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 PerpetualChessPod.com
GM Bassem Amin is a 31 year old Super GM, who was the first Egyptian, Arab and African chess player to reach the rating of the 2700. Among many other titles, he has been the champion of Africa 5 times. As if that weren’t enough, GM Amin is also a medical doctor, but as the #38 ranked player in the world he his professional focus has been on playing chess in recent years. In our interview we discuss topics ranging from the FIDE World Cup, to the chess scene in Egypt and Africa to his chess study habits and advice. Please read on for timestamps, details and relevant links.
Intro: A world cup trip report from GM Bassem Amin. He details the events that led to his unfortunate early exit, and discusses his opinions of the format and the nerves one may feel at such an important tournament.
Mentioned: GM Amin Tabatabaei, GM Mikhailo Oleksienko, GM Nikita Vituigov Chess.com Isle of Man International, Chess24 Interview with GM Vituigov, GM Laurent Fressinet, GM Vishy Anand, GM Ivanchuk,
21:00- Why did GM Amin choose to focus on chess as a profession? How popular is chess in Egypt?
GM Vidit Gujrathi,
23:30- GM Amin discusses what it was like to experience and compete in the Grand Chess Tour in Africa at the 2019 Cote D’Ivoire Rapid and Blitz
Mentioned: GM Magnus Carlsen , GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Ding Liren, GM Wei Yi, GM Ian Nepomniatchtchi, GM Vesilin Topalov
30:00- What is GM Amin’s study routine like? What were his study methods like as a top scholastic player in Egypt?
Mentioned: Karpov Cup in France , GM Edvins Kengis, GM Ahmed Adly, GM Sergey Grigoriants, GM Mikhailo Oleksienko
38:00- What does Bassem consider to be his biggest career milestone?
41:30- What advice does Bassem have for adult improvers?
44:30- Goodbye! You can follow GM Bassem Amin’s progress via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do here.
WIM Beatriz Marinello is a Chilean-American chess player, educator and organizer. Beatriz was recently named the Director of the Chess Program at the Dalton School in New York City, and in the past few decades, she has also worked and volunteered in countless other capacities in the chess world. Beatriz was the first woman to be elected as President of the US Chess Federation and was also the first woman to be elected Vice President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). She is also one of the founders of and the President of Checkmating Dementia. Beatriz was very forthright about the good and bad that she has seen during her years in the chess world. Her experiences highlight the growth that the chess world has seen in recent years, but also show that there is still much more that can be done to promote and grow chess. Please read on for timestamps, links and a few more details.
0:00- We begin by discussing Beatriz’s roles on the FIDE Social Action Committee and as the Director of the Chess Program at The Dalton School
Mentioned: David MacEnulty retires from his role as Director of the Dalton School, IM Josh Waitzkin,IM Kassa Korley, Charu Robinson, GM Maxim Dlugy, USCF Master Gus Huston
6:45- What was it like to grow up playing chess during the Pinochet regime in Chile?
11:00- Beatriz transitions to discussing her chess work in the US, including living in Miami, Las Vegas, and ultimately New York.
Mentioned: Svetozar Jovanovic, PS 9, The Anderson School, Carmen Farina, Dr. Robert Ferguson, Castle Chess Camp, US Chess Federation
25:00- As Beatriz retells, she became the first female president of the US Chess Federation, only to discover that the organization faced serious financial difficulties. How were she and others able to help US Chess recover?
Mentioned: Stan Booz, Sam Sloan
35:00- How did WIM Marinello end up becoming affiliated with FIDE? What was that experience like?
Mentioned: FIDE Social Action Commission, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, Former Fide President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
47:00-A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks about Beatriz’ efforts to promote chess as a vehicle to fight dementia.
Mentioned: Checkmating Dementia, Michael Glassman
1:04- Beatriz tells a funny Bobby Fischer story that she heard from a reliable friend of hers.
Mentioned: Beatriz Marinello Interview with Chessbase, Dr. Leroy Dubeck,
GM Tigran Petrosian
1:12- We talk a bit of chess improvement and chess books, and some of Beatriz’ favorite chess players and chess games.
