1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your personal and professional background.
My name is Gunjan Jani (known as GJ_Chess). I grew up in Ahmedabad, India. By profession, I am a Telecom engineer. I had been to Sydney, Australia for 5 years (2005-2010). I have worked with different Telecom companies (Telstra, Australia (2007 – 2010), BSNL, India (2010-2011)).
Apart from this, I would consider my main profession as a YouTube Video Creator. I am an international rated & Title(AGM) chess player and running a successful YouTube CHESS channel with over 80K subscribers & over 25 Million video views. Currently it is amongst top 10 chess channels of World.
2. What got interested you in Chess? What is your favorite opening and why?
My interest in chess twits very late. When I was studying in 12th std., I came across championship match of school, where School Chess champion demonstrated a great post match analysis amongst the big crowd. Obviously that create deep impact on my mind and then wonderful journey of GJ_Chess begins.
My favorite opening is Trompowsky Attack (Bg5) & Nimzowich Defense (Nc6), which not only suits to my attacking chess style but it also help me to win lot of chess games and to get a reputable chess rating.
3.What’s the story behind starting GJ Chess? What is the Eureka moment that triggered it?
It’s quite interesting. In 2008, after finishing my Master’s study, I was working in Telstra, Sydney (A Govt. Telecom Co.) and during my free time I was frequently watching some internet (YouTube) videos. During that time, I came across some good chess channels and I was watching their videos regularly. Among them, one of the channels has mentioned the procedures and software require to make chess videos. So I thought that I should give a try and let’s find out what people think about my chess skills & videos. Luckily for me, my first video got very good response and that moment really set the platform for upcoming success.
4.What is the motto of GJ Chess?
GJ_Chess channel is design to provide various chess aspects (Ex. Openings, traps, Attack etc.) publicly free to all level of chess players. (Beginner, Intermediate, Advance, Experts).
The vision of GJ_Chess is to popularize the game of Chess, encourage more people to play chess & raising the quality bar of the game.
5.What was the point when you started getting famous?
In the year 2013, I have uploaded the first video of “Dirty Chess Tricks to win fast” series. Within few months the video get viral and from that point, every single dirty chess tricks video gets tremendous popularity. So far I have uploaded 21 videos of these series and considering average, each video get 1 million views.
6.Any challenges that you faced during your journey and any inspirational story you could share with our readers?
In India, where most of parents give very high priority to study and finding good job, a sports person will always find tons of challenges. Here, life will never give us time what we actually want to do. Its only depend on us that how we still attach with our passion.
Initially, my parents don’t like Chess so they make fun of my passion in different get-together of family and friends. I still remember one day my father came to my room and he threaten me that if I will continue wasting time like this then he will throw away my laptop. He also mention that if the amount of time I have wasted on Chess, if I have used 10% of it in other activity (like job or business) then I will be well ahead (race for money trend). The worst part was when I got married in 2012, my wife didn’t like Chess either and she seriously fought with me in many occasions, regarding this matter. At one point, I felt very frustrated & completely lost the hope but I still remain firm & never give up, what I actually want to do.
“I like to share one e-mail I got from a parent which I think is more than a inspirational story.”
Hello Gunjan Jani,
I watched your lecture on the Traxler Counter Attack, and used it to teach the attack to my 7-year old son, Oliver. The White attack on f7 occurs frequently in scholastic tournaments, so it was very interesting to us. We did not have time to study all of it in depth, but we played through some practice games with it. This past Saturday (November 22), he played in a tournament, and he had a perfect score of 3 as he entered the 4th round. So, he was playing in the final round with the Black pieces, and trying for a tournament win. Also, he was facing the #1-seeded player in his section. Oliver won the game and the tournament. And, when he showed me his 4th-round game notation, I was absolutely shocked to see that he used the Traxler Counter Attack in that game! As you can see from the notations below, after …Nxe4+, his opponent played Ke1. Black missed the good opportunity to end it earlier in this line (…Nxg3), which you demonstrated at 8:40 in Traxler video #1. However, he played a pretty solid and exciting game. His opponent’s Queen side remained untouched. Nearly all Black pieces were active, and the White King was badly exposed to checks. The White Queen was forced off the board, and Black ended it by move 20 in a beautiful checkmate with a Knight. Needless to say, you now have a devoted 7-year old fan.