This week GM Alex Colovic joins me from his native Skopje, Macedonia, speaking to me on the "rest day" of the European Chess Championship, in which he is competing. Alex Colovic is a Grandmaster, blogger, author and newly elected President of the Association of Chess Professionals. Alex catches us up on the status of the tournament at the midway point, and from there we have a wide-ranging conversation which covers topics which range from his latest Chessable course, The Najdorf Sicilian Simplified, to why he loves studying the games of Jose Raoul Capablanca. I think that Alex’s love for and knowledge of chess and chess history is evident in our conversation. Read on for timestamps, links and GM Colovic’s contact info:
0:00- Intro and Alex’s breakdown of the ongoing European Chess Championship. On the day that we talked Alex was enjoying a break from the tournament
10:20- We discuss Alex’s brand new Chessable course, The Najdorf Sicilian Simplified. This includes the story of how he began to collaborate with Chessable, and why now is a good time to learn more about the storied Najdorf defense. In our conversation, Alex gives some updates on the theory of particular lines of the Najdorf, including the contributions that GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave made to the Poison Pawn Variation. The Karpov-Kasparov game that GM Colovic mentions can be seen here.
26:30- Alex’s chess improvement advice for club players. If you want instant results, Alex says, the first thing you should do is improve your calculation. He says that the fact that you are doing the work is more important than the tools that you use to do it.
The viral Quora post that Alex wrote and that we reference can be read here. (In the interview, I erroneously said that Alex’s post got 67,000 views, but actually that particular post got 18,000 views. it is Alex’s Quora posts in total that got 67,000 views.) The study composer that Alex mentions who helped him finally achieve the GM title is Genrikh M. Kasparyan. For all of Alex’s book recommendations check out his blog posts here, here and here. The more beginner-oriented tactics books/courses that Alex mentions in our interview are Mastering Mates 1: 1,111 One-Move Mates by Jon Edwards, and Chess - 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games by Lazlo Polgar. For his own chess, Alex greatly enjoyed the Jonathan Rowson books, Understanding the Grunfeld, Seven Deadly Chess Sins, and Chess for Zebras
42:30- Why is Jose Raul Capablanca Alex’s favorite player? What is his favorite book about Capablanca? The game that Alex is referring to is this one. The footage of Fischer playing over a game can be seen here.
50:30- How and why did Alex just become President of the Association of Chess Professionals? How did he become involved with the FIDE Fair play commission?
58:30- Goodbye and contact info. Read Alex’s blog here, follow him on Twitter here and Facebook here.
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