This week the always popular Adult Improver Series returns with another rapidly rising adult guest. Megan Chen is a 24 year old software engineer and enthusiastic chess player. Since resuming tournament play in 2015 Megan’s USCF rating has ascended from 961 in 2015 to a peak rating of 1909! How did she do it? We discuss that in great detail, and as usual, you can find the links and timestamps below. The short answer, of course, is that she did lots of hard work on her chess and played in tons of tournaments.
0:00- Intro. Megan talks about how she rediscovered a passion for chess in college at Carnegie Mellon after many years away. Mentioned in this segment: USCF Masters Beilin Li and Grant Xu
8:00- Once Megan recommitted to chess as a serious hobby, what did she do to help improve her game? She found stronger players to review her games, and found her coaches, Ryan Murphy and WGM Nazi Paikidze.
Mentioned: Chicago Chess Meetup , Combinative Motifs by Maxim Blokh , Illinois Chess Association article about Megan Chen
18:00- Megan answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast about how she structures her lessons and study time.
29:00- What change in Megan’s lifestyle helped her game of chess the most? What are Megan’s current goals in chess? How is she approaching a current slump in her results?
40:00- Megan answers some more questions from Patreon supporters of the show. They relate to the best way to spend one’s chess study time, choosing coaches, seeking book recommendations for a new player rated around 900, and her biggest challenge as an adult improver is. .
Mentioned: Chess: 5334 Problems Combinations and Games, and Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess Twitlonger post from IM Alexander Katz LiChess Coaches Page, Chess.com coaches page
56:00- What are Megan’s favorite chess books?
Mentioned: Combinative Motifs by Maxim Blokh , Active Pieces by Jay Bonin, Imagination in Chess, Attacking Manual Volume 1 and Volume 2 by GM Jacob Aagard
58:00- As is becoming a tradition in the Adult Improver Series, Megan gives her opinion of the importance of various study methods in the quest for improvement. These methods include: Studying Openings, playing blitz, having a coach, studying endgames, doing tactics, exercising, and watching chess broadcasts and videos.
Mentioned: 100 Endgames You Must Know, SIlman’s Endgame Course, Chess.com Endgame Practice, Nazi Paikidze’s Endgame Renaissance Video
1:12- Does Megan have any longer term chess goals?
1:14- Goodbye! Keep up with Megan via her LiChess and Chess,com accounts, or join her in the Chess.com club Play Like the Masters
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