Mentioned: My Great Predecessors, GM Hou Yifan, Polgar-Berkes,Hou Yifan-David Navara 2016, GM Humpy Koneru, GM Antoaneta Stefanova, Jennifer Shahade, Kimberly Doo McVay
1:21- Goodbye! You can keep up with all of Beatriz’s initiatives via her Facebook page.
If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.
Grandmaster R.B. Ramesh is the author of the highly regarded book, Fundamental Chess: Logical Decision Making, and was the 2002 British Chess Champion, but these days he is best known as one of the top chess trainers in the world! He has served as the coach of the Indian National Team many times, and in recent years has been the trainer of the teenage super-talent, GM Praggnanandhaa, among many others. In our conversation we talk about topics ranging from how Ramesh finds and keeps track of material for his students, to how to fight chess slumps, to a list of his many favorite chess books,plus lots more! Please tune in and read on for timestamps and relevant links.
0:00- We begin by discussing R.B. Ramesh’s current whereabouts. He is conducting a training camp for talented young Indian chess players with GM Vishal Sareen and IM Dejan Bojkov. Ramesh shares the sorts of material and themes he often emphasizes in these types of camps, including the advice he gives to students who get upset by losing games.
In this segment Ramesh answer a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast about how trainers organize their teaching materials.
Mentioned: Chessbase 15
21:30- Are there any traits GM Ramesh has noticed in his most accomplished students, such as GM Praggnanandhaa?
31:00- When GM Jacob Aagard was a guest on Perpetual Chess, he discussed an upcoming chess camp he would be teaching with GM Ramesh. GM Ramesh provides us with some details about the camp.
Mentioned: GM Sam Shankland, GM Ivan Salgado Lopez,
34:00- Another supporter of the podcast asks GM Ramesh for advice about how to think about and persevere during periods of stagnation in one’s chess development.
46:30- GM Ramesh talks about his own chess playing career, was he discouraged in the period when it took him 8 years to go from IM to GM?
Mentioned: GM Anand, GM Sasrikan
Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of GM Ramesh’s insightful 3 part 2017 interview with Niklesh Jain on Chessbase India
50:30- Another supporter of the podcast asks GM Ramesh whether he thinks the competition amongst players in India is particularly fierce. From here we transition to a more general conversation about support for chess in India.
Mentioned: IM Sagar Shah, GM Vidit Gujrathi, GM Harikrishna, IM Tania Sachdev , GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Aravind Chithambaram, GM Nihal Sarin gets an endorsement with a milk company, GM Koneru Humpy
1:01- Chess books! Get ready! No surprise that a renowned trainer like GM Ramesh has a long list of recommended books. :)
Mentioned: My 60 Most Memorable Games, Zurich International, The Art of Attack, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, Judgement and Planning in Chess, Fire on Board, The Works of Mark Dvoretsky, The Works of GM Jacob Aagard, Secrets of Practical of Chess, Winning Pawn Structures (out of print), Think like a Grandmaster, Endgame Strategy, The Works of Boris Gelfand, Dynamic Chess Strategy, Theory and Practice of Chess Endings, Imagination in Chess, Perfect Your Chess, Its Only Me by Tony Miles, The Yusopov Series, Fundamental Chess Endings, Timman On the Attack,Creative Chess by Amatzia Avni, Improve Your Chess Now by GM Jonathan Tisdall,
1:11- At his ChessGurukul Academy GM Ramesh sometimes teaches yoga and meditation to his students. How have they responded to it?
Mentioned: The Grandmaster Diet: How to lose Weight While Barely Moving , GM Praggnanandhaa
1:15- We conclude with a brief discussion of GM Ramesh’s excellent book, Fundamental Chess: Logical Decision Making, and an exciting tease for another book project that GM Ramesh is planning. You can keep up with GM R.B. Ramesh via Facebook and Twitter.
If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.
More than 2.5 years after our first interview it is once again an honor to talk chess with renowned chess author and historian IM John Donaldson. As we discuss, John has remained extremely busy despite recently retiring as Director of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club in San Francisco. In addition to co-authoring acclaimed books about Bobby Fischer and Akiva Rubinstein, John is a member of the Samford Fellowship Committee and has served as the Captain of many U.S. Olympiad Teams. So as always, we had much to discuss! Please read on for many relevant links and timestamps.
