‘Chess is a game for the intelligent’

At the age of ten, he heard his friend saying that ‘chess is a game for the intelligent’ that sentence stuck in his head and from that moment on he was hooked… He wanted to be seen as intelligent and decided to become the best chess player possible. I lived in my hometown, Wejherowo, and although I come from a poor family, I had big dreams. Now, at the age of 27 as a coach, lecturer and an author of several books, Michal Kanarkiewicz runs his own channel “Krolewska Gra” and more importantly, he follows his big dream – playing chess and passing his knowledge to others.

LSA: What is so special and unique about chess?

MK: What I like the most in chess is the ability to demonstrate intellectual superiority over an opponent. As a trainer, my favourite thing to do is watch my students succeed.
LSA: And what did chess teach you?
MK: Planning, thinking ahead a few moves, anticipating the consequences of your own moves and staying ahead of the competition. In addition, I also learned fair-play (before and after a chess game, we shake hands with the opponent.)
LSA: These are the abilities needed to run a business; strategic thinking and running a successful business is very connected…
MK: Chess is connected with business, especially when we talk about strategic thinking. In chess, we think about the plans of one opponent, in business; about the plans of the entire competition. However, the common theme is that we want to predict their moves and play to gain an advantage.

LSA: Who do you usually coach?
MK: In the years 2013-2019 I worked at every level of education. From kindergarten to university (including MBA). From 2020, my students were (99%) athletes, celebrities, businessmen or their children. I teach world champions, Olympians and people from the front pages of newspapers. I want to work with students who want to use chess as a tool for their own development (in the case of youth – e.g. choice of studies, in the case of adults – e.g. career development).
LSA: The Queen’s Gambit – a movie about a prodigy child who plays chess with such ease and precision – what is your view about this movie?
MK: The best chess movie / series ever. It takes care of details. The consultant of the series was Garri Kasparov himself. Gambit increased chess sales on eBay by 250%, and the series itself was among the top 10 most watched productions in 92 countries, of which 63 countries ranked first.

LSA: How was it to meet the legendary Garri Kasparov? A big dream come true? 
MK: Of course! Meeting a childhood idol is always a great event. I learned from the books and games of Garry Kasparov, so I can absolutely say that the dream has come true. Moreover, this year I have the pleasure of working with a company managed by the Kasparov Chess Foundation; the Grand Chess Tour, which is the tennis equivalent of the Grand Slam. Already in May, the Tour is coming to Warsaw and 10 top chess grandmasters will play for a prize pool of close to £150,000.

LSA: You write books, appear in many publications, travel to coach and lecture; you run your own channel Krolewska Gra.  Last year you were part of the committee organising the world championship in chess, what is next on your radar?
MK:  Soon, the premiere of my newest book about chess for beginners will be a combination of science and comics (edu-comics). Personally, this year I would like to visit prestigious universities (e.g. Oxford and Harvard) to talk about the possibilities of further development of chess on a global scale.
LSA: Is there anything you would love to share with our readers?
MK: I wish you much health and as many chess games as possible. Remember that it is never too late to learn! Last but not least: If you would like to learn to play or talk about the possibilities of combining the world of chess and business, please contact me by e-mail: michal@michalkanarkiewicz.com  

Interview By Agnieszka Kowalczewska 


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