By Matthew Owens

Translation by Ginetta Owens-Solari

FIDE Master Joao Avalos took some time out from his busy practice schedule to give Chileno his thoughts on some key questions on chess and what direction the game in Chile should take in the future. Joao is currently ranked 56 in Chile.

Name: Avalos Parra, Joao
Federation: Chile
FIDE title: FIDE Master
Highest rating: 2323
Born: 1981
Sex: Male


Chileno – When did you start to play chess and how much time do you devote to practice and development? 

Joao – Comence a los 14 años de edad, y dedico unas 4 horas al ajedrez diariamente.

Joao – I started when I was14 years old and I devote around 4 hours daily to play chess.

Chileno – What are your ambitions in chess?

Joao – Hoy en dia mis ambiciones son conseguir el titulo de maestro internacional de ajedrez y competir en el circuito mundial de este deporte.

Joao – Today my ambitions are to achieve the international master title and to compete on the world chess circuit.

Chileno – How important is studying chess theory to your game?

Joao – La teoría del ajedrez es muy importante para practicar este deporte a un nivel profesional ,debido a que es un lado importante del desarrollo de cualquier ajedrecista para poder alcanzar objetivos importantes en este deporte.

Joao – Chess theory is very important to play at a professional level.This is an important part of every chess player’s game in order to accomplish important achievements in the sport.

Chileno – Do you use computers as part of your studies?

Joao – Jugar con computadoras no realmente , si con las computadoras analizo mis partidas y estudioa de entrenamiento para comprobar pensamientos e ideas que se me pueden presentar en el entrenamiento mismo.

Joao – I don’t really play with computers, but I do analyse my chess matches using computers and learn by training and from my thoughts and ideas that may present themselves whilst training.

Chileno – The English grandmaster Nigel Short has complained that computers may destroy chess and that “cheating with computers is the gravest threat to chess today”, do you agree with that statement?

Joao – Bueno en cierta medida las computadoras pueden destruir la mistica imaginativa y creativa del juego, pero  sigo creyendo en que la inventiva e imaginación del ser humano es mas grande que el mero calculo y evaluación fría de una computadora. Por lo mismo creo que la trampa en ajedrez influye miuy poco e el juego verdadero del ajedrez en si. Es decir, dudo que el juego tramposo le gane a la inventiva humana.

Joao – I think that in a certain way, computers might destroy the imagination and creativeness of the game; however I still believe that the invention and imagination of the human being is much bigger than the cold and basic calculations of a computer. For that reason I think that cheating in chess has little influence in the real game.Therefore, I doubt that cheating will win over human creativeness.

Chileno – How vital is it to have a very powerful memory in chess – How many moves ahead can you calculate on the chess board?

Joao – La memoria es una virtud fundamental para desarrollar un buen juego de ajedrez , es algo que marca diferencia entre un jugador fuerte de uno débil, creo que  puedo calcular alrededor de 6 u 10 movimientos,aunque me encantaría que fueran mas , por el bien de mi futuro en este deporte.

Joao – Memory is a vital part to be able to develop a good chess game, it is something that marks the difference between a strong or a weak player, I think I can calculate around 6 to 10 moves ahead, although I would love to be able to do better in the future.         

Chileno – Would you say that chess is about combat perhaps fuelled by testosterone, or is it a strategic exercise?

Joao – Claramente el ajedrez es un juego de estrategia aunque como en todo deporte puede influir en situaciones determinadas  la testosterona para ganar.

Joao – Clearly, chess is a strategy game although like in every sport and in certain situations, but testosterone could help you to win.

Chileno – Fischer, and others in Chess have sometimes been associated with insanity. Do you think there is a danger of becoming obsessed with chess and it damaging your health?

Joao – Creo que el ajedrez pude causar anomalías mentales asi como cualquier deporte físico causa daños físicos como lesiones,etc. Asociar al ajedrecista con un potencial enfermo mental  es otra cosa que creo fuera de lugar … el ajedrecista peca de usar mucho su mente si eso es enfermedad bienvenida sea aquella..entonces a varias personas les favorecia este juego.. si Fischer fue considerado enfermo por ocupar su cerebro jugando ajedrez  mas que cualquier persona en este mundoen cualquier ámbito del pensamiento humano  entonces DIGANME LOCO que se los agradeceré.

Joao – I think that chess may cause mental anomalies like any other physical sport can cause physical damage like injuries etc. to associate a chess player with a potential mental illness is another thing that I think it is going too far … A chess player makes a mistake by using his mind too much and if that can be called insanity, then I welcome it!  A lot of people can take advantage of this game if that is the case then.  If Fischer was considered to be ill for using his brain to play chess more than any other person in the world or any sphere of human thought, then CALL ME  CRAZY and I would thank you for this.

Chileno – What is the chess scene like in Chile today? How does it compare to other countries and do you think it has changed over time?

Joao – Creo que Chile es un país totalmente básico en el desarrollo del ajedrez , hacen falta muchos cambios y mejoras para aspirar a obtener un nivel medianamente mundial. Comparado con otros países de america y el mundo estamos a años luz , pero tengo la esperanza de que mejore la situación de este deporte.

Joao – I think that Chile is at a very basic level in the development of chess, we need a lot of changes and better opportunities to achieve a medium world level. If we compare ourselves to other countries in the Americas and the rest of the world I think we are light years behind but I hope this situation will improve soon.

Chileno – As with the rest of the world, there are many more men than women playing at top levels in Chile. Why do you think this is?

Joao – Sin querer quedar como machista , creo que el ajedrez es un 80% paciencia por eso las mujeres lo descartan de plano, que mujer aguanta 5 horas sentadas sin moverse ni poder hablar??  Solo pensando …pocas.

Joao – Without being called a chauvinist, I think chess is 80%  patience and for that reason women are not interested, what woman will be able to stay still for 5 hours without being able to move and talk, just thinking… only a few.

Chileno – What do you think the future holds for chess in Chile? What are the three most important developments that need to happen to make improvements?

Joao – Creo que en Chile el ajedrez no mejorara sin una política clara y decidida hacia este deporte, sabemos que el ajedrez es poco comercial y masivo. Ninguna empresa privada apuesta por un deporte que le retribuya poca publicidad, creo que puntos neurálgicos para mejorar esta situación son INFORMACION a la gente sobre las bondades de este deporte, APOYO de la empresa privada y COMPROMISO con esta actividad. Con estos 3 puntos tomados en serio el ajedrez chileno puede mejorar hostenciblemente.

Joao – I think that chess in Chile won’t get better until there is a clear and dedicated policy towards this sport; we all know that chess is not very commercial and wide reaching.  A private company won’t invest in a sport that will bring hardly any publicity if any at all, I think that the major things to improve this situation are COMMUNICATION to the people about the benefits of this sport, SUPPORT from private companies and LOYALTY in this activity.  With these 3 points taken into consideration seriously Chilean chess can improve  dramatically.

Chileno – Thank you Joao for taking the time out for Chileno and we wish you good luck in your future endeavours.



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