Many of you may not realize it, but Convekta now has a serious number of software titles, from tutorials to chess data and databases. Right now, their price list includes around 300 items, and they sell to about 1000 shops and dealers within Russia. In addition, they are currently marketing and selling products in 10 countries. In fact, in the past two years, sales have been so good that Convekta's business manager has been a very busy person indeed.
The gent you see at right is none other than Sergey Abramov, the aforementioned business manager for Convekta. He and Dr. Victor Zakharov have the final say on all the most important decisions made by the company. Sergey is also the man that goes to all the Olympiads, where he you can see him demonstrating Chess Assistant and other Convekta products.
It turns out that Sergey joined Convekta about 12 years ago, and hence he represents a person that is second in terms of seniority in the company (the first being Victor). Sergey has gradually become more and more involved in the business end of the company as time has gone by. He says that even though he plays less chess now, he really enjoys the challenges associated with managing the day-to-day operations. Sergey is both a master and author of four chess books, and this wide range of chess experience gives him a good perspective for running his part of the company.
Sergey was willing to say a few words about upcoming projects and new programs. He said that Convekta is currently working toward the introduction of six to eight new program titles this fall, which will include a new PocketPC program, new openings program (a black repertoire with ...Nc6), new internet programs, and Middlegames IV, among others. They are also working on a DVD of six man tablebases.
I also had the opportunity to have lunch with both Sergey and Victor. Most of the time was spent discussing what I felt could be done to improve Convekta's software offerings. This was a very lively conversation, and I felt that Sergey was genuinely interested in how to make improvements in their programs.
Incidentally, in the course of our conversation, Sergey mentioned that GM Alexander Morozevich uses Chess Assistant, and regularly suggests new features and improvements. Apparently, there are quite a few other GMs out there (mostly Russian) that use the software as well, but Convekta has not really advertised this to date.
Incidentally, the smart-looking lady on the right is Veronica Kasatkina, Sergey's wife. Veronica is an artist, and you probably don't realize it, but you've probably seen her work. She's responsible for creating the artwork for Convekta's boxed products, and well as all the splash screens in various Convekta programs, like Chess Assistant.
You can see a small sample of Veronica's work to the right. As you can see, she works mostly with digital media, and she often deals with a chess theme. If you're intrigued, you should check out her website here. There are also a number of her posters for sale at this page on the Convekta website.