Perpetual Chess Podcast
Perpetual Chess Podcast
Ben Johnson
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Perpetual Chess features weekly conversations with the chess world's best players, promoters, and educators about their lives, careers, current projects, and best practices. Learn more at
EP.198 - Ren Escalera (Adult Improver Series)
Ren Escalera is a 37 year-old dad and adult chess improver. As Ren describes, he had a brief, but strong, passion for chess as a scholastic player in the Phillipines and has rekindled his love for the game in order to help his talented young son improve. Ren’s son, Scott, is rated 1248 at the age of 7, which is good for #16 for his age in the country!  Meanwhile, Ren has seen some vast improvements of his own. Prior to the pandemic, Ren had taken his rating from 1056 to a peak of 1702 in just 1.5 years! How did Ren do it? How did Scott do it? What is next for this powerful father-son tandem?  I think you will enjoy Ren and Scott’s inspiring story, as well as his equally useful chess improvement and parenting reflections. You can find more information and timestamps below.  0:00- We begin by discussing how Ren and his son, Scott, became interested in chess. As Ren describes, he loved chess as a kid in the Phillipines but walked away.  He introduced his son to it when he was a young boy, and it was  then that Ren found himself coming back to it.    10:40- When did his son start to play tournament chess? How did this affect Scott’s interest in chess?    17:00- How many hours per day are Scott and Ren spending on chess? What is their daily routine?  Mentioned: IM Angelo Young, Megan Chen    22:00- What do Scott and Ren study during their 2-3 hours of training per day?  Mentioned: Chess 5334 Problems by Laszlo Polgar, The London System with 2. Bf4 by Ginger GM, Pirc video Damian Lemos, Fundamental Chess: Logical Decision Making by GM Ramesh, Chessking App, Perpetual Chess Episode 190 with Adult Improver Andrew Zinn, Perpetual Chess Episode 42 with James Altucher    28:00- With limited finances, how does Ren’s family handle the expense of chess?    32:00- Are there times that Scott does not want to do chess? How does Ren handle it?    34:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Winning Chess Tactics by GM Yasser Seirawan is one of their latest offerings. You might find it on sale if you act quickly.    35:00- Ren answers a Patreon mailbag question regarding whether he believes its true that club-level players should focus primarily on tactics. After that he discusses his approach to reviewing games.     41:00- Ren answers a question from another of the podcast’s Patreon supporters relating to the nature of his rating climb, and whether he has had moments of stagnation and frustration in his quest to improve at chess.    47:00- Ren gives a bit of advice about how to allocate chess study time.    50:00- Ren gives some advice to a fellow parent about how to potentially introduce his 4 year old to chess.    58:30 Ren discusses his goals, and how he thinks he will approach chess as both he and his son continue to improve.    1:01:30- Thanks so much to Ren for sharing his inspiring story! You can keep up with him via the Kings Wisdom Chess Club web page, or email him at escalerarv at See for privacy information.
Oct 20
1 hr 8 min
EP.197 - IM Cyrus Lakdawala returns
Since our first interview in June of 2019, IM Cyrus Lakdawala has increased the number of books he has authored to 50! Cyrus’ newest published book is Rewire Your Chess Brain: Endgame Studies and Mating Problems to Enhance Your Tactical Abilities . I have been excited for this book because endgame studies have frequently been mentioned by guests as an effective way to improve one’s visualization abilities and pattern recognition. The book did not disappoint me! It is filled with creative, diabolical and often difficult chess problems that can stump you for hours or days. We also discuss Cyrus’ recent award-winning book  In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History. In the book, Cyrus deconstructs the magic of chess hot streaks and reveals who he thinks had the most impressive tournament performance of all time. For those interested in chess improvement, this interview is packed with useful advice. Cyrus shares his advice for how to tackle difficult chess problems, and reveals a simple formula for how one should allocate one’s chess study time. Please read on for lots more details and timestamps.   0:00-  We begin  by discussing his newest, the excellent book of endgame studies and difficult mate problems, Rewire Your Chess Brain.     Mentioned: Episode 129 With Cyrus Lakdawala: Chess Endgame Studies and Compositions Facebook Group- Also Mentioned:  GM Max Illingworth, Jonathan Fry, GM Nigel Short, GM Alexei Shirov, Joseph William Abbott    “It’s not the solving that matters, it’s the combination of straining to solve… mixed with seeing an original pattern in the solution, and you are adding to your internal database a new pattern.”  13:15- This episode is brought to you in part by If you sign your child up for a Gold level Membership,  you can use promo code “HOMEFUN” for a 10% discount, and if you are interested in bulk discounts on chess club memberships, you can email    14:15- Cyrus answers a Patreon mailbag question relating to the proper way to tackle chess endgame studies.  As Cyrus explains, the key is to strain for the answer.    Mentioned: Reti-Alekhine 1925, Satanick Mukhuty, Steven Dowd    25:15- What are some common themes you might come across in chess studies?  