Developing Chess Talent | March 16, 2010 5:20

The Monday Questions (1) for GM Loek van Wely

vanwelyWe formulated ten questions related to Developing Chess Talent and every Monday we'll ask them to an interesting personality in the chess world. In the book you can find the interview we had with Loek in 1996, let's see how his views developed fourteen years ahead.

1. Please introduce yourself (name, age, nationality, etc.)!

Loek van Wely, IGM, 37, 2639, 6-time Dutch Champion, current world ranking: 109th, highest ranking: 10

2. What is your role in the chess world?
Mainly I see myself as an (adventurous) player, but also try to be an ambassador for chess, and a mentor/trainer for young players. Unfortunately my role as a player is mainly in Holland and from time to time scalping one of the top players in a nice way.

3. How did you develop your chess talent as a kid?
Very simple: playing everywhere I could and reading any chess book I could get my hands on. Always analysing my games (also with my opponent). To be able to spend more time with my trainer wouldn't have hurt either...

4. Who had a profound influence on your chess development?
Definitely Gary Kasparov, although Fischer was a legend, and Timman was our national chess icon, Kasparov stood for ambition, passion, energy, aggression and willpower.

5. What are your favourite sports besides chess?
Soccer! Maybe right now I am more passionate in soccer than in chess....cycling is however my best sport, but my dream is to do the Iron Man of Hawai once in my life (world record is not necessary though...).

6. What would be your advice for young people?
Be in good shape both mentally and physically. And not to follow the current trend: working with Fritz 99 to prepare your openings, and then trying to remember it... That's not chess and that's is no life!

7. What has your main concern in life besides chess?
To have a nice and interesting and challenging life.

8. What is the best chess game you played?

I do have quite a number of very nice games, however the number of miserable games I managed to produce, while knowing better, is equally high (with the connected feeling of stupidity and self-hate not being very far away) So lets be modest now :-)

9. What's your connection with 'Developing Chess Talent'?
Hopefully in the future a lot as in the giving end, right now I've been mainly on the receiving end. However, when playing now in the team Experience against the team of the Rising Stars, it's about time to give something back.

10. What question do you miss and what would be your answer?
Did you get the maximum out of your talent or were you lazy, had other interests? Maybe yes, but ok, who cares, "what if" doesn't count. Only the first place counts, please no more excuses!

    Background information

  • These interviews are produced for the Facebook Group Developing Chess Talent
  • Chessvibes is hosting them here and they will be linked to from the Facebook Group
  • The book Developing Chess Talent is written by Karel van Delft and Merijn van Delft and can be ordered via

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