DLUGY is CHESS TV Dynamite!
Born in Moscow, Russia (U.S.S.R.) on January 29, 1966, Maxim Dlugy made his way to the U.S. with his parents in 1977, settling New York City. His maternal grandfather sparked his interest in chess at the tender age of six, then his grandfather’s friend, GM David Bronstein, began teaching him the sport. Though Dlugy’s skills were slower to develop than most, much like a growth spurt, in 1982 at age 16 his strength “shot up” and he earned his IM title. From then on the newly-minted IM’s chess career was on a roll. In 1984, he placed third in the U.S. Championships, won the World Juniors in 1985, and earned the GM Title in 1986 for his performance in the Dubai Chess Olympiad. Another notable performance came later on when, in 1987, he tied for 3rd in the U.S. Championships.
In 1990, Dlugy began to move away from chess and entered the political side of the sport, running for and winning the presidency of the United States Chess Federation (USCF), a post he held until 1993. Once again, in 2010, chess politics loomed as he and former legendary World Champion GM Garry Kasparov aided another former World Champ, Anatoly Karpov, in his bid for the presidency of Chess' governing body, FIDE.
Though Maxim retired from competitive chess at a young age, chess didn’t disappear from his life, and lucky for us—he’s made his way to Chess.com! He coaches students at all skill levels, as you can see through his coaching profile, and hosts a Chess.com/TV show: "Bobbing for Dlugy." If you’ve watched the show, or any video available on YouTube, you know he brings out the “fun” side of chess. He’s both passionate and funny. That, along with his soft accent and laid-back demeanor, makes him quite a likeable guy. This 2015 video in which he plays IM Danny Rensch is pretty interesting, and certainly entertaining to watch. If you’re familiar with their personalities, you know what I mean; the joking around between these two is all in good fun. Watch the video and see if you laugh as much as Donna and I did! If you’re looking to challenge a GM in Live Chess on Chess.com and want to be entertained at the same time, I suggest that whenever his show is on, you don't miss it. Really!
We thoroughly enjoyed reading GM Dlugy’s answers and know you will, too. There’s lots of fascinating stuff to learn about this well-rounded man and we’re excited to share them with you here, in his “Lighter Side Up Q&A” through Chess.com/TV!
A Chess.com/TV “Lighter Side Up” Q & A:
Getting to Know GM Maxim Dlugy
Naturally, with this being a Chess site and our hosts being chess players, whether a host is a novice or pro, members are interested in hearing their chess-related answers to chess-related questions. And we have them here, BUT—we also want to know a bit more about the person behind the chess; about the lighter side of their personalities and lives. That’s why we’ve included a few of those questions, too andGM Dlugy has graciously agreed to let us in on some of those fascinating chess and chess-less facts :)
So now that we’re settled in and comfy, let’s begin…
GM Dlugy …
How and at what age did you discover chess?
I was 6 and my maternal grandfather who was I think about 2400 strength and was friends with David Bronstein, started teaching me.
Who or what brought you to Chess.com?
I always checked the site and finally when it became operational I would go on and play. When it got really good and I moved my activities back to chess, it became an important place for me to participate in.
Chess fans, in general, would likely agree that chess should be as commonplace and encouraged as other extracurricular activities such as sports and dance at a young age. Going a step further, do you feel chess should be included as part of school curriculum/recreation?
Absolutely, when I studied at NYU, I even wrote a paper on the positive effects of chess on other subjects.
Which chess tools and resources for learning/playing (e.g., books, videos, coaches, computer software, chess sites, etc.), according to skill level, do you consider essential?
I think it has to be a sound mix: Watching videos of top players is important, but so is trying new ideas by playing them in online and tournament combat. Of course personal coaches are important for those who want to jump start their improvement.
Of the Masters you’ve studied, from who have you learned the most and why?
It was Botvinnik, because he was mostly playing players he was better by about 200 rating points, and this is a great way to show off your opponent's mistakes. So his comments were very instructive, as the ideas he presented were clear since his opponents didn't really put up sufficient resistance.
Do you enjoy playing bullet and/or blitz chess? If so, do you have preferred blitz time controls? Do you play as enjoyable changes from standard chess, as learning tools, or both?