The Blathy 1962 endgame study we discuss can be found here: 28:30- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Whether you are interested in openings, endgames, or chess history, Chessable has plenty of books and courses to help you learn and retain the information you learn using its MoveTrainer technology. 29:30- We talk some chess improvement, as Cyrus answers another question from the Patreon mailbag- What aspects of studying chess are overrated and underrated?  35:30- In the wake of the recent Pro Chess League cheating scandal, we discuss the issue of cheating in chess a bit. Background on the cheating scandal here: Mentioned: GM Tigran L. Petrosian, GM Wesley So, GM Miguel Quinteros 43:15- Another recent book of Cyrus’ In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History, just won an award for Best Instructional Book from the Chess Journalists of America. What can we learn from studying the winning streaks of the greats?  Mentioned: Paulsen, Morphy, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Veslin Topalov, GM Levon Aronian, GM Magnus Carlsen. GM Bobby Fischer, GM Bent Larsen, GM Mark Taimanov, GM Alexander Alekhine  58:30- One more supporter question for Cyrus:  Who would he pick as the best opening, middlegame, and endgames specialists in chess history?   Mentioned: GMs Kasparov, Korchnoi, Karpov, Carlsen, Alekhine 1:00:30- Thanks to Cyrus for rejoining the show!  You can buy his books here: Join the Facebook Chess Endgame Studies and Compositions  Group here: And contact Cyrus here: See for privacy information.
Oct 13
1 hr 7 min
EP.196 - GM Jan Timman
This week on Perpetual Chess, it's a privilege to be joined by a chess legend. GM Jan Timman! GM Timman is the 9 time champion of the Netherlands and spent decades as one of the top players in the world.  He has had numerous tournament triumphs, and played GM Anatoly Karpov for the FIDE World Championship in 1993. For all of his striking chess successes, GM Timman may be equally skilled as a writer. He is a founding editor of New in Chess Magazine, and penned the outstanding and award-winning book,  Timman’s Titans, among many other works. In 2020, GM Timman has released another great book, Timman’s Triumphs: My 100 Best Games. GM Timman has a treasure trove of amazing chess stories, and we are lucky that he touched on many of them in this interview. A few of the topics discussed include: what modern chess engines taught him about his classic games, what it was like to drink with Mikhail Tal, and go to a disco with Bobby Fischer, and what his most cherished and painful memories are from a lifetime’s worth of chess battles. GM Timman is someone I have always hoped to interview, so it was an honor and pleasure to hear his stories and reflections. Please read on for more details, timestamps and relevant hyperlinks.  0:00- We begin by discussing GM Timman’s latest great book, Timman’s Triumphs. Why does he think that, under today’s circumstances,he would not become a chess professional as an up-and-coming player?  Mentioned: GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic, Chessbase, NICBase, Fritz, GM Garry Kasparov, GM Erwin L’Ami   08:00- After reviewing his games with today’s state of the art engines, how did the quality of play in GM Timman’s games hold up?  GM Wolfgang Uhlmann, GM Judit Polgar     10:45- GM Timman tells a story of travelling to a tournament in Stockholm when young, and staying at a hotel where he couldn’t afford lodging unless he won prize money. How did it turn out?  Mentioned: Rilton Cup,  IM Hans Bohm    14:30- GM Timman answers the first of many questions from the Patreon mailbag relating to his dynamic play as Black. Does GM Timman agree with IM Mark Dvoretsky that this style may have cost him some points? Mentioned: GM Max Euwe, GM Hein Donner    19:00- What was GM Timman’s approach to preparing for games?  Timman-Ribli 1978, GM Bobby Fischer, GM Judit Polgar   23:00- Bobby Fischer was a chess hero of GM Timman.  What was it like to meet and spend time with him?  Mentioned: Bessel Kok    26:30-GM Timman tells another great story from Timman’s Titans, of discovering, as he shopped at a second hand shop in Lisbon,  a chess set that once belonged to World Champion Alexander Alekhine.    29:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Whether you are interested in openings, endgames, or chess history, Chessable has plenty of books and courses to help you learn and retain the information you learn using its MoveTrainer technology.   30:00- GM Timman  answers a listener question comparing the feeling of playing Kasparov over the board  to that of playing GM Anatoly Karpov.  Yasser Chessable interview here-   33:30- GM Timman  discusses his relationship with GM Viktor Korchnoi and offers his theory of how Korchnoi stayed so strong into his golden years.  Biel 2001, GM Alexander Grischuk, GM Peter Svidler, GM Lajos Portisch, GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic    38:30- What has changed in Jan’s chess game over the years?  Mentioned: The Ragozin Defense    41:00- We discuss modern chess a bit. Who is Jan’s favorite player? What does he think about the soon to be resumed 2020 FIDE Candidates tournament?  GM Ding Liren, GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, GM Ian Nepomniatchi, German Bundesliga    45:00- Jan answers another question from the  Patreon mailbag  relating to a memorable result in the Immopar rapid tournament in 1991.  Timman-Karpov 1991, Immopar 1991    47:30- What are Jan’s most pleasant and most memorable chess memories?  