James Zaverdinos – ‘General of the Chessboard’

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By Takis Triadafillou

Chess is one one of the most strategic board games in the world, requiring great mental power and the ability to think three steps ahead of your opponent. Generally as a sport, it is an exciting way to test the mental strength of players, who play on equal bases, by applying the rules of the game accurately and skilfully.

The Greek Herald recently spoke with the ‘General’ of Chess in Sydney, James Zaverdinos. A champion in both the school championship and the New South Wales championship.

TGH: How and when did you start chess?

James Zaverdinos: I started playing chess at the age of eight. While I was playing football, rugby and basketball, chess won me over by watching big games on TV and reading books, and of course my champion teacher Vladimir… encouraged me to take up this exciting sport. I participated in elementary and high school games at Scots College, as well as in chess games at the St George Club.

TGH: When you started at the age of 8, was there something characteristic that you remember and excited you?

Yes, at the age of 12 to make some money, I had set up a small table outside my grandmother’s store on Marrickville Road with the caption “Invitation to win a $12 trophy game.” There, of course, I beat them all, young and old. Only one gentleman, because he lost in a few minutes, did not admit his defeat. This of course made me more mature and calm in my reactions both as a player and as a person.

Photo: Suplied

TGH: How many matches have you played so far?

I have given a lot of fights, with many victories and of course defeats, which gave me the experience to move forward better.

TGH: What else do you do in your free time?

I like fishing. I am a lover of the sea and of course fishing with a rod. As you can see, one of the photos is of me fishing from the shore.

TGH: Are you studying at university now?

Yes I am studying a Bachelor of Property Economics at the University of Technology in Sydney and will finish in about a year.

Photo: Supplied

TGH: Will you play chess internationally as well?

Yes, my goal is to be in international chess games where I will compete with internationally recognised players.

TGH: Which of the great players have influenced you the most?

Robert James “Bobby” Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) was a world chess champion, and the only American to win the FIDE World Championship. Gary Kimovich Kasparov (April 13, 1963) is a Russian former world chess champion and is considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time.

TGH: What would you advise children to who love this sport?

First they have to watch some games in an event, watch TV and read books that will help them cultivate their knowledge. Of course, there is a proposal to make a Greek Chess Championship under the auspices of “Atlas”, suggested by Dimitris Koutroumanis. This will help a lot in attracting many children with Greek heritage. I will be happy to contribute to this initiative and to develop the Greek element in this sport.

TGH: Is it difficult to win a computer?

The computer can now predict a chess move, even if its developer has not done so. Therefore, it is possible to interpret the movements and add your own little stone. If it is taken into account that computers are not affected by any external factor (fatigue, stress, “bad day”, etc.), then it is easy to understand the inequality of battle.

The Greek Herald is impressed by James with the kindness that he welcomed us, and with the way that he developed his talent so humbly, with this personality trait largely due to his parents Chrysanthi and Panagiotis Zaverdinos.

Of course, it is not accidental that his talent is genetic from his grandfather, the great football player Christos Paxinos, known for his brilliant career in Australia and Greece. With certainty, I can say that the stars do not only shine in the sky, they also shine near us, like James Zaverdinos.

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