When did you decide to become a professional player?
I studied the economics (of the situation). I did this for two years and it really annoyed me. Then I established a plan: first, play in the Olympiad; obtain the best score to qualify for the zonal, then the interzonal. I started to prepare myself and finally, I succeeded in carrying out what I wanted; I became a professional player, but for me, it's not a question of money. The money. . . it's good obviously, but for me, it's not a question. I could even live off of bread and water, as long as I can play against strong players! Certain people say to me that I am completely insane to have chosen this profession. I believe that I was 2200 ELO when I made this decision. . . it was foolish! One said to me, "You will be able to survive, and you will be able to become a Grandmaster."
At this moment, I am in a difficult position. I'm trying to obtain the title of GM, but I'm under pressure because I must play to obtain results, to gain points, and get the norm. In many tournaments, I missed the norm by very little. . . I needed ½ point, or a point out of two rounds, but I lose both. Yet I am convinced that I will obtain the title. . . it is a question of will. You know, sometimes I play really well! But sometimes I become completely foolish. I'd have good positions, and fall apart! Currently, for example. . . I played in tournaments after having played in the World Championships. I had earned money, then I played in Europe: Groningen (in Germany), Capelle La Grande (in France). . . and I played well, but I missed the norm. Then I played in the United States, but I did not have enough money. It's very expensive.
What is the situation of chess in South Africa?
The problem in South Africa is that we do not have a Grandmaster yet. The government grants support, in any sport, only when it offers a possibility of propaganda. . . publicity. For chess, it is necessary that one has a GM to attract attention. I do not play in South Africa because there's not much competition (world class tournaments). . . I play only in tournaments abroad. . . sometimes. And that is expensive. Thus, in fact, I do not have much practice. Of course, I would like to continue to play, but it is very difficult, financially. I had a proposal for a sponsorship. . . a computer firm. They would finance my tournaments, but they never have sponsored anyone unless they are working there.
For the French version, go to www.notzai.com/notzai/capdagde/Kobese.html