Developing Chess Talent | March 23, 2010 4:49

The Monday Questions (2) for GM Gawain Jones

jonesWe formulated ten questions related to Developing Chess Talent and every Monday we'll ask them to an interesting personality in the chess world.

1. Please introduce yourself (name, age, nationality, etc.)!
Hi, I'm Gawain Jones, 22, GM. English but currently living in New Zealand with my fiancée.

2. What is your role in the chess world?
I mostly just play but I have also written Starting Out: Grand Prix Attack and contributed to the Dangerous Weapons series. I also write for Here in New Zealand there aren't many tournaments to play so I've also been doing some coaching and simuls which have proven to be good publicity for chess.

3. How did you develop your chess talent as a kid?
I played! I had a couple coaches when I was starting out which were very useful for the basics but since I moved to Italy when I was 13 I didn't receive any coaching. However I played lots of tournaments and lots of blitz chess online which made me pretty sharp. I used to be really lazy when it came to learning theory outside tournaments or reading books but I've tried to remedy that recently.

4. Who had a profound influence on your chess development?
I remember, when I had just started school, the Kasparov-Short match being shown on tv which got me really interested in chess. Kasparov's style really appealed to me and I guess I've tried to emulate it. On a slightly different note, I have to thank my first ever chess coach, Stuart Morgan, who took me as a kid who only knew how the pieces moved, and put me on the right path.

5. What are your favourite sports besides chess?
I used to play rugby when I was living in England and still try to follow it. I just started playing tennis to try and keep up my fitness which is fun although I'm not very good.

6. What would be your advice for young people?
To play and to look over the games of the top players, particularly in the openings you play. Don't worry too much about move order nuances and memorising lines, it's far more important to know how to play the sort of middlegame which arises than get a theoretical advantage out of the opening.

7. What has your main concern in life besides chess?
My fiancée :-) I want to enjoy life and make sure that the decisions I make keep me and the people I care about happy.

8. What is the best chess game you played?
Always a hard question but a game I enjoyed was Bischoff-Jones, Liverpool 2006. A full blooded assault which was a major factor in my first GM norm.

9. What's your connection with 'Developing Chess Talent'?
Well I think I've been developed more than developed others but I hope during my coaching and simuls I've stimulated some talent. I hope to have a long future in chess and inspire others to play.

10. What question do you miss and what would be your answer?
"How did you know that chess was for you?" No other job ever interested me. I had a place at university but took a gap year first and then deferred the course again as I was enjoying myself too much. It seems a great lifestyle so far, being able to travel and live anywhere in the world (so far I've lived in England, Italy, Ireland, Northern Ireland and New Zealand, with a few months in Australia). Of course the money tends not to be great but chess gives its own rewards, it's very satisfying after playing a well played game.

    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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