Leon Mendonca – A typical day in the life of a professional chess player


Leon Luke Mendonca was the surprise winner of the Tata Steel Challenger tournament in Wijk aan Zee. He started with 3 out of 6 points, and was lost in the lower part of the table, until he recovered with 6.5 points out of his last 7 games, to reach first place! The Indian Grandmaster and ChessBase Host, Arne Kaehler, started a video series in 2023, on how a typical day in a life of a professional chess player looks like. The insights of young Leon (turning 18 in March) are tremendous, and you can learn a lot in this first video.

0:00 – Intro
0:23 – Leon played more than 150 games in 2023. How to handle this amount?
1:07 – How important is a good sleep for chess players? How long do you sleep?
2:55 – Do you have a coach? Are you reading any chess books?
3:27 – Without a schedule, how can you motivate yourself to work on chess every day?
4:13 – How important is ChessBase? Engines? And how do you use these tools?
5:03 – Real example of how Leon randomly chooses a game of his interest, and uses Chessbase for analysis.

⏩ The article on our ChessBase news page:

⏩ The Keymer Variation – 1.Nf3 d5 2.e3 by Leon Mendonca


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  1. 150 fide rated games is quite misleadingHow many classical games has he played?

  2. Can Mendonca speaks Portuguese? He is from ĝoa

  3. Interesting take from both Mendonca and Gukesh that there's value in analyzing without an engine. Maybe you could ask them if they check their analysis with an engine at some point though ?

  4. Very interesting video. Short and sweet, twice as good 😀. Thanks to Leon & ChessBase, I look forward to more videos with him because you always learn a lot from such strong players. I want to thank the video editors; I really liked those notes during the video, a very good idea 😉👍

    Also, I want to congratulate Leon for winning the Tata Steel Challenger, a very good tournament! 😎👏

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