A Camp with the Champ

The third edition of the Metropolitan Chess Camp took place in Los Angeles from 10 to 14 July. More than one hundred players took part in it. The age of the participants varied from young kids aged five or six to experienced masters aged above sixty.
The trainer’s team was a mixture of experienced local coaches (GM Melik Khachiyan, IMs Armen Ambartsoumian, Andranik Matikozian and Zhanibek Amanov) plus two non-US residing GMs- Vadim Milov and yours truly.

However, the pearl in the crown was the presence of the reigning World Champion Vishy Anand. For a second consecutive year the Metropolitan Chess founder and national master Ankit Gupta managed to treat the lucky campers with the knowledge of a world class player.
The lectures were conducted in the comfortable Radisson hotel situated within a walking distance from the Los Angeles International airport.
The schedule was tough, especially for the lower-rated participants and included after-class activities like simuls, blitz tournament and even a bughouse one! After all, chess should be fun, should not it?

Anand showed some of the recent top GM games, including his own victory against Jon Ludvig Hammer from the Sandes Masters tournament in Norway in May as well as games of his colleagues from the recent top-GM events.
The last day of the event saw a simul by the World Champion against twenty selected players from the camp and a game against the chess.com members. More than ten thousand players took part in the latter, but it had to end prematurely as the servers went down. From Anand’s over-the-board opponents two were luckier than the others. Michael Brown drew his game (and he did so in the previous year as well!) while the ten year old Marcus Miyasaka won his one!

The sessions of the World Champion were recorded and will be released on a DVD soon. So were mine in one of the training day :)


Hello, Africa

This is an old article but I hope you will enjoy it!
Organizing and conducting TRG seminars (FIDE training seminar) is part of my job as a FIDE Senior Trainer. A couple of months ago when from the trainers council wrote me about the seminar in Botswana, I did not hesitate at all and applied for the job. This was a great opportunity to visit and see the cradle of civilization- Africa!

Moreover, I already knew a lot about it by my friend Ruppert Jones, a colourful chap from Leeds, who used to live and develop chess in Botswana, now represents Papua New Guinea and helps the developing countries play better chess.
The course coincided with the African Zonal tournament for men and women. Botswana has strong players in its disposal but the tournaments were dominated by the representatives of Zambia and South Africa respectively.
FM Bwalya Gillian left no chances at all to his opponents. He started with seven straight wins and was 1.5 point ahead of his closest rival before the final round. The overall win of the event granted him a spot for the World Cup and the IM title.
The remaining players fought hard for the titles as well as the top three players had chances in obtaining it in case that they score at least six points out of the nine rounds played.
The ladies section saw another foreign triumph. Charlize Van Zyl started with a draw but won the next five games and the overall.

The South Africans did a great job with their junior squad and showed clearly what should be the aim of any country which wants to develop chess.
In Africa I met Peter Leko. Not the Super GM, but probably a future one. One of the strongest female players in Botswana Tshepiso Lopang felt in love with the games of the Hungarian GM and decided to name her son after him. Leko would proudly announce his name at the events and stand next to his Mom while she plays her games.
The logo of the Botswana Chess Federation says “30 Years of making smart moves.” They made one more of those with their decision to host a FIDE training seminar in the capital city of Gaborone from 3-8 May. Many of the participants in the Zonal tournaments took part at the seminar as well, thus improving their knowledge in both the competitive and teaching area.
All the participants of the TRG seminar successfully passed the exam and are now ready to be more effective and skilled as chess coaches. They received their certificates at an impressive closing ceremony.
It was a great experience to see the exuberant nature that Botswana offers to everyone. The variety of animal species, the colourful shops and markets, beautiful gift shops everything was so unusual.
And finally, the new word that I learned. Botho. It is a bit complicated to explain it, but as whole this is the positive and passionate attitude towards the people. The human behavior.