The balance Daniel Dardha, 13-year-old chess championAugust 13, 2019
At the age of thirteen, Daniel Dardha crowned himself as Belgian chess champion last Saturday, the youngest ever. The Antwerp super talent dreams of becoming "grandmaster" before the age of sixteen. He makes his personal balance here.
What are your most important assets?
"My smartphone. It shows the phone numbers of my friends and all my chess apps. It is my favorite thing, I could not miss it for a day. In the evening I never go to sleep without first playing chess on the small screen. But when I call my friends, we almost never talk about chess, but about football or skating. "
Who has invested in you?
"My father, he is my chess coach. I come from a family of chess players: both my father and grandfather have a great level. They taught me the passion from an early age. I was already watching the game when I could barely walk. I didn't understand it right away, but I did like it. I like to solve thinking games and creative riddles. They fascinate me. When my father let me play my first chess tournament, I was barely seven years old. "
"Homework is a must, chess is a must."
What is the best advice you have ever received?
"My father always says:" Homework is a must, chess is a must. "So I only play chess when there is time left. But then two hours a day. View and re-play parties of grandmasters, for example. And read chess books. Dad says I have talent, but you can't get anywhere without much exercise. My grandfather coached an important club in Albania before my dad immigrated to Belgium in 1997. I got the message from them that you have to work hard if you want to achieve something in life. "
What was your quantum leap? When did you grow the most?
"When I became world champion in fast-chess in Greece with young people under 14 last year. Since then, the chessboard has been brought out every evening. "
Do you sometimes go in the red?
"There are sometimes days when I am very tired. Latin at the Xaverius College in Antwerp is tough. You have to learn a lot of vocabulary and grammar from the outside, while chess is more about understanding, calculating and thinking ahead. Although the latter is not entirely true. I like to experiment by trying out new opening variants, and you have to study them well. "
Is your balance balanced?
'Yes. It sometimes seems difficult to play a chess tournament. At the Belgian championship, I sat for ten days every day for up to six hours playing chess behind a board facing adults. But I don't get nervous quickly. I always come in with a good feeling. For me that is enjoyment. Chess not only teaches you to think strategically, my father says. It also makes you think about decisions you need to make in your life. And it stimulates courtesy. This way you shake your opponent's hand before and after each game. It is not just a sport of thought, you also learn to be social. "
What is your big ambition?
"My goal is to become a grandmaster, preferably before the age of sixteen. Grandmaster is the highest achievable title in the chess world. If I succeed in setting up, I will be the youngest ever in Belgium. My idol is Magnus Carlsen, the 28-year-old world champion. I would like to become that too, although it will not be easy. (laughs) Becoming a professional chess player is not my first ambition. I prefer to live a normal life with a normal job, and with chess as an important part of that. But if my level is so good that I can make it my profession later, I will certainly try. "
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