Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Interview with IM Davorin Kuljasevic of the Dallas Destiny

EV: You've played a lot of great games in the USCL. Of this year's, which was your favorite?

DK: It must be the win against Becerra, cause he's obviously league’s MVP.

EV: Can you tell us a little about what you were thinking during the game?

DK: Well, I didn't have time to prepare for the game, because I just came back from Miami tournament, so I chose a peaceful line as white. Basically we had an isolated pawn middlegame where black should have enough play, but he traded too many pieces, in my opinion. And after that I achieved a kind of position which I really like, where he doesn't have much counterplay, and in such positions it's not so easy for him to defend. So I increased the advantage until I made the final blow Rxc4, and the rest was technique.

EV: I was looking at your games briefly before the interview, and the thing I noticed is that they are all long and have many distinct stages. Have you noticed this also?

DK: That's true. I rarely ever play games shorter than 30 moves, because I'm more of a technical player, playing for a progressively increasing advantage. My approach to chess is systematic and people often condemn me for that. I play the same way against 1500 and 2600.

EV: Really it’s because you are a technician? You don't think it's because you love chess very much and like to have games that have many different characters? A sort of quest for the epic?

DK: Yeah, more artistic, than functional, so I guess you're right in that sense. I guess chess reflects one's personality very well. I don't know if what I said made any sense.

EV: I understand what you are saying, that you are idealistic rather than pragmatic
in terms of playing the board and not the opponent, but it seems unusual to call yourself both artistic and technical?

DK: yes :) I took a personality type test in college, and it reflected these qualities, both artistic and technical, which is not such a common combination. Usually people are either / or. Guys are usually pragmatic; women more emotional.

EV: Do you do anything else creative besides chess?

DK: hm…. I play a lot of sports, which I think is creative in its own way.

EV: How? In a problem solving kind of way?

DK: First, if you play a variety of sports, then you can transfer skills from one sport to another, which is creativity in my opinion. And also because you have to come up with some unexpected moves to surprise your opponent, just like in chess.

EV: What sport that you play is most like chess?

DK: I'd say ping-pong

EV: Are you very good at sports?

DK: I'm very good only at soccer, but like to play all other sports: basketball, swimming, volleyball, you name it.

EV: In last year's interview, you described studying a lot of chess and taking business classes. Has either of those things changed?

DK: I'll be devoting much more time to finance than chess in the following months, cause I'm trying to land a job in the summer, so I have to focus on studying finance. I'll also be graduating in the summer.

EV: Does the financial crisis affect your plans then?

DK: Of course, unfortunately, but I hope I'll get a job. I'm in top 5% of my class, so I guess they'll appreciate that.

EV: What are the expectations like amongst graduating students?

DK: A lot of them already have jobs, surprisingly. But those who don't, they're just as inexperienced as me, so they don't know what to expect.

EV: Ok, back to chess! You seem to be one of the few people who regularly beats Vinay Bhat in the USCL. I think you are +2 =1 -0 against him in the USCL, plus you defeated him in the Miami Open. What's your secret?

DK: hahaha, I don't know, he's a tough player, but his serious problem is he's spending too much time that's not necessary at all. Even though he's good in time trouble, he's not playing his best in that phase, so that's where he makes greatest mistakes. Last year he played really well and achieved equality, but then he let himself into time pressure and made several mistakes. Same thing this year. The only clean game was in Miami; I just outplayed him there.

EV: What move did he think over that he really didn’t need to?

DK: I don't remember exactly, but it accumulates you know… every move you spend a few minutes too many and you’re in time trouble before you know it.

EV: Oh, I know. So if we assume Dallas plays its lineup from the semi-finals and Boston plays Christiansen-Sammour-Hasbun-Essserman-Krasik , how do you see the board by board match ups? Are there any must wins, for example?

DK: I only believe that Bayaraa is a clear favorite against Krasik. She plays really well, not just USCL. She's a level above Krasik, for sure. Other games are open.

EV: You weren't impressed with his defeat of Craig Jones?

DK: I'm impressed by Krasik's performance this year. Who wouldn't be? But I think Bayaraa is still a better player and that should show in the finals.

EV: Do you feel any special motivation against Sammour-Hasbun? Any expectations you can share with fans?

DK: Wait, is Craig Jones the guy from Carolina?

EV: yes

DK: Oh, that was a horrible game… but back to your question…. yeah, you know I'm really puzzled by this guy, Sammour.

EV: Why?

DK: He's a sort of enigma-- doesn't play chess for years then wins Dos Hermanas twice. And he has a very unpleasant style. He's a very challenging opponent.

EV: How would you describe his style?

DK: Active, he likes to play actively, but he's good at all other stages. I'm sure he'd be a GM in no time if he played in tournaments.

EV: Why do you use the word puzzled?

DK: He's unusual player. I have to admit that I didn't know what to expect when I was playing him last year. But we've played 2 games so far, so now I understand him better. That experience should help, should Boston put him on board 2

EV: That was a pretty amazing game you lost last year in the finals.

DK: Yeah, I lost the thread after I sacrificed a piece, and he rebounded. He knew how to take his chance.

EV: I noticed you had a particularly high score with white (+4 =1 -0). Is that why Dallas chose white on two and four?

