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Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Interview with Irine Sukandar

A WGM at just age 17, Irine Sukandar is definitely one of the most promising chess player to emerge from Indonesia. In this interview, Irene will be talking about her training and her mission in chess.

Venue: Midvalley Cititel
Interview by: yatzchess

Yatz: First of all, congratulation for your win just now (Round 8). So, how do you think you performed in   this rapid event?

Irine: I think my rapid is not as good as my classical. Well, it does not mean my classical is that good but at least is better than my rapid. Well, I am playing this event just for fun and also to see how good I am in rapid.

Yatz: So are you satisfied with your performance?

Irine: Erm, in the individual event, few days before this team event, I was not playing so good. But in the 2nd half of the tournament, I overcome myself with a better performance. Yeah, I'm not so happy but I think I'm doing pretty good.

Yatz: So, are you currently a full time chess player?

Irine: No, I'm still studying in University.

Yatz: Which University?

Irine: gunadarma university back in Indonesia

Yatz: So, what are you studying?

Irine: Literature

Yatz: At what age you started playing chess?

Irine: I started playing chess at 7.

Yatz: Wow, that is really young. Who is the one that encouraged you to play chess?

Irine: My father. Well is not really encourage me. He is just trying to find me some activities in school and all stuff about school. He himself is a table tennis player. I was playing table tennis for a few months, but then I get bored (laugh). But then he introduce me to some sports like chess and table tennis. Well, eventually I chose chess.

Yatz: Is table tennis famous in Indonesia?

Irine: Not really. Maybe just like Malaysia. Badminton is more famous.


Yatz: How many hours do you spent on your chess training?

Irine: If my coach is here, we will train about 5 hours a day.

Yatz: I had a coach from Indonesia too and he said I have to practice at least 8 hours a day.

Irine: Well, If you are really professional then you have to spent as much time on chess because chess is really hard. I used to try for 8 hours during my holidays when my coach is here. Yeah but, during the classes and other things, 5 hours should be enough.

Yatz: During your chess training, what type of exercises you focus on? Opening? Tactics? End game?

Irine: All of them. Ok, in the opening, we cover a bit more than the others probably because there are a lot  of updates in the opening. I mean like in the middle game and endgame, they are stuck like that. But opening, is quite dynamic. Especially top grandmaster, they find some novels and things that we have to catch up.

Yatz: Do you regard chess engines as the most important tool in your training?

Irine: Err, in our training, we usually use our brains more. We will try as much to avoid computer. I mean, we want to crack it with our brains..not practising the chess engines brain, (laughs)..Yeah but it is pretty important, I mean after the game, when we have a some unclear position that you cannot solve, then you just use the computer to work it out.

Yatz: This might sound silly but do you prefer if chess engines didn't existed?

Irine: It is something we cannot avoid. I really like what it already is.

Yatz: To have a healthy mind, you must be physically fit to according too. So what sports you usually do?

Irine: I like running. I do some jogging sometime. Mostly I am more into table tennis again. Usually when I am at home, I will spent my time with my family. My father and brother likes table tennis so I play with them.

Yatz: How do you prepare yourselves before a tournament?

Irine: The preparation are more or less about opening.Because, like in middle game and endgame, we just have to understand. But in opening, we really have to memorize and understand. And also, our opponents character are different, that's why we need to explore more ideas in the openings.

Yatz: Do you usually get really nervous before a tournament?

Irine: Yeah it happens.

Yatz: I usually couldn't sleep the night before a tournament due to nervousness, have you experience it?

Irine: Well, it happens to me sometimes, not all the times. I mean is something normal for human right? But usually I don't get nervous because this is something I have done many times already.

Yatz: So do you consider yourselves a tactical player or more positional player?

Irine: Oh, when I was younger I used to be the more tactical one. All my coaches told me that "Irine, why you so tactical one? Can you just play a bit solid, look after your position." And I say "I just can't because that is my character." But now, I am slowly becoming a more positional player, I don't know because after sometime when you reach the tactical one, you found positional is more solid. It doesn't mean it limits my chance for me to play the tactical position. Whenever the tactical position arise, I will just play it. When it is not, it is better to learn positional ideas because it happens more often than the tactical one.

Yatz: I supposed experience helps in positional understanding.

Irine: Yeah.

Yatz: You have been travelling all around the world. So which country you generally visit the most to play chess?

Irine: Erm, Asian countries, I think China also. I'm now playing in the Chinese league, I will go back and forth like every 2 month.

Yatz: In Indonesia, is chess really popular. I mean are you like..ermm celebrities?

Irine: Oh come on (laugh)

Yatz: So it is something like Malaysia..

Irine: I think it is better, because we do have a lot of junior players. Chess is getting more popular in Indonesia compared like 10 years ago, where only old people play chess.

Yatz: So, which chess player inspire you the most?

Irine: Judit Polgar. She is already one of the top female player in the male category when she was very young and she still plays in the men section now. Yeah, I think all women chess players in the world are inspired by her too.

Yatz: Alright, this is the final question. What is your aim in chess now?

Irine: I want to get the highest achievement. But now I'm a WGM and I am running for my IM tittle. I already got my norm I guess, I just need to get my rating to 2400 to get my tittle. That is my main target for this year. I mean I have hanging in this 2300 for 4 years, it has been always up and down without breaking 2400. So it is abit, errr...yeah, it is pretty irritaing actually..yeah that is actually my target.

Yatz: Well, all the best on what you aim for. Once again, thank you Irine for this interview. =)

*Special thanks to Andrew Ooi (a.k.a gilachess) and Hadi for the photos.

  • Stay tuned for exclusive interview from IM  Senador Emmanuel and WIM Guo Emma
  • Photos during the MERDEKA team rapid event


Ilham said...

Nice one...but how come you did not asked her whether she got boyfriend or not? :)

Can't wait for the interview with Emma Guo!

Yatz said...

Thanks Guys

I didn't want to dissapoint the guys out there..hehe

GilaChess said...

More like you didn't dare to ask her.

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