One week in the life of a chess professional
Sunday, 27 January 2002
Today I got up at 9-00. Feel much better today — sleep does me a lot of good! Shortly after breakfast I go to my study room. It has a large table with Dell PC on it (19’ screen!) and lots of chess books. It’s a messy place and I even have a notice saying ‘Great workers have untidy desks!’. Well, I feel like creating some order on my desk today. I start putting auction papers (invoices, letters) in order. On Friday I received two boxes with old BCM volumes for the auction (http://www.gmsquare.com/chessauction/), so this morning I go through them.
It looks like we can have another auction on 7-9 of February. I believe that have them regularly is the key point to success. After all, there is little competition as nobody else is doing chess auctions where you can bid in real time! Well, sorting that out was a whole story: I did a lot of research together with my Web master Susan Strahan, found a suitable program and bought it. Happy end? You bet not! The program had lots of bugs and after 2-3 cries for help the guy, who sold me the software, simply stop replying to my messages... That put me off and there were no auctions for a few months. Then a friend of mine mentioned a guy in Moscow, who was good at Pearl (programming language). I contacted him and he ironed out all bugs in 2 weeks! There are many people who buy chess books around the globe, so there is a market for my online auction. And I get inquiries from potential sellers too — from Switzerland, South America, Canada, South Africa, etc.
Around 11-00 I started to work on chess crossword again. I got so interested in it that I did not go to buy my Sunday newspapers. I usually get Sunday Times. Sometimes I read Financial Times - it important to watch how your shares are doing, you know! Just kidding — I got no shares — I invest only in Baburin Corporation! :-) Anyway, today I give Sunday Times a miss and don’t even check Sunday Independent — if that was anything wrong with my article, they would have told me that by now!
My work with the crossword is not going on well — I just do not get it! :-( I eat my lunch quickly and come back to my desk — I want to get this thing right, it is a challenge now! OK, making a simple crossword is probably not so hard, but I am making a chess one, which limits my options. Besides, it is in English, which is not my mother tongue. Around 16-00 I make it — oh, joy! I send it to a few friends, anxious to get a feedback.
Around 18-00 I start writing for CT. The Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee finished today, so I cover that and a bunch of other tournaments (Bermuda, Indian Ch, etc). I briefly annotated the game Morozevich-van Wely. Today I am even more efficient - by 20-00 I am done!
Between 20-30 and 21-30 I edit the transcript of my yesterday chat. I hope to finish this work next week and then post the chat on this site. Got a few replies from my friends concerning the crossword. They all sound enthusiastic, but none mentions solving the thing — either they can’t be bothered or the crossword is too hard. Oh, well, I will make it public in Chess Today on Friday and we will see. A couple of weeks later I might post it on the GM Square too. Perhaps some magazine will buy this crossword as well — this would make my bank manager a bit happier!
Around 21-30 I retire to watch a movie. Tomorrow a student of my from the West Coast is going to call me at 6-30, so I need to go to bed early. This is a little uncomfortable, but being a chess pro you learn to live with it! :-) I call it a day around 23-00. Another week has passed.
That was an ordinary week in my life, nothing too special. It was unusual that I gave only one lesson (typically, I give 3-4 lessons a week), but I did a bit more writing than I normally do. Also, my shop and online auction kept me busy. Keeping this diary was a strange experience — now I can see where I have resources if I want to work harder. Will I work harder? Maybe not — I too much life watching movies and reading books, while lying on my sofa! :-) Anyway, I hope that you find this diary interesting. If you have comments, please drop me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.