Mentioned: GM Arthur Yusopov   50:00- What was it like to be a celebrity in his native Netherlands in the 1990’s? Why does GM Timman think Magnus Carlsen prefers to defend his World Championship title outside of Norway? Mentioned: Dirk Jan Ten Geuzendam of New in Chess Magazine, Former FIDE President Florencio Campomanes, GM Nigel Short, GM Boris Spassky, GM Bobby Fischer     52:00- How does GM Timman  spend his chess-focused time these days? What are his interests outside of chess?  Mentioned: New in Chess Magazine, Luis Borges, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa   54:30- What are GM Timman’s favorite cities and tournament venues that he has attended? Mentioned: Paris, London, Madrid, Prague, Reykjavik Open    57:30- What was it like to spend time with legendary World Champion GM Mikhail Tal? If he were to be stranded on a desert island with one GM, who would it be? Mentioned: Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer    1:00:00- GM Timman answers another listener question:  Does he think that much of his success in chess can be attributed to the creative environment that surrounded him in the Netherlands?   Mentioned: De Kring, Hein Donner, GM Evgenii Sosonko    1:02:00- How much is Jan keeping up with chess literature? What are his favorite chess books?  Mentioned: My 60 Memorable Games, Paul Keres: The Road to the Top, Rapport-Sprenger 2020    1:06:00- GM Jan Timman answers one last Patreon mailbag question: How does GM Timman keep his motivation and focus to play lower rated players in club games?  Mentioned: GM Max Euwe    1:08:30- Thanks so much to GM Timman for joining the show! His books are widely available including from New in Chess, as well as Forward Chess.'s-triumphs:-my100-best-games?sscid=91k3_fazxa See for privacy information.
Oct 6
1 hr 14 min
EP.195 - GM Keith Arkell
GM Keith Arkell is a constant presence in chess tournaments ranging from smaller British weekend tournaments, to big-stage open tournaments like the Isle of Man International. Over the years, he has amassed dozens of tournament victories, including winning the 2014 European Over 50 Championship, and tying for first in the 2008 British Championships. Of course, Keith is best known for his legendary endgame prowess, and he shows off and explains his approach to endgames in his enjoyable and instructive new book,  Arkell’s Endings. In our interview,Keith discusses the book, including his fascinating “hierarchy of pawns.” Keith shares some great chess tips as well as life reflections from a life spent wholly immersed in chess. As always, please read on for more details and timestamps.   0:00- We begin by discussing the genesis of Arkell’s Endings, as well as the origins  of Keith’s legendary endgame skills.  Mentioned: Chess for Life by GM Mathew Sadler and Natasha Regan, Ginger GM Publishing, GM Simon Williams, GM Anatoly Karpov, GM Ulf Andersson, GM Tony Miles,    08:00- Does Keith think he is uniquely feared due to his propensity for grinding down opponents in long games?  Mentioned: GM Mark Hebden   12:00- In Arkell’s Endgames, he lays out his “heirarchy of pawns”- how does he value each pawn, and how did he come upon that framework?    18:30- Keith makes no secret that he dislikes opening theory. How does he approach chess to minimize memorization? How does he characterize his chess style generally?  Mentioned: IM John Bartholomew,  GM Simon Williams    26:30- As a European senior champion what is Keith’s advice for other older players? How does he balance a desire to socialize with his chess colleagues while also trying to perform well in tournaments?    30:30- In addition to an evident endgame prowess, Simon Williams shows some impressive tactical melees that Keith has played  in Arkell Endgames.   How did Keith learn to calculate?    34:00- Keith has a light touch in Arkell’s Endings, with regard to how much analysis he includes. How did he decide on this approach?  Mentioned: Bertrand Russell, GM Peter Svidler, IM Ali Mortazavi    41:50- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Check out all of their latest offerings here:   42:30- How does Keith stay sharp in blitz?  Mentioned: Hodgson, Howell, GM Simon Williams, IM Ameet Ghasi, GM Alireza Firouzja, GM Mickey Howell, GM Luke McShane, GM Gawain Jones,GM Ivan Sololov, John Naylor    46:00- Are the rumors true, that Keith’s fun first book, Arkell’s Odyssey, will soon be updated and reissued? Keith expounds on some personal issues touched upon in the book, including a lack of confidence before he discovered chess, and a history of panic attacks.    56:00- Keith made an early decision in life to try to avoid a “real job.” How old was he when he made this decision? How strong was he at chess?  Mentioned: IM Susan Lalic, GM Glenn Flear, WIM Christine Flear    1:03:00- What are Keith’s favorite places that he has visited for tournaments?  Mentioned: GM Vassily Smyslov, GM Lev Psakhis, Arkell-Psakhis 1983,  GM Leonid Yudasin, GM Alexander Khalifman, Marshall Chess Club,    1:08:00- How did Keith find his chess heroes, like Anatoly Karpov and Ulf Andersson?  Mentioned: Simple Chess, My System, Think Like a Grandmaster, Chess for Zebras, Fred Reinfeld, Irving Chernev, GM Yuri Averbakh    1:13:00- What is Keith’s approach to analyzing his own games?    1:15:30- What was it like to play Magnus Carlsen when Magnus was 11 years old? What other memorable encounters has Keith had with top players?  Mentioned: Arkell-Carlsen 2002, Isle of Man International, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Sergei Karjakin, Arkell-Karjakin 2003, GM Michael Adams, Gm Jonathan Speelman, GM Nigel Short, GM Anish Giri, GM Teimour Radjabov, GM Vidit Gujrathi    1:22:00-  Thanks so much to Keith for joining the show!  Get Arkell’s Endings here: Follow Keith on Twitter here: Track him on Facebook here: Check out how he did at Pardubiche here: See for privacy information.
