Today’s chess mentor is national master Lukajic Bojan from Serbia, he gladly accepted our invitation and shared with us his long chess journey, his achievement and prefered chess players and books and his tips for chess improvement and how to avoid typical mistakes.
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My name is Lukajic Bojan. Age of 51 from Serbia, Started to play chess at the age of 5, played in many youth tournaments, won some, including Youth Team Championship Of Vojvodina Region. Achieving an international rating of 2200+ provided the title of National Master to me, about ten years ago, I dedicated myself to transform my chess experience, to new chess players.
What Attracted You To Chess?
What attracted me to chess, the most was – that during the game it`s not important who is young, who is old between opponents, who is male, and who is female, all the differences step back in front of the main issue, who is more skillful on the board.I started to play competitive chess at the age of 7, it was a school tournament in my hometown, Novi Sad, Serbia.
Your Chess Story
Since I achieved the title of National Master, playing tournaments, one after another, including international tournaments with dominantly International Master and Grand Master, youngsters started to message me, expressing a desire to learn. Slowly, step by step, I dedicated myself to this way of expressing my desire for the game, I started teaching chess and I worked with all ages, but working with youngsters is something special. As I have a feeling that I built something. the biggest prize is, when a student steps to me after the tournament, saying *Coach, I won it!*. Feels incredibly amazing.
My favorite chess player of all time is Emmanuel Lasker, He didn`t have the tactical brilliancy of Tal, didn`t have a feeling for positional play like Capablanca, but he always played to win the game, considered chess as a battle, even in the age of 70. And chess is a battle if anything.
Advice For Parent
One thing I always say to parents when they ask about attitude, about the method of work with a child. Only a few among the whole generation become professional players, but chess is good for the development of character, meeting new people, and increasing combination skills. And above all, chess teaches us that we can`t win all the time, This is of vital importance for the development of a young personality.
What Are Common Chess Mistakes Among Beginners?
In modern times, the most common mistake students make is relying on computers too much, without selecting what is useful, what is not useful. For example, computers these days are stronger than Magnus Carlsen, World Champion. But when a student analyzes some opening, and a computer with a 3000 rating strength suggests some move, if the student doesn`t understand the idea behind a certain move, it`s actually a bad move for him.
Until reaching the International Master level, everything that is required of a student could be found in books of old masters, published until the 1980s. In many of these books, every idea in the opening is explained with a large block of text, why Knight to be placed in the center, why Bishop controls long diagonal, easy to understand and to be remembered. Computers are good to analyze the game we just played, to point out mistakes we made during the game. Also, computers are good for some hard endgame analysis, etc.
What Books Do You Recommend?
For beginners, I would recommend Basic Chess Endings by Reuben Fine. They say chess is the only thing in the World you learn from the end. As in the endgames, we are the closest to the essence of chess, we spot good and bad characteristics of each and every piece. When it`s crowded on the board, it`s not that easy to spot. For intermediate players, I would recommend Life and games of Mikhail Tal, by Mikhail Tal. I learned, for example, more about Sicilian Defense and about King Indian Defense from Tal and Kasparov’s autobiography books where they comment on their own games, rather than from any book about these openings. For advanced players, Shereshevsky – Endgame Strategy.
If I should recommend an opening for a certain beginner, I would have to recognize his style, or at least to predict in which direction his style would develop. What kind of positions in midgame suits him the best. Like when someone enters the store and picking up shirt that suits him the best.
Is It Important To Have A Personal Coach?
The role of a personal coach is very important these days. When I started to play competitive chess, the lack of available literature was always an issue. So, the role of the coach was to provide as many books to us, young students, as he could. Today, in the era of computers, the process is the opposite – today, information is available to everybody, but students usually enter into the trap to learn without selection, role of the coach is to select what are the exact needs of students and to provide literature. It is hard to achieve if we don`t know students really well, in person.
Your Coaching Experience
I gave classes online, but during the last seven years, I am strictly focused on giving classes online. Wonderful experience to meet people from all the meridians, different nations, cultures… But we are connected with one common issue – love for chess. Among my students the most of them are under 20 years of age, some with certain tournament experience before we started to work together, some without. During work with me, some quite quickly, some achieved success, medals in youth championships in the United States, Norway…
Of course, the category also nice to work with are middle-aged people, playing chess as a hobby, or at some low-level ranking tournaments in their countries. We work as often as their obligations allow., but every class is created in a relaxed atmosphere, without pressure. A great result in the next tournament the student is playing must be achieved.
The working strategy, I always create a working strategy after a short talk with students, playing one or two training games. This helps me to see where the student is solid, where there he/she struggles. In other words, it helps me to create a plan from where, and how to start.
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