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In this week’s episode I talk with Alexander Baburin, Ireland’s only Chess Grandmaster currently.
I’ve always had an interest in Chess – playing badly but the strategy, the history, and the focus required be a great chess player!
The podcast gives me a wonderful opportunity to talk with experts in their fields and I was delighted when Alexander agreed to come on and talk about the world of chess and his career.
Here is a summary of the topics we discussed during the episode. I hope you enjoy!
- The 10,000 hour rule and the Grandmaster
- Hard work v Talent
- Bounce, Matthew Zayed and deliberate practice
- Playing the Polgar sisters – 2 making grandmasters and 1 international master
- Women Grandmaster titles and full Grandmasters
- Growing up in Russia (Gorky)
- Discovering Chess at the age of 7 and being taught the rules by his dad
- Joining a Chess club in school and quickly realising this was something he really liked
- 3-4 years later, becoming seriously hooked and starting to play 10+ hours per week
- Early practice was more just friendly games and less structured study and play
- Having a coach and getting play more structured
- What is the best use of your time when playing Chess seriously?
- What to do before the games and after the games
- Creating a Plan to help develop his game – similar to studying for an exam
- There are many topics to focus on to study in chess
- The coach can help very much with this work
- Studying Chess and the impact it had on academic life
- Schools being supportive of Chess and seeing this as a positive hobby/passion
- Chess teaching planning and discipline leading to better schooling
- Having Swimming and Basketball as passions in early years
- Tapping into the desire to win and do your best
- Getting into the ‘Zone’ when playing and everything else fades away
- Living his life and playing for years before realizing it would be a career
- At the age of 20, Alexander had to make a decision where to go next and this time was when Chess became an option as a career – a couple of years later, the boarders opening up, this helped Alexander pursue Chess as an option
- By 22-23, chess became something he would do for the foreseeable future.
- How Chess ranking works and the difference between National, International Masters and Grandmasters, getting a ‘rating’ and moving up and down rankings
- The big gap between IM and GM and reaching the GM level taking 5 year…
- How international competitions work and how to achieve a ‘norm’
- The Swiss System in Chess
- How quickly can someone achieve GM status?
- Looking at the speed at which kids have reached GM at the age of 14-15
- Getting to GM level in 7-8 years and aligns with the 10k hours rule
- Common traits with Grandmasters – coming all forms and shapes
- One common trait – Hates to Lose!
- Every loss is a ‘little death’ – psychologically very difficult
- Driven by the desire not to lose more than the desire to win!
- Developing resilience and dealing with frustrations…
- The role of luck or is it pure skill in Chess?
- Luck playing a role in his career and providing opportunities
- Controlling Emotions during a Game and approaches to keep them in check
- Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat
- How the style of play develops and changes over time
- Playing against ‘pieces’ or against ‘players?
- Chess players peaking at the age of 35 but now it seems to be younger – at 27/28
- The Indian summer is noticeable in many players – even up to the age of 60
- Alexander stopped growing as a player 20 years ago due to making a conscious decision to diversify – write books, coaching, etc
- The general level of play is increasing now compared to 20 years ago – at the club player level – but at the top level, less so
- The role of technology and how it’s changed the game of Chess in a dramatic way
- Making information and learning much more accessible
- Chess engines helping players learn much quicker – like a spell checker
- How technology has brought more cheating in Chess
- Watching more chess online has had a positive impact – it’s overall been a positive
- What advice amateur players could look at to improve their game?
- Coaching, Planning, studying games, and be consistent on a regular basis
- Having a plan is better than no plan!
- Training Sam Collins in Ireland to be a Grandmaster
Connecting with Alexander – you can find him on Facebook here – https://www.facebook.com/alexander.baburin.37
Email – [email protected]