Articles Player Profiles: FM Eilyisum Player Profiles: FM Eilyisum

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Name: Evan Ju                                                   
Title: Fide Master (FM)                                                                   
Date of birth: June 6, 1991
Fide rating: 2283
USCF Rating: 2346                                                           
Country: USA
What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favorite movie?        

Fight Club.

What kind of food and drink do you prefer?

I love Italian food: all types of Pasta (especially Penne Vodka) and pepperoni pizza.  I also like Chinese food.  Beef with rice and pork dumplings are my favorite.  I drink tons of milk and like just about any kind of beer.  

What is your favorite book?

I don’t really have a favorite book, but “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding and “Animal Farm” by George Orwell are definitely up there for me.  

What music are you currently grooving to?

All types of electronic music. Tiesto, Avicii, Kaskade and Sebastian Ingrosso are my favorite DJ´s at the moment.  

Tell me a chess secret?

There is more luck involved in chess than people generally think .

What is your best chess memory?

I will always remember beating my dad for the first time.  I was five and the feat took 6 months and many games to accomplish!  We took a picture of the board after I checkmated him and I still have the picture today.  Other best chess memories include: winning 4th grade team nationals with my two best friends, traveling to Greece and France to play in the World Youth Championships, and becoming the youngest ever NJ champion in 2006.


A 12-year-old Eilyisum participating in the 2003 world youth chess championship. From left: Mikhail Khodorkovsky, GM Joel Benjamin, Hana Itkis, Eilyisum, Karsten Mcvay, Aviv Fridman.

Which do you think is worse, failing or never trying?

Never trying is definitely worse. If you can learn from your failures, then they aren’t complete failures after all.  

What chess player have you ever wanted to be and why?

If I had to choose one player to be right now, it would be Magnus Carlsen.  I think he has one of the most balanced styles in history.  I admire different players for their strengths.  I admire Kasparov’s opening preparation, Korchnoi for his tenacity, Larsen for his creativity, Karpov for his positional play, and Tal for being an attacking beast.     

What do you do to get better at chess?

In my youth, I read a lot of books, played tournaments, and took lessons.  The best way to get better at chess is to play lots of tournament games.  Nowadays I have little time for tournament play, so instead to train I read New in Chess, look at the most recent super-GM games from This Week in Chess, and play online 5-minute blitz games against strong players.  

How old were you when you began to play chess?

I first learned to play chess when I was 5 years old.

Do you have a family?

I only just turned 21! I don’t have one now, but I look forward to having one in the distant future .

Is the internet a big part of your life?

Yes, the Internet is a huge part of my life!  Besides using it to play chess online, I am on facebook, doing research for school, searching for new music, or just randomly looking at random stuff haha.

What was your childhood like?

I had the best childhood I could have ever hoped for and have to thank my parents so much for that.  Chess gave me the opportunity to travel all around the US and beyond.  I was also given the chance to explore my other passions like tennis and skiing.  

What is chess to you – a game of combat or of art? 

To me, chess is a game of combat.  It is a deep struggle and competition between two players.  You should do whatever it takes to win, even if it isn’t aesthetically “beautiful”.  

How much time do you devote to chess?

On average, I probably spend about 1-2 hours a day on chess.  However, this number drops significantly during a school semester.  

What is your inner being?

The Hulk emerges sometimes when I lose a frustrating game.  Otherwise, I am pretty cool and collected, like a cow.

Who is your inspiration?

My dad, for more reasons than I could ever hope to list here.  

What is your greatest fear?

I think the world is developing technologies way faster than it can handle it.  

Do you prefer blitz, otb tournaments or correspondence style chess?

I prefer playing blitz chess, but I like otb tournaments the best because of the social aspect. I miss the experience of playing chess and later hanging out with friends.

Describe a perfect day.

  1. Wake up next to a beautiful woman
  2. Helicopter-skiing in the Alps under beautiful weather conditions.
  3. Win a chess tournament and $10 million by defeating Carlsen, Aronian, Nakamura, Caruana, and Kramnik consecutively.
  4. Attend a Kaskade concert.  
  5. Fly to Vegas. Win big.
  6. Wrap up the night with drinks on a private island beach with friends and family.

Is there any chess book that has had a deep and lasting influence on you?

I would highly recommend “Think Like a Grandmaster” by Alexander Kotov and “Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953” by David Bronstein.  Both books were eye-opening for me.  

If you could choose to live one day of any time in the history of mankind, which time would that be and why?

I think seeing the The Battle of Thermopylae would be pretty cool.

Do you have any favorite hobbies?

Tennis and skiing.  I played one year of tennis for Lafayette College and have been skiing all my life.  Besides that, I like to keep in shape by working out.  

What is your most treasured possession?

My body and my mind.  I am not particularly attached to any physical item, but I probably couldn’t survive without my laptop :P .  

Are you a superstitious person?

Not at all.

How seriously do you take the online games you play?

Quite seriously, but not because I think they are important. They aren’t. I am naturally very competitive and hate losing.  

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in chess?

Hard work is important in anything you do.  Talent only gets you so far.  Chess has taught me the value of time management and how to think critically.  Over time, chess has also helped me become truly comfortable in my own skin.  

What does your future hold as a chess player?

I may take a year off after college to focus on serious chess study for a bit.  Ideally, I would find a well-paying job that involves chess in some way.  I am sure that chess will remain a lifelong hobby no matter what.  

How would you describe yourself to an alien from another planet?

Hi, my name is Evan and we come in peace.  Gather your most beautiful women and let’s feast to celebrate this momentous occasion!

What is your favorite time control in live? 

1 minute and 3 minute are my favorite time controls in live chess on

Who is your most difficult opponent?

This may be cliche, but my most difficult opponent is generally myself.  In terms of online live chess on, GM-elect Conrad Holt (Dretch) definitely gives me the biggest headaches.  That kid just has my number at the moment.

Do you have any thoughts on how can get even better?

I think could benefit from stricter anti-cheating enforcement.  Besides that, I think is near perfect .    

Would you be interested in playing a "death-match"?

Absolutely.  I would be down to play anyone!


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