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A Swede from Frankfurt with dreams

Dresden, 19/11/2008

One of the first players I saw at this year’s olympiad was Sweden’s grandmaster Slavko Cicak. When asking him to attend the press conference at day one he passed that over to his team mate Tiger Hillarp Persson. But after the round on day four Slavko agreed to an interview.



Peter Dengler: Slavko, I know you from the end of the nineties when you took one of the prices of almost every rapid tournament in Hessen. Where are you living now?

Slavko Cicak: Still in Frankfurt!


Tell us something about your history.


I was birn in Podgorica, the current capital of Montenegro. When I was jus two months old I moved to Sweden with my parents because my father wanted to work in abig western company. He is a mechanical engineer.


Your move was not related to the later turbulences in Yugoslavia?


No I am 39 now. Thus we moved to Sweden in the late sixties.


When did you start with chess?


I started in the Hallender chess club when I was seven years old. Hallend is 15 kilometers outside of Stockholm. The chess club was in the basement of the house we lived in – very convenient! Each day a multi cultural crowd of Ex-Yugoslavians, muslims and Swedish people gathered for playing chess. I represented Sweden vorthe first time in 1985 at the cadet world championship.I came in second. Christopher Lutz played there as well – we even played each other and the result was a draw. 1987 we moved to Germany for tax reasons. I served military in the Yougoslavian army in the late eighties. I was very lucky that my service ended a few months before the first turmoils occurred in former Yugoslavia.


For Which teams did you play so far in Germany?


Heidelberg was my first club. The German Post was our sponsor and I had the chance to meet strong opponents in the Bundesliga. I also played for Offenbach, Schöneck and Mainz , now I play for Burgsinn in the very north of Bavaria. That’s a nice team and it is important for me that we fit together.


I remember that you scored 17 from 17 in this year’s Bavarian Blitz team’s championship on the first board. To be honest I didn’t expect you to become as strong as you are today (his current rating is 2564). Where does this improvement over the past 10 years come from?


Very clear: from the internet! I have been playing there a lot over the past five years. I also learned to know my chess much better myself. I realised that I am strong in tactical positions and tried different things when playing in the web. Today young players can reach a level within a year’s time just by playing and working chess in the internet which would have taken you ten years in the past.

 

Do you work something besides chess?


My father is self-employed and is running a turnery. I help him from time to time. I also play Poker like a lot of other chessplayers. I like a versatile life and also changes. In fact I never had too big ambitions in chess. I also didn’t want to obtrude myself into the national team though I may have had the right to play because of my rating even before 2006.


What are your next plans?


On December 26th I will be in Las Vegas at a chess tournament. I have a friend there and I will probably stay there for some months. I will be playing chess and Poker tournaments. I also would like to work as a chess trainer in the US. That’s a little dream I would like to see coming true.


Who would you like to train?


No beginners, but players between 2200 and 2400 ELO. I have a lot of ideas how I could improve the chess strength of players of such level. As I said before, I like changes. I am almost too long in Germany.


Slavko, I hope you can fulfill most of your dreams and have a nice New Year’s Eve rush in Las Vegas!


Peter Dengler