Advent calendar: December 16

by ChessBase
12/16/2016 – From December 1 to December 24 we invite our readers every day to open a door in our advent calendar. Click and enjoy a little chess treat. Today we invite you to a little quiz: you have to guess the name of a famous chessplayer who celebrates a milestone birthday this year. Oh, and you can win something. Advent calendar, door 16.

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Who am I?

Arno Nickel is Grandmaster in Correspondence Chess and chess publisher. His "Edition Marco" regularly publishes high-quality chess books and every year  also publishes the "Schachkalender", a chess calendar in German which has proven to be immensely popular among chessplayers and contains a wide range of facts and dates. It also entertains with long and short stories and articles about a variety of topics from the world of chess.

A regular feature of the "Schachkalender" is the "Who am I?" quiz, in which readers are asked to find the name of a well-known chessplayer who will celebrate a milestone birthday in the year of the current calendar. Do you know the answer to the "Who am I?" quiz 2017? Send in your solution to win a copy of the current issue of the ChessBase Magazine.

The "Schachkalender" 2017

Who am I?

As a junior player I was already the number one in my country and I kept this position for more than 20 years. Against Kasparov I played a couple of times. When I first played against Karpov he looked daggers at me. However, a lot of my countrymen only took note when I appeared as celebrity in a dancing show on TV. At that time my best years in chess were long gone but in the past chess was simply not on in my country. Today this is different. And I did my part to change that.

Chess is running in my family: my daughter Victoria plays tournament chess. My father was a strong club player. My two years older brother is almost as good as an IM. Until a few years ago he was in the publishing business. It is curious that my brother today earns his money with chess whereas I had been a chess professional for a very short time.

Back in the day the media often called me the "world's strongest amateur". But chess was important for me. To play in the legendary tournament in Tilburg I once even flung a job interview in Istanbul. It would have been a highly-paid job but to be honest, I did not really want to go to Turkey.

Health reasons forced me to to abandon my first profession. I then studied governance and public policy - like my former wife, who later became a politician - and graduated with a master's thesis about South Africa. But meanwhile I have been employed as teacher at a sports school for many years.

If you want to come far in sport you have to put passion into it. It helps to visualize success beforehand. In a lot of sports you have to follow the coach. Chess is different. There you have to know yourself what is best for year. My best student later had a Russian as coach. This man indeed knew you a lot but when he started to prescribe my student how to open against whom, he separated from the guy.

With this attitude the boy came a long way. I wrote a book about him. Today, he is our number one. I play only rarely nowadays. I skipped the most recent Chess Olympiad in Baku. But I can still play: in my last world class tournament neither Aronian, Caruana and Giri nor Grischuk, Karjakin, Kramnik and Svidler could beat me. 

Besides, together with a colleague I run a company which offers chess in schools and prisons - we call ourselves "grandmaster and grandmaster" - in our language this sounds more funny. I write a chess column for our biggest daily and I train our youth - the national girl's squad not in the chess, by the way. The last tip is the same as always in this quiz: in 2017 I celebrate a milestone birthday.

If you want to take part in the quiz and win a copy of the current issue of the ChessBase Magazine, send the name of the player we ask for to (Subject: Who am I?). (Closing date: December 16, 23.59.)

If you sent in the right answer you will take part in a drawing of lots and you will have the chance to win one of three copies of the current ChessBase Magazine. If you win you will be notified by email and asked for your address.

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