The Thoughts of an African Genius
Seeking his 3rd GM norm, Amon has achieved this high level without a trainer, but states that he needs to add more theory to his opening repertoire. "I've been basically looking at chess magazines. That's why my (opening) theory is not so great. Right now I just follow tournaments." While Amon has a very magnetic personality and appears to be in good spirits, he reflects on his recent streak of poor results by saying, "If I can reorganize myself… that's all I need. I don't think it's mainly due to chess. I have to focus on what has gone wrong." While Amon doesn't have personal trainer, he asserts, " I think just getting a trainer in my view for a few weeks would make a big difference." Asked about the grooming of young talent in Africa, he states, "I think there are strong players everywhere… it's just how you bring them up… and whether they will get opportunities to improve their skills. I think almost everyone has got some talent. It's just a matter of how you organize and how much commitment one gives to the game."
In the past 1½ years, Zambia's 2001 "Sportsmen of the Year" has participated in a number of international tournaments including: 2000 Olympiad (Turkey), Goodricke Invitational (India), Cappelle La Grande (France), Bad Wörishofen (Germany), Salou Costa Daurada (Spain), Olympic Masters (Switzerland), BCI Grand Prix (Angola), Smartchess.com (USA), Mayor's Cup (USA), the World Open (USA), Wilbert Paige Memorial (USA). Reflecting on the Wilbert Paige Memorial, Amon was candid in his response, "I think it's a very good tournament… especially the fact that it's historical. I've basically had a bad tournament. In the last few rounds, I was just waiting to get out of here!" <he laughs> Certainly, there was disappointment in his results, but he expressed hopes that the tournament can be organized next year, with additional tournaments featuring Grandmasters so that players can qualify for GM norms. Amon has sights set on a career in finance and economics, fields he considers "practical."
Amon recently competed in the 2001 World Junior Championships in Greece (scoring 7-6) and will now prepare for the African Championships in Cairo, Egypt on 15-26th of September. Certainly, this future GM will have a lot of support in his quest for the lofty GM title. Best wishes to IM Amon Simutowe!
Interview conducted: 23 July 2001
(Update: 3 September 2007) Over the years, Amon has provided the chess world with a glimpse of his thoughts through interviews, his writings and numerous annotated games. He made a commitment to earn his last norm after much introspection and declared, "I'm going to put all my energy into it." He earned his 3rd GM norm with great fanfare at the 2007 Euwe Stimulus tournament in Arnhem, Netherlands becoming the 6th Grandmaster from the African continent and the 1st from the sub-Saharan region. He has provided inspiration to those who believe that attaining excellence in chess cannot be done without a trainer. He also gives another valuable lesson… concentrate on your studies! Amon Simutowe is one of the greatest success chess stories that chess has ever seen. (Read "The GM Journey of Amon Simutowe")