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Grandmaster Interview With Balogh Csaba

GM Csaba Balogh - Grandmaster Interview

GM Csaba Balogh

Csaba Balogh is only 24 years old, but he can already be considered a veteran chess grandmaster.  Csaba Balogh earned the IM title when hewas 14 and was awarded the title of International Grandmaster at 16 years of age.  Among Balogh’s numerous impressive wins, he won the U-16 European Individual Championship in 2003 and in 2006 he finished in 2nd place in the Hungarian Chess Championship.  More recently, in 2011 he tied for 2nd-5th at the very prestigious 13th Dubai Open Chess Championship.  Csaba Balogh represents Hungary’s most promising player to reach the 2700 FIDE mark, where he would join a very well-known pair of Hungarian chess players in Judit Polgar and Peter Léko. I would like to extend a personal thanks to Csaba Balogh for taking the time to participate in our How to Be a Grandmaster series

Watch Csaba Balogh Sac a Piece to Crush a GM in Just 25 Moves!

When did you learn chess and who taught you?

I was 6 years old when I learned the moves from my father.

When did you begin playing chess tournaments and how did you do?

When I was 8 years old, I took part in a training at my school with IM Böröcz István.  He became my first chess coach, and at the age of 9 he took me to my first tournament.

When did you begin making legitimate progress in your game and How?

I was working with IM Borocz quite intensively (3-4 times a week, which is quite a lot at this age), and my rating was growing quickly.

Can you recall a specific turning point?

As for a turning point, I recall some stages of my career when I needed some time to progress to the next stage.  For example I quickly reached 2150, but then I had to wait 2 years to move up.  Then immediately I jumped to 2350.  There again, I had to wait several years for the next jump.  Always these kind of jumps happened but I know that it is not only in my career, it is typical for all chess players…

What are your top book recommendations for beginner to intermediate players?  (<2000)

For players under 2000 rating, I recommend to solve many combinations!

What are your top book recommendations for advanced players?  (2200+)

For players above 2200 there are already a lot of things to practice. For me, the selection of Botvinnik games and endgame books were very helpful.

How did you become a Grandmaster?

When I was 16, I became a GM. I was working a lot with my new chess coach IM Petrán Pál, and also alone. Then suddenly the work paid off.

What is next in your chess career?

My current aim is to reach 2700.  Currently, I stay around 2665.  I want to be a professional player in the next years.  For the future, we will see.  Probably, I will have some pupils as well, and maybe one day I could be a promoter also.

Nature or Nurture: Do you think top chess players are born with a natural ability/gift or do they become so talented through hard work and the right environment?

I believe they need both talent and hard work.  Also, as a 3rd, I would mention luck for example with supporters and sponsors is also very important.

How do you feel about cheating in chess?

I am really afraid of cheating.  This should be avoided somehow but it is very hard now, and going to be even harder in the future… technology is improving too fast.

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