GM Gawain Jones, England (Elo 2684)

Gawain Jones
Photo: Lars OA Hedlund

10 quick questions:

1) For how many years have you played chess professionally?

I tried to become a Grandmaster when I finished school at 18. I became a Grandmaster the next year, and have more or less been professional ever since. So I suppose 15 years if you count the last 18 months!

2) At what age did you learn how to play chess?
4

3) Who taught you how to play chess?
My Dad

4) What was your first big tournament success (tournament win or similar)? How old were you?
I beat IM Malcolm Pein in a rapid game when I was 9, albeit on time, which received some media coverage. Apart from junior titles I won the Commonwealth Championships when I was 23.

5) Do you sometimes also participate in other sports/games? If so, which and at what level?
Before my daughter was born I was also playing some rugby. Not at a high level, but very enjoyable.

6) Do you have any family members/relatives that also play chess? If so, who and at what level?
Not really. My Mum accompanied me to my first few tournaments, and my Dad knows the rules. Chatting to my brother I discovered he’s just started playing on Chess.com, but still they would all be happy to reach 1000 elo.

7) What would you be doing today, if you did not play chess professionally?
I wanted to be a chess professional since I discovered it was possible, watching the World Championship Match between Kasparov and Short in 1993. I’ve no idea what else I would do, something else unusual!

8) What is your strength as a chess player?
Tenacity

9) Do you have any superstitions when you sit down at the chess board before a tournament game?
There’s normally a bracelet I like to wear, but not especially. Anything that gets me into a routine helps.

10) What do you hope to achieve in the 2021 TePe Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament?
Of course I’ll be playing to win the event, but I’ll just be happy to play some good games against very strong opponents.