VietNamNet Bridge – After switching to chess from online gaming, 10-year-old Nguyễn Anh Khôi triumphed at the World Youth Chess Championship 2012. Việt Hà talked with him about his stunning victory and his dreams of becoming a doctor.
In the beginning, his parents were reluctant to let him enter a chess contest far from home.
But by the end of his first trip to Đồng Tháp Province, Anh Khôi was a national champion. Since then, the boy has emerged victorious from many competitions. In the world youth chess championship for U10 competitors, he was the only undefeated player.
Inner Sanctum: How did you start playing chess?
I started when I was little. At that time I was addicted to online games, and my parents tried to find something else to entertain me. They asked me to learn chess in the hope that I would have no time to play games online, and they were successful. I approached chess as a hobby, rather than in a professional way.
Inner Sanctum: Why does chess attract you?
Playing chess is like fighting a battle in miniature fashion. I love leading my soldiers into combat against my opponent.
Inner Sanctum: What gives you the edge over your peers?
I think I have natural skill. However, I dont have much experience and knowledge as some of my competitors.
Inner Sanctum: Can you memorize your chess games?
When I play chess, I focus my mind completely on the game, planning every move. So it is not difficult to recall a chess game.
Inner Sanctum: Who is your idol?
I like Lê Quang Liêm. He is modest and gentle, not to mention the chess champion of Việt Nam. I also like Kasparov [a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion] the all-time champion in the field.
Inner Sanctum: What are your strong and weak points as a chess player?
I think I am best in the middle of the game. At the beginning, I often repeat my moves, so my strategy is easy for my opponents to predict.
Inner Sanctum: What player struck you the most during the World Youth Chess Championship 2012?
I was most impressed by my opponent in the sixth game. Her name is Anan and she came from India. It took us over five hours to finish the game, and I really appreciated that even when she knew she would lose, she still tried her best and didnt surrender until the last move.
Inner Sanctum: What was your impression of Slovenia, where the competition took place?
I remember the first day I tried the cable car. When our car started to move down, it suddenly got stuck. A friend in our team shouted loudly, but I calmed his nerves, telling him that other peoples cars got stuck high in the air, and we just got stuck at the beginning, so we were lucky.
Inner Sanctum: I heard that you are not very healthy. Are you trying to improve your health, as other athletes do?
I try to stay in balance by eating more and keeping warm. I dont have very good health because I am allergic to many things. But now I am learning martial arts to maintain my energy during long games.
Inner Sanctum: How do you split your time between studying in primary school and playing chess?
Usually I go to class in the morning and afternoon, and I try my best to finish my homework at school. Once I come home, I start playing sports – chess in particular. I save half of Monday, Wednesday and Friday for chess.
Inner Sanctum: What is your dream?
I hope to be a doctor. Chess is just a hobby.
Inner Sanctum: Thank you, and I wish you more success in the future.