An hour with Alina l'Ami!

by Sagar Shah
5/24/2017 – Alina l'Ami is one of the most colourful personalities in the world of chess. She is not only a wonderful photographer and a great reporter, but also a strong International Master. IM Sagar Shah, who hosts the ChessBase India show had an hour long chat with Alina, trying to understand how is it that she excels in everything that she does. This was the 8th ChessBase India show! In this article we tell how you can watch this high quality chess content.

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When organizer of the Japfa Chess Festival Kristianus Liem asked me if I would be interested to play in the Round Robin International Master tournament in Jakarta, Indonesia, my initial feelings were negative. 'I am already an International Master. Why should I go to a tournament where people are going to fight for IM norms.' Well, I thought about it for quite some time and I am glad that didn't listen to my mind and made the decision to go to Jakarta and play at the 10th Japfa Chess Festival. Apart from the brilliant hospitality and witnessing high chess culture of Indonesia, I was able to meet Alina l'Ami!

Alina has been a friend since many years, but it is curious that we had never met in person before! She travels all over the world and so do Amruta and I, but our paths had never crossed. Meeting her was surely one of the things that I was looking forward to on this trip. And I wasn't disappointed. Lively, chirpy, bubbling with energy, friendly, Alina had all the qualities that would make you like her instantly. Being such an interesting personality, I always wanted to know more about her life, which I was able to with the various conversations over breakfast and dinner.

However, I also wanted the world to know about her. The best way was to do the ChessBase India show with her. Knowing her tight schedule it wasn't easy to find a time slot, but we finally did manage it on 20th of May.

The show lasts for one hour fourteen minutes and covers different parts of Alina's life

The globetrotter:

In her chess career Alina has visited over 70 countries! Right from the streets of Mexico, to the beaches of Australia, she has been everywhere. In this show we ask Alina to share some of her globe-trotting experiences!

The auto-rickshaw in Cairo!

Taking on the hustlers on the streets of Indonesia!

The chess player:

Alina is an International Master with one grandmaster norm. She was the former under-10 World Champion and also the under-18 European Champion. On this show she speaks about her chess development right since the days of childhood and also shows us her favourite game. It was her attacking win over GM Hernandez Holden of Spain at the Barbera Open 2011, where she made her maiden GM norm.

Before the crucial final round victory at the Barbera Open in 2011 that gave Alina her first GM norm

World's best chess photographer:

While this title (world's best chess photographer) is up for debate and Alina herself is of the opinion that there are many great photographers like David Llada, Lennart Ootes etc, it goes without saying that she is definitely one of the best. Just have a look at the picture above and see the pains that Alina is going through to take a good shot. Well, being a good photographer asks for great amounts of physical stamina. You cannot hold that heavy lens for hours and keep moving from one end to another if you aren't passionate about photography. On the show, we ask Alina about how her passion developed and how she keeps improving at the art of chess photography.

The wife:

The most important person Alina l'Ami's life is her husband Dutch grandmaster Erwin l'Ami. On the show Alina speaks a lot about how Erwin has helped her to become better at chess. Erwin is her coach, mentor and inspiration. We also get to know about their love story and how the two met each other! You can say that ChessBase was responsible for that to some extent! Well, I wouldn't be surprised if after listening to Alina talk about her husband, you too fall in love with Erwin! :)

"Too much respect" is the reason Alina quoted for losing to Erwin in an equal rook endgame at the Vlissingen Open in 2013

Erwin l'Ami has recorded four amazing DVDs for ChessBase. Check them out below:

We really enjoyed our time with Alina, and we hope that you enjoy the show

Download the ChessBase India show with Alina l'Ami

How to watch the show:

Go to the ChessBase India shop from the link given above. The show is free of cost. Once you have bought it, you will get the download files on your registered email id. This you must open either in your local ChessBase software or with ChessBase Reader 2013 provided in the downloads. Do let us know your feedback in the comments section below.

Previous ChessBase India shows:

In the past few months IM Sagar Shah has done ChessBase India shows with some of the best chess players and trainers around India and the world. There are seven shows prior to the one with Alina l'Ami. These include famous personalities like Jacob Aagaard, R.B. Ramesh, Abhijeet Gupta, Eugene Torre, Utut Adianto and Vishnu Prasanna. You can watch all the shows for free if you are a ChessBase Account Premium Member.

Watch all the ChessBase India shows for free if you are ChessBase Account Premium member

Here's a short summy of the content of all the shows:

1st: GM Vishnu Prasanna

GM Vishnu Prasanna was the first guest to the show and he spoke about his wins over strong players like Ivan Popov, Parimarjan Negi and others. In this video he shows how to beat Grunfeld as all his wins came from the white side against the Grunfeld Defence!

2nd: GM Vishnu Prasanna

Vishnu was the second of Adhiban at the Tata Steel Masters 2017. Adhiban played phenomenally finishing third behind Wesley So and Magnus Carlsen. On this show Vishnu talks about his role as a second and how he prepared against the best players in the world.

3rd: GM Jacob Aagaard

Jacob Aagaard is one of the best authors in the world. Also a wonderful trainer. He gives some very important tips to the viewers. After the show was done we received a lot of feedback from the users. One of them wrote: "I have watched Jacob Aagaard's Chessbase India interview with Sagar Shah at least a dozen times. I want to thank you for providing such honest and beautiful advice. I feel just listening to these interviews has helped me approach my chess study and improvement in a more joyful, slower, and understanding way then ever before in my life." 

4th: GM R.B. Ramesh

If there was one trainer you had to single out for being the most influential in the world of chess as on today, it has to be R.B. Ramesh. The man helped India win the bronze medal at Tromso Olympiad 2014 and fourth place at the Baku Olympiad. He also is the trainer of young and upcoming talents like Aravindh Chithambaram and Praggnanandhaa. Ramesh on this show shares a lot of his understanding that helped him become a good coach and also shows his win against GM Luke McShane that helped him become the British Champion in 2002.

5th: GM Abhijeet Gupta

Abhijeet Gupta's highest rating at one point was 2667! He is surely a world class player. He shows us two of his effortless wins over GM Zoltan Almasi and GM Hrant Melkumyan. His victories were so effortless that one wonders as to how was he able to beat such strong players in such simple style. Well, you have to watch the show to understand that!

6th: GM Eugene Torre

GM Eugene Torre is a legend. He became Asia's first grandmaster. This one is a short video where in 15 minutes Eugene shows his most memorable win over Anatoly Karpov. This happened when the World Champion came to Manila in 1976. It was the first time after becoming the World Champion that Karpov couldn't finish first at a tournament!

7th: GM Utut Adianto

Utut Adianto at the age of 52 is still Indonesia's number one player. He is a senator in the Indonesian government and quite busy with political issues. However, there was a time when he was one of the best players in the world. He has drawn against Garry Kasparov and beaten Anatoly Karpov and many more top players. In this show of 15 minutes he shows his most memorable positional + attacking victory over GM Vadim Milov from Biel 1994.

Watch all the shows on ChessBase India TV on the ChessBase Account



Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He and is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India website, the biggest chess news outlet in the country.