Thursday, August 30, 2007

Getting to know IM Larry Kaufman Part 2

IM Kaufman was gentlemanly enough to take some time from his busy schedule to answer some questions for us groupies. He comes across as very friendly, engaging man.

Here are the questions and answers in no particular order:

Has playing a female ever affected your game now or in the past?
Not to the point where it changed the result, as far as I can remember, but I've been playing tournament chess for 45 years!

Do you have a job/career other than chess/shogi? If not, what career path would you have chosen had chess and shogi not been available?

Now my only career is chess teaching/writing/software, but I was a stock broker and stock option trader up until about age 40. Shogi is a hobby for me.

What has been your most prided achievement?
As a chess player, the American Open championship in 1966 (!). As a shogi player, holding the top rank/rating of all non-Japanese players for a quarter of a century. In chess software, being co-creator of the Rybka version that won this year's World Championship and won matches from Ehlvest and Benjamin giving them pawn odds. As an "inventor", the increment that is credited to Fischer was first marketed as my invention in 1980 in the "MicroMate" clock. As an author, my book "The Chess Advantage in Black and White". As a teacher my student Daniel Fernandez became an IM and my son Raymond is one norm away from doing so too. Take your pick!
What accomplishments would you like to make in the next 5/10 years?
Possibly winning the World Senior Championship to become a GM, though it's a long shot. Otherwise making Rybka strong enough to give pawn and move handicap in serious chess to any human in the World!

Do you think another American will ever be World Champion?
Not unless "Rybka" counts as an American and as World Champion!

Is there anything you would like your fans to know about you?
Although I'm about to turn 60, I'm learning more about chess all the time, due in part to my Rybka work. Also, I now have a 1 1/2 year old baby! The bottom line is that 60 does not have to mean "old".

What have you learned that you wish you had known when you were in your 20s?
In chess, nearly everything! In life, I've learned that making money is not the meaning of life.

What is your favorite part about competing in the US Chess League?
Due to the workings of the Swiss system, I rarely get to play my "equals" in such events. USCL makes this possible.

What other interests/hobbies/passions do you have?
Traditional games in general, for example GO. Also I'm very mathematical, but I also like many movies.

What an awesome legacy this man has created so far in his lifetime! 45 years of tournament chess alone - what a vast amount of stories and knowledge he must have collected in this time.

Thank you so much Mr. Kaufman for granting this interview!

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