Interview: GM Reinderman on His Kenyan Chess Safari

A week after his Kenyan ‘chess safari’, and enough of a resting period, I decided to catch up with a very witty Dimitri Reinderman for an interview. It is only fitting that we publish it on his birthday.

Now that you are home in Amsterdam, how do you reflect back on your experience in Kenya? What did you enjoy the most about your visit?

What I like most about visiting foreign countries is to talk with the people and to find out about differences with my home country (there are quite a few ;))

Dimitri at his first training session in Kenya
Dimitri at his first training session in Kenya

Compared to South Africa, where you spent some time training the South African national squad, how did you find the chess environment in Kenya? What are the challenges that Kenya needs to overcome before we can start seeing Kenyan chess players becoming IMs and GMs?

In Kenya it looks like the capital city is also the capital city of the chess environment, while in South Africa it was more spread around the country. In SA there was also a lot of chess taught on schools, in Kenya this could be developed more.

To get IMs and GMs, there need to be players who have the intrinsic motivation to work a lot, but they also need to have opportunities to play a lot. For the first part, teaching chess in schools (and clubs) can help: if more people know the rules, there’s more chance of getting dedicated players. For the last part, good organisers can help.

Dimitri and Nairobi Chess Club officials donating a chess set to Kabete Cares Chess Club
Dimitri and Nairobi Chess Club officials donating a chess set to Kabete Cares Chess Club

What did you think of the overall strength of the players you played against at the simultaneous exhibition?

It took me a long time to finish the exhibition, so it was quite tough. It’s comparable with clubs in Holland.

Were you happy with how the events were organised?

Yep, no problems (I’m used to African time by now ;))

Dimitri at Nairobi National Park
Dimitri at Nairobi National Park

You’ve been playing chess for over two decades now. Who introduced you to it? How old were you when you played in your first tournament? When did the ‘competitive chess’ bug bite you?

I was taught the rules by my sister (though she doesn’t play chess herself). At ten I started to play school chess tournaments, at eleven youth chess tournaments. Then the heat was on 🙂

Dimitri and Karel van der Weide at the Dutch under 13 championship in 1984
Dimitri and Karel van der Weide at the Dutch under 13 championship in 1984

As someone who earns a living by playing chess, what is your daily routine like? How many hours do you dedicate to ‘studying’ chess every week?

I probably study too little. During a normal day I check some internet sites, chat a bit, visit a movie at the cinema, write something for schaaksite.nl, stroke my cats 100 times, read the newspaper, watch some television.

Thank you for taking the time out to do this interview. Do you have any last words for our readers?

Enjoy!

(Photo credits: Paras Gudka, Kim Bhari and courtesy)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.