Habanero became the 47th grandmaster of Cuba. Author: Taken from his Facebook profile
After a few seconds on the phone, Dylan Berdyce interrupted me and confirmed what I already knew. He is a shy young man, with a real distaste for cameras and face-to-face interviews. Fortunately, I was ready for the move announced by the chess player and quickly answered him, rather to calm him down, with the opportunity to conduct a dialogue via WhatsApp. This option was balsamic for him and ipso facto he agreed, much calmer. We fixed a day and time, and when the opportunity presented itself, everything went great.
habanero tells rebellious youth who had very funny stories in his life related to stage fright. Like the one in pre-university education, who learned everything from a wheelbarrow for the exam in biology and forgot what she had learned during the exhibit. It was impossible for him to get rid of this shyness, which is why his nervousness is so great when he encounters a camera or any recording object. I will try my best to run away from journalists at competitions,” he assures with a slight laugh.
The main reason that prompted me to interview him was that at the end of October 2022 he won the last international tournament of Andres Clemente Vasquez held in Havana and at the same time achieved his third grandmaster norm (GM). , thus becoming number 47 in the history of Cuban chess. He ended his performance undefeated with seven points (five wins and four draws) and added 12 units to his live Elo coefficient.
“It was a closed system competition, so I knew from day one who my opponents would be and how many points I needed to add to complete the remaining norm: seven out of nine possible. Thanks to this, I more or less planned. I won the first two games, drew the next two, then bounced back with three wins in a row and finished with a couple of draws, a result that gave me the seven points I needed.
“Becoming a grandmaster was very important for me, this is a goal that I had since childhood, and I fulfilled it. As a great friend told me, GM only once. After achieving this goal, I have tasks to get the absolute title of Cuba, another of my childhood dreams, and integrate into the Antilles Olympic team. We will see which of the two events will happen first,” says Burdays.
The 24-year-old explains that in 2018 he achieved his first GM norm at the Capablanca International Memorial. He then went through the process of realizing the need to have an economy that would allow him to help out at home and be able to try and compete in Mexico and Spain, countries that host numerous events each year. He took over the function of combining training and work, and he managed to join the circuits of both countries, although he was moderately satisfied with the results.
Between March 2020 and March 2022, his participation in head-to-head tournaments has virtually ceased. Over the months of Covid-19, several things have happened in his head. Although with some timidity, he thought about quitting chess. But one day he received a great job offer, which he accepted without much thought.
He started coaching Yerisbel Miranda from Pinar del Río, the 2017 national champion and member of the island’s women’s Olympic team. This responsibility has encouraged him to stay prepared and organize challenging classes as Miranda’s level is high. This professional rigor served as a prelude to very good performances last year, including his second (after winning at the Catalan circuit in Spain) and third GM standard.
– At some point in the conversation you said that you fell in love with chess very early.
— My older brother had a very beautiful glass table top at home, which his father bought for him in Carlos III’s shop. This sparked my interest in chess at the age of seven, but as a different game. I remember that in elementary school there was a very small room with a few stoves, and when it was time for PE, we were used as lumps. Everyone had to determine the piece, I had a bishop and I had to walk as such. Some time later, a teacher appeared who recruited students to teach them new elements of chess after lessons. From there, I don’t know when, I fell in love with this sport.
– Among your goals is to become the absolute champion of Cuba, but you have already won the national title in the youth category.
– Of course, this first place is one of the most important moments in my sports career. I received this title during my fifth or sixth visit to San Nicolás de Bari, a place that was my second home. After every round I was in shorts and flip flops, I was walking and drinking, I felt like I was in my zone here in Lawton. I trained a lot for the competition that happened in 2015. I lost the first game, but then recovered and eventually scored, I think, 7.5 points out of nine. In this municipality I also won the national school three years ago, luck was with me.
– In the same way, in 2015 you had your first opportunity to perform at a foreign event – the Youth Pan-American Championship, held in Colombia. You won your first four games, but then your performance dropped a lot. What’s happened?
“In the eleventh grade, I met two very special people, Caridad and Oscar, a journalist from the Tribuna de La Habana. They helped me financially so that I could attend this tournament and Caridad even went with me to Cali, the venue. It was a very beautiful experience and at the same time a bit bitter because I put a lot of pressure on myself. When I arrived, they gave me an interview, you know I don’t like interviews, and they put pressure on me, saying that I was the favorite. It confused me, I did not understand how I became a favorite when I first competed outside of Cuba.
“I started with victories in the first four games, but in the fifth, against one of the main contenders for the title, the Argentine Thomas Sosa, I got a little stupid and lost. After this defeat, there were three more in a row, and I was able to recover only at the end, with a draw. I tell you it was a great experience, but the pressure “killed” me, finished me off.
— How did you get the opportunity to train Yerisbel Miranda, one of our best players? Much credit for your 24 years.
– This job offer came to me because I know a lot about vacancies. My original contract was to organize her opening repertoire. It was in July 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, and my first reaction was to say no, I don’t like being a coach. However, I discussed this with some friends, and at the time I remember that my brother and I were reading some books on economics. All this made me realize that this was a good opportunity and I should not miss it.
“But perhaps the key point was that I’m a bit lazy for training, and being a Yerisbel coach would force me to play chess rather than watch TV series or waste time. I would be committed to her to prepare classes to keep up to date with my sport. These reasons prompted me to agree.
“This facet of a coach has allowed me to look at chess differently. Sometimes the computer is on my side and I have to explain to my student the reason for many games or the reason why the computer offers certain things. You go to the core of this discipline, something we sometimes forget. This happened to me in my Christian life as well. By chess I mean the development of the pieces, the safety of the king, the most active pieces.”
— What do you think about all this scandal around Carlsen and Niemann?
“I didn’t really absorb much of that situation. I know what happened, there are a lot of videos, but since it doesn’t add much to my life, I wasn’t interested enough. However, as you know, Niemann deceived very Online and that makes him a fraud. On the other hand, I give him the presumption of doubt that he did not personally cheat, as he says.
“Until proven otherwise, I think it’s very good that he blamed Carlsen, Chess.com, Nakamura. They made some intimidation. You are being kicked out of tournaments, subjected to super strict checks, and that can affect you. Nieman is a very talented player, and I analyzed the famous game against Carlsen, and it didn’t seem to me that he was cheating. Let’s see what the tests say.”
Source: Juventud Rebelde