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A Year in the Life of a Chess Grandmaster

User Rating: / 18
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 08 May 2014

By GM Davor Palo, Denmark
FIDE rating: 2562

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Hello folks.
It took me about a year to get back, but better late than never, right
Last time I wrote about my experience of getting back to elite chess after a long break and more.
Having notched up my first Danish Champion crown, it was a real pleasure to do it. Actually the same tournament this year has recently finished, and I skipped as I was unhappy about the conditions. Instead I did some work as a second, helping one of the players!
This win was probably the biggest for me - winning the Player of The Year award in Denmark. I didn't really think about this stuff until Jens Kristiansen suddenly drew my attention to the fact!
In fact I took part in a closed GM tournament in Aarhus to prepare for the championship (sounds silly, I know) and the result was nothing to complain about.
The performance of the Spaniard Jose Cuenca Jimenez was even more impressive, cause in spite of losing to both me and Maksimenko he scored a GM norm!
In our game I actually produced a novelty:

View the game with GM Davor Palo's brief notes

Last year I wrote about how my Danish team, Team Nordea Skanderborg, took Gold. This season we wanted to repeat the feat, and we had a considerably better overall performance (2,5 points more over the season). It turned out that our biggest rival was going to be Brønshøj, who have Tiger Hillarp Persson on board 1. A late slipup by them allowed us to catch up, and the direct encounter was taking place in the very last round. With half a point lead, we would win with a 4-4 tie, so it was a favourable situation, but by no means a lock.
My opponent was well-prepared, and I had to sweat, but got a bit calmer as the game progressed. Around move 30 I had a look at the situation, and it was still a very open match, with 4-4 looking like a normal result. With a draw in my game, that is.
After the time trouble I was winning and thought for moment that we've just clinched it. Until I got up and had a look around, that is. We had blown two promising positions. Gah. I've never been more indifferent to winning a game! In spite of my +5 score (best in the league!) and overall good performance, we only got silver. Brønshøj won the match 4,5-3,5.

This year I have even more things to think about, as I've decided to start a company from scratch. Like most chess players I'm bored with 9-5 stuff and such things could be more interesting. Working out is part of my lifestyle, and one day - while I was enlightening a friend - I just asked myself why I'm not in that business already. So I'll be selling supplements to most of Europe through a webshop!
In life you have to make choices. Where you're going with your chess is one of them. I have little doubt that most titled players have a tough time making a good living by playing chess, so you eventually either A) get better or B) treat it as a hobby, more or less.
I'm not a frequent reader here on the site, but I noticed that GM Daniel Gormally wrote about this topic a few times.
I guess it's obvious which one path I've taken and my solution is to take advantage of the good opportunities in chess and skip the rest - or more accurately, to be smart enough and have something going on the side, so that you can afford to skip them!

I took part in the Euro Ch. in Warsaw, and the Olympiad in Tromsø is also such an opportunity - in fact, I might play board 1 for Denmark! There are countries that I'd much rather visit than Norway....but what the hell!
I met a girl in Warsaw and stayed with her for some time after the event. One morning, a couple of days after the event was finished, my phone rings. It's some Danish journalist. I figure that she wants my impressions from the event, but no, she wants to talk about Magnus Carlsen!
The match against Anand was still in progress. I managed to praise Magnus some, and I don't remember it as a particularly short conversation, but I'm still often disappointed with what goes to print. On the other hand, I think that we have to do those interviews for the sake of CHESS.
I followed the Candidates with great interest like many others. We didn't get a "new" challenger, and I think that Anand played the best he has done in a while. If he plays the same way in the rematch, it could be interesting, but there's no doubt that he needs to bring bigger guns to get a different outcome!
I was personally rooting for Levon Aronian, though I didn't make any bets this time.
That's all for now. By the way, I'm writing about chess on, though only in Danish so far.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 May 2014 )
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