlsen-Karjakin World Championship Match in New York City.  You can contact him via email: Dennisboros64@gmail.com , Twitter: @Gmasterg4, and on Facebook: GM Denes Boros.

General Questions

When and how did you start playing chess?

I was around 6 or 7 years old, when I saw my oldest brother playing chess. Curiosity got the best of me and I learned more about the game by watching my brother and his coach play and study chess together.

What studying techniques did you use to get to your current level?

I read books, lots of books! I especially enjoyed a book by Istvan Bilek, who wrote about the 1978 victory of the Hungarian Olympic Team at Buenos Aires. I found my first chess hero’s in that book, the ever-creative Sax Gyula!

The second book I read, was about Garry Kasparov and his road to becoming a World Champion. It was a peculiar read, as it was from his second’s perspective, who gave many insights of the chess world of the 80’s, while also talking about the inner thoughts and struggles of a true champion!

All in all, I reached the Grandmaster title, because of hard work and diligence, and the drive to know. Chess is not easy to master, but if you love the game, and you study hard, you will eventually reach your goal!

Has chess helped you become the person you are today?

Yes. I learned how to be disciplined, and thorough as a chess player. It greatly helped me in my academics, because I learned to organize my thoughts and my study material as well! Chess also helped me to appreciate art, because there are many moments, when you realize that you actually create a beautiful motif, or combination, which you can share with fellow competitors and it’s fun to share these moments with other people!

Who is your chess idol and why?

It’s a long list starting with Kasparov, but my favorite players are Tal, Keres, Bronstein and obviously, Ivanchuk!

I am fond of players, who appreciate the beauty of the royal game! It is possible of course to play chess as a sport, but let’s be honest, chess is more than that. It is like mixed martial art, it’s both engaging as an art form, and as a sport!

Is there an advice you could give to a person, who is interested to begin?

When you play chess, focus on the positives, enjoy the game! Chess is meant to be fun, and you know, passionate people will eventually become successful, whether they like it or not!

Would you recommend this game to your family and friends?

Yes, definitely! It is a wonderful pastime, and it helps you to grow as a person. I believe it’s a great tool to teach kids that as in life, sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose, but it’s not a tragedy! It also helped me with my academic,s as it taught me to focus at a young age. I think chess helps you to grow as a person.

Unique Questions

You have been to the Carlsen-Karjakin Match in New York, what was your impression?

It was a thriller, and although very few expected it, but Sergey Karjakin did manage to put Carlsen to test.

How did you get the chance to be at such a prestigious event?

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Casual conversation with GM Robert Hess, Chess.com Commentator at the WCC Venue – Photo by Andras Roder

I was asked to do commentary for a St Louis radio, and I also wrote articles for a Hungarian website. It was a really colorful and fascinating event, I got to meet journalists from all over the world, especially thrilled to meet, and talk with people from American Chess Magazine, Wall Street Journal and Dirk Jan Geuzendam from New in Chess!

I also had a great story at the World Championship. At the press conference, after Game 3, I asked Magnus about playing 17. g4, instead of g3, trying to expand on the Kingside. He first looked at me, if I had some problems with the basics, but the more he looked at it, the more he liked my idea! I really appreciated that he took my question so seriously. That was a great experience as a Grandmaster Journalist! Check out the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFlF1MIbYuw from till 1:31 or read how Mike Klein from Chess.com describes this story aptly from his perspective: https://www.chess.com/de/news/carlsen-can-t-airlift-karjakin-s-berlin-in-round-3-draw-5804

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GM Denes Boros’ suggestion for Calrsen on move 17.g4!? on the demonstration board.

I was really happy with the press conference, but to my surprise, I was even asked by New York Times to give a summary of Game 11. They liked it so much, they asked me to give the final summary for the Carlen-Karjakin Match as well!
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/26/sports/magnus-carlsen-and-sergey-karjakin-in-dead-heat-in-chess-championship.html and my final summary https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/nyregion/magnus-carlsen-defends-title-in-world-chess-championship.html

Who did you want to be the next world chess champion- Magnus or Sergey? What is your thought on the event in general.

