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Robert Kempinski vs Evgeny Gleizrov – How to be a Grandmaster Series

In this interview we caught up with Robert Kempiński, a 34 year old Polish Grandmaster with an impressive current FIDE of over 2600. Kempinsk’s career in chess started when he was only 13 in 1991 when he won the Under-14 Polish junior championship. By 1995 he was playing for world competitions and won the Under-18 World Youth Chess Championship. Since then he has continued a bright career in chess. He is currently in the top 250 players in the world and in the top #9 highest ranked player in Poland. He has scored in the top #3 for the Polish Chess Championship many times, outright winning the championship in both 1997 and 2001.

Robert Kempinsky vs. Evgency Gleizrov – 2011 Ritlon Cup – Stockholm Sweden

The game goes into the Rubenstein variation of the Dutch Defense (A favorite with Botvinnik and Short) and runs along normal lines but things quickly start to get dicey into the mid-game culminating with a wild queen sac by Kempinski with 26. Qxg7+!! (yes queen sacs do happen at the GM level sometimes!). I don’t want to give too much away from the end game but I think you’ll really enjoy it.

The Interview with Robert Kempinski

In my time, nobody used computers! Now I can’t imagine that anyone could train without a computer.

When did you learn chess and who taught you?

I learned to play chess at age 4. My father taught me to play.

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

My father, an amateur chess player, took me to the club at age 7. I won the first tournament with a large advantage over rivals.

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

Right away I made rapid progress, in the beginning I did not know the openings very well but solved a lot of combinations.

Robert Kempinski Chess

Photo of Polish GM Robert Kempinski

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

For beginner players I recommend solving a lot of combinations and the book “My System” by Nimzowitsch.

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

I recommend all the World Championship Match books and also the books by Kasparov.

How did you become a Grandmaster? (What tournaments, did you have a trainer, etc..)

To become a good GM, I would suggest young players playing with good players. Playing in lots of closed tournaments and strong opens help to. Important is also a leading chess trainer.

What was your exact study regimen when you were working towards GM? (What exactly did you study, what study materials do you recommend, how much were you working with a chess coach to prepare, etc..)

In my time, nobody used computers! Now I can’t imagine that anyone could train without a computer. I tried to train every day about 4 hours. Once every two months I met with my chess coach for about 10 days and we trained 8 hours a day. We used Informants and chess magazines. I suggest to all players extensive own game analysis.

What is your study routine now? (how is it different?)

Now I concentrate most of my attention on openings and chess coaching to replace meetings with chess friends (also GMs).

What is your study routine now? (how is it different?)

Currently I play and train. In the future I plan to start my own chess school.

Do you have any charities you would like to promote?

I’d like to promote chess for children, without any material benefits
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?

Several years ago I was convinced that without natural talent you can not be a super player. Now in the era of computers, a natural talent with hard work kills a computer. And you also need a good memory.

How do you feel about cheating in chess? (specific deterrents/punishments?)

Zero tolerance for cheaters!!!

Who is your favorite player and why?

Bobby Fischer. One of a kind. His talent, intelligence, arrogance … he was able to defeat the Soviet machine in the East.

How to be a Grandmaster Series

People always want to know how Grandmaster’s achieved the extraordinary feat of becoming a GrandMaster. I noticed most Grandmaster interview’s focus more on recent and upcoming tournament’s and do not focus on how they became a GrandMaster. While most people assume that becoming a GrandMaster is simply a formula of natural talent and hard work, we’ve discovered there is more to the secret formula. Our interview series hopes to unlock these “GrandMaster secrets” so we can learn to not only work harder, but smarter as well. Our GrandMaster Interview series includes both audio and video interviews on our YouTube as well as text interviews with corresponding games on our site. We hope you enjoy these grandmaster interviews. Comments are appreciated and if you have questions you’d like to ask future grandmasters, let us know.

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