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chess24 co-founder Jan Gustafsson was first introduced to chess on a boat, when sport options were limited. His father had been a world-class sailor in his youth and Jan’s parents decided to take a break from their careers as teachers to spend a few years sailing around the Mediterranean. The family also lived in Spain until returning to Hamburg, Germany, where Jan became a regular at the local chess club. His progress was rapid, and he won the U13 German Team Championship and then the U15 and U17 Individual German Championships. He gained the IM title in 1998 but didn’t make his next big leap until a year as an exchange student in Madrid, where with little else to do he “just got good”, pushing towards 2600 and the GM title.
Back in Germany he made his debut for the German national team and finished runner-up in the 2004 and 2005 German Championships, but the next few years saw chess play second fiddle to poker, with Jan even co-authoring a German book on the game with Marcel Luske. He proved he hadn’t forgotten how the chess pieces move by finishing joint second at Dortmund 2008, a full point ahead of Vladimir Kramnik, and spent most of the next year working as a second for the winner, Peter Leko. His coaching CV also features coaching the Danish team.
In 2009 Jan switched his allegiances in the
German League to play for the all-conquering Baden-Baden, while in 2011 he was
part of the German national team that won gold medals at the European Team
Championship. His best individual achievements in recent years include tying
for first place with a 2769 performance at the 2010 Gibraltar Masters and
winning the 2011 Thailand Open.
Check out some of Jan's video series for chess24!