Sep 29
1 hr 31 min
EP.194 - FM Yuriy Krykun
FM Yuriy Krykun is a young and accomplished chess player, graduate student, trainer and author. As a player, Yuriy was the 2018 Under 20 Champion,  is rated nearly 2500 USCF, and in 2019, he attained 2 IM norms.  Since Yuriy’s hopes to earn one more IM Norm have been delayed by coronavirus, he has been focusing on churning out quality opening courses and books.  I was particularly eager to discuss Yuriy’s new Chessable course, The Dynamic Italian Game, which focuses on the Evans Gambit. As we discuss, modern chess engines have made lots of new discoveries in the famed Evans, so it was a fun course for him to write, and it’s a fun opening to play if you are a club player looking for dynamic positions. Lastly, since Yuriy is norm chasing himself, and is also an active coach, he had lots of good chess improvement recommendations. As always, you can find lots more details, timestamps and relevant links below.    0:00- We begin by discussing how Yuriy has been impacted by coronavirus. He got stranded when visiting his native Ukraine, but now he has returned to St. Louis, where he can train with the powerhouse Webster University Chess Team. Yuriy also discusses why he decided to study at Webster.  Mentioned:Webster University, Yuriy’s Chessable Course page,  A Complete Repertoire for Black after 1. e4-e5 ,  Squeezing the King’s Indian Defense GM  Ilya Nyzhnyk, GM Lázaro Bruzón Batista, GM Alexander Lenderman, GM Peter Prohaska, GM Aram Hakobyan, GM John Burke,GM Emilio Cordova, GM Yuniesky Quesada    10:00- Yuriy shares his reasons for designing a Chessable course on the historic Evans Gambit, The Dynamic Italian Game, Mentioned: Stacia Pugh, GM Jan Gustafsson    22:00- As always, Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by In addition to Yuriy’s courses, FM Kamil Plichta is out with a new course on the Budapest Gambit (free preview here- , and there is lots more to check out on the site.     22:45- We discuss Yuriy’s approach to engine use, as well as his advice for how much improvers should be using them.  Mentioned: Stockfish, AlphaZero, LeelaZero, Fat Fritz, GM Patrick Wolff, Stockfish NNUE   29:30- What study tools did Yuriy use during his quick ascent up the chess-rating ladder? What study advice does he have for current adult improvers of different levels?  Mentioned: GM Alex Yermolinsky’s The Road to Chess Improvement, Zurich 1953, Endgame Strategy, Yusopov Chess School Series, Logical Chess Move by Move, How to Reassess Your Chess     40:00- What are Yuriy’s current chess goals and plans? Mentioned: Charlotte Chess Center    44:30- What is next for Yuriy, chess-content wise? How is life in St. Louis?  Mentioned: Check for Yuriy’s YouTube Channel here:   49:30- Despite coronavirus, FIDE has announced that the 2020 Candidates will resume in November. What does Yuriy think about it? Mentioned: GM Teimour Radjabov    53:00- Thanks to Yuriy for joining the show.  He has lots more stuff coming out, so it would be wise to keep up with him the following ways:    Twitter- YouTube-   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Sep 22
1 hr 1 min
EP.193 - Tom Murphy
USCF expert Tom Murphy is undoubtedly one of the most renowned “park speed chess” players to live in the U.S. in the last few decades. He is a local legend in the cities in which he has lived:  Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Chicago, and has often been featured in the local media in those cities. It’s hard to miss Tom in popular chess hotspots due to his strong play and his entertaining banter. In our conversation we cover topics ranging from blitz and trash-talking tips, to Tom’s unique improvement advice, to the most money he has made in a day while gambling on chess. Tom shares many great stories and has an evident love of chess, but his life has not always been easy. As we also discuss, Tom has battled addiction at times, and even had a short stint in jail as a result of these issues. As you can tell, Tom has quite a story to tell! More details can be found below, along with time stamps and relevant links.  0:00- Perpetual Chess Happy Hour info here: 2:45- Tom tells the origin story of how he discovered chess as a teenager in Philadelphia and began to take it increasingly seriously over time.  Mentioned: Central High School, NM Norman “Pete” Rogers, A Contemporary Approach to the Middle Game by GM Alexei Suetin, NM Wilbert Paige 8:30- Tom tells the formative story of a moment when a top player underestimated him, and how this served to motivate him to work to improve. Mentioned: IM Anthony Saidy, GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Robert Byrne  11:30- Does Tom consider himself a chess hustler?  Mentioned: Daaim Shabazz of The Chess Drum’s coverage of Tom Murphy: Tim Ferris video in which GM Maurice Ashley plays a park player - 14:45- Tom Murphy answers a question from the Patreon mailbag about the art of trash- talking.  