I did not have a preference, I just wanted to see a hard-fought match for the world title, and I am glad it turned out to be one!

Magnus deservedly won the match, but Sergey was really close, if he would have had a more subtle psychological approach, he would have been even closer to the chess crown!

What do you think about chess psychology?

I studied psychology and I believe that it’s importance will increase in the future.
I think that understanding psychology is crucial in chess, especially on the highest elite level!

Take for example Game 8 and Game 9 of the match. In Game 8, Karjakin was patient and was rewarded for it, paradoxically in Game 9, he should have been more aggressive. Why, because he had the psychological momentum, and you could see from the two player’s body language who was in the driver’s seat! Karjakin missed his chance when he avoided complications in Game 9.

Carlsen on the other hand deserves a lot of credit for staying calm, when everything seemed to go totally astray for him.

Last, but not least, can you tell me what was your most memorable tournament you’ve had abroad – as well as stating how many countries you have been to?

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Playing chess at the St.Louis Chess Club

I have travelled all around the world, and played in three continents and 12 countries! I have been to India, Italy, France, Germany, Czech Republic, just to name a few.
My most memorable event was in St Louis, when I became the Club Champion in 2016. I been to many Chess Clubs, but winning at Saint Louis Chess Club was something special!

Thank you so much to GM Denes Boros on such an interesting interview! If you have any questions for him, please don’t be shy contacting him. More interviews are to come – stay tuned!

Snow Lake Hiking Trail – North Bend, Washington

Over the weekend I went on this gorgeous hike called Snow Lake. To those of you who do not know, I am on a very long vacation out in the west coast. Currently staying around Seattle. It’s very beautiful here – there are many hikes to choose from.

A few weeks ago, I got to visit Victoria, British Columbia. The last time I was there – 2005 for the Canadian Youth Chess Championship where I placed 1st. I am hoping to see Vancouver very soon because it’s less than 3 hour drive from me!

If any of you have any suggestions on what I can see in the Washington/British Columbia area, comment below or send me a private message: yelizavetaorlovachess@gmail.com.

Here a few pictures from the Snow Lake Hike! The hike was about 7 miles….but we actually got lost at one point and might have done more. The one negative about the hike was once we got lost we had to go up this really rocky steep hill…

http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/snow-lake-1

Italy & Salento International Chess Open 2016

Hello everyone! I’d like to finally write an article on my travel to Italy this past May. I know I’m writing this a bit late but it’s better late than never! I’ve been to many countries through out my life (because of curiosity and chess) but Italy was not on my list. When I had gotten the kind offer to come to Italy (by Matteo Zoldan who organizes tournaments around the country) – I could not say no!

On my trip, my best friend Anna came with me as well. She’s part Italian and wanted to learn about her Italian roots and family history. It’s always nice to have a friend near by rather than travelling all alone.

We arrived to Rome, Italy on May 15th with a lot of excitement for what was to come. Our travel around Italy was to have four days in/around Rome and on the 18th we would fly to Lecce area, close by is the location of the tournament I would play and organize in.

After arriving from the airport, Anna’s relatives (from Milan) picked us up, helped us get to the bed & breakfast place we were staying at. They were even nice enough to allow us to have a rest before going into the city. We got to see a few sights before it started raining heavily. Four of us were hungry after being in rain so we quickly ran into a restaurant beside the beautiful fountain! This was very exciting for me, the experience to try Italian cuisine in the country itself!

Pictures of Day 1:

 

On our second day (May 16, 2016) Anna’s relatives could not stay longer so we had to go explore Rome ourselves! Later that afternoon, we went on a tour which included the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

Pictures of Day 2:

Pictures of Tour:

That night we got onto a late night bus to Pisa.

At 5am (May 17, 2016) we finally arrived to Pisa with little or no sleep, we hoped we would be able to survive the next 18 hours of sight seeing before our bus ride home back to Rome. Romualdo (a fellow chess player and youtuber) kindly suggested showing us around Pisa and later the city of Florence. To those of you who don’t know who Romualdo: he’s a chess player of approximately my strength but has a pretty cool YouTube channel running: https://www.youtube.com/c/robedascacchistitrash

Pictures in Pisa:

 

Pictures in Florence:

 

On our fourth and last day (May 18, 2016) to see Rome, we went to the Vatican City. Had a two hour tour… Visited the beautiful museum where Michelangelo’s famous paintings were on the walls and ceiling. We are not allowed to talk or take photos in that area, but you can find some photos online!

