I was born in a little place called Zabalj on 16th December 1967. I spent my early youth there and that period of sixteen years has always aroused my most beautiful memories. Novi Sad, far from Zabalj only 30 km, was for me a distant place at that time. Since I was fairly isolated, chess appeared all of a sudden at my doorstep and cast the new light on my life like in a fairy tale. But we will talk about that a bit later…

I got excellent marks at school and I formed good work habits, which helped me in my future chess career as well as in my life.

Father, an agronomist, and mother, a schoolteacher brought me up. The marriage of the intellectuals was the rare background for growing up even for the city families. In those surroundings I was raised to take responsibilities for my behaviour and work. I have always been interested in reading books of any kind. Besides reading I was keen on the ball, actually the football one but without the right support I did not become a football or basketball player. There was the only individual sport where I could express myself in those circumstances-chess. My mother’s friend Bisa bought me my first cardboard and plastics chess kit for my seventh birthday. After a while I got another engraving one from my mother.

Since I was equipped, a “great” career could start but I needed someone to reveal me the secrets of this ancient game. The first rules were explained to me by my uncle Sekula who taught me many other things in my life as well. At that time, especially during the summer, strolling the centre of Zabalj I would come across local two best chess players. They were the candidates for chess masters: Mr Glisic and Mr Jovanovic, a banker. Sitting on the blanket in the most beautiful park of Zabalj, they used to lead bitter chess battles cheered with jokes and comments of the crowd. I got an idea to challenge them because I had already been able to strike back to my father who did not have any chess title and played it rarely in his free time.

My challenge made them have a good laugh and they liked it very much. It was accepted so I got a chance but with the advantage of two castles and a queen.

After that I was registered for the local chess club and soon realized that the country time passes slowly … The only once an year were category tournaments and club championships, the whole chess space was unknown to me, and with great success at school and playing great and indoor soccer and basketball, I began timidly stroll through unknown areas of chess, something which is the worst without chess literature. The first year I get to be among the winners of the 4th and 3rd category, and following the 2nd and 1st class, so in 5 performances I had exceeded 4 steps, although without any theoretical basis or organized work on chess. The local chess club and the older guys who played there were all what I was able to get it, also to hopelessly monitoring, to *Kibitz* in chess term speaking – when roaming teams played against our first team, then for me was abstract noun. What was driving me nuts, nobody would put a buck on me at a time, even though I already clearly belonged to the upper half of our rural chess establishment.

The main event, which had a decisive influence on me at a time, it was organizing the master tournaments of 14 participants in honor of the former *Yugoslav* army – *JNA* (somewhere we have them loved in our *Yuga* country …), and the first year I had the great honor to be a demonstrator, and played in the our school library frog. Next year, when I had already come to the I category title, I expected to play and hoped that, but no one informed me, so I was disappointed, learned that the tournament started, and it was already in the course of the first round. Since I always had this bacillus initiative itself, it has prompted me to go to my grandparents, in the City Of Novi Sad, in guests at their place, and to look for a place where I’ll be happy to go to this day, *Novi Sad Chess Club*, or *NSK*. Several times I whizzed down the street here and there, searching for the description of the place of the temple of chess and somehow saw drab board and the dark entrance, and with anxiety in heart went for up …

Is there a better player than me? Do you have a much better? Will I be embarrassed in front of you? Anyone who wants to to play with me, at all? It was one of the many questions that I hang out at my head …

In the club I came in and immediately was shocked because the first room was filled with smoke and many *Blitz* players, but another room it was, with a bar and another room where they played a serious tournament. In that room I started in confusion to look back around the bar, and then my Uncle Steva Lazic (with a family root from a nearby Village Of Curug) asked whether I am here for the first time, and would I like to play perhaps, to what I just nodded and addressed to myself that I play excellent chess. He was then taken me to one of those that shook *Blitz* chess with a great passion, corpulent fellow of some 30 years of age and he told him to check on me, at what stage fright immediately disappeared. I got it easy 3 -1 and then immediately from Uncle Steve got an offer (Of course with the consent of my parents) to be registered for youth chess club *Vojvodina NS*, which has brought me hope that I will finally be able to play more games, brought me also red card for all following tournaments the local club of Zabalj, my birth place !! My hope been silenced soon, as in my new club, there are only two games and me and Sale Adamovic from Curug mostly warmed the bench, but at least I got hold of chess environment, and soon after, in high school I moved to the City Of Novi Sad, and it was a watershed moment my chess career to start to go on the upswing.


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