I will pay $1,000 to anyone who can checkmate me in the first 30 moves of a blitz game.
Born and raised in Liverpool, England. I actually once exchanged a few words with John Lennon's aunt Mimi who was walking down the sidewalk near where she lived.
I played competitive chess as a kid inspired by the 1978 match Korchnoi vs. Karpov, and Red Hot Pawn has renewed my enthusiasm for the game.
I think the greatest players are/were Kasparov, Fischer, Karpov, Capablanca, Alekhine, Lasker, Morphy, Anand, and Kramnik, but my favorite players are Tal, Spassky and Bronstein.
Right now all eyes are on Magnus Carlsen. Only 23, he tops the FIDE ratings chart with a historical all-time high rating. I admire his incredible positional judgement and his ability to get wins from seemingly dry situations. His mastery of the middle-to-end game transition is second to none.
Others: I love Anand's dynamic chess career and sterling personality. He's been a noble former chess king. I will hurl fresh cow feces at those who say he's over the hill and needs to retire. His tournament results since he lost the championship have been stellar!
I played a simul against Nigel Short at the 2012 London Chess Classic, and after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 g6 he played 5.d4, looked at me and said, "You didn't pay attention to my lecture, did you?" Hours prior at a live-broadcast analysis session I attended, Short had detailed the problems associated with playing the ...e6 ...g6 Sicilian setup against a KIA setup prior to white's d3, allowing white to play d4 without losing tempo, creating long-term dark square weaknesses for black. Being schooled* by a super-GM is the highlight of my chess "career".
The game was abandoned at move 33 because I had tickets to Red Fang, a local Pacific North West heavy rock group I know, who happened to be on tour in London that evening - I could NOT miss them, their manager got me on the door list.