The Maverick: play hard, party heartily

5/29/2013 – GM Timur Gareev of Uzbekistan, now living in the USA, is one of the most energetic mavericks in the chess world. He is sure to remain a stellar grandmaster for many years, but is also a representative of the new generation of grandmasters with a passion to bring the game to a wider public. Marck Cobb reports on his adventurous 1000-mile journey from St. Louis to San Diego.

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Gareev – The Maverick: Play Hard, Party Heartily

By Marck Cobb

Grandmaster Timur Gareev began his 1000-mile journey at the Gateway to the West in St. Louis, Missouri, then traveling to Lindsborg, Kansas, and finishing his travel in Chicago, Illinois. During this fantastic adventure he accomplished several major feats. First, upon arriving in St. Louis, Gareev provided an exhibition of blindfolded chess by playing 33 players from the St. Louis Chess Club, winning 29 games and drawing four.

The 33-board blindfold simul in Saint Louis took ten hours and 39 minutes.
His final score was 29 wins, four draws and zero losses. ChessBase reported.

The very next day, Timur began his challenge with 24 of the top US Grandmasters to compete for the US Chess Championship. To prepare for this major event, the Uzbek GM maintained a heavy diet of fruits and vegetables to supply his energy combined with some yoga to help supply the physical and mental endurance needed to compete in nine rounds of chess. The result was a tie for third place.

During his visit to St. Louis, he enjoyed the beauty of nearby Forest Park with its water fountains and lakes as well as its zoo and museums. Gareev found a wonderful connection with nature and adventure. He was probably the only one of all the grandmasters to fully and truly enjoy the warmth of the natural grasses and the cold waters of the lake in Forest Park.

In addition to his visits to the park, he also found time to tour the Chess Hall of Fame located across the street from the St. Louis Chess Club. The Hall of Fame is noted for its recognition of outstanding chess players, as well as the world’s largest wood-carved chess piece, which is recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records.

Timur also found time to conquer the “monstrosity” outdoor creation at the St. Louis City Museum. This feat involved climbing through a maze of metal cylinders and platforms to reach the top of the structure that connects with two airplanes.

The trees are part of the structure that elevates above three floors. To return to ground level a steep slide is available to assist for a quick descent down one level. This is definitely a must stop for the adventurous traveler. The experience will give you a source of true inspiration that will never let you forget your visit to St. Louis.

Rather than end his visit to the West in St. Louis, Gareev drove further west to the center of the United States – known as the “Land of Oz” in Kansas, to play yet, in another blindfolded chess exhibition with 40 games involving 40 students from central Kansas who receive classes from the World Champion Anatoly Karpov International School of Chess (the Karpov Chess School in Lindsborg).

Food for thought – the diet of a US Championship and blindfold simul player

Gareev provided the participating students with his healthy foods of apples, clementines, oranges, and bananas with plenty of water. The students enjoyed eating the best foods with one of the best chess players!

One of the 40 games was represented via Skype interaction with students from Demidov University in Yaroslavl, Russia. This added a unique international twist for the players in Kansas to meet players sitting in Russia. The 40- game blindfolded exhibition was allowed to progress for 3.5 hours before switching to a faster completion of the 40 games by open simultaneous play by Gareev with the students.

The students gained a tremendous amount of respect for the focus and concentration needed to play 40 games blindfolded. When the simul was finished, Gareev had won all 40 games, after 4.5 hours of total playing time. The student participant who played the longest game was a sixth grader from Manhattan, Kansas, Jack Easton, who is currently rated about 1600.

Gareev with Gabriel Purdy and Marck Cobb, President of the Karpov Chess School

After the event, Gareev ventured through Lindsborg, a town of about 3,000 people and enjoyed some local refreshments at the “Ol’Stuga”, a former popular establishment visited by former President Mikhail Gorbachev and former chess World Champion Anatoly Karpov during the time they visited Lindsborg and the Karpov Chess School. Gareev also took time to climb to the fort at the top of Coronado Heights, which commemorates the place in Kansas that Coronado reached in 1541. The Kansas winds atop the Coronado Heights provided an exhilarated feeling of peace and happiness for Gareev after the intense concentration required to win his 40 games.

For students interested in attending the summer chess camp program at the Karpov Chess School in Lindsborg (picture above) from July 7th-12th, 20103, with Grandmaster Varuzhan Akobian as the guest instructor, visit the school website here.

Chess on the streets of Chicago

Finally, Gareev arrived in Chicago to attend another meeting of national chess enthusiasts to discuss national programs to further chess education in the US. After his 1000-mile journey to the West and to the Heartland USA, Gareev returned to his home in San Diego. He is now able to reflect on his experiences to provide one more step toward reaching his goal of playing 64 games of blindfolded chess by the end of 2013.

Gareev (above with kids and the instructor at the Naperville Chess Club) can be described as one of the most energetic mavericks in the chess world. He has the passion and persistence to remain a stellar grandmaster for many years. He is truly representative of the new generation of grandmaster chess players.

The latest: Timur Gareev is currently three jumps away from his "skydive A" license. On Monday he spent six hours learning how to pack a parachute. Today he will will be jumping with a parachute he packed himself! Energetic maverick is probably a very apt way of describing this chess grandmaster.

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