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Interview – A.El Jawich Exclusive!

Interview with the new Lebanese Fide Master Amr ElJawich

By: Mr. Charles Kayle

Summarized Biography: Born on 22/5/1995, Amr ElJawich has started his chess activities by taking part at age of 7, in the 2002 national inter-schools championship. Then everything has started rolling: won, and still winning a lot of local tournaments. The highlights can be read like: inter-schools championship 2002: 1st place, national championship 2006 under 12: 1st place, Inter-schools championship 2007: 1st place, best Arab performance in Asia – UAE 2007, National championship 2007 under 14: 1st place, runner up of U14 Arab championship – UAE in 2008 where (he got the Candidate Master title). In 2010 he crowned his performance by winning the Lebanese Individual championship for Men , member of the Olympic team to Khanty-Mansiysk 2010, gold medal in Arab Interschools in 2010 for Under 18 (while he still Under 16!!!), silver medal for the blitz in the same event, a bronze medal at Arab U16 in Amman 2010.  Recently in April 2011, he took part in the famous Dubai Open, where he scored 4.5/9 points, and took third place in the Lebanese Rapid Individual Championship. His father, Mr.Ali ElJawich, was his principal trainer, till 2005.Then later on; IM Fadi Eid took this responsibility on several intervals.

A draw with GM Nigel Short in 2005

A gold medal at the Arab inter-schools 2010


With GM Vassily Yemelin and GM Alexi Lugovoi (standing)


Charles Kayle: Welcome back and Congratulations for the new achieved title!

Amr ElJawich: thank you very much.

CK: your impression about the Zonal championship

AJ: It was well organized. An excellent 5-stars hotel and its location.  Good and tasty food. A nice playing hall. Everything was ideal.

CK: very good. Let’s move to the technical part. How did you prepare for the championship?

AJ: I didn’t very well for the tournament. Just 2 hours per day, which is not sufficient for this type of Championship, as it is known it is one of the toughest.

CK: What did you feel before the start of it?

AJ: I was very afraid of not getting any point at all due the high level of the event.

CK: In the first round, you were paired against the Qatari IM Hussein Aziz Nezad. How did you prepare for your first game with Black?

AJ: After checking his games in my database, I prepared the line till move 12. After his 13th move, 13 f4, I started having some doubt about my preparation, and after my reply  13..e4 , I was surprised by his 14th move, 14.b4 which was out of  my preparation, which caused me a lot of time on the clock, and my loss.

CK: What did you feel then?

AJ: I didn’t feel annoyed by this loss!

CK: Why?

AJ: because I felt that I played well.

CK: Your next opponent of round2 was the Yemeni FM Hatem ElHadarani. How was it?

AJ: I prepared a certain line, but he surprised me with another. I didn’t fell confortable in the opening and the issuing middle game. But after the 23rd move, I felt relieved. If I had more time, I would play for the win, but I didn’t want to risk it.

CK: in round 3 you faced the unknown and unrated Syrian player, AbdulQader Al Rifai. How did you prepare?

AJ: I couldn’t! There wasn’t any game for him in my data base, while he prepared  for me as there was a lot of published games of mine in the chess data bases. But he was surprised by my chosen variation, got an edge and won.

CK: It is interesting to know how you prepared against your opponent of round 4, your room mate! the UAE player, Omar Noaman.

AJ:  yes, but this was solved one round earlier when he moved to his single room, so both of us were able to prepare to each other more freely. I spent too much time on the opening, while he played it somehow quickly. But later I started play much strongly, which pushed him to spend some time on the clock, and we reached an equal endgame. Then when I reached a drawn position, with little time left on my clock, some ghosts came to my mind, as every experienced player knows, started panic, and played a weak move to lead to my defeat.

CK: and what did you feel after this?

AJ: I was very tired, very annoyed by my loss, especially that the game finished around 11.30 PM, knowing that the next round will be scheduled at 10 am of next day.

CK: your round 5 opponent was also the unknown Kuwaiti player Bader Nasser.

AJ: I didn’t find any difficulties in winning my game against him.

CK: your next opponent of round 6 was the aggressive player the Bahraini Hussein Ayyad. How did you prepare for this round?

AJ: I surprised him in my second prepared move, and then he surprised me back with his 3rd one! Then we entered a variation alien to both of us. The game continued somewhat in a balanced way, till he made the mistaken 18th move, on which I returned the compliment, while I could win with the move 19. Nxd5. Then the game concluded peacefully.

