My name is Pavel, and I am originally from St. Petersburg, Russia. For the last ten years I've been living in New York, USA. I started playing chess when I was 7 years old: My uncle gave me a magnetic chess set and a book "The Chess Kaleidoscope" co-authored by the then World Champion Anatoly Karpov. It's been almost 30 years since then, but I still remain hooked on the game.
The first game in that book was a well-known bout Karpov vs Gik played in 1969. Influenced by that game and others, I became an avid Sicilian player (not that I got anywhere close to Karpov's record against the Dragon ). But later on I developed a taste for other openings, e.g. Caro-Cann, where you don't get mated as early as in sharp variations of the Sicilian. I am mastering my French Defense skills now.