An interview with Jason Kouchak

by André Schulz
5/30/2020 – The famous French musician, pianist and composer Jason Kouchak is an avid chess fan. During the time of the Corona lockdown he spends his time playing chess or watching online tournaments. But actually he wanted to be at the Holland Park Chess event, to give a live chess performance with his friend, actress Helena Bonham Carter, as white queen.

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What does Corona mean for you?

Corona offers us the chance to think about ourselves and our surroundings, a chance to rethink our expectations and reassess our place in the world together. Basically it is a chance to be kinder to each other and to reconnect by finding harmony in humanity.

Where are you at the moment?

Currently I am living in Paris to be with my mother in these uncertain times.

What is your life like at the moment?

Life is the way you use your time, energy and space. There are times when it is a challenge, as it is almost impossible to make long-term plans, but I try to manage expectations and focus on the positive aspects of this "New Normality", because I believe that all of us together will become stronger and take less for granted in the future.


Jason kibitzing at the match Juraj vs Patrice

How many of your shows did you cancel because of the corona pandemic?

Unfortunately I had to cancel some concerts in London and one in Paris, which was planned for Beethoven's 250th anniversary this spring.

I also had to postpone the 10th anniversary of the launch of Holland Park Chess until autumn. This was to be a ballet and chess performance with a guest appearance by my friend Helena Bonham Carter as White Queen on the 'Queen's Journey'.

How do you spend your time instead?

I find much more time to read the Russian classics and I have rediscovered my favourite French childhood books like The Little Prince and the wonderful fables of Fontaine. I also have a training session every morning including running, yoga and karate. In the afternoon I practice piano and write new music.

Chess training with Daisy

Do you follow chess tournaments online?

Yes, I follow these tournaments daily and recently I had a lot of fun watching the top players at the Magnus Carlsen Invitational. I have some favourite commentators like Judit Polgar and Lawrence Trent, who have wonderful chess anecdotes to tell. I think it's great that more people inspired by the play of the grandmasters are taking part in online tournaments during the lockdown.

Questions: André Schulz, Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.

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