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One week in the life of a chess professional

Wednesday, 23 January 2002

Got up at 7-40. Checked e-mail, replied to some, deleted most — I hate spammers! They should be put on a desert island with no Internet there! I do not mind receiving unsolicited mail about chess though — I might see something interesting. I also printed the latest issue of Chess Today (http://www.chesstoday.net/) and read it over morning coffee.

This morning is about meeting. First I went to see a Russian friend of mine, who is co-owner of a Russian restaurant here. Then I dropped some software to Michael Dooley, who used to be my student and my first Web master. We had a little chat and then I went to the city centre. Driving in Dublin is not much fun — streets are narrow and my Mercedes is not designed for them! Just kidding — I have Opel Astra. If you have not seen Opel cars, this model is small - similar in size to Toyota Corolla. Still, driving in the city is tiring — too many cars, too few lanes... I went to a Russian shop and bought some food (for the family) and beer (for me!). As they said, Russians are coming!

Came back from the city around 14-30 and after lunch went online. Got e-mail from my US student, who joked about the Alekhine Defence (Ivanchuk played it). I revealed a secret — the previous night Vasily called me and asked for a crash course on this opening. We quickly agreed the price - $300 for one hour (don’t forget, the man was desparate!), but he did not listen to what I said — the 4...Nc6 line is just not good! 4...g6 or 4...dxe5 would have been better. But in fairness, 1...c5! was really the way to go!

At about 18-20 I went to the city again — to play basketball. I was very keen on basketball when in school and during the first year in the university. Here I play occasionally. My son Ivan (12) plays too, so we went together. I was great fun and I hope to make it next week too.

After basketball I did a proof-reading job (not paid) for a Russian newspaper in Ireland. A friend of mine asked me whether I knew a well-educated Russian speaker and that did the trick! :-) Anyway, it was interesting. Russian community (or rather Russian-speaking community, as that includes people from Ukraine, Moldavia, Baltic states, etc.) is pretty big and is growing fast. In this issue of the newspaper there will be my article on chess — after all, chess was the national pastime in the USSR! At about 22-00 I went to see that friend, so we had tea discussing publishing business — donít forget, I have my own newspaper! I have a theory though: successful publishers get pushed from their yachts, while their less fortunate counterparts get less lucky!

Came back home at around midnight. Opened that Russian beer, which I had so thoughtfully stocked up earlier in the day. In the old days there were very few sorts of beer in Russia and the quality was poor. Now things are different — the variety is great and the quality is sometimes very high. While I am happy with Carsberg or Heineken, while in Russia I tend to drink Russian beer. I like Baltika and this is what I bought in Dublin. Good stuff, though the best beer I ever tried was a local variation of Pilsener in Slovakia a couple of years ago. Watched video till 1-20. Felt absolutely wrecked after basketball, but happy because of beer! :-)

All text Copyright Alexander Baburin unless otherwise noted