25th Blitz Death Match: Norowitz vs Avrukh!

by Mikhail

A Chess.com veteran and newcomer will contest Death Match 25 - IM Yaacov Norowitz and GM Boris Avrukh. They both qualified based on their play during the April qualification period

The three-hour match of bullet and blitz chess will be played on Chess.com and the date is Sunday, June 22

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This is an exclusive Q & A for the Death Match! Enjoy!


You were our first-ever player that won both blitz and bullet. Which do you

think you're better at?


I am just as good in Blitz as I am in Bullet and just as good in slow chess. The

only difference is how I feel during the time of the game and the more time I

have more I can calculate.


You came close to qualifying before. Did you do anything different this time



I didn't know there would be people at the last second trying to score higher

than me. :)


Did you ever consider "sitting" on your rating once you had reached the

minimum number of games?


That's not my style, I am playing chess because I enjoy the game, I have

nothing to prove to anyone.


What time control do you think you'll be best at? Most challenged by?


It's hard to tell, depends on my mood and how much rest I got.


How's the quest for GM coming?


I am not playing chess because there is some sort of a "Goal" to get the GM

Title, it would be nice but it's irrelevant to me.

I play because the game is fun and nothing more. If it comes it comes.


You've come on strong in the past 5-8 years. Did you play chess as a kid? Tell

us about your early years with the game.


I began to play chess at 9 years of age. Where I met my current Manager and

friend Mikhail Kruglyak. We started out at a Yeshiva in Elizabeth being

Coached by a local Dentist, Dr. Richard Lewis to whom both of us owe a great

deal. Early on he set me up with Roman Dzindzichashvili with whom I had 12

lessons at the time.

And then it was just many years of fun and entertainment. I read many books

and played a lot. I started teaching in my early 20's and have been teaching

for over a decade now. A lot has happened during those years, but that's for

a book.

I have just decided to do some traveling and enjoy life at the same time; thus,

giving me a chance to play some Norm-events. Although it's not an easy task

since all of the events run through Shabbos, and Kosher food is bring your own

or starve, but Mikhail takes care of the logistics. Travel has a price tag,

but it was fun and I might play some more if we get some Sponsors to cover our travel expenses.


Where did you grow up and where else have you lived?


I am actually a New Yorker by birth, but I lived most of my life in NJ.


You are sometimes called a blitz specialist. Is this fair?


I enjoy playing blitz so I played Blitz, I play for myself not for the title. I am

not interested in what people think I am good at or not.


What are the qualities that make a good blitz player?


Everyone is different, but experience and knowledge helps a lot.


You won your three norms in rapid succession. Why did you suddenly go after

the IM title after years of playing?


We decided to travel, so I figured why not...


You seem to have a lot of videos on youtube of you playing blitz matches. Do

you have a marketing team behind you? Who have you played in these

matches (I saw the Landerman one)?


That's Mikhail's doing, he has a Fan-page on FaceBook and an Youtube

channel. He has the keys. Mikhail and Fredik have those links on the website.


What are your chess goals?


To have fun and teach my students! Very simple.


Have you ever played or met Boris?


Yes, a decade ago in Israel.


Will you read some of his books or how else will you prepare for the match?


I don't prepare for blitz...

I just play... If I'm in a good mood I win if I am not in a great mood I lose its

just that simple... Chess is emotional game for me. The most I ever prepared

for was during U.S. Championship's last year for about 15 minutes. This is not

school, I just have fun!


Teach us some Hebrew trash-talking that you might use on Boris.


Honestly, I think this is an inappropriate question to ask, I don't trash talk

during my matches not in that way at least. I might make comments, but

that's in order to get into the spirit and a fun mood during my matches.

Some people sadly take it way to seriously... Chess should be fun it's an art-
form and you need to enjoy and appreciate it like you would a fine wine!

Online matches are the best, as I can listen to my music. It lets me relax and

enjoy the game! Would be nice to bring some of that music to my norm

games... that be nice!


What is your all-time favorite game that you played (we will include this in the



I don't really have any favorite games of my own, a game is a game to me.

I recently recalled on my game vs. Hannes Stefansson whom I played in

Iceland sadly there are no complete score sheets that survived... some go to

move 37, but the game got interesting and critical right after that, but time

control at a critical spot at around move 40 caused a loss. I am still adjusting

how fast or slow I should play to get the most during the game. Time control

gets tricky especially when games are on Shabbos. Would have been nice to

win it! :) But losing is how we learn so it's important to know that losing is

just as good as winning as long as you had fun and learned something.

Anything! :)


Are you still coached by someone?


Yes, Roman Dzindzichashvili.


Who is the best blitz player that you've ever faced?




The new chess tables in Washington Square Park - what do you think of



I don't play there anymore. I moved to a nicer view at Bryant park.


Thanks and feel free to include anything else that I may have missed.


I just want that people understand that chess, for me, personally is something

I do because I enjoy it, not because I have something to prove.

I love playing the game and teaching it I have students from seven years old

ranging all the way past fifty! And the most you can get out of it in the end is

love of playing it, it's an emotional sport, but tons of fun! No need to

overcomplicate it further!


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