Sideline: The History of Chess from a Black Point of View preview here:  16:45- What is the story behind the birth of the Chicago based National Blitz League?  Mentioned: Nathan Kelly,, Daniel X Jones, George Li 19:45- Tom reveals his “3 Ps” for chess improvement- Patience, Perseverance and a Peaceful Mind  Mentioned: IM Greg Shahade, WGM Jennifer Shahade  23:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Check out all of their latest offerings here. 24:00- Who is Tom’s best “customer” of all time in terms of playing him in blitz for money?  Mentioned: FM Sunil Weerumantry  27:15- Who is the strongest player Tom ever faced? What were the reasons for his moving from Philly to DC, and then later to Chicago? GM Roman Dzindzichashvilli, GM Ben Finegold, GM Nikola Mitkov  30:30- Does Tom think that park chess is dying?  The National Blitz League Facebook page- Henry Getz, Steve Jennings  32:00- Tom has battled addiction in the past, has been homeless for periods and even spent six months in jail due to addiction issues, so he reflects on that experience and offers advice to others battling addiction.  37:30- Is Tom stronger online or over the board?  38:00- What are Tom’s favorite chess publications to read?  Mentioned: New in Chess Magazine,  Endgame Strategy, The Art of The Middle Game in Chess,My System, 500 Master Games of Chess  44:00- How does Tom use computers to work on his chess game?  Mentioned: The Perpetual Chess Facebook Group 46:00- What is Tom’s blitz chess advice?  Mentioned: GM Pablo Riccardi 48:30- IM Greg Shahade writes in to ask about the state of Tom Murphy’s Ms. Pac Man skills, then Tom discusses his enthusiasm for poker and backgammon.  Mentioned: Paul Baraz  55:00- Thanks so much to Tom for sharing his great stories! If you would like to contact him about online lessons, you can text him at 202-279-1442   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Sep 15
1 hr 1 min
Adult Improver follow up - Andrzej Kryzdwa and Stacia Pugh return!
This week we have a special edition of Perpetual Chess, as the two first adult improver guests return to the show to update us on the state of their chess games, their lives, and their improvement regimens. The guests are Andrzej Krzydwa and Stacia Pugh, who both originally appeared on the show 2+ years ago (links to their interviews below.) Andrzej is a Polish small business owner, dad and programmer who manages to devote a ton of time to his chess improvement. At the time of our first interview he had just earned an IM norm by posting a dazzling 2579 performance rating in a tournament called the Katowice Spring 2018 . Stacia is a former professional cornhole player who now devotes all of her time to studying chess and teaching with Ohio’s Progress with Chess. At the time of our first interview she had gained 300 rating points in the prior years, and Stacia exuded an evident passion for chess improvement. Both guests come back with new improvement tips in addition to a continued appreciation of some of their favorite study methods mentioned in their first interviews. Lastly, I wanted to thank another former adult improver guest, Jason Cigan. A follow up with Jason was originally planned to be part 3 of this episode, but through no fault of Jason’s we encountered technical issues that forced me to postpone that interview. Please read on for more details and show notes.  Episode 76 with Andrzej Krzydwa, June 3,2018   Episode 87 with Stacia Pugh, August 14, 2018: 0:00- Here is the info you need for the announcements made at the top of the show.    If you are interested in signing up for the randomized trial of best improvement methods sign up at the following link or email I make a couple of announcements at the top of Tuesday’s episode.   First, a devoted improver is going to run a proper randomized trial of best improvement methods. It is only for certain ratings, but go to the link below to get all the details. Matt is hoping to run a similar study in the future for higher rated players as well. You can find more information about the Perpetual Chess Happy Hour here:    6:00- Andrzej  Krzyydwa rejoins the show, and we dive right into an update of how his chess games have been going.  Mentioned: Kasparov on Kasparov    11:45- What does Andrzej  notice from analysing his games? What are the tournament fields like in Poland?  Mentioned: GM Bartosz Soćko     19:30- Andrzej  discusses the ways that he finds chess competition meditative, and also discusses his actual meditation practice.    23:00- How is Andrzej able to maintain his morale when results aren’t going as well as he would like? He also answers a question from the Patreon mailbag about whether or not he ever suffers from chess burnout, and he gives a few improvement recommendations.  