Player Profiles: GM Noukii AKA Yannick Gozzoli Player Profiles: GM Noukii AKA Yannick Gozzoli

Sep 2, 2016, 3:09 PM |

Many have accused this great player of being a cheater, and many have thought he was perhaps a super-GM playing on under a pseudonym. That was before he revealed his identity after a long time and much debate. Noukii is not some human/machine cheater hybrid, he is in fact GM Yannick Gozzoli, born in Marseilles in France.

Name: Yannick Gozzoli

Title: Grandmaster

Born: 1983

Fide rating: 2579

Country: France username: GM Noukii

What music are you currently grooving to?

Tricky question… I like everything, but for a long time, I have loved U2. My first album was “The Joshua Tree.” I also like Dire Straits, Rihanna and Blackeyed Peas. It depends on the mood.

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

I read a lot of chess books, but “Grandmaster preparation” by Polugaevsky made a great impression on me. It tells you among other things how great players think, how they prepare and so on. The other book I would like to recommend is “Fire on Board” by Shirov. 

What is your favorite movie?

I would say “The Lord of the Rings” movies, the whole series. I love the books as well, I read them as a teenager.

What would your last meal be?

Tomatoes and mozzarella, with some olive oil. It's between that and pizza. I am a bit of an Italian. And basil too, to go with the mozzarella.

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

Around the pharaoic times… I would like to know how they built the pyramids, to see how they did it. I think it is amazing. 

What is the best chess game you ever played?

Here we got in time trouble: Gozzoli was very busy when the interview was done and did not have the possibility to annotate one of his best games himself, so he OK'd inserting one of his games from Here is a game from 2012 where he plays Queen's Gambit Declined as the first player.

How do you train chess?

I wish I could! I don't have time to train much. I'm playing the National Championship in one month, and I don't have a minute to work on chess. I watch a lot of games, and I read a lot of books and chess articles and so on, I am a fan of chess culture. Once I was in Paris visiting a friend; I was wondering what to do in the evening, so I noticed he had “My Great Predecessors” by Garry Kasparov. I started reading, and suddenly it was six o'clock in the morning, and I had read two of the volumes in the series! I train mostly on and other chess sites.

What do you do when you relax?

It depends. I listen to music, I read books, watch movies, and I have fun with friends and go out to have a good beer… I wish I could relax more, but it's ok.

Who is your favorite chess player?

Paul Keres. Because he was so amazing, and he was a real gentleman. To me, he is the ideal chess player. He has a great universal style. he could go everywhere on the board. Rubinstein is my second favorite.

Is there any lesson you’ve learned in chess that resonates in your real life?

There is one quotation. I don't remember who said it: “The one who takes risks may lose, but he who doesn't won't win.” Many players are waiting for the mistake, but to succeed, you have to get out of your comfort zone, to take risks. So what if you fail? What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. I don't know how I became a grandmaster. Many people ask me for advice, but my main advice is, “Don't be afraid to fail!”  You will learn, and it's the same in life. It's good to try, don't regret anything!

Who dares wins!

What five words do you think best describe you?

Messy, lazy, curious, stubborn… and the last one would be a hard worker. I am a big worker when I'm not lazy, he he…

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

I never thought about it, I don't have any ideas. I am just a customer – I play, then I leave. But maybe they could be smarter about cheating. It is easy to ban someone for cheating, because you know the computer doesn't always have the answer… I like all the broadcasts and everything on They do a good job, in my opinion much better than the ICC.