For me playing bullet is like eating bing cherries. When I play longer time controls, I use the games to try out new ideas and then show them to my students.
What moment in chess history is your favorite?
And those matches were so close that I got tingles watching every game of every match.
On a personal level, what moment in your chess life is the most memorable?
I think when I won the World Junior Championship in 1985. I was even there against all odds and started the tournament very poorly losing to someone much younger than me by blundering a piece
(his name was Viswanathan Anand). Still I pulled myself together and won it by a point.
Speaking of memories, as a child, what were some of your favorite pastimes—e.g., games, TV shows, movies, books, sports, etc.—other than chess, that is J
How about as an adult? How do you enjoy spending time aside from playing chess?
I am also an artist and having exhibited my works in Moscow when I lived there up until two years back. I am currently working on designing accessories using my art work and the art movement I started which I called Maximatism. A couple of years ago I wrote an article for the New In Chess magazine where I showcased some of my art, comparing the process to playing a chess game.
You retired as a professional player at a relatively young age. Can you share with us what led to that decision?
I was 40th in the world at 19, and gave myself 6 years to become one of the top 5. When that didn't happen, I decided to try myself at something else.
As a successful chess coach, you have worked with such chess royalty the likes of GMs Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, and share your expertise here on Chess.com through your training videos and on Chess.com/TV. What is it about teaching that you enjoy and find most rewarding? Can you share a few proud moments?
I love teaching and always loved it. The joy of your students doing well is very much the same as when you win yourself, but if they don't succeed at a particular tournament, you know that you can improve the way you explain things and they will definitely do better next time. There is no way you can be as sure of your own performance in tough competition and this difference makes teaching much more enjoyable than playing.
As for proud moments, I was very proud of Anatoly Karpov who 3 years ago made it to the Final of Cap d'Agde, beating Ivanchuk in 22 moves and Mariya Muzychuk (who soon became World Women's champion) with ideas I showed him. I am also proud of my student Nate Shuman who at 9 broke the 2100 mark and many others who will soon shine brightly.
Seeing as you’re a father, in what ways do you or will you incorporate chess into your daughter’s life, if at all?
I already got her a pink and purple set and she is beginning to set the pieces correctly. She will be 1.5 years old in a couple of weeks and then the real training will begin.
Does your wife share an interest in chess? And in what ways does that play a part in your relationship?
She went to a chess club when she was 7, but there were no girls there, so she quit in favor of horse riding. She is about a 1100-1200 player and she has already assisted me in some group lessons.
She is definitely going to help me teach our daughter to play chess well.
For anyone who’s had exposure to cartoons, whether through television, movies or comics, we can’t help having one or more favorite cartoon characters. Which were—and are—your favorites?
If you could have one super power, what would that be and why?
I would like to go back and forth in time, because I am just a very curious person.
What would you consider your ideal vacation?
Good food, good company, fun games to play.
Though it can be difficult to narrow down a list of favorites, which musical artists and songs often rise to the top?
There’s something very satisfying about sandwiching something between two pieces of bread. Which sandwich/es do you eat most often?
I like to stuff some nice piece of meat with cheese. In fact, my classic paninis are what most of students like my home camps for :-)
When that sugar craving strikes, which candy bar/s would you storm the convenience store to buy?
I don't like candy bars at all, but a tarte tatin would be very high on my list of deserts.
It’s common to be drawn to more than one profession. Other than yours, which profession would you like to attempt? Never attempt?
Well I was a fund manager for almost 20 years, I managed large factories and start-up businesses. I think I've attempted all the ones I wanted and came back to the one I really love.
There are countless famous quotes, from silly to poignant. Do you have a favorite or two you’d like to leave us with?
Dum Spiro Spero (while I breathe – I hope) – it really works in bad positions!
To close out this interview: what do you enjoy most about being a chess player?
Finding original solutions.
Thank you, GM Dlugy, for taking the time to share these thoughtful answers with us. You’ve helped shine a brighter light on who you are as a person and chess player, and added a bit more color to the décor here at Chess.com/TV :)
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