Mentioned: GM David Navara, Perpetual Chess Episode 173 with Philemon Thomas,,, Hiarcs Chess Explorer,, FM Kamil Plichta    32:00- Thanks to Andrzej for coming back on the show, you can keep up with him via the following outlets: Facebook page- Twitter-   33:00- Perpetual Chess Yasser Seirawan’s classic book Winning Chess Strategies is now available on! Check out a free sample of it here:   33:30- Stacia Pugh rejoins the show to talk about how her life and chess have progressed since our previous conversation.  NM Michael Joelson, IM Calvin Blocker, IM Marc Esserman, Stacia’s blog is here:    44:00- Why did Stacia revamp her opening repertoire, and how has it affected her results?    49:00- In our first interview Stacia was an advocate of the use of flashcards, does she still believe in them? She also delves into her current chess study regimen.  Mentioned: The Art of Checkmate, Progress with Chess’ Tuesday Tussle    56:00- We revisit Stacia’s top 10 improvement tips, shared in our first interview.    59:00- Stacia shares her advice regarding how to deal with burnout in chess.    1:00:00- Have Stacia’s goals changed since our first conversation?    1:01:00- Thanks to Stacia for stopping by and catching up.  Here is how to keep up with her: blog- YouTube- Twitter- See for privacy information.
Sep 8
1 hr 7 min
EP.192 - GM Avetik Grigoryan
Avetik Grigoryan is an Armenian grandmaster and chess trainer, who is also the founder and lead instructor of Chessmood is a subscription based educational chess site that offers a large library of instructive videos, covering all phases of a chess game. Avetik has a team of grandmasters working with him on the site, who also answer member questions, stream shows, and write articles. In our conversation, Avetik shares his vision for chessmood, gives some  improvement tips and book recommendations, and tells some great stories of a few key moments in his life that changed his perspective about life and about chess. It was a fun and wide ranging conversation. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  0:00- We begin by discussing a bit about the background of Chessmood, and the day-to-day life of running and generating tons of videos related to all phases of the chess game.    07:30- What issues does Avetik see in the students he works with through   13:00- GM Kevin Goh’s recent Perpetual Chess Interview (Episode 184) really resonated with listeners, and in the interview Kevin gave Avetik a lot of credit for helping him attain the grandmaster title. What is Avetik’s perspective on Kevin’s accomplishments?  Mentioned: Kevin Goh on Perpetual Chess-   19:00- What type of material is available on Chessmood?  Mentioned: GM Ulf Andersson, GM Vassily Smyslov, GM Akiba Rubinstein , The Scotch Game, The Benko Gambit, The Maroczy Bind, The London System, The Open Sicilian, Caro Kann, The Grand Prix Attack, The King’s Gambit    28:30- Avetik answers a Patreon mailbag question about whether Chessmood will be covering 1. d4 in addition to 1. e4, This leads to a general discussion about its philosophy regarding course design.  Mentioned: The Benko Gambit, The Scotch Game   34:00- Perpetual Chess is proud to be sponsored in part by They are releasing new courses practically every day, including a new course on the Chebanenko Slav, and GM Anish Giri on the French Defense. Check out their latest offerings here:   35:00- Avetik tells the story of how a taxi ride as a teenager changed his life, and then discusses the chess culture and general lifestyle in his native Armenia.  Mentioned: WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, GM Melik Khachiyan, GM Levon Aronian, GM Tigran Petrosian, GM Alex Colovic interview with Avetik-   42:30- Why did GM Grigoryan transition from focusing on OTB competitive chess to training?  Mentioned: GM Patrick Wolff, GM Viswanthan Anand, GM Hrant Melkumyan, Anand-Grigoryan 2011   51:00- Avetik answers a question from the Patreon mailbag about what it was like to play at the St. Louis Chess Club, and whether he would do so again despite being partially retired from competitive chess.    56:30- What did Avetik study when he was working to achieve the grandmaster rating? What does he recommend?  Mentioned: GM Zaven Andriasian, IM Mark Dvoretsky, Gelfand’s My Most Memorable Games, GM Vladimir Akopian   1:03:00- How should we divide our chess study time? Once your opening repertoire is decent, Avetik recommends dividing study time evenly between openings and tactics.  GM Daniel Naroditsky    1:08:00- Is it true that Avetik is a Kung Fu GM? What other interests does he have outside of chess?  Way of the Peaceful Warrior, IM Josh Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning, Tools of Titans, Arnold Schwarzenegger, IM Sagar Shah of Chessbase India     1:15:00- Thanks so much to Avetik for coming on the show! Here is how to reach him: Avetik’s Facebook- If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Sep 1
