10 Questions: GM Pascal Charbonneau
Interviewer: USCL Commissioner IM Greg Shahade
Enjoy this new feature in which players throughout the league are asked
10 interesting, fun and perhaps a little provocative questions about
the league and about life in general. Below is the first installment
with 2005 MVP Pascal Charbonneau:
Question #1: How did it feel to win
the 2005 USCL Championship? Describe the experience.
There is something cool about team chess which is hard to find in
other disciplines. Of course chess is the most individualistic thing in
the world, but when you are playing next to your teammates, you find
yourself rooting for them and at the same time you are completely at their mercy. They
have to score or else you lose the match. I am not sure what I am
saying makes much sense, but the point was that it felt great to win the
league last year.
Question #2: Were you confident about Baltimore’s chances to win the Championship before
the season last year?
To be honest, I was not particularly confident. But at some point
during the season I realized we were very balanced, and that our
experience was paying off. Having someone like IM Larry Kaufman on board
three is certainly a big asset.
Question #3: Were you surprised to win
the MVP award, as at the time you were only an IM and there were quite
a few strong GM’s in the league?
I was not really surprised by the MVP award because there were many
GMs, but rather because I had played a few awful games. But somehow, it
seemed like a good way to start the playoffs, indicating that maybe we
could take it home.
Question #4: How does it feel to be
playing in New York next to your longtime girlfriend, IM Irina
Playing with Irina is of course very fun, but as I will write a bit
more about later during the interview, it's important to remain focused
on the game and not on the eyes of the woman you love.
Question #5: New York is off to a slow start at just 1-2. Do you
think your team still has good chances to stage a comeback and fulfill
their lofty expectations. Or do you think that Arun Sharma (the one who
predicted you would win it all) basically has no idea what’s going on?
I certainly believe in my team's chances, even though the team
underwent a major overhaul for this season and so far we have not fared
well. We have youth on our side, although the youth has suffered a few
opening debacles. I might try a little bit of pep talk with them,
remind them that knights are better on c3 than on d2 (sorry Robert, I just had
to) and I am confident we can win a lot of matches. I do think,
however, that this tough time we have had is only possible because other teams
have been strengthened too.
Question #6: What do you feel has been
your best game in the USCL so far, including the 2005 season.
This might seem like a strange choice, but I really enjoyed my game
with Pawel Blehm. It's always weird to play a friend, but we definitely
managed to make it exciting this time. Last season, a lot of my games
were exciting, but were full of turnarounds. The game with Blehm I felt
was pretty clean, we both played well, it was very complicated, and the
result was a fair draw.
Question #7: If you were the manager
of the New York Knights and Baltimore’s manager called you up and offered to
trade Tegshsuren Enkhbat and Larry Kaufman for Irina Krush and Jay
Bonin, what would you say?
This trade is ridiculous. I suffered for enough years having Irina
live so far away from me. Seriously though, I don't think the Knights
are worse here at all. We just have to prove it in the matches!
Question #8: Rumor on the street is
that you have moved to New York and are starting a new job. Tell us about
This must have been a rumor on Wall St. (I still make lots of puns)
Well, indeed I have moved to New York. I am working for a
financial/trading technology firm, which also has a broker-dealer side
to it. Right now I spend most of my days at the NYSE, and I am just
getting started, but there couldn't be a more exciting place to start.
(For more information here is their website)
Question #9: After losing in week 1 to
IM Richard Costigan, Philadelphia’s player/manager FM Michael Shahade,
referred to you as a “potzer”. Do you have anything to say to him?
I have had my share of bad luck with Philadelphia eh? Well, all I
can say is that the game with Costigan was quite a shame for me, especially
if I had any dreams of being a repeat MVP. What happened is that we
were winning the match 2.5-0.5 (thus it was in the bag), but I saw that
Irina was rather upset because she didn't manage to win her (pawn up) endgame
against Norman Rogers. I looked at her puppydog eyes, tried to express
how sorry I was, and then played one move without thinking and turned a
drawish/slightly better endgame into an immediate loss. The moral of
the story is that I have to get used to playing next to Irina, and if
possible actually finish my game before she does :-) And the potzer
will try to get his revenge as black (seemingly his strong color in the
Question #10: Ok tell us now, if New York doesn’t win it all, which team is going to
win the USCL Championship this year?
Although I still think NY will win it all, I have been impressed
both Seattle and SF. (After being informed that such a wishy washy
answer wasn't acceptable, Pascal decided to choose San Francisco)
Thanks for your time Pascal, and
good luck to the New York Knights in the rest of the season!
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