Interview with Hana Denić, a chess player and student of Savremena, by Klara Petrović, a member of the Journalism and Literature club at Savremena Gimnazija

We are pleased to introduce you to Hana Denić, a second-year student at Savremena Gimnazija. Hana is an exceptionally talented chess player who has won national championships and achieved phenomenal results in international competitions. Additionally, she is an excellent student who excels academically and serves as a role model to all of us with her behaviour and attitude.

How did you first become interested in chess? What drew you to this game?

I first became interested in chess back in kindergarten during our weekly chess club meetings. What attracted me the most was the simplicity of the game and the fact that it relies on mental rather than physical strength.

How old were you when you became the Serbian champion? What experiences did you gain during that competition?

I became the Serbian champion for the first time in 2016 at the age of 9. I also won the national championship in 2018 and 2019. Since this was one of the most important competitions for me, I have to say that it was also one of the most stressful. Nevertheless, I knew I had prepared well, and it really showed.

Who are your chess role models?

My biggest chess role model and inspiration is my coach. Besides him, there is Alisa Marić, our best female chess player, Magnus Carlsen, and many other world champions.

How do you prepare for a competition? What is the secret to success in chess? Do you have any special rituals for relaxation before or after a game?

I prepare for competitions through daily training with my coach, but I also believe in self-preparation, as success cannot be achieved solely through coaching. As for rituals, a relaxing walk is definitely a must for me to unwind from chess and prepare mentally.

Is there a game or moment in your career that is particularly memorable to you?

I would single out a game at the European Championship in Bratislava where I was competing for a medal. Even though I lost, I believe I learned a lot from that experience. It was a great success just having the opportunity to participate and compete for one of the top three places.

Can you explain, for those who are not familiar with chess rules, how long a game at the World Championship lasts and how many games are played?

The duration of a game at the World Championship varies depending on the format, ranging from half an hour to even seven hours. Interestingly, in the European Championship, 9 games are played, while in the World Championship, it can go up to 11 games.

What is your best achievement in chess, and how did you feel at that time?

My best achievements would be the national championships in 2016, 2018 and 2019 when I won first place. For me, those were unforgettable experiences, and I felt very happy and proud because I knew how much effort I had put in.

Who are your most loyal supporters?

I consider my grandfather, as well as my sister and parents, to be my greatest supporters who have always been there for me.

How does your school support your extracurricular activities? What activities do you plan to get involved in at school?

I am very grateful for the support my school provides, primarily the understanding of teachers when I have to miss classes. I plan to get involved in the chemistry club and participate in various competitions.

Is there a particular lesson or experience you would like to share with everyone reading this?

I would like to share an experience from the World Championship in China, which was a valuable lesson I learned. One of my opponents had no rating, which is essential in chess, and I thought I would quickly win the game. It turned out to be quite the opposite, and after an hour, I lost the game. The important lesson I learned was not to judge people by their appearance or the stories of others but to check things for myself.

Can you tell us something about your future goals?

My future goals are to focus on my education while not neglecting chess. I aim to balance school, chess, and social life.

I am extremely pleased and proud to be the parent of a Savremena student. During my first encounter with the school management, when I asked about my child’s potential enrolment, I saw how much love, enthusiasm and professionalism you put in your work. I was impressed by your approach, ideas and methods. I couldn’t believe something like this existed in our country! It doesn’t take long to realise that this is a school you would recommend to everyone. Creativity, modern technology, top-quality education, and most of all, the humaneness that can be seen throughout the school, make it truly different and worthy of its name – Savremena Gimnazija. With such an approach, the success of this school and, consequently, our children’s success, is unavoidable. Congratulations! Jelena Đorđević, Andrija’s mum
Contemporary in any sense of the word, our school offers functional knowledge and quality preparation for tertiary education in Serbia and abroad. Implementing modern and creative teaching in the classroom, where the teachers’ pedagogy and students’ performance are aligned with the highest academic standards for the high-school finals, our school develops linguistic, mathematical, scientific, artistic, cultural, technical and ICT competence, which is a prerequisite for further education and professional development. Teaching is supported by the interactive whiteboards and educational software, whereas practice exercises research and critical thinking.