This week's member of the week is.....CRASH!
Here's the front page post:
This week we're profiling Crash
. Although he joined the forums relatively recently, he quickly became one of the most thoughtful and helpful posters on the site. I've always enjoyed his wonderful book reviews which are posted in his equally excellent training journal
. The journal is especially great as Crash, who also happens to be one of the stronger players on the site, often posts deep analysis of his recent tournament games as well as thoughts about chess psychology.
Here's our interview...
How did you get into chess?
My father taught me when I was fairly young though I didn't really learn the rules until I was about eight or nine when I learned about the concept of checkmate in the grade school chess club. I didn't really become serious about chess until I was about twelve or thirteen when my uncles visited from Croatia and my dad and they played every day while they were here. This was also right about the time of the Fischer-Spassky 1972 World Championship which I followed closely. I tried out for the high school chess team and made it at fourth board at age 13. Team play dominated my chess experience for many years then and subsequently when I returned to chess in the 1990s.
How long have you been playing?
If we mark it from the time that I first learned all the rules correctly it has been about forty years with several very long breaks of a decade or more in between. Forty three years if you count the time that I played without worrying about getting my king captured.
Who is your favorite player of all time?
If I have to pick just one it would have to be Mikhail Tal.
Have any chess books had a major influence on your development as a player?
"Think Like A Grandmaster" by Kotov which is the book that I return to every few years and which seems to bring excellent benefits each time.
"Tal's Life and Games" which inspired me for many years. Also before this book I read Clarke's book on Tal which made me interested when the larger book authored by Tal himself became available.
"How to Open A Chess Game" with contributions from Larsen, Hort, Petrosian, Botvinnik, Portisch and others.
Vukovich's "Art of Sacrifice in Chess".
The Encyclopedia Britannica articles on chess was the first chess reading that I ever did at the age of about twelve. Its exposition on the history of chess taught me about development and marked a turning point in my play from trying for scholar's mate in every game to developing each piece before I started attacking.
What is your best chess result?
I finished second in the Ontario High School championship which was a big deal to me at that time. The year before I finished fourth with the same score of 5/6.
I have always been more focused on individual games rather than tournaments.
Probably my best objective result the Michigan Master's and Expert's Tournament some time in the early to mid 1990s where I was second and scored 3/4 losing only to a 2599 Ben Finegold and beating a 2490 player. I also had a few tournaments where my results were not great but where I played all higher rated opponents so 2/5 was a good result when I lost to Alexander Ivanov and Boris Kreiman and beat a couple of 2300/2400 rated players.
Do you have a favorite chess game?
Probably my game with Andrews from the 1992 U.S. Open though if it is my favourite it is by only a slight edge over a number of others.
Do you have a favorite chess quote?
Milan Vukadinov's "Remember that Evil never sleeps" is something that I always remember when I am in a winning or losing position.
Bishop or Knight?
Bishop early on but sometimes knight when the position is closed. I will have to start playing the Nimzoindian to root out this tendency. I just had a game yesterday where I gave up a bishop late in the game to eliminate his knight and create a passed pawn which won the game immediately.
How did you find out about CV.TV?
I was involved in a discussion about various chess forums on another site when you (Josh) emailed me and asked me if I had checked out CV.TV. I was at a tournament when I got your email so I didn't have time to do much checking but immediately afterwards I checked it out thoroughly and I have been posting here ever since. I like the fact that there are many thoughtful posters of various strengths who seem to be serious about chess. It is great to be able to talk with like-minded people about the game that we all love.
Any other hobbies?
I enjoy teaching chess to interested youngsters and even adults. My models in this area were Milan Vukadinov and Ray Stone who were friends and teammates and key chess mentors for me.
I was involved in the martial arts (judo followed by karate and aikido) for many years and have been involved in weight training mostly as a result of rehabilitation to deal with a back injury.
I am a voracious reader averaging a couple of hundred books per year with my focus shifting over time. I tend to read mostly non-fiction with chess, poetry, philosophy and psychology dominating lately. Previously I read a lot of business books when I was studying business and later when I taught business finance at the university for a few years in the early 1990s. I also read lots of computer books over the years but have slowed down in this area lately. I read a lot of science fiction when I was much younger.
Anything else we should know about you?
Probably, but its better to keep some of the mystery.
That's all for this week's installment. Stay tuned for a new profile next week.