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Monday, July 17, 2006

Online Chess Interview With Woman Intl. Master Arianne Caoili

Dennis Steele: Arianne, I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer questions from the ChessManiac community.

Questions from the ChessManiac Community:

ChessMan2004: What inspired you the most to pursue this career? Do you have other interest besides chess? And since I am a filipino by race, who do you think is the best filipino player right now in your own opinion and why?

Arianne Caoili: I started chess when i was 6 by watching high school boys at my school play during lunch time. You could say this was the beginning of my "career" in chess, but in my opinion, i don't remember any inspiration for playing. I think it was just as a love affair, starting firstly with fascination.

Of course these were beginning days. Only when i was 9 did i begin to play tournaments internationally (as there are no serious FIDE tournaments in the philippines despite the huge chess culture and strong players there) and you could say that i began a shortly lived career in chess. But, as in your question, i have other interests and along with high school they took over chess and when i was 14 i quit pursuing the "chess career". Since then i play only a few tournaments for fun per year when i have time, and consequently have lost about 200 elo points in the process!

These other interests include singing, latin dancing, boxing, reading, languages, travelling and studying.

The current best filipino player in my opinion ? Mac mac!! (mark paragua)...i have known him since i was 8 as a talent and a fantastic guy. The reasons for him being number 1 are are obvious - he is over 2600, the highest rated in filipino history, he works very hard for chess and he is a great guy. Eugene and joey are also fantastic, but not as young and energetic for chess as Mac mac.

Zroyalrook: What are your suggestions for a class C player as to how to prepare for an over-the-board tournament?

Arianne Caoili: I am no expert on how to prepare somebody of your strength for a tournament. However, from experience in my own level it is clear that there needs to be a balance in regards to what you work on. Tactics, calculation, endgames, analysis of your own games and of course opening preparation are important areas...even mentally, you need to be prepared. The question of course is, how hard you should work on these areas but this depends on your goal - however, balance, as in anything, is the most important. I cannot give exact suggestions on what you should work on, as this depends on your level and personal style.

Piney1000: Who would you like to face on the chess board that you have not faced yet?

Arianne Caoili: To be honest, no particular player comes to my mind while at the same time there are many I can think of whom i would like to play! Because the answer to your question would be either 1) a player who's style i find intrinsically fascinating (e.g.: Karpov, Aronian) or 2) a player who i'd like to beat for the purpose of revenge or because i have something against them (someone i dislike or who's mere presence offends's always nice to avenge these kinds over the board!).

Alexey Hurricane: Do you play football? What do you do to stop yourself from getting to nervous when you play chess?

Arianne Caoili: Unfortunately, I do not play football. The only time i ever have is with the Norwegian and Australian chess teams in the 2004 and 2006 olympiads. It was great fun and a fantastic way to relax. When i was younger i was a big fan of Michael Owen.

In regards to your other question, i actually never get nervous when i play chess. I have never understood why people get the shakes during time trouble or when they are playing. For me, chess is to relax. It is an instrument to chill out. I love the chess culture and the mere act of playing chess is calming and enjoyable. Of course then, the natural thing to debate is the motives for playing. Some people play professionally to survive and feed their family (for they can do nothing else) while others play for fun...the difference of importance is huge...but nevertheless, even knowing this, i am sure that ultimately, to play well for long periods it is necessary to enjoy chess and bad nerves certainly have a detrimental effect. i have spoken to many strong GMs who play proffesionally and even them, for whom chess is everything, are calm since to be void of emotions is vital for strong play. Chess is an art form and as in any art the artist must surrender to external pressures in order for natural ideas to come through.

the.wild.geese: I'm a relatively new chess player, just getting into the game, and trying to get a sense more of how good chess players think.

In another chess maniac online chess interview, Alexandra Kosteniuk was asked, "Does chess encourage or constrain your love life, and if yes how much?" Her reply was, "One should not mix one's personal life with one's professional life, and always strive for harmony between the two."

So here's my question(s) for you:
How do you yourself make that distinction between your personal and your
professional life? If you are passionate about chess or anything else, does
it not become an expression of yourself? Where, if at all, do you find
yourself drawing that line between your personal and professional life; and
to what extent do those separations motivate or discipline each "life?"

Arianne Caoili: I agree with Alexandra that we should not mix business with pleasure. In regards to chess, it can be viewed either as an art or as business. In my opinion, chess is both (this is why it is such a unique game) for you need to be artistic while being unemotional.

I think however that in practical issues, (assuming for a moment that chess is purely business), the line can be drawn in regards to how much socializing you do, how much you sleep and anything that takes focus away from the chess may be considered as a distraction. So the line can then clearly be drawn.

But when discussing non practical issues - not schedules, how much you drink, sleep or eat and socialize or be distracted (as calculating the correct behaviour in order to reach a goal, like studying for an exam) - when discussing issues of the heart, like love, for instance, no line can be drawn. For if we assume that chess is an art, or as you say, any type of "life" that you pursue, as long as it is an art, subjectivity is always at play and thus from the heart springs motivation and inspiration to be an artist, and from the imagination comes artistic ideas of which logic plays no part. So you could say that for singing or any art form, personal life plays a huge role and this influence is mostly invited and no line is drawn; for without it, the artist cannot create. The impressionist oscar wilde and even franz kafka are examples - their writing, however praised their technique, would be nothing without the ideas they wrote about. They looked at material subjectively and thus impressioned what the artist inside them felt, and in this there are no seperations.

