Chess.com Player Profiles: GM-Elect Eric Hansen
Name: Eric Hansen
Date of birth: May 24, 1992
Fide rating: 2539
How are you?
I am doing pretty well. Relaxing in between tournaments right now.
What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favorite movie?
The Bourne series. If I had to pick one it would be The Bourne Identity.
And your favorite tv-series?
Toss up between Spartacus and Game of Thrones. I guess I will go with Spartacus for now.
What kind of food and drink do you prefer?
Italian food for sure. As for drinks, Energy drinks are probably my favorite. Anything sweet works for me, though.
What is your favorite book?
The Harry Potter series. A magical world I grew up with.
What music are you currently grooving to?
EDM, specifically raving to Hardwell right now. In general I mainly listen to house, trance, and electro. The combination of andrenaline from this and bullet chess is quite addicting.
Tell me a chess secret?
Don't really have any. Anyone can play chess well; don't believe too much into the genius/super smart myth.
What is your best chess memory?
The first time I won the national championship for my age in Canada. That was in 2006 and it was a big surprise.
What chess hero had the most influence on your chess development?
None of them had an influence on my chess development as I didn't even know about them until I became a reasonably strong player. Currently I would say Carlsen and Kasparov are my two favorite players.
Are you self taught in chess or did you get lessons from a master?
I am mostly self taught but I have received some coaching when I was younger . FM Nenad Ristovic from my city introduced me to the game as a young child. I also work sometimes with IM Miodrag Perunovic
Was religion a part of growing up?
Yes, I was raised in a very religious household. Protestant, to be exact.
A young Eric Hansen playing a simul in 2005.
If you were to live 100 years in the future, what do you think the game of chess would look like?
I don't think it would be solved but it would be less interesting that it is today with more computer influence. I don't think it will die and I am hopeful in one way or another it will stay quite popular.
What do you think is the chess of the future?
Probably rapid chess if they are trying to commercialize it. A general move towards faster time controls that could appeal to more audiences. Most kids also prefer to play rapid rather than longer.
What do you think is the primary ingredients in a chessplayer?
Maybe good pattern recognition and analytical skills. I see a large variety within chess players.
Do you have an idea of some kind of “ideal chess style”?
Universal. That is the way modern chess is headed towards and the best way to ensure success.
How old were you when you began to play chess?
Around 8 years old.
What do you do nowadays to get better at chess?
Usually with databases and working on opening theory. I would like to spend more time on endgames though.
Do you have a family?
My parents, brother, and sister. I don't have a family for myself yet.
Is the Internet a big part of your life?
Yes. Probably too big of a part! There are too many temptations for me especially as I love gaming. One of my biggest goals in the future is to reduce my internet usage. I am pretty unproductive usually.
What was your childhood like?
I spent all my time on sports and video games. Can't remember too much else. I was (and still am) too lazy.
What is your favorite chess game?
It was the penultimate round at the World Youth Championships where I was fighting for first. Could not sleep the night before and the stakes were just so big. The confidence it gave me really pushed me to take chess more seriously afterwards.
What is chess to you – a game of combat or of art?
Chess is just a sport to me. A platform for me to compete. I have never thought of it as anything else.
How much time do you devote to chess?
It really varies. On average 35 hours a week.
What is your inner being?
I'm not sure yet... I'm still trying to figure myself out.
What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the chess world?
The perception and popularity of chess. I grew up in an environment where chess was not considered something worthy to play. In Canada it is extremely unpopular and holds a reputation of a game for those who are quite socially weird. I would like to see chess develop more professionally like a sport and to be recognized as a game that is for everyone, not just for geeks. Get rid of some of the stereotypes and I think a lot more people would be interested. Chess players have to also do their role in popularizing the game and being media-friendly.
Do you think one is born a chess player or can a great player be made by hard practice?
Definitely the latter. Hard practice.
How do you deal with the mental stress and nervous strain of playing chess?
I still have troubles dealing with it during a game itself but before a game I will exercise and do other things to take my mind off. It's a process I am still working on.
Who is your inspiration?
Don't really have one.
What is your greatest fear?
If you could give a beginner in chess only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Play lots; always try to play better players.
Do you prefer blitz, otb tournaments or correspondence style chess?
Blitz for sure. I have a huge problem concentrating in longer time controls.
Thinking. Blitz is Hansen´s favorite time-control - even a player at his level finds it hard to concentrate during long OTB-games.
Who is your most difficult opponent?
Online it would be GM Conrad Holt! He has great preparation and is quite tactical with great accuracy. I usually have an advantage in complications and tactics versus most players but not him. Over the board I am not sure yet as I have overcome all my rivals in my area but I hope to find new guys who can beat me up. Strong rivals really push you to get better. I can say that I have a pretty bad record vs GM's in general and I'd like to change that.
Is there any chess book that has had a deep and lasting influence on you?
If you could choose to live one day of any time in the history of mankind, which time would that be and why?
Sometime during the Roman Empire. I have always been deeply fascinated with that time period. Either be a Legionnaire during an epic battle or a gladiator in the Colosseum.
Do you have any favorite hobbies?
I follow most sports in general. Especially MMA, hockey, soccer, and basketball. I also spend a ton of time watching movies & TV. I really enjoy travelling too, and that is greatly helped by my chess playing career.
Are you a superstitious person?
Not at all.
What is the most important lesson you've learned in chess?
Probably in my analytical skills and applying that to various areas of my life to try to improve.
What does your future hold as a chess player?
If I can secure sponsorship then I hope to play it professionally. At the minimum I'd like to be a top 100 player eventually. My current goal is 2600 FIDE, which would also make me Canada's top player which has been a goal of mine for sometime.
How would you describe yourself to an alien from another planet?
I'm a fun, chill guy so spare me and hire me as a chess coach.
Do you think the future belongs to rapid chess and blitz?
I hope it does! But there will always be some classical chess as it is the purest form after all. I am in favor of whatever gets chess more popular and brings in more dollars.
Do you have any thoughts on how chess.com can get even better?
Keep up the enthusiasm! I think chess.com is doing a great job especially for introducing new people to the game. I think it would be amazing if chess.com could help introduce chess into schools here in North America.