The Well: TVEDAS

The Well: TVEDAS


A stranger is being shown around a village that he has just become a part of. He is shown a well and his guide says "On any day except Tuesday, you can shout any question down that well and you'll be told the answer" . The man seems pretty impressed, and so he shouts down: "Why not on Tuesday?" and the voice from in the well shouts back: "Because on Tuesday, it's your day in the well!"


Hey guys,

I haven't seen this concept (taken from the Twoplustwo poker forums) used on here yet, I think it's pretty interesting and I hope that some of the top players will pick it up and provide some great answers and stories! 

Basically it is similar to Reddit's AMA's. You can ask me anything you want - as long as the answer is not TOO private I shall answer it :) Some examples could be: my story, my openings, my thoughts about certain openings/people/whatever. Of course this list is really basic - you can come up with much more interesting questions! The questions should be asked in the comments and I will try to either add the answers to the post, or also answer in the comments.

Fire away guys! Let's make this interesting :) 



1) How long have you been playing chess?


I started playing when I was five years old, so I guess it means I've been playing for 18 years. Damn. Somehow I didn't really think about it that way before, but apparently I've been playing chess for almost 4/5ths of my life.. Surprised


2) What is your ultimate ambition as far as chess is concerned?


Well, the ultimate ambition with regards to my personal "career" would be to become a GM, but I do not think it is realistic in my current situation. The realistic ambition would be to become an IM - I don't think I am that far away as far as playing strength goes. 

My main ambition at the moment is to pass my knowledge on as many people as possible. I think that if I am able to pass my knowledge to someone else, it means that all those years I spent playing chess were not a waste. And that is good enough for me :) 

3) Who is your all time favorite player?


An extremely tough question to answer.. Really, it is so hard to pick one! I try to be universal when I play chess and that's why I like Petrosian as much as Tal and Ulf Anderssen as much as Shirov. There is beauty to all kinds of chess styles! :) but if I absolutely had to pick one, it would have to be Kaspy. The reason for that probably lies in the fact that he was still dominating chess when I was growing up and started watching live chess games and stuff like that and I remember a lot of dramatic moments, all of  which somehow ended up with Kasparov coming out on top. You can like or dislike Kasparov away from the board, but you have to admit - he was one of the best ever! 




1. Tvedas, what is your method of training?

I think I've probably tried every method of training possible over the years..The thing is that there is no universal best training method. A lot of different methods are good - I think the key is to find a method that best suits you and your current needs, and then truly believe in it. If you start using a method of training and then continuosly question yourself "meh, maybe this is not good, maybe I should be doing something else instead, maybe..." you are not going to succeed. Have faith in your training system!


So, for example, if you really struggle with calculation, you should be focusing on chess visualization exercises, blindfolded exercises, problem solving without the board and stuff like that. But if you calculate like a beast yet struggle to grasp positional concepts, the best way is probably to go over the games of the masters (old masters would be better, they are simpler to understand, at least IMO). And so on - every different need of yours has a diferent method of training to target it. 


I believe that for most people, an experienced coach can really help in these matters. A coach would help you identify your weaknesses and then through his experience assign an appropriate method of training. do you play in tournaments? do you get nervous?

I am not sure if I fully understood the question :) To me, playing in the tournament is not much different than playing chess anywhere else - it is the same game after all! Of course, the more important the tournament, the more is at stake, the bigger the pressure. I do get nervous before important tournaments/games, but I think that is normal and not a bad thing :) 


You shouldn't be nervous about playing in tournaments. View them as a platform for training! Trust me, sitting in front of another human being, with his ideas/goals/will-to-beat-you, with the tournament on the line, is a great feeling. It might lead to a bitter dissapointment, of course. But that feeling is like crack - and when you begin playing in tournaments and if you are fairly successful, it is really hard to stop :) 




1.What are some of your favorite games of all time? (Doesn't have to be your game.)

Good question! There of course a plenty of amazing chess games and therefore it is really hard to pick the favorites.. I am sure I am forgetting a lot of my favorites, but I will give it a go nevertheless :) 


Ivanchuk - Yusupov 0-1 1991 Brussel 

Just absolutely love this one by Yusupov. Very original attacking ideas, and an extreme piece efficiency. Also, it wasn't against some weaker player in a simul or something, it's Ivanchuk!! 


Botvinik - Smyslov 0-1 WCh 1954

For some reason I never liked Botvinik, so this game makes me pretty happy. An amazing harmony of black's minor pieces versus the Queen is just beautiful to watch :) 


Rashid Nezhmetdinov - Oleg Chernikov 1-0 Rostov 1962

This one is just flat out sick. Just no comment. Nezhmetdinov was the man! I could add like 3 more of this games to this list :) 


Saemisch - Nimzowitsch 0-1 Copenhagen 1923

The game in itself is so so, but the final position and the final move by black is hilarious :) 


Carlsen - Sipke 1-0 Wijk an Zee 2004

Amazing performance by Magnus. I think this one left an impression on me because I was watching it live :) 


Bagirov - Guefeld 0-1 Kirovabad 1973

Just amazing this one. If you haven't seen it, watch it ASAP! :) 


There are just countless others, these are the first ones that popped in my head. There are also a lot of moves that I absolutely loved, like Marshall's Qg3. Still, my absolutely most favorite move in history is Shirov's 47...Bh3 in his game vs Topalov.

What a baller move! :) 


2. How many master games do you have in your memory?

Full games? Zero. I would like to believe I have a lot of the patterns that I've seen in those games saved in my memory though.. :) 




1. what's your balance between chess and job/family/friends/...

