You are here

GM Blog: What It’s Like to be a GM in Residence

GM Chirila and the Champions Showdown broadcast team!

by GM Cristian Chirila


My first involvement as a GM in residence at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis has been everything that I expected it would be, and more. From exciting crowds during the evening lectures, private lessons with top GMs, and the exciting Champions Showdown to cap things off, the past month has been filled with memorable experiences that I will crave to repeat for a long time going forward.


I arrived at the Chess Club on November 23rd, and my predecessor, Kacka Nemcova, passed me the torch and encouraged me to enjoy every second of my stay, stating it is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. My first few days I was acquainted with the lecturing process, as well as met the usual suspects at the club that always try to take down the GM in residence. Luckily for me, I was able to escape unharmed and kept my reputation intact, or as the Club’s Executive Director, Tony Rich, put it— I was not stripped of my title. Everybody at the club was very welcoming and helped me ease into my position. The second week was a fairly quiet affair, the most challenging and rewarding part of it being the constant private lessons with Akshat Chandra, a young fellow in the pursuit of his GM title (which at the moment has every chance of obtaining in the Saint Louis Autumn Invitational). We worked hard on improving his weaknesses, as well as strengthening his mental game through trash talk infused blitz sessions, some of which I am sure he fought hard to forget.


The third and final week was the most challenging and most rewarding experience, as I got to work on the production side of the Champions Showdown as a reporter. Having no experience in front of the camera the process was quite brutal, as I was shoved in front of the live camera and told I will do just fine. In perspective, this was surely the best and only way to break the ice and perform decently. The first day was fairly rough, but by the end of the tournament I can safely say that my performance on camera went from a beginner level to a solid club player’s level; but, there is still plenty to learn.


I want to thank the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and it’s amazing staff for this incredible opportunity and experience that I hope to repeat in the near future.