One week in the life of a chess professional
Thursday, 24 January 2002
Got up at 7-45. Feel wrecked after yesterday’s basketball — obviously I need more physical training. It’s all on my New Year resolution (swimming, running), but will I do it? I don’t know... Checked e-mail and then went downstairs to make breakfast, while my wife struggled to wake up our kids. After breakfast I worked for a while making editing text for new Chess Today site (www.chesstoday.net). Hopefully its new design will live this week. Not that there is anything wrong with its current look, but it is about time to make some changes — the site is more than one year old now.
Around 10-00 the post came. What a joy — no bills and three cheques — a rare occurrence in the life of a chess player! :-) I got paid by Sunday Independent, received a cheque from one of my US students (he takes lessons over the phone) and was paid royalties for my book Winning Pawn Structures. I enjoyed working on it and having the book on my shelf makes me feel good. However, pay is never great for chess authors (should I try to write about Harry Potter and chess?!). Still, it is nice to receive something every 6 months! No plans to write another book yet, but I might change my mind as I have a few ideas.
Till 12-00 I deal with chess auction business — prepared payment advises, checked invoices, etc. The next auction will take place on 7-9 February, so it’s time to start preparing it. At 12-00 one of my students called from USA. We had a lesson for 1 hour 20 minutes (my rate is €55 or about $50 per hour), discussing one interesting game, which he had found and ‘Rook and pawn vs. Rook’ endings.
After the lesson I went online and watched the Corus tournament, while chatting with my friend GM Lev Psakhis on ICQ. Morozevich recovered from yesterday’s loss by beating Piket. One of Alexander’s greatest strengths is his psychological stability — I saw him losing many games in a row and then still hitting back! I don’t think he had enough for a pawn in the game, but it looks like Black was in time-trouble. At least some of his moves suggest this. Grischuk and Gelfand played an interesting game. I also followed the game Bareev-Dreev — they are old rivals. Apart from that, I have interest in the line of the Slav Defence, which they played: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3. Both are well-known experts on this line.
In the afternoon I also called my travel agent — in the end of February I am going to Norway, where I will give lectures and private lessons. The trip is being organised by GM Simen Agdestein, with whom I played on the same team in Germany a couple of years ago. I look forward to the tour, as the last time I was in Norway in 1993. Two years ago I went to Copenhagen with chess seminars, so I wonder why chess clubs don’t do such things more often — it looks like a good idea to me: amateur players have fun and improve their game, while chess pros make some money and see a different place. And if you have a group of people, the cost to individual is not too high. As far as I know, this is common in other sports.
Sold another chess book today — ‘Reassess Your Chess’ by IM Jeremy Silman. I like his books and use them often myself. They are not too common in Europe, so it is handy to have them in my shop (https://www.web-guardian.com/gmsquare/cgi-bin/store/commerce.cgi). By the way, there you can buy autographed copy of Winning Pawn Structures too! :-) I plan to add more titles to the shop over the weekend.
At 19-00 I gave a lift to my son Ivan to a chess class. He knows how to play chess since he was 4, but at some point he lost interest in it. I never pushed him. He plays in kids’ tournaments and attends a class in local youth class, but it is just a hobby for him. A good one too!
At 20-30 my wife and I went to Spaghetti Club. This is a rather informal group of people, which meets every Thursday. The host cooks spaghetti, while visitors bring wine, etc. Usually we use plastic/paper plates, glasses, etc., so there is little washing-up to do. The main idea is to meet people and talk, rather than to show off by throwing a better party than the Jones. The group is very diverse and features many foreigners — from Canada, Italy, Russia, etc. It was a very nice evening! Got home early around 23-00. Exchanged a few e-mails about the GM Square site with my Web master and then called it the day.