Chit Chatting with Author & Chess player Daniel Naroditsky
Written by Jill Sheets
Image credit: Vlad Naroditsky
Recently we got to interview 14 year old author and chess player Daniel Naroditsky. His new book “Mastering Positional Chess” is now out.
R: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
D: I’m 14 and live in Northern California. I go to school full time at Crystal Springs Uplands School
R: At what age did you start to play chess?
D: I started playing chess when I was about 6 and a half years old.
R: How did you get started playing chess?
D: My brother, who himself is a very avid chess player, decided to teach me the rules of the game. Since he liked chess, he thought that I might enjoy the game as well.
R: What drew you to the game of chess?
D: I found that in chess, there are endless possibilities and practically no luck. In games such as Monopoly, everything depends on luck – in chess, you control all of your decisions.
R: How many hours do you practice a day?
D: I practice about 2 hours on a school day, and 3-4 hours on a weekend day.
R: Tell us about being a member of the All-American Chess Team.
D: It’s great to be a member of an elite circle of young and aspiring players – I feel that being on the team really brings together players with talent and a lot of work ethic.
R: How do you handle the pressure of tournaments and traveling?
D: At first, traveling to a tournament with many strong players was very nervous. However, as I played in more and more tournaments and grew stronger, the feeling of anxiety during a game and a tournament in general left me. All in all, I play chess for enjoyment.
R: You have traveled to may places. Do you get to go out and see some of the sites? What has been your favorite place so far?
D: Usually, I am too concentrated on the tournament itself too see many sites. However, I really enjoy being in other countries. My favorite place so far was the Czech Republic. I played in the Pardubice Chess Festival in 2008 and I really enjoyed the tournament. I also loved visiting Prague after the event.
R: What do your friends think about you being a published author at 14?
D: They’re very excited that I wrote a book.
R: Tell us about your book “Mastering Positional Chess.” How long did it take you to write from start to finish?
D: I started the handwritten version of what was later to become this book at about age ten. At first, I simply collected notes on my own games. As the amount of material grew, I realized that I could actually format the informal manuscript and make it into a real book. It took me about two years put the book together and edit it.
R: Why did you decide to write the book? How did you come up with the idea for it?
D: I felt that there were weaknesses in my play that were simply not going away. I read many other books by strong, experienced players, but I still did not get rid of my weaknesses. I decided to simply analyze some of my own mistakes and write my analyses into a notebook. Eventually, the notes grew into an informal manuscript.
R: Where can people buy your book?
D: They can buy the book on Amazon, Newinchess.com (The publisher’s website), or Alexander Bookstore in San Francisco. You can also purchase it on the Barnes and Noble website.
R: Tell us about being an ambassador for scholastic chess in the United States?
D: It’s an honor to be representing a country that otherwise is not chess-oriented. I feel that the All-American team really inspires everyday kids to take up chess.
R: What has been you most memorable moment so far?
D: Winning the World Youth Chess Championship in Antalya, Turkey, in 2007. The success was a huge bolster and propelled me forward. It also showed me that if you put in a lot of work into studying, then you will almost always have a big success.
R: What do you like to do when you are not playing chess?
D: I like reading, writing, watching and playing basketball, and other board games.
Picture credit: Vlad Naroditsky
R: What do you think about the future of chess?
D: I think that chess will be developed further and further. Already, the US has introduced chess into many schools Other countries, I am sure, will follow in their footsteps. Also, many more sponsors have turned their attention to chess prodigies and talents, and now organizing a tournament is not as difficult as it used to be.
R: What are some of your future goals?
D: I really want to become a grandmaster, no matter at what age.
R: What advice would you give someone who wanted to start playing chess?
D: First of all, never give up when you lose your first game. I’ve seen many players get extremely upset at their first loss and forget about chess. Second, it’s a good idea to have a coach. That way, you will move up the novice ranks very quickly
R: Do you have a website? If so, what is the address?
D: Yes – www.danielnaroditsky.com
R: Is there anything else you would like to add?
D: To anyone who is an aspiring player, I would like to wish the best of luck in their future chess career.
R: Daniel, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.