Do you want to interview a 2700 player?
1. A disguised chess monster.
One late afternoon in April 2010, without making much noise, three friends went in the New York's Village Chess Shop, a small but picturesque Chess Club located at 230 Thompson Street. They sat down and two of them began to play, or analyze. The third, a tall blond Nordic approached to the stand and asked to the women's FIDE Master Alexandra Romanenko: "Do you play chess?"
"Yes, I do," she said with a weary, tired look, as she was frustrated with accepting challenges of "patzers", but the blond Nordic had another proposal: "Are you the strongest player here?"
"No, he is," she said with relief, pointing at me. That was not true. The best player at that time was the now brand new GM Vladimir Romanenko, who won the Manhattan Open 2011, her husband to be exact, who was in the back room. Anyway, I was closer...
"What can I do for you?" I asked. He shook his head: "What if I told you that you can play with one of the best players in the world?" I raised my eyebrows a bit incredulous. "Let's see, what is the best player you have ever played?", he said again, with a tone of one who has an ace up his sleeve.
"He has played with Kamsky," Alexandra said, pointing to Vladimir, who was approaching us and causing annoyance to the Nordic. To add more to the flame I added, "and I've played with Lenier Dominguez."
"Ok, ok," said the blond, showing some depression, "but here at the club you have a player of 2700". Or as we say, an elite player.
"Well," I told him a little tired with all the mystery: "Where is that player." He turned to the two players, and beckoned to the tallest of them. He walked toward me awkwardly, but still smiling. I smiled back, but because I had recognized him, "Oh, qué tal, Paco!" I said in Spanish, and we shook hands. Of course, he did not know me, but I have seen him play at the Capablanca Memorial tournament, back in Cuba.
Since then we started talking in Spanish, and I knew he was around because the World Open was going on at the time. It just happened to be at that moment he was strolling the city with his friends, including Grandmaster Jan Gustaffson (the blond Nordic), etc, etc ...
But the Romanenkos do not know Spanish, and they started to ask "Francisco Valieho, the 2700 player?" I said, "yes," and Vladimir Romanenko, with determined demeanor took a chess clock as if he was carrying a revolver, and asked him, "Wanna play?"
And the rest is history ...
2. A reader's interview to Paco Vallejo.
I have the pleasure and the honor to announce a reader´s interview with Francisco Vallejo Pons, better known by friends and fans as "Paco" Vallejo.
Hispanic pride of chess, he has placed consistently among the best in the world for several FIDE rating lists that form part of the club of 2700, (right now 2716, number 28 of the world, one of Spain). Grandmaster at 16 years, has to his credit many 1st place wins in international tournaments, a Brilliancy Award on former world champion Topalov, and the recognition granted to be the coach of the same player in his fight against Vladimir Kramnik for the World Championship crown. Today is the first out of only three players of Hispanic-American origins placed on the top 100 in the world.
Questions can be posted here as comments, but I will consider a personal favor if you do it at my website
Also I offer a couple of links to get to know a little to our guest, and to ask quality questions.
Paco Vallejo en Wikipedia (Spanish)
The closing date to be determined by our guest, now busy with international commitments.
Are you new to this blog? Check out the last post: "Ten ways to get free chess lessons from masters". Also, you can find other interesting stuff at my website Chess For Real.
This article was originally published here.
Esta es una versión imperfecta en inglés de mi artículo orginal en español, el cual lo puedes encontrar aquí.