Pictures:

Italy is such a beautiful country with so much amazing history. Every city we went to, there were old buildings which are nothing compared to the ones in Ontario, Canada.

On May 19, 2016 we had a flight to catch to the Southern part of Italy. Our final destination was the city Gallipoli which is right beside the Ionian Sea. We were greeted by one of the representatives of Calori Hotels and taken to our hotel, Le Sirene Ecohotel.

Once we arrived to our hotel, checked in and got settled into our rooms – we were welcomed by Matteo Zoldan! To those of you who do not know who he is: One of the best tournament organizers I have ever met. Matteo plays the game himself (at a competitive level) and is ambitious to see more tournaments in Italy. Matteo hosts the Salento International Chess Open every year for the past 5 years. This tournament takes place in a resort where chess players can relax by the seaside and play chess. I was very happy and thankful for being invited to help. One of my jobs prior to my trip was to be the Media & Communications Officer. This position included me writing a few articles and encourage people to come via social media or personal contact.

May 20, 2016 I got to meet many of the participants and register them into the tournament! Players were coming from so many different countries which include Russia, Netherlands, Poland and many many more. So exciting to get to play in an International Tournament like this!

(End to my personal touch of the Article)

May 21, 2016 – May 28, 2016 Salento International Chess Open

One of my jobs at at the tournament was to be the photographer! I really enjoyed taking photos of chess players, surrounding areas and leisure events.

Events that occurred during the tournament:

Almost everyday we had chess players playing soccer!

Soccer (day time):

And even…

Soccer (night time):

Tennis:

An amazing part of this tournament was the tours, the hotel organized a tour daily for most of the days! Every day you could see a new city near by Gallipoli. I only went to the one in Lecce.

Leece Tour:

Now let’s get to the chess part!

There were two section: Open A and Open B. Open A consisted of players in the 1900s (FIDE) and above while Open B was anyone up to 2000 (FIDE). I was going to play in the Open B section and even try to win a money prize but the Arbiter asked me to be in the top section because there was an odd number. Since I thought the Organizer (Matteo) wanted this as well – I agreed. Later on, Matteo wondered why I went into the top section but it was already too late for me to go back! In the end, I got3.5/9: 5 draws, 1 win, and 3 losses. I am quite happy with myself because every single opponent was higher rated… most of my opponents were about 100 or over (except my last game!). For more my first International in many years I think I did quite well and even gained a bit of rating! 😀

Name Orlova Yelizaveta
Title WCM
Starting rank 40
Rating national 0
Rating international 1919
Performance rating 1986
FIDE rtg +/- 14,4
Points 3,5
Rank 35
Federation CAN
Ident-Number 0
Fide-ID 2601826
Year of birth 1994
Rd. Bo. SNo Name RtgI FED Pts. Res. w-we K rtg+/-
1 19 19 FM Lorscheid Gerhard 2214 GER 4,0 s 0 -0,15 20 -3,00
2 19 27 Pizzuto Samuele Tullio 2077 ITA 4,0 w ½ 0,21 20 4,20
3 18 31 Sirena Gianni 2027 ITA 4,0 s ½ 0,15 20 3,00
4 17 28 Patavia Antonio 2074 ITA 4,0 s 0 -0,29 20 -5,80
5 19 34 Eijk Yuri 2009 NED 3,0 w ½ 0,12 20 2,40
6 17 26 WGM Kouvatsou Maria 2090 GRE 4,0 s 0 -0,27 20 -5,40
7 20 32 Callier Christophe 2023 BEL 4,0 w ½ 0,14 20 2,80
8 20 23 Otten Remmelt 2129 NED 3,0 w ½ 0,27 20 5,40
9 19 38 Inguscio Giorgio 1950 ITA 2,5 s 1 0,54 20 10,80

