Armenians repeat their success
Little Knight meets big rook
The technical Olympiad spirit


The Spanish Jack of all Trades

Dresden, 19/11/2008

Spanish Grandmaster Alfonso Romero Holmes has come from Spain specially to see the Chess Olympiad in Dresden. He has been 5 times olympic player with Spain, he has been the director in chief of the magazines Jaque and Gambito, and the owner of the prestigious Publishing House Editorial Chessy, and organises chess tournaments.

Question: What do you think about the whole organization of this Olympiad?

Alfonso Romero Holmes: I think is quite good. You feel a good chess atmosphere, and its clear that in Germany there are a lot of chess enthusiasts. Its a good playing hall and you have made a great effort. Besides there are complementary services as alive technical comments during the games. As well we must emphasize the participation of outstanding GrandMasters as Topalov, Kramnik, Carlssen, Leko, Morozevich, Aronian, Shirov. A great spectacle, without doubt.

It is better organized than 4 years ago, where the Oympiad took place in spanish city of Calviá (Spain)?

Calvia´s problem was the distance between playing hall and the hotels. Here may be doesn´t happen the same. Germany has more chess fans and then is a great advantage to organise an Olympiad, because media coverage  is clearly better. This is the biggest difference with Calviá.    
Which are the possibilities of Spanish team in this Olympiad?

We have a strong team, with Shirov and Vallejo who can beat everybody, and a very solid team. We are also an uncomfortable opponent for the top teams, but there are also other strong teams with the same level as us, and to finish amongst 10 best teams would be not so bad. I have been sorprised by the fact that Hungary came with all their stars, and Great Britain comes with Adams and Short.

You organize on December, in Christmas, an weekend Open with  excellent prizes and some great legends invited.

It´s true, in fact I came to Dresden in order to promote this I Chess World Open in Leon. We provide 40.000 euros in prizes and we have invited great players as Korchnoi, Portisch, Yussupow, Blejavsky… but also one of the best attacking players, Alexei Shirov. This Open takes place in only three days because the games last 40 minutes plus 3 additional seconds per move, a new system. Not very quick and not very slow. It is possible to play good quality games. I think that it will be one of the stronger tournaments in the World this year.   

Do you play chess actively? We know that apart from organizing chess events, you surprised with a curious initiative: the I Spanish Award to the Chess Promotion, which had a big success, and by the way is the first time somebody carry out an initiative like this in any country.

I didn´t know that it was the first time. In other cultural facets we know that there are prestigious awards, so why not in Chess? We organized then an award for the person, club, institution, company or communication media that promoted chess in our country. I have benn lucky to be supported by a prestigious Jury. The journalist Leontxo García was a deserved winner, you know he has been 25 years working as Chess journalist in different media?.  As i checked that the Spanish Federation didn´t organised this kind of initiatives I thought that somebody should do it. On the other hand, I play 30 games per year, because despite being very busy I love Chess very much just to leave the competition. Still I feel the passion of Chess. For example, this year I defeated Judit Polgar.

Some years ago you founded Editorial Chessy, and you have published more than 20 book in spanish language, the last issue has been writen by Topalov “La Batalla de Elista” World championship 2006. Which is the reason to publish Chess books?

My father was a writer and I suppose that he transmitted this hobbie. Besides I liked to do more things than to play chess, to afford new challenges. In other case life would be boring. In fact to publish chess books is another hobby! Chess players write little! We have published books from Tal, Keres, Bronstein, Botvinnik, Shirov, Timman, Yussupow, Dorfman, and soon from Karpov and Korchnoi. Jacob Aagaard has published two of his excellent books, as Excelling at Chess Calculation.    
The last book has been written by Topalov and the bulgarian journalist Ginchev, about the scandalous World Championship Elista 2006. Veselin has recover the leadership in the ELO list and it´s the right moment to give his point of view of all what happened in Russia. 

Interview by Georgios Souleidis