Great question! I am currently a full-time student at a law school and I make most of my living as a chess coach. I play for my university's chess team, we have a great coach and I train with him 3 times per week. So chess is a pretty big part of my life still, but it is definitely not the most important thing anymore :) My fiancee (soon to be my wife!) is also a good chess player and she is very supportive of my chess-related activities. So is my family, and so are my friends. I've been blessed! :)

2.what aspect do you love most about chess?

I'd say I love the artistic aspect of chess the most. Of course, the competitive aspect is also a lot of fun, but these days I view chess as primarily an art form, an avenue via which I can express my creative urges so to speak :) It doesn't always work, but when it does.. It's a great feeling! If I manage to win some tournament while I am at it, even better! :) 

3. your favourite chess book?

To be completely honest, I haven't read THAT many chess books.. When I was a kid I read this book in Lithuanian (I don't think it has been translated to English) about World Champions. It had their best games, but the parts I enjoyed the most where their biographies. From their childhood to their peak, it was a great read. That book truly inspired me a lot. Another book that was a big inspiration to me was the "Queen Sacrifice" by Yakov Neishtadt. It maybe has not helped my actual chess skill a lot, but it really inspired me to try to achieve something similar in my games.


As far as books which have helped my actual chess skill, I'd say "My System" and Dvoretsky's books. 


I still haven't read the legendary book on the Zurich tournament.. Should do that ASAP :) 




1. Do you change your openings based on who you play? 

Absolutely! I think after you reach a certain level, maybe around 2200, it is an absolute must to have at least a couple of different setups as White and a couple of different openings as  Black versus both e4 and d4, and switch between them depending on the opponent. The more the better of course :)

Your example was great - playing, for example, Slav, versus a much lower rated guy who has played the exchange variation before is just not very wise.. You must have a more speculative/complicated variations ready for such occasions.  

2. Do you have any advice for what you should do in a must-win situation for example going into a final round of a tournament to get prize money?

I would say that the most important thing is to take care of the psychological part of it. If you are able to tone down your emotions, stay calm and take it as a regular game, you really make your task much simpler :) as far as specific tactics/strategies, I think it is extremely opponent dependent. If you are in a must win situation versus a positional player, you should probably try to go for highly complex variations, even if they are speculative at best. Burn the bridges so to speak - the winner takes it all after all! Versus a highly tactical player, naturally you probably want to be a bit safer and try to outplay him calmly. But again - the most important thing in these situations is psychology. What I've outlined above about psychology is easier said than done of course, but it is doable, especially when you experience these situations more and more often. 




1. do you have an incredible will to win like carlsen? or do you draw in equal endgames?

I most definitely do not have such will. I don't think anyone has, to be honest :) And no, I don't draw drawn endgames - I lose them! Ha :) 




1. who was (is) the best lithuanian player ,ever? coach?

I think as far as playing strength relative to their time goes, it has to be between Vladas Mikenas and Eduardas Rozentalis. It saddens me that Mikenas is relatively unknown to everyone except those who really study chess history - after all, he did beat a number of world champions! On the other hand, Rozentalis at his peak was, I think, no. 19 in the world rankings, which is an amazing achievement for a Lithuanian. Hard to choose one of those two :) 


As far as achievements, I think Cmilyte is by far the most accomplished Lithuanian player. The only thing that is missing in her carreer is World's Woman Champion title, but I still have hope that she will achieve it :)


I will politely refuse to answer the question about the best coach. Sorry about that :) 



2. our chances in Norway, the next chess- Olympiad ?

If I manage to qualify, our chances will be slim haha :) Honestly though, if we manage to have our strongest squad available (Rozentalis, Sulskis, Cmilyte, Kveinys, Zagorskis, Malisauskas) or something similar, I believe we could be in top-30. However, most of them will probably not even play in the national championship.. so we will probably have a mix of some of those guys and some younger guys. I think top-50 would be fine :) top-40 would be good. Top 30 and higher would be great! :) 




1. Have you ever saved a game with a stalemate combination?

I can vaguely recall doing that on multiple occassions when I as a kid. Not in recent history though :) Sadly, I won't be able to recall the actual positions.. 

2) Are there games and/or writings by Bent Larsen that inspired you?

I can't say that there specific games by Larsen that inspired me (I am sure there were, I just cannot remember them right now), but rather his general style and fighting spirit. He is pretty much a hero to unorthodox players, almost like a Godfather figure! I was always a big fan of highly creative/unorthodox players so it was always a pleasure to come upon a game by Larsen. I am also a big proponent of psychology's influence in chess, as was Larsen I believe. I share some of his ideas in that matter :) 

All in all, an amazing player/writer who has truly had a huge influence in the development of chess. 



1.How do you study an opening?


A pretty broad question, but I will try answer as concisely as possible. So, long story short: 

After you pick an opening you want to learn, go on Chessbase, or one of the online opening-tree tools, and slowly work through all the lines. At the beginning, do not try to just memorize everything, but rather try to understand the general themes/ideas. Don't memorize the moves, but rather WHY those moves are played. When you think you have a decent grasp of the ideas, you can start memorizing actual lines - it will be much easier. If you manage to get your hands on a good book devoted to that opening, that will likely help too. 

Also, whenever learning a new opening, I think you need to get as much experience in playing it as possible. Online blitz is a perfect tool for that - the rating does not matter and you can get in a lot of games. Play as many games as possible in the opening you want to learn, if you meet some lines that are unknown to you, go and check them out after the game. And finally - believe in the opening! Do not drop it just after a couple losses :) Hope this helps! 




1. Who are your favorite players from the current generation?

This is always the hardest question for me to answer :) In no particular order: 






These are the players that I've been rooting for for a very long time. I have to admit though that with the change of my playing style I've also started to greatly enjoy players like Kramnik. Before, I couldn't see the beauty in his games, but now I can appreciate his brilliancy.