CK: Then came the round 7 pairing. You opponent is the Qatari GM Mohammad Nasser ElSayed! What did you feel? Especially you will face him with the Black pieces.

AJ: I felt very happy!! As he was the first grandmaster I am going to face in this championship, and usually I feel very comfortable when facing titled players, as there is nothing to lose!!

I prepared the variation till the 12th move, and then I had a memory gap, and forgot the 13th! Which caused me a lot of time on the clock, and as a result, played some weak moves. My opponent got profit from this, got a clear advantage. But he underestimated the position, played overconfidently, made a mistake, which allowed me to be back in the game, even with some chances to win. But due to mutual time trouble, it was difficult to find the win, so the draw was agree.

I was very happy with this tie against a grandmaster, while my opponent felt very annoyed, so that he signed the score sheet and left very quickly the playing hall. May be this game affected him badly as he later lost to the Bahraini player Ayyad.

There were a lot of spectators following our games, including several grandmasters and trainers, like GM Edvin Kengis, GM Ihsan GhaemMaghami,  GM Alexi Kuzmin, etc… After the game, they jumped to the table to analyze the game and the concluded final position!!!

CK: Now in round 8, you will face the top seeded the Iranian GM Ihsan GhaemMaghami! How did you prepare?

AJ: My next opponent is a nice person. We even analyzed together some of the games I played so far in the championship! When the pairing was announced, he asked me: “Did you prepared well for me?” I replied: “you play a lot of variations. Too difficult to prepare against you!”

CK: But you prepared for him!?

AJ: I surprised him with the variation I choose. Till the 12th move, Ne5, which was weak, and due to the issued complications, I didn’t have enough space to maneuver, which gave him the advantage. But both of us entered the time trouble zone, and a lot of spectators, especially Emirati citizens and VIPs, started gathering around our table, as our game result was decisive for the Emirati GM Salem Abdulrahman, who was fighting for the first place, and my opponent was the leader then. Till he blundered on move 36, then I immediately noticed that I can win. I profited from this occasion to making a winning combination, which leaded to my win. Of course my opponent was very annoyed and felt sad with his loss, left the playing hall quickly, as he lost also the only remaining ticket for the World Cup (The UAE GM Salem AbdelRahman qualified for the World Cup by winning the zone – CK).

I was, and am, every happy by this win, as not only I beat a strong grandmaster, but also I achieved the required score for obtaining the Fide Master title!!

CK: your last game was against the Jordanian IM Sami Khader Safarini.

AJ: yes, but it was a morning game, and I was very tired from the yesterday game, taking dinner too late outside the hotel, so no time left for preparation. This caused a lot of mistakes from my part, which my opponent profited to win.

I didn’t feel sad about my last game, as I got a new title for my country, and to raise my country name, Lebanon, higher and higher.

CK: Any suggestion to the LCF?

AJ: nearly all the costs and expenses are paid by the parents of the players or the players themselves. Hope that the LCF can take over some of those big financial responsibilities.

Also all the other players have chief of delegates or member of their national federation accompanying them, relieving their players form any administrative duties, except Lebanon: no chief  of delegation was present, nor  any official Lebanese VIP.

CK: Any regret?

AJ: no body from the LCF bothered himself to congratulate me for my performance. Just close friends did that.  Add to this, there was no national media covering the event, except you, what you did on Facebook and site. Just in the last couple of rounds, the local newspaper (AlMoustaqbal) covered them.

CK: Can you tell us if anyone helped you in the preparation for the championship?

AJ: there was a close friend to my father, and he is like an elder brother to me, who assisted me in the preparation of some variations before and during the tournament, against my opponents, through emails. But he refused, at least for the moment, to let me announce his name. But he deserves to be declared. I respect his wish.

CK: What is your next plan?

AJ: As the Lebanese Championship is approaching, I will try to prepare for it in a good way.

CK: And what is your target there?

AJ: to finish in the top 5.

CK: What is your opinion about the current system used by the Lebanese Chess Federation, i.e. 3 stages: first qualification, second qualification, then a final stage?

AJ: it qualifies a higher level of players to the final, although this will be very difficult for a lot of players to spend their time in the first 2 stages in the transportation and time wasted, due to their duties.

CK: Your ambition?

AJ: get the International Master (IM) title!



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