Name: Alejandro Ramirez
Date of birth: 21 June 1988
Fide rating: 2576
What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favorite movie?
I have a huge tie for second place, but above them all is Amélie.
What kind of food and drink do you prefer?
I'm a food lover, so this is a tough one. Asian fusion probably for food, vodka tonic for alcoholic drink.
What is your favorite book?
Again, this is not an easy choice. I love Science Fiction short stories, so a lot of the anthologies capture my mind. In non fiction I guess "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson is fascinating, if not that "The Emperor's New Mind". In fiction I love the "Wheel of Time"-series by Robert Jordan.
What music are you currently grooving to?
My playlists ranges from J-Pop to Alternative Rock. I have pretty much all of Ayumi Hamasaki's songs, and in alternative rock I guess Muse and Blink-182 come to mind. I do avoid rap and country usually though.
Tell me a chess secret?
Chess players are not good at math.
What is the best game you ever played?
Hey, probably not my best game ever but cool enough.
Which do you think is worse, failing or never trying?
This should be obvious. If you don't know the answer go and fail in something soon.
What chess player have you ever wanted to be and why?
I've always wanted to calculate like Karjakin, but I wouldn't really want to be anyone that isn't myself.
What do you do to get better at chess?
I do a lot - but clearly it isn't working right now. I will be reviewing my training methods in the coming weeks.
How old were you when you began to play chess?
I was about four years old.
Do you have a family?
My parents are still alive if that´s what you mean, they live in Costa Rica with my sister. As far as wife and kids, no, I do not have anything close to that at the moment.
Is the Internet a big part of your life?
Every second I am off the internet I am on the phone yelling at some internet service provider representative about why my internet is not working.
What was your childhood like?
Pretty cool. We moved a lot and I was a cool kid... I lived in Boca Raton, Orlando and Altamonte Springs for a while, all in Florida.
What is chess to you – a game of combat or of art?
Chess is too many things to be simplified and categorized as 'combat' or 'art'.
What is your best chess memory?
Maybe winning the US Open in 2010. I've won a lot of tournaments but that one in specific were 9 days in which everything just went right.
How much time do you devote to chess?
Not enough, clearly.
What is your inner being?
My inner being and my outer being is the same. If you get to know me I won't be hiding much.
Who is your inspiration?
My dad has always been a great inspiration to me in many aspects of life.
What is your greatest fear?
I can't say I fear anything. If I fail in chess, in my career, in my relationships, I will simply start anew. I've got pretty strong willpower.
Do you prefer blitz, otb tournaments or correspondence style chess?
Blitz. I believe that OTB tournaments should die so that chess can progress. Blitz is the only marketable form of chess. I have as much interest in correspondence chess as I do in gardening.
Who is your most difficult opponent?
I can't seem to beat Ray Robson for some reason. Grrrr.
Describe a perfect day.
I'd like to keep the interview PG.
Is there any chess book that has had a deep and lasting influence on you?
Probably Mark Dvoretsky's books. "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy" by John Watson was also good.
If you could choose to live one day of any time in the history of mankind, which time would that be and why?
Probably some time in the future. Once one gets used to some commodities it is hard to go back in time without them. I'd like an age where transportation wasn't so time-consuming and distances were smaller.
Do you have any favorite hobbies?
I guess video games. I was a systems designer for Diablo 3, so I play a ton of that. Starcraft and WoW have consumed tons of hours of my time - outside of that I like Civ 5 and I enjoy the occasional indy game once in a while. "Bastion" was the latest one I really liked. I wish more games like "Valkyria Chronicles" came out but that style is hard to find. "Disgaea" was a personal favorite when it came out as well. I play pretty much anything that is not a FPS (First-person shooter). I suck at FPS games and I refuse to play them since they are such carbon copies of each other.
What is your most treasured possession?
Are you a superstitious person?
Sometimes. All chess players are somewhat superstitious. Little things like not reusing a pen when I lose. But outside of that no, I am not.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in chess?
Chess is like a reflection of your self. It always tells me if I'm doing something right or wrong in my life. How to have inner peace, how to manage situations and when to put effort and when to use your instincts. So many lessons...
What does your future hold as a chess player?
Only the future will determine that. However during the next few months I will be putting some serious effort into the game.
How would you describe yourself to an alien from another planet?
As a short and sexy specimen.
Do you have any thoughts on how Chess.com can get even better?
Chess.com is already doing a lot of things right, and it is taking steps to improving itself. The newest "ambassador program" is attracting very strong players to the site. This program will serve to attract more people than they can imagine to the site.