Wed, 08 Jan 2003

Percasi to recruit Russian chess coach

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian Chess Association (Percasi) will be scouring Russia for a chess trainer as part of its campaign for the medal hunt at the next Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, an official said.

"I will leave for Russia early next month and try to make contact with some of the chess figures in the country, who may be recruited as a trainer," Eka Putra Wirya, executive director of Percasi, told The Jakarta Post here on Tuesday.

Eka will be accompanied by Utut Adianto, Indonesia's number one grand master who is also in charge of youth development in the association.

One of the trainer candidates the Indonesian entourage will approach is Evgeny Sveshnikov, who is renowned in the chess world for his invention of the Sveshnikov Variation.

Should the approach be realized, Sveshnikov will be recruited on a three-month contract and tasked with preparing an Indonesian chess team for the SEA Games, a biennial multi-event sporting showcase among Southeast Asian nations.

"If the approach falls through, we will turn to others. Russia is abundant with high-quality chess trainers," said Eka, who has announced his plans to retire from Percasi in the next congress in July.

He did not disclose the amount of funds set aside for the trainer recruitment program.

The next SEA Games will be hosted by Vietnam in December, at which the chess competition will provide eight gold medals up for grabs.

Kristianus Liem, a chess columnist, hailed Sveshnikov as a theoretician with remarkable coaching expertise.

"To be a good coach, one should not only be able to play well on the board, but he must also have managerial skills for coaching," he said.

Percasi's hunt for a Russian chess trainer is likely to mark the first return of a foreign chess mentor in five years.

Stefan Jurich of Yugoslavia was the first foreigner to arrive in Indonesia in 1992 to prepare a team for the Manila Chess Olympiad. Nikolai Andrianov of Russia coached between 1995 and 1997, during which time he focused on women and young players.

Kristianus said a foreign coach should be able to raise Indonesia's prospects for the chess medals at the SEA Games.

"Hopefully, the arrival of a foreign coach will bring an encouraging vibes to the team.

"Players have, by nature, their own specific barriers in their games, and a coach with vast experience should be able to hone them individually," he said.