 

If you’d like to see how the Open A tournament went, see this link: http://chess-results.com/tnr222081.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&flag=30&wi=821

Open B: http://chess-results.com/tnr222084.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&flag=30&wi=821

 

During the tournament:

Blitz Tournaments:

 

In conclusion, I really loved my stay in Italy. I got to see so many beautiful sights and meet great people. Italy is truly one of the countries that has the most history. Seeing the historic buildings really reminded me about my days back home in Ukraine and how much I miss travelling to Europe. A special thanks to Matteo Zoldan (picture below) for inviting me to the tournament.

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It was a great atmosphere, the food was amazing and the staff was very friendly. If you want to play a tournament and have a getaway I definitely would recommend you to register! You can get the best of both  worlds. Wouldn’t it be great to prepare or analyze games beside the seaside?

Visit: http://www.5salentochessopen2016.it/?lang=en for more information regarding this years event! I will keep you updated once the information about the 6th Salento Open will be known!

Thank you so much for reading! Hope you will enjoy my future posts about my travels in the west coast of Canada/ USA. Please follow my blog: I will be updating about my life, travels and chess.

Have a great day everyone! Hope you win many chess games in the near future!

How has chess helped you in real life? – Answered by Chess Players all around the World!

Chess is a beautiful old game which requires a lot of calculation, theory, and strategy.. Whether we are looking at short or long calculations, it improves our mind in different ways to help us in our everyday lives. Thinking before you moves goes with thinking before making certain actions. Tactics goes hand in hand with creating short term plans/goals, while Strategy goes with long term plans/goals. Openings helps you improve your memorization skills which could help a lot in school.

Here is what some chess players around the world say about chess and how it will help in life:

It kept me from doing bad things to myself after my divorce. Chess is the reason I’m still alive today. And now I can proudly say….. Chess is Life! – Raymond Kline

Humans majority of time think with in a specific level(say box).Chess helps to think out of the box by showing the possibilities which we strongly believe impossible earlier.We avoid thinking because we think that it is impossible.Chess helped me to look for possibilities around.Earlier if a Chess Problem is posted and if the solution looks impossible for me I put a comment that the Problem is with error.After that when I see the solution I came to know the possibility of solving which I strongly felt impossible earlier.Look around for Possibility which I learned from Chess. – Vital Pratap Varma Indukuri

Chess is life and vice verza Life is Chess. It helps me to improve logical cognition with tactics and strategies. –Jhun Cris

The more I play chess the more I enjoy it. Chess is all about calculations and math is my life. – Madukaku Clement Mark

Chess has helped me keep my mind sharp. It also helps me make the right decisions in my life by helping me consider the consequences of my actions. Chess can also be a great stress reliever. – Ted Rochon

I started finding that the same fails I make in the board, I make them un real life: making bad sacrifices, losing hope before the game ends, etc. I found that my style was a reflect of my attitude about common life. So I started working on it, on the board and on the real life. – Edgar Márquez

You are responsible for your actions, like in chess also in life there are no “takebacks”! – Νικόλας Σκέττος

Chess is very good for people who have depression, I can say that chess saved my life, I would like to have contributed much more with this noble art. – Marcio Ab

Some people turn to drugs, alcoholic, or prostitute, but me playing chess makes me feel much better! – Mohd Noh Mohd Ali

Chess taught me that no move is perfect. Your aim behind it should be clear. Do nothing without purpose. –Hammad Dar

It helps me to respect any person, people who seems have no idea about the game has kicked my ass really hard so I learned to respect allí people it doesn’t matters how they look like. – Edgar Márquez

As a very “general” thing, it can serve as a nice reminder that sometimes it’s better to think logically, and not let emotions such as frustration, anxiety etc. cloud one’s thinking. And I think it can help with learning to plan ahead several steps, instead of just one. – Timothy Rigney

There is always a best move there. Analysing the situation is what needed. – Payal Mittal

Determination, and flexibility – if one idea does not work, try another. – Fraser Musson

Keeping me away from negatives & fears of this world. – Devansh