Interview with Toms Kantans

1) How long do you play chess and what could you tell about yourself shortly as a chess player?

I learned moves from my grandpa early, but can't really say at what age. Although the real playing started at age of 6 when in school there was extracurricular chess group. When I was 9 I went to one of few tournaments my coach told me to play, turned out it was Latvian U-10 semifinal and after showing good result there I was in final. In theory I was told that winners get to play either in European or World championships, but in reality I had no idea what it meant. After winning last round game being 2 pieces down I took the 2nd place. The very same time my cousin, our team manager, Ritvars, won U-12 group. Our parents worked hard to find sponsors to send us together to European championship. After 10 days abroad with no parent supervision and having the best time I was hooked. There was no turning back, came new coaches, more and more international tournaments or in other words, I became a chess player. 🙂
As a chess player I am always trying to be ambitious, I hate draws and want to win every game, sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes not.

2) How do you see yourself in 5 years?

I am Grandmaster with rating over 2650, loving husband to my amazing wife and father to my then 6 years old son. Hopefully living in some place with warmer winters than in Riga 🙂)

3) Do you have a player who has always been your favorite and/or has inspired you?

I have never been fan of any particular player, didn't know any classics for a long time, just loved the game. At the moment I must repeat Arturs, as Igor Kovalenko has been a very big role model who by his example of dedication and hard work made me believe that it is possible to rise and shine.

4) How many hours/minutes per day do you devote for chess on a daily basis? Participation in tournaments doesn't count!

Since I am a father working on chess at home has become way more complicated, but together with wife we try to find a way for each of us to have some hours of work during a day.

5) Name your three best and worst characteristics!

Best: ambitious, tenacious, patient. Worst: shy, lazy, over-thinker.

6) Former World Champion Bobby Fischer once said that chess is life. What do you think?

There is way more to life than chess, but it most certainly is a lifestyle, maybe you could even say it is like a drug, once you are really infected saying no is very, very hard.

7) Could you win Magnus Carlsen in a match with a pawn handicap in every game?

Probably no, as being pawn up every game I would want to win every game too much which would mean going too crazy at some point.

8) What future do you see for online chess?

I think it will stay strictly as a place to have some fun, for some people to learn few things, but never something more as it is already very hard to prevent some people from cheating and with online chess this task becomes almost impossible unless it is played in some specially adjusted places with arbiter supervision, but in that case why not to play live chess?

9) What's the last book you have read which is not about chess?

The Ways of the world by Robert Goddard. Just finished it, in time not to have to reveal the one before this. 🙂

10) And finally, what do you expect from the Pro Chess League?

Having fun, but also like in every tournament, to win!

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