Wednesday, November 28, 2007

13 Questions With Dallas Destiny's Manager, IM John Bartholomew

1. If you were trapped on a desert island for eternity with no possibility of rescue and could choose to have with you:
a. 5 books

The Great Gatsby, A Confederacy of Dunces, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Lord of the Flies, and something good I had yet to read

b. 5 albums

Tough, tough question. Off the top of my head... The Eagles – Hotel California, Bob Marley – Legend, The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – E 1999 Eternal, and Paul Simon – Graceland

c. 1 chess player

Carmen Kass

d. 1 luxury item,

“The Internet” is a lame answer, so I’m going with a solar-powered dune buggy

What would you choose? (The island already contains a chessboard and clock)

2. What are you studying at UTD? What do you hope to do with the degree when you finish? Are the classes what you expected them to be? Is college life what you expected?

I’m a business administration major and I’ll be graduating in three more semesters. After that, I suspect I will start working and/or get my MBA. UTD is a school where academics are taken very seriously…we still have a good time though!

3. How do you see the final match going, board by board?

It’s going to be a close match, no question. I have faith in our players – as Drasko said, we are solid on every board. Boston may have a nominal rating advantage, but USCL competition has shown that to be largely irrelevant.

4. The last two finals have been won by teams who did not have a grandmaster on board one. Do you think this is a coincidence, or could it be that the small rating advantage conferred by having a player over 2590 is outweighed by the advantage of stronger lower boards?

Stacking the top boards and hoping to survive on the lower boards is a big mistake in my opinion. Each board is worth a point and it’s important to have a balanced roster with more than one capable lineup. This is something I thought about at length before the season began.

5. If you had to play for/ manage a different USCL team, which would it be and why?

San Francisco. They have a lot of young, exciting players who play really dynamic chess.

6. Describe your preparations for USCL games, including, but not limited to: opening preparation, pre-game superstitions, and interactions with teammates.

Usually I will just flick through Chessbase to try and get a feel for what openings my opponent plays. Pretty standard stuff. As manager, I certainly try to assist the team in any way possible, but most of our players prepare on their own.

7. If you could choose the next USCL expansion team, which city would you choose, which players would you draft, and why?

Chicago deserves a team, no doubt! They could easily be one of the premier squads in the league.

8. Are there any openings that give you special pleasure to either play or play against?

I’ve been playing the Scandinavian for almost my entire chess career and it has served me very, very well.

9. If you had to pick name on type of ending that you are especially good at, what would it be?

At Foxwoods 2005, I was unable to win K+Q vs. K+R against GM Stripunsky with about 5 minutes left in sudden death. I know a thing or two about this ending now.

10. Which are your top five chess-related websites and why?,,, Pretty much all the chess info you need at these sites. My absolute favourite site is

11. What chess book had the most influence on you?

Kotov – Think Like a Grandmaster.

12. How obsessed are you with chess? In an average week, how much do you study, play and think about chess? When you study, what exactly do you do? If you could choose to be more or less obsessed, would you choose either and to what extent?

Chess is an on-again off-again thing for me. Usually right before and after a big tournament I will get extremely motivated to study some new material. Sometimes I’ll go for months without doing any serious study. Even though my work on the game is inconsistent, I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

13. In recent years, a number of prose books about the chess world have been published. Have you read any of the following and, if so, what did you think: The Day Kasparov Quit (Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam), Chess Bitch (Jennifer Shahade), The Chess Artist (J. C. Hallman), Kings of New York (Michael Weinreb), The Art of Learning (Josh Waitzkin), King’s Gambit (Paul Hoffman), Engaging Pieces (Howard Goldowsky), How Life Imitates Chess (Gary Kasparov)?

I’ve read several of those. Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning is really, really honest and inspiring. I picked up Hallman’s The Chess Artist while on summer vacation in Wisconsin and couldn’t put it down.

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