Monday, February 20, 2017


Apple, google, microsoft, coca cola,.... are brands very well known. However we often don't realize that our own name is also a brand. We all get a label even if we don't like it. The internet plays an important role to make or break somebodies reputation. All what has been written about us, is stored for a very long time. Inevitable this info is used whether appropriate or not.

Once I was asked at a solicitation for a non chess related job which chess-opening I prefer the most. This happened many years ago when I hadn't started yet with this blog. The question surprised me as I had nothing mentioned about chess in my CV neither did I bring it up during the interview. A HR-recruiter once told me not to talk about chess as I spend too much time at it which is a clear weakness. A player spending lots of time at chess activities and not (much) interested to do extra time after the working hours is less interesting to hire.

The internet had of course exposed me as you can google my name and discover I played many tournaments. On the other hand I doubt this piece of information was critical in the selection process. Besides I do expect there are also employers interested in the qualities of a strong chess-player (FM, IM, GM) to use in their company. Naturally it depends a lot of the type of branch but it is not a coincidence that a lot of big brands offer sponsor-contracts to top-sportsmen.

It is evident that a chess-title has most value in the chess world. Strong chess players are a magnet for other players (read paying customers) so many chess-organisations offer a free membership to those strong players. At you can get free diamond-membership at this link if you have a fide-title. At ICC you only get a free account if you have the IM title and I guess the same rule is also applicable at Playchess. An additional condition for the free account is of course that you relinquish your anonymity. You can't attract players as titled player if your identity can't be verified.

Personally I always get an extra kick when I beat a titled player. Last couple of years I played against grandmasters Gennadi Sosonko, Max Illingworth, Imre Balog, Dmitry Kokarev, Mohmamed Haddouche, John Shaw, Lev Gutman, Viktor Gavrikov.... at playchess. There is a creepy anecdote attached to the last person as 2 months after we played a couple of games, the grandmaster passed away (see chessbase). 1 of the 2 games I managed to win but I needed a lot of luck see below game.

The nice thing about Playchess is that all my games are automatically stored in a database which I can consult with a few simple clicks while studying openings. However it is not the only advantage of the database. Sometimes it is also useful to prepare a game. Some online players you meet in real life. In 2014 I played a short match against Littlefinger. The last game I lost in the Rauzer.

If you consult the profile of Littlefinger at Playchess then you discover the name Frederic Decoster which I remembered when I had to play against him in Open Leuven. To prepare for the game I repeated some of the lines in the Rauzer to win some precious time at the clock. Unfortunately I wasn't able to fully capitalize due to a lack of time in the morning.

Playing online with an open profile makes yourself more vulnerable at standard play. Therefore many top-players have beside an official account also secret accounts. There exists a funny anecdote of Kasparov and Svidler playing blitz online to prepare for their mutual blitz-match but initially both not aware that they chose each other as sparring partner see chessclub.

In my article password I asked for more publications of games to promote chess. On the other hand I do think it is better to choose for anonymity while playing online. The games are (almost) exclusively blitz or bullet so have very little or no value. Besides the number of games can quickly grow to enormous figures which would give future opponents an in-depth view of your repertoire. Today my personal database almost counts 60.000 online games so covering almost any independent line of my repertoire which has some importance.


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