So i'd say that i decide what exactly is business and what is art. For whatever is business, i take logical steps in achieving the goal in which practical borders must be drawn and distractions seperated in order to succeed (and of course a huge doce of discipline). For things that are art, personal life, or love, is welcomed as from it the ability to create comes.

I am a class C player and I have been playing Chess for 15 years. I have been told by other strong players that my play is much stronger than class C yet I seem to be having trouble improving my rating beyond this level. I admit I have not entered many tournaments lately and I am planning to start tournament play again. I see my play as being inconsistent. I might play one strong game and than blunder in my next. I usually win just over half the games I play at my level. I tend to get weaker as the game progresses into the middle game to the endgame although my opening play could improve as well. What advice can you give an inconsistent player like myself on how to improve the strength of my game? Where should I begin?

Arianne Caoili: In my opinion, in chess, there are no excuses. There is the clock, there are blunders, there are good and bad games. In the end there are always mistakes and the quicker we accept it the quicker we improve. I think inconsistence is an excuse - if we are consistently inconsistent it means that in some positions we are caught and dont know what to do which means we need to work on those positions. Speaking from what i did when i was younger and playing and training all the time - the best thing to do is analyse your own games. I think this is the fastest way to improve and in hard work is the ability to play your best in which lies no excuse. You said that you blunder every second game...maybe this is a question of tactics or concentration.

Rooked again:
I've played chess off and on for years for the fun of it. I'm a solid 1500 player, but I want to take my game to the next level. I tried reading Nunn's Chess Openings, but got bored quickly. What do you think is the best way for a player to improve without spending hundreds of hours of reading and memorizing opening positions?

Arianne Caoili: To improve without spending time memorizing hundreds of opening variations - i think, play a lot, analyse your own games, analyse games of classic players (karpov, alekhine) and work on tactics/calculation.

wayne no1:
Just wondering if when playing male players do you dress a bit suductavley and aim to distract them with your beauty as well as dazle them with briliance you find them looking more at you than the chess board ...i think i would be distracted

Arianne Caoili: The way i dress at the board has nothing to do with whom i am playing. I dress the way i feel to dress that day and i am naturally not comfortable wearing overly revealing clothes. I find this trick a tad bit cheap and in my opinion uncharacteristic of a truly beautiful woman.

robbakery: Is it much harder to become an IM than a WIM?

Arianne Caoili: Definately. When i was younger and playing a lot i scored WIM norms quite often in open tournaments, but when i scored my first IM norm it was much harder. The rating performances are 200 points in difference (i think).

robbakery: Are there differences that you've noticed in tendencies between men and women in how they play chess?

Arianne Caoili: Men are definately stronger. This has been proven over time and it's something we all should just accept. In my opinion, the difference lies in the fact that women are more emotional. An example of this is that a man will make a decision according to the position, while a woman will decide according to her emotions. Of course, strong women players like Polgar and Stefanova have merely learnt how to tame this weakness and it may very well be that their natural personalities are a lot more logical or unemotional than other women players.

robbakery:I understand you like backgammon as well. Do you think one of the reasons chess is more commonly played professionally than backgammon is that luck is less of an issue?

Arianne Caoili: I am not sure if i agree with you that chess is played more than backgammon. But i know for sure that backgammon has a lot more money in regards to prize money.

robbakery: When playing chess informally, does it tend to be more entertaining than when competing professionally?

Arianne Caoili: For sure it is more entertaining, because you can drink and talk nonsense while blitzing, for example...but both are equally as enjoyable in different ways. One is entertaining while with the other you are actually playing for something.

GhasMaster: What is your favourite opening and why?

Arianne Caoili: I enjoy playing many openings. Choosing only one is difficult, but if i must it would be the Spanish with both colours.

Eddiepogi: Where's your place in the Philippines?
What is the tournaments you have played before in the Philippines?

Arianne Caoili: I do not know my current philippine ranking as i have not played any national tournaments there since 2000. When i was much younger (from the ages 8 to 13) i played all the national championships, junior championships, shell active tournaments around the country and different events in edsa, green hills and the chess cafe. I enjoy playing in the philippines immensely.

Dennis Steele:
Thanks for your time Arianne.

Arianne Caoili: Cheers to everyone in the community.

Please visit Arianne Caoili's website for more information. Her new website will be operational soon at So keep checking back.


Blogger Ray Duque 3 said...

I just posted a question at Chessmaniac forum to ask Arianne Caoili about Raymond Duque if she ever met him. His rating at USCF is 2524 and his FIDE is around that figure too. Please look at him at USCF. Is he the highest Filipino rating or Mark Paragua? Raymond is my nephew but my rating is only 1500.

Ray Duque III
New York City

7/20/2006 7:18 PM  

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