1 hr 27 min
Book Recap- Talking Blindfold Chess with guest co-host Jerry Wells
This month on Chess Books Recaptured, guest co-host Jerry Wells and I do a deep dive on the topic of Blindfold Chess. Jerry is an Arkansas-based school teacher, chess coach, and dedicated adult improver who has emphasized blindfold chess in his study regimen. The first half of the show is devoted to discussing the definitive work on blindfold chess, called Blindfold Chess, History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games. The book is by NM Eliot Hearst and John Knott, and it was clearly a labor of love from two passionate chess enthusiasts. Following our conversation about this detailed historical tome, Jerry and I summarize and share many other resources you all can check out if you are interested in improving your own blindfold and visualization skills. We’ve got lots of detailed links and show notes for this one, so please read on to find them along with timestamps.  0:00- We begin by learning a bit about the background of our guest co-host, Jerry Wells, and about why he was interested in the book Blindfold Chess, History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games, by Eliot Hearst and John Knott, and why he has worked on his own blindfold game.  Mentioned: Perpetual Chess 191 with GM Daniel Naroditsky, Link for forthcoming blindfold study book by Martin Justesen: 10:30- As we discuss, Blindfold Chess is primarily available in paperback from Macfarland Publishing. There are no e-books available.  Mentioned: GM Richard Reti, GM George Koltanowski  12:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by One way to work on your visualization skills is through Chessable’s excellent, Visualize series by Benedictine. Check it out here: 13:00- We read the opening paragraphs of the book and dive into its contents.  Mentioned: GM Alexander Alekhine, Alfred Binet, Harry Pillsbury, GM Timur Garyev, GM Andy Soltis, John Knott’s essay on Timur Garyev’s Blindfold Simul Record: . NM Christopher Chabris, Andre Philidor, Lionel Kieseritzky, Louis Paulson, Paul Morphy, Joseph Blackburne, Johannes Zukertort, GM Patrick Wolff  31:00-  A recurring question in the book is whether or not performing many blindfold simuls can drive you insane? What did the authors conclude?  Mentioned: Harry Pillsbury George Koltanowski  35:30- We discuss a few of the other notable players mentioned in the book.  Mentioned: GM Miguel Najdorf, GM Ken Rogoff, The simul Polgars, GM Robert Hungaski  40:00- We answer a Patreon mailbag question about the ranking of  George Koltanowski in the pantheon of blindfold players throughout chess history.  Mentioned: GM Hans Ree, GM Erich Eliskases  48:30- We discuss part 2 of the book, which synthesizes a lot of the research available regarding how chess players learn, and whether they have superior memories, etc.  Mentioned: NM Christopher Chabris, The Melody Amber Blindfold Tournaments:, GM Peter Svidler, GM Vasyl Ivanchuk, GM Aman Hambleton  56:30- We share a few of our favorite quotes from the book.  Mentioned: GM Richard Reti, GM Reuben Fine. GM Alexander Alekhine  1:03:00- We briefly discuss a few of the highlight games from the book.  Mentioned: Alekhine-Schwartz 1926- Koltanowski-Burnett 1937- The Polgar game Jerry mentions is not available online. :(  1:05:00 What blindfold-playing tips are shared within the book?  Mentioned: George Koltanowski, Branco Tchabritch, GM Anthony Miles, IM John Watson 1:11:00- We synthesize a lot of Blindfold Tips from other chess books and other resources.  Here are the resources we discuss:  Improve Your Chess Now by GM Jonathan Tisdall  Noir Chess- Chessvis- IM Danny Rensch’s- Achieving Full Board Awareness and Nivana videos- Chess Steps Thinking Ahead Volume 2- Visualize 1 on Chessable by Benedictine- ChessFox Visualwize- NM Elliott Neff’s Step by Step Blindfold Tips- NM Elliott Neff on Perpetual Chess- Blindfold Chess Podcast- 1:28:00- Thanks so much to Jerry Wells for suggesting this great topic and preparing so much. You can follow him twitter here: And thanks to his suggestion of another donation to Books Through Bars: 1:31:00- Blindfold Puzzle Time!   (from Chess steps thinking ahead)- 1. E4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 Nc6 5. ? Answer in link Mate in 2 from Chess Steps vol. 3) White: pawn on a5, queen on h1, King on c5 Black: King on a7, White to move and mate in 2 Puzzle here- Solution here- Pillsbury- BVD Dixon, 1900, Blindfold Simul- what move did Pillsbury “overlook” on move 10 for Black  [Event "Pillsbury blindfold sim"] [Site "New Orleans"] [Date "1900.03.08"] [Round "?"] [White "Pillsbury, Harry Nelson"] [Black "Dixon, B."] [Result "0-1"] e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bc5 5. O-O O-O 6. Nxe5 Qe7 7. Nxc6 dxc6 Bd3 Qe5 9. h3 Bxh3 10. gxh3  What move did Pillsbury “overlook” on move 10 for Black?  Game link with conclusion here… Thanks for listening everyone! If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Aug 29
