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I´m a 20-yo CM from Guatemala, a little country in Central America. I am still actively training and developing as a player and consider having room for improvement. Among my achievements, I´ve been Central American rapid champion, 4x National U-18 National Champion, First Category National Champion, and Third best ranked Central American U20 player.
Overall, I have to recognize the support from my parents since very young to get into the sport, as it requires investment in multiple ways, but they always did it for me to have fun and enjoy the game, even though I have always been very competitive and a bad game typically spoiled all my day, I always pushed myself.
What Attracted You To The Game
I got interested in chess because of school friends when I was around 12 years old, it became a challenge, and I wanted to become a very good player since the beginning, even though I did not know how hard it actually was. No regrets however, chess made me the person I am and it still makes me search for improvement.
Chess has many benefits, as developing rational thinking and logical problem-solving processes, but the main benefit I personally highlight is the personality development you get from it. You have to learn many things out from the board if you want to become a good player, it makes you a more disciplined, focused, and hard-working person overall, and it strongly builds your confidence in a positive way.
I started going to an academy when I was 12-yo, where I attended group lessons. I learned the basics there, but I was way too curious and I read a lot of books, chess became my life in the first years.
After that, I started going to National Federation, which is not a very active-supportive federation, but I could get much more experience playing tournaments. I still remember with nostalgia those years, as they were the ones, I enjoyed the game the most, I was totally excited and surprised by every single game I played.
I trained with several coaches in the next years, with the aim of becoming National U18 Champion, even though I strived higher. In this road, maybe the most relevant character I trained with was FM Carlos Quiñonez. We achieved the goal, and I started traveling abroad to play international tournaments, where I found I was nobody and I had another long road to take. I was around 1800 FIDE rating by then, but in my mind never crossed the idea of getting a title, as in my country it is hard to play against very strong players, few titled ones. It was until I started training with IM Hector Leyva and IM Raúl Ocampo that my mind changed, and I could get the CM title in Costa Rica.
Before this happened, a couple of international tournaments had to be played, without major success, but a great amount of knowledge and maturity acquired.
Part of this road was done when I was already in University, I´m actually studying medical school, which consumes part of my time as well, but I´ve got to find an equilibrium between everything somehow. My next goal is to get an FM title, but I want to strive for the highest. I know it is going to take me long in my context, but I want to improve much more and I´m currently training for it.
I have already worked on youtube videos and video courses for some companies, but I am currently focused on training and helping out my students, so a good part of my free time is invested in working with them or material for them. Otherwise, I am training, so free time is not something I know so well.
There are many, starting with lack of strong international experience for many years, difficulty to manage studies and chess simultaneously, difficulty with interpersonal relations, and any other distraction that drew my attention out from chess.
Chess can be very demanding as a sport, but somehow you must find an equilibrium between everything and even have some fun besides it, however, many people did not understand chess was not a hobby for me but a life priority, and it is not something easy to explain as well.
Eventually, everything worked out as my family was very supportive and studies were not so demanding at the time I was actively playing.
Who Is The Greatest Player Of All Time? Who Are You’re Favorite?
My opinion will be shared by many, but Carlsen has shown to be the most complete player nowadays and maybe of all time. In my first years, I got inspired by Kasparov and his style, although I did not really understand it (still don´t). I could experience firsthand a change in my style through the years and I got more mature and objective as a player. Currently, I appreciate a lot the games of Alekhine and Fischer, as I appreciate a lot their dynamism and timing.
Chess Advices And Recommendations
Chess and Kids
They have to know that it will take time and financial investment, but the benefits they are going to get from it are much greater. Learning chess was the best decision of my life so far, and having my parent’s support is something I will always be thanked for, that´s what I can say.
Common Mistakes People Make
Under 2200 (and more) level, the most common mistakes are tactical. Chess is a geometrical game, a pure matter of patterns, the more patterns you know, the more you understand it. Experience and talent are also factors, but everyone can improve. My advice is to be very patient, develop and hard-working confident mindset, and not expect great improvement without great effort too. However, be careful, great effort can be done in the wrong way, so try to get a good work plan or guidance before going into it.
For beginners, my system by Nimsowitch is a great book. The 100 endgames you must know by Jesús de la Villa is also great. Be careful not to read too much about openings, you will be losing your time. Learning from great players and their memorable games is a must-do.
For intermediate players, some openings can be studied a bit more, but still no greater than 30% of the time you invest in chess. You should keep learning from instructive games, start getting yourself into strategy, but remember the main weakness is still tactical, so keep improving on pattern recognition and calculation.
On every level, you have to analyze your games (if possible, with a good assessment), but the more you advance the more you have to do it and identify the punctual problems you are still dealing with. General knowledge should still be improved and refreshing the basis from time to time, not forgetting about endgames, for example, even the most basic ones.
A bit of everything, but mainly open openings, like Italian, Spanish, Scotch. Try out queen´s pawn too, start with the London system.
Personal Chess Coach
It is very important to help in knowing yourself better, your strengths and areas of opportunity, as well as having the right investment of your time in activities and work that will make you improve. I saw a big difference in my level when I started working with personal coaching myself and I still appreciate its value a lot.
Visualisation is chess
Visualization is the capacity to manage the board, its squares, and its pieces of course. It is the base for any calculation process, and calculation itself is the only way we can be 100% objective in chess. This can be improved in several ways, starting with experience, but it can be actively developed with specific exercises, such as reading a book without a board (or updating it every 5 moves).
Are Computers KillingThe Game Of Chess?
By no means. It is true many things were lost and I would really have liked to be a chess player from the past, to be honest; things like postponing a game, preparing an opening, searching for novelties, and teamwork (like the Russians had) were and will always be memorable. However, computers have brought many important advances to chess, and I cannot see myself training without the everyday database work, game search, and analysis tools, but as Kasparov said, the most important thing to know about engines, is when to turn them off.
What Is Your Training Program, Methods?
First, I get to know my student, by analyzing his/her games and making general questions to understand more about his thought process. The first thing we will work over is learning how to think, as we build general knowledge too. It is a long process hard to summarize in a paragraph, as everything has to be in function on the students´ needs.
How To Analyse Your Games
Almost all the work we make as professional players is using well-known software in the industry (Chessbase – feel free to omit if having copyright issues). The analysis should be systematic and detailed, starting with critical moments identification, analyzing its outcome, analyzing how was the assessment of the positions in the board and how accurate it was. There are many questions, both technical and psychological, I ask myself in order to get as much information as possible from the game post mortem.
you can consider using websites like chess.com (chess.com review) or lichess.org (lichess review) dot org to analyze your games also.
How To Prepare For A Tournament?
Tournament preparation is based on two things: tactical and opening preparation. That is it. It is not a clever idea to invest our time in strategic topics or general knowledge when a tournament is close, as such type of knowledge requires some time to be settled down and it is not likely to have a good outcome in the tournament games. Instead, being sure about the openings we play and having a good tactical eye is a possibly decisive advantage for the performance.
By last, I would point out to avoid making drastic changes to the repertoire just before the tournament. Play what you feel more comfortable with and what you know the best, at the end, the opening is not a decisive factor at our level. If feeling lost, just follow general principles and focus on getting a playable middlegame.