Sunday, 6 September 2009

Small World

I'm quite excited as I've booked myself into my next international tournament which will be in Winterthur near Zurich in October. I've never been to Switzerland! It's very sweet that they've even put up my picture on their website. They do that for all titled players. But of course, I'm the lowest titled player there - see for yourself:

The other amusing fact is that one of the entrants comes from my birth town of Chelyabinsk in Russia. I don't know that person, but I'm hoping to talk to him to find out any interesting news about life and chess in Chelyabinsk. I haven't been there for 2 years, since my parents emigrated to the U.S.A. Actually, I've already had a "small world" encounter this year at the last 4NCL in May. I met GM Igor Kurnosov who is also from Chelyabinsk. I caught up on the gossip about my past coaches, other chess players and even my school teachers. That's because it turned out we went to the same school! Chelyabinsk is a town of 1.25 million people with many schools, so it's not the kind of thing you'd expect. Isn't it great that in chess you can meet new people from all over the world and also make the world feel like a small place!

While I'm on the subject of Russia, I draw your attention to the very strong Men's Championship of Russia. Top 5 players will get into the Super-Final Championship of Russia. There is an English version of the website and live games: After 5 of 11 rounds my favourite chess players are doing rather badly. No doubt, they'll bounce back either in this tournament or shortly after. Mental resilience and self-belief are essential to deal appropriately with failure and these guys certainly have that. They wouldn't be over 2600 otherwise. I wish I could interview them to find out in detail how they cope with disasters like that, as I still have more to learn to improve my psyche.

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