Interviews Jun 21, 2020 | 10:28 AMby Leon Watson

Quick chat with... Simon Williams, the cheekiest chap in chess

The Dutch, a wild version of the French, and more recently the Black Lion and teaching the all-new Jobava London System to the world.

These are the things English attacking expert GM Simon Williams, aka the Ginger GM, is known for. Alongside his madcap streams, being a lot of fun and seemingly always having a pint in hand while playing.

Simon is the great chess entertainer - the man of the people who manages to teach online and have a good time in the process. He also has a strong claim to be “the world’s leading exponent” on the Classical Dutch. 

GM Simon Williams | photo: Niki Riga

Simon comes from impeccable chess stock: his father was a strong league player who turned out for Wimbledon Chess Club alongside GM Julian Hodgson and introduced the young GM-to-be to the chess scene. Shout out to Jules, by the way. Simon's two older brothers, Tony and Paul, were also strong players as was his late sister Kim.

Simon, aged 40 and from Godalming in Surrey, has also been a prolific chess author, commentator and more recently has been producing best-selling content for Chessable.

Having been the most requested author by the Chessable community, Simon's The Killer Dutch Rebooted was an instant hit and he followed it up with The Jobava London System and The Black Lion.

For his latest release, a video upgrade on Chessable for the classic The Art of Attack in Chess, Simon dressed up as the American TV artist Bob Ross. See it below!

Here is Simon in his own words:

How did you get into chess?

My dad taught me at a very early age.

What is your most memorable chess achievement?

Becoming a Grandmaster.

What's so great about chess? Why should people get into it and start studying it?

Chess is great for everyone. No matter your age, race or religion. Everyone is equal over the board.

Who is your favourite player and why?

Tal. Because he was a lunatic.

What is your favourite chess book?

Brilliancies and Blunders or Chess for Tigers, by Simon Webb.

What is the one piece of advice for improving your chess that you don't hear people passing on enough?

Don't just look at your own plans, make sure that you understand your opponent's intentions as well.

What do you think is the most overrated piece of advice you hear and why?

The bishop pair. Great at 2400+, but below that knights are more tricky!

What do you think is the biggest issue in chess at the moment?

Elitism at the top. The same 2700s seem to play in the same tournaments - give some fresh blood a chance!

What do you think about the new FIDE administration and is it doing a good job?

It seems to be doing a pretty good job at the moment.

Who will take the World Championship of Magnus Carlsen and who is his biggest threat right now?

I expect Magnus will keep the title this time around, but (like everyone else!) a serious threat must be Alireza Firouzja.

Who is going to win the Chessable Masters?

Anish Giri.

If there was one book you'd like to write about chess, hopefully for Chessable, what would it be?

The stories behind the chess moves.

What was it like writing and recording material for Chessable? And did you enjoy it?

Yeah brilliant. Great support and a great product.

See also:

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