DK: Because of Bayaara and me. Marko wasn't happy with that, because he had to play a ridiculous amount of games with black this year. But Marko is very confident.

EV: Why?

DK: If you see how fast he makes his moves, it's actually hilarious. He thinks for 15 seconds, which is quite bold if you're playing GMs on board 1. But he might have to spend some more time against Larry :)

EV: Is anyone on the team graduating this year? Are there any new players you are hoping or planning to get for next year?

DK: I don't know about any new players. This year we got a talented player from New Zealand. I project him to be a very good player

EV: What’s his name and how strong is he now?

DK: Puchen Wang, 2450. And yes, most people are graduating very soon: Drasko, John, Alejandro in the spring, me in the summer. Marko is doing his masters; Andrei's done; Magesh is also done. But no worry, we can still play USCL. We still have Jacek Stopa, Bercys, Wang, Zivanic, Zorigt, and Igor.

EV: You mentioned a tournament at UTD starting this week. What is it and who is playing?

DK: It's a traditional invitational tournament held every year. There will be 3 GMs: Becerra, Kudrin and Ramirez, and 7 IMs from UTD. I believe it's category 9

EV: Is there anything you would change about the USCL?

DK: More money! Make it a professional league, if possible. I know Greg is doing a great job with sponsors, but it would be great if teams could get funding of their own, like in Europe. And then have one playing venue, once a year. But that's European model.

EV: Ah, but why? Why get everyone together? Who cares? Spectators prefer ICC, and its so much easier.

DK: Yeah, you're right about that, but games can still be viewed online, even if they're played live.

EV: Clocks might not be accurate.

DK: That's a weak excuse.

EV: true.

DK: Most European leagues are set up that way, even Croatian.

EV: I saw you played in the Croatian league over the summer.

DK: Yeah..it wasn't very good. I missed my final norm in one move. I was completely winning and just blew it away and even lost in the end. So that was quite a punch in the face.

EV: Would you trade winning that game for actually taking a serious punch in the face?

DK: lol, yes! Absolutely

EV: Even if it broke your nose?

DK: I can grow a new one

EV: Nice. Last question. I would like you to tell me a story. It can be about anything.

DK: A funny one? I have one from my freshman year. It involves a banana peel.
I was hurrying to catch my class, history, and I was eating a banana. So when I came to the classroom, it was just about 7 pm, when my class was starting. But I couldn't figure out where to throw banana peel cause there was no trash around. So, I see women’s restroom, and I don't think, I just go in there and throw a banana in trash. No one was in there: so far so good. So as I exit the restroom, my history teacher comes down the hall, and he takes notice of me exiting the women's restroom and we stare at each other for a few seconds.

He was a pretty humorous guy, so he started teasing me about it big time. And of course he introduced me to the class as the banana boy. It was probably the biggest public embarrassment for me, but I thought the situation was pretty funny.

EV: That’s a very beautiful story. Thank you for your time.


Anonymous said...

Ilya gets no respect, and yet he continues to win.

His Manager has faith in him.


Anonymous said...

No post on the Trolgar issue? Are you being sued? Are you a defendant at all?

We humbly ask to know.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Matt, any special reason you capitalize Manager? It's kinda eerie when combined with "faith"?

Me? Sued? For being a smartass?
I don't bring it up because I'm all funnied out on the issue. (I would imagine that if anyone was really dying of curiosity as to my take on the matter, they would already have searched the blog for the term Polgar and that should probably give you a fairly good idea.)

Adam said...

A strong international tournament at the University of Dallas-Texas ended in a tie between grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez of Costa Rica and international master Davorin Kuljasevic of Croatia. Each had 7.5 points out of 11. Kuljasevic’s result was good enough for a grandmaster norm.


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Anonymous said...

Adam, that is a lie this tournament is only at round 3, it concludes on Nov 30, its 9 rounds long. So why dont u go f..k yourself.

Anonymous said...

"Matt, any special reason you capitalize Manager? It's kinda eerie when combined with "faith"?"

Blessed is Krasik when men revile him and persecute him and utter all kinds of evil against him falsely on my account.

Anonymous said...

KulJ is shy, but he makes the ladies blush; with all his moves. Go Dallas!

Anonymous said...

No one routs for Dallas but UTD students because they are all foreign nationals and dont represent chess in the US, let Serbians, Croatians and Mongols rout for them. Go Boston --go Larry Chrstiansen a three time US Champion and an American legend, thats the team to rout for.

Anonymous said...

Yeah that Igor Schneider just came off the boat.

Also team manager John Bartholomew, I forget where he's from....Kazakhstan maybe?

Elizabeth Vicary said...

it's better to be a Mongol than a dickhead.

Anonymous said...

Yes better, but not by much.

Anonymous said...

Umm, I dont see any americans on Dallas playing in the finals, Bartholemew only American on their roster and he isnt even playing.

Matan said...

Igor Schneider was born here, I believe. And if he wasn't, who cares, that's not the point. This kind of faux patriotism is pathetic.

May the best team win!

Anonymous said...

americans dont know how to play chess anyways, whats the point here?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Ummm.... Perelshteyn, Sammour-Hasbun, Smelov, Martirosov, and Krasik are all Boston players born in other countries. (Some would say Krasik is from another planet! :) )

And I was born in Massachusetts, which is practically a Communist country also.

We're all mutts here in America.