The following is an interview by Abed Munoz, NAYCC 2009 HOD. Chess Campeona invited me to be the American representative for this project, together with WCM Danitza Vazquez from Puerto Rico and WCM Elisa Plasencia of Venezuela. Chess Campeona will be following my life for the next couple of weeks.
PAN AMERICAN PROJECT - CM STUART FINNEY - UNITED STATES
1. How old are you and in what city do you live in?
I am now 15, and live in Barrington, RI, USA
2. What grade did you attend this year and in what school?
Just finished 9th grade at Barrington High School
3. What is your national chess rating and FIDE rating?
USCF-2175 per the official July 2010 supplement; FIDE-2090 as of July 2010
4. When did you learn how to play chess and at what age?
My Dad first taught me the basics around 2000, at age 5
5. Who currently coaches you?
FM David Griego of RI locally, and GM Predrag Trajkovic of Serbia [via internet]. I also visit GM Larry Christiansen from time to time
6. Do you have a chess blog or website? If so, provide us the address.
I started one last fall, at http://stuartfinneychessworld.blogspot.com/
7. How many hours per week do you study chess and in what chess club do you mostly participate?
Probably around 10-15 h/w; Blackstone Chess Club is my local club
8. What national and international tournaments have you won or came close to winning?
I won the 2009 North American Youth Chess Championship U-14 Gold Medal, earning the Candidate Master title. In my first international tournament I placed 3rd U-14 as a 9 year old in Mainz in 2004. Last year I was 3rd U14 in the Rethymno 2009 International Open Chess Tournament in Crete.
Nationally, I won trophies in 6 consecutive National Scholastic Tournaments in 2003 to 2005, before focusing more on open tournaments. I won the right to represent my State in the Denker this year, but had to forgo the opportunity because it clashes with the PanAmericans.
9. In your chess career, which chess player present or past has influenced your style of play?
10. What do your parents do for a living?
Dad-Chief Financial Officer for a global division of a Swedish public company; Mom-Pharmacist by profession, currently main job is to look after the family.
11. Do you have brothers and/or sisters?
2 younger sisters-Laura (age 13), Emma (age 11)
12. How is your schedule like in a regular day during the school year?
I am up by 6:30 and go to school at 7:30 (next year I am taking Chemistry, Physics, Advanced Placement Calculus, American Literature, United States History, Gym, and Mandarin Chinese). When I get home around 2:30, I do homework, play the piano, play scrabble, do random trivia, chat with friends, play ping-pong, read, study chess, and do my household chores. A couple of days of the week I go to kung-fu classes.
13. What other sports or hobbies besides chess do you participate in?
Kung-fu, Ping-pong, Piano; now retired from soccer (!)
14. What careers appeal to you for college?
Something to do with math and/or science
15. What are your chess goals?
Become a Grandmaster, and in the nearer term, to win the RI State Championship, win the Denker, and win the Pan-Ams!
16. How did you qualify to play in the Pan American?
Won Gold Medal at 2009 North American Youth Chess Championships
17. Which organizations are financially sponsoring your trip to the Pan American?
None. But I won $400 earlier this year playing in the RI Chaminade Club piano competition, and this money is going towards the Pan-Ams.
18. How many players from your country will be participating in the Pan American Youth and who do you know?
So far I have only really focused on my own section, where there are 3 other US players; one of them I used to go to school with and knew quite well when we were much younger, one I have spoken to few times, and one I don’t know at all.
19. If there is anything you could change about chess, what would it be?
How the USCF rates FIDE tournaments
20. www.chesscampeona.com, will be documenting your life before, during and after the Pan American Youth, why did you decide to participate in this project with two other Latin American players?
My parents told me it would be good for me!