Developing Chess Talent | April 27, 2010 6:47

The Monday Questions (7) for GM Jan Smeets

smeetsWe 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.)!
Hello, good evening! I am Jan Smeets, 25, Dutch, and have blue eyes.

2. What is your role in the chess world?
I am currently ranked in the lower parts of the top 100. Really enjoyed playing playing Corus A and the Amber tournament this year even though I made an impressive minus score. Besides playing I have never done a lot of coaching, writing etc although right now I am in Sofia as one of Topalov's seconds.

3. How did you develop your chess talent as a kid?
By playing a lot and reading books. And attending lectures/lessons. It may sound strange to the juniors these days but as a kid I never used a computer for anything related to chess.

4. Who had a profound influence on your chess development?
Never really had any chess idols although I always used to be more of a Kasparov then a Karpov fan. Must have been the first two professional trainers I had, Rob Brunia and Cor van Wijgerden.

5. What are your favourite sports besides chess?
Uf! Let me start by confessing that I don´t spend enough time on sport. Used to play a lot of tabletennis but that's a thing from the past. I also like soccer but play it very rarely.

6. What would be your advice for young people?
Play chess only if you really enjoy it. If not, join a soccer club.

7. What has your main concern in life besides chess?
University, finding a good place to live, girlfriend.

8. What is the best chess game you played?
Mamedyarov-Smeets, Corus B 2005. During the game I was extremely focused and calculated a lot of lines (correctly). I should add that after about 15 moves I was more or less lost.

9. What's your connection with 'Developing Chess Talent'?
Merijn sort of forced me into buying the book :-)

10. What question do you miss and what would be your answer?
Not so much a question as a small piece of advice. Don't stare at computer evaluations all the time but keep using your own mind!

    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


Tarjei's picture

I like Jan, he's a cool guy :)

hmmm's picture

He seems nice enough but sadly anyone who is a prepared to be a second for someone as nasty as Topalov is morally flawed in my opinion.

Olaf's picture

I would put it the other way around. If such a nice guy is Topalov's second, he cant be as bad as you think :-)

Mads Sørensen's picture

Correction: to do the --> to do with

Mads Sørensen's picture

Topalov is not a bad guy, Danailov is! The latter is a real ---deleted--- (It is unfortunate, though, that Topa. will have anything to do the Danailov.)

ChessGirl's picture

Hahaha, great interview Jan! Loved answer to question 8 xD

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