1 hr 42 min
EP.191 - GM Daniel Naroditsky
24 year old GM Daniel “Danya” Naroditsky is one of the top players in the US, and won many scholastic titles in his career, including the 2007 World Under 12 Championship. He also has written two chess books, and graduated last year from Stanford University with a degree in history. Since graduating, Danya has relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina and turned his attention to chess full time. Aside from his classical chess accomplishments, Danya is making a name for himself as an entertaining and insightful announcer, Twitch Streamer and Youtube presenter. GM Naroditsky is especially talented at fast chess, and has had many blitz and bullet battles with the likes of GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Alireza Firouzja and GM Andrew Tang. Danya sometimes wins and sometimes loses these matches, but the results are always entertaining. In our interview,  we discuss Danya’s many roles in the chess world, and Danya also provides the usual helping of chess improvement talk and entertaining stories. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  0:00- We begin by discussing GM Daniel Naroditsky’s favorite Perpetual Chess interviews and the recent dramatic conclusion to Chess24's Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Mentioned: Perpetual Chess Episode 46 with IM John Watson, Perpetual Chess Episode 190  with Andrew Zinn, GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Hikaru Nakamura     7:30- I love watching Danya play blitz, so I had to ask him about his rise up the ranks, and his battles with the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Andrew Tang and other great bullet and blitz players.  Mentioned: Mechanics Institute Chess Club in San Francisco, IM John Donaldson    14:00- Our conversation segues into Danya’s practical advice for improving at fast chess, expanding on a great series he wrote for, starting with The Blitz Chess Manifesto: Mentioned: How to be Lucky in Chess: The Swindle, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Alireza Firouzja   24:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable  is constantly releasing new courses utilizing its MoveTrainer technology. It helps players assimilate patterns and learn opening lines efficiently. One of their latest is  a brand new course on the French by Super GM Anish Giri. Check out a free mini-course on it here:    24:30- We delve more into Danya’s blitz escapades including some great stories of his first encounters with Magnus Carlsen in online blitz.  Mentioned: Limitless,  Daniel’s YouTube Video- One of My Best Wins Against the World Champion:   34:45- How could Danya get better at fast chess? What could he do to crack 2700 ELO at Classical Chess?  Mentioned: GM Lev Psakhis, FIDE World Cup    44:00- Despite Danya’s success with multiple chess platforms, chess teaching remains his #1 passion? Why? And what are the pros and cons of streaming?  Mentioned: IM Levy Rozman    55:00- a Patreon supporter of the podcast writes in to ask Danya to discuss a story he had heard about Danya’s taking  tons of notes about his games when he was a child. If you are interested in supporting Perpetual Chess and submitting questions for upcoming guests, you can find out more here: Mentioned: Mastering Positional Chess, Mastering Complex Endgames  1:01:30- Danya tells a great story of a personal encounter, as a promising young chess player,  with Garry Kasparov.  Then he names a few of his favorite books.  Learn from the Legends, Zurich 1953, My 60 Memorable Games, Capablanca’s Chess Primer, IM John Donaldson    1:04:30- We talk chess improvement, as I ask Danya the age old question of how to manage chess study time.  Mentioned: The Best Move    1:07:30- GM Naroditsky answers a Patreon mailbag question regarding whether he enjoys announcing scholastic tournaments, and how the presentation of these events could be improved.  Mentioned: GM Robert Hess,’s “I am Not a GM tournament”   1:11:00- Why are all these Chess Twitch stars so good at chess impersonations? Here is Danya doing GM Yasser Seirawan and GM Garry Kasparov  Mentioned: IM Levy Rozman, GM Aman Hambleton, GM Alexander Grischuk   1:14:00- Why did Daniel relocate to Charlotte, and how is life there? Mentioned: FM Peter Giannatos, Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy, Charlotte Chess Center Summer 2020 Norm Invitationals    1:19:00- Thanks so much to GM Naroditsky for his insights, impersonations and fun stories. Here is how to keep up with him: His Website- YouTube- Twitch- Twitter-      See for privacy information.
Aug 25
1 hr 25 min
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