Monday, September 3, 2007

Player Profile: IM Dean Ippolito

This week marks the New Jersey Knockouts debut of 29 year old International Master, Dean Ippolito. Ippolito currently lives in Whitehouse Station, but grew up in the northern New Jersey town of Boonton.

Dean learned how to play chess at the remarkably early age of two-and-a-half, from his father, Joe Ippolito, current president of the New Jersey State Chess Federation. Many of the lessons his dad gave him 26 years ago paid off handsomely this summer, as Dean had a great result at the New England Masters, where he scored 6.5/9 and tied for 2nd-3rd, and he's especially proud of his eighth round encounter with Shabalov, which you can read about here.

While he excels at the mental sport of chess, Dean also enjoys a variety of physical sports, including soccer, weight-lifting, running, basketball, and tennis. Sounds like something Ben Franklin would approve of (Dean is a big fan of Franklin's autobiography).

His favorite game he has played was against Morozevich in the 1997 NY Open. It features a Petroff Defense, with some really masterful defense and endgame play by Ippolito against the notorious attacker, who at the time was rated over 300 points above Dean. You can replay it here.

Dean is excited about the Greg Shahade bringing team chess to the public through the USCL, and he's appreciative of the league atmosphere that other professional sports have.

Dean's favorite film, The Rookie, is also sports related, but it has a greater message. In the film (which is based on a true story), an older (late 30s) baseball coach gets the opportunity to try out for a spot on a major-league baseball team. He makes the team, of course. Dean coaches chess players at his own school, but he's been finding more time to play chess himself. Let's hope that -- similar to The Rookie -- Dean soon achieves the GM title, as well as any other goals he has for himself. His recent results suggest that they are not far off.

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