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A week in the life of a chess professional

Tuesday, 22 January 2002

Got up at 7-40. Checked e-mail and went to have breakfast. My kids leave the house at 8-40 (they walk to the school), so I usually start my working day around that time. However today I walked with my wife to the nearby shopping centre where she works in Italian shoe shop. We had coffee with Serafino, shopís owner. The weather was dreadful (rain), so having coffee was the only way to beat it...

Later this morning I received post — phone bill, bill from a book supplier and one book order from Ireland. Maybe my shop will get busy soon? Hopefully, but I am not holding my breath yet! Anyway, I posted the book, which that customer ordered. As he had ordered from me before, he got 2 euro discount — I have a special program for those who order from the shop, particularly if itís online order. I also spoke with my business partner Jim Hayes about our online auctions (XX). The one in January went well and we agreed that we organise another one on 7-9 of February. Now I have experience in this field, so holding auctions regularly is not a problem. I also get a lot of inquiries about books, etc — this morning I received e-mail from a man who had a book signed by Em. Lasker. Perhaps he wants to sell it, but maybe he is just curious about its value (I reckon that itís worth over 200 euro).

At around 12-00 I looked at some endgame positions (Queen vs. Rook and pawn), which I featured recently in one of my article in Chess Today. I tried to analyse them with Endgame CD then, but something did not work. I asked GM Rainer Knaak about this problem and thanks to him, Chess Base company sent me ĎEndgame Turboí (Nalimov Databases). It took me a while to figure out where to install the engine, but eventually I got it right. This CD does work, so I checked a few positions and will certainly use it later. Moreover, Fritz can rely on this database, which improves Fritzís understanding of endgames considerably. I also downloaded the latest TWIC and added it to my existing database, I do this more or less every week.

Between 12-00 and 13-00 I wrote an article for Sunday Independent. It is one of Irelandís major newspapers and I have a weekly chess column there. Writing it is pretty easy, but well paid — great combination, which you donít find in chess too often! Finding steady income is one of the main problems for chess professionals and I am glad that I have this column. This week I wrote about Ponomariov-Ivanchuk match (showing game 1) and Corus tournament. I also like Independent as a paper and prefer it to Irish Times. A friend of mine said that it was a sign of a right-wing guy. Sure it is — most people (at least chess players!) coming from the former USSR are pretty conservative.

After lunch I went online — answered some mail and watched the Corus tournament. Alexander Morozevich seems to be in trouble against Alexander Grischuk. I worked as Morozevichís manager for about 18 months, so I follow his progress. Despite the fact that the opening went badly for him today, I believe he is doing the right thing, expanding his repertoire and including some solid systems in it. After all, I was advocating this for most of the time when we worked together! :-)

Around 16-00 I went with my wife to Trinity College. She is organising English course for Russian speakers with a friend of ours. They are just in the beginning, so I wanted to be around if the experiment failed. I did not, but it was not a huge success either...

After dinner spend a couple of hours online — checked Corus again (Morozevich indeed lost) and e-mailed my Web master Arlen Walker. We are going to change radically both Chess Today and Grandmaster Square sites, so there are plenty of things to discuss.

After 21-00 I call it a day and go to watch video — apparently it fast becomes my favourite pastime!

All text Copyright Alexander Baburin unless otherwise noted