He was the co-champion of the 1975 World Open Chess Championship, but all these years later Alan Trefler is still going strong and inviting young minds to pit their skills against him.
When a chess master invites over a dozen children to play against him, there is always a certain level of interest and expectation. And the standards are raised higher when he also happens to be the CEO and Founder of Pegasystems Inc, an American BPM company. After an exciting 1 vs 17 match tournament, Postnoon caught up with Alan Trefler to talk about chess, children, Gary Kasparov and other significant things.
As someone who has been playing chess for over a decade, how would you define it?
Chess is a game that demands one to think and plan ahead. It is literally like placing a hurricane over the opponent’s king. But while that may be the sensational bit, it also teaches one to learn how to lose.
Having taught computers how to play chess, what was the entire experience like?
Well, we were exploring the many million possibilities, the various permutations and combinations and the probability of error while teaching computers chess. Writing algorithms has taught me and helped me discover a lot about chess through this teaching.
How would you react to playing in chess tournaments where the organisers would ask you to bring your own chess sets and timers? Or that the classical game format is discouraged in favour of blitz games?
I would be really surprised considering that this game requires no great capital. Or is not expensive. So while I may not be really informed about the situation here in the City, I definitely think there is a lot more scope to this game in this City and country considering that the game originated here and an Indian holds the world championship. As to the format of the game, I myself enjoy blitz games much more than the standard 90 minute classical games. It teaches the younger players a lot about error, but yes, classical games should not be discouraged.
How well did you think Vishwanathan Anand fared in the recent championship against Gelfand?
Anand is a spectacular player. I did manage to catch a few matches and he was his usual best. However, I would have enjoyed Anand being pitted against Magnus Carlsen.
Have you ever played in India?
Three and a half years ago I had played with 25 people in India. The tournament had a mix of steady defensive and also aggressive players, it was quite a challenge. At one point I was losing in six matches. And then, some of the players decided to group up, in a friendly manner, and go against me, and then I had won 24 matches and drew 1 match.
Who is your favourite player?
Gary Kasparov, undoubtedly. He is just like the game he plays, intense. He is a friend of mine and I respect his fervour.
Who is Alan Trefler?
Alan’s interest in computers and expert systems originates from collegiate involvement in tournament chess, during which time he achieved a Master rating and was co-champion of the 1975 World Open Chess Championship.
In the open section of the 1975 World Open chess tournament, played in New York, expert Alan Trefler (Elo rating 2075, 125 points below the lowest master rating), and ranked 115th in the tournament, scores 8-1 to tie for first with International Grandmaster Pal Benko, rated 2504, ahead of Grandmasters Nicolas Rossolimo and Walter Browne.
Alan and his wife Pamela also established The Trefler Foundation in 1995 with a mission to improve educational opportunities for Boston’s urban youth. They donated $1 million to Dorchester High School to improve the school.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Tea drinker, imaginary bass player, posterchor, left liberal world planner, star gazer.. and other significant things.