0:00- Intro- We begin by discussing what is new with John's ongoing research related to his series of books about GM Bobby Fischer, written with IM Eric Tangborn.
Mentioned: Bobby Fischer’s Final Years: A Memoir, GM William Lombardy, IM Anthony Saidy
11:30- When he retired from the Mechanics' Institute one of John’s goals was to play chess competitively more often. Has he been able to achieve this goal? Which older players inspire him?
NM Han Schut, IM Anthony Saidy, USCF Master Viktors Pupols
20:00- John has been the captain of the U.S. Olympiad team many times, He explains the selection process for determining the next team for the U.S. Olympiad.
Mentioned: Khanty-Mansiysk, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Sam Shankland, Jeffrey Xiong, Hikaru Nakamura
24:30- What is Samford Fellowship, and how do its recipients get selected?
Mentioned: Allen Kaufman, Sam Sevian, Hikaru Nakamura, Awonder Liang, Joel Benjamin Wesley So, IM Christopher Yoo,
32:00- More Olympiad talk! Who will be the strongest teams in the next Open Chess Olympiad? What are John’s favorite Olympiad memories?
Mentioned: 38th Chess Olympiad (2008), GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Pentala Harikrishna, GM Vidit Gujrathi, GM Gata Kamsy, GM Vassily Ivanchuk
44:00- Is drug testing necessary in chess? How thorough is the monitoring for computer assistance at the Olympiads?
Mentioned: IM Kenneth Regan
49:00- We discuss John’s 2 volume work on legendary GM Akiva Rubinstein (co-written with IM Niklay Minev) , which is available on Forward Chess and Amazon. A Patreon supporter of Perpetual Chess wonders if there is hope for a 3rd edition of the book and also asks John’s opinion on whether Peak Rubinstein could have beaten GM Emanuel Lasker for the World Championship. John did not dodge the question!
Mentioned: Michael Negele, Positional Decision-Making in Chess, Dynamic Decision-Making in Chess
1:00:00- John shares some memories about notable recent passings in the chess world. This includes Fischer-era chess commentator Shelby Lyman, Chess Historian Dale Brandreth, and GM Pal Benko
Mentioned: Steve Brandwein , Henry Kissinger, Karl Burger, IM Jack Peters, GM Michael Wilder, Albrecht Buschke, John Rather, Oscar Shapiro, USCF Master Fred Wilson
1:19:00- Has John read any standout chess books lately?
Mentioned: Quality Chess, Chess Evolution, Thinkers Publisher, McFarland, Mongoose Press, New in Chess, Russell Enterprises, Everyman Press, Andy Soltis, 300 Most Important Chess Positions, The Survival Guide to Rook Endings, The Woodpecker Method , The King’s Indian According to Tigran Petrosian , Opening Simulator - King's Indian Defence, Perfect Your Chess , Learn From the Legends
1:36:00- John reviews the performance of the U.S. Teams at the 2019 World Team Championship.
Mentioned: GM Darius Swiercz, GM Sam Sevian, GM Alex Onischuk, GM Alex Lenderman, GM Elshan Moriadiabadi, GM Melik Khachiyan, GM Alejandro Ramirez, Carissa Yip, Rochelle Wu, GM Zviad Izoria
1:41:00- Thanks to John for coming on! You can email him here.
If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.
This week the Adult Improver series returns with another great guest. Fifty-five year-old USCF Master Han Schut is a Certified Chess Steps Trainer, a blogger, and a chess parent. His daughters Donna and Lisa were both top Dutch scholastic players, and Lisa is the youngest ever Dutch Women’s Champion. She won it at the age of 19.
Han returned to competitive chess in 2013 and has since seen his rating steadily climb from 2120 to a recent high of 2270. Given the age and relatively high rating from which Han started, this is quite an accomplishment! How did he do it? What resources did he use? How does he combat Father Time? What do we need to know about the Steps Method? Tune in to find out. Timestamps and relevant links below:
0:00- Intro and discussion of the Steps Method. The Steps is a Dutch chess curriculum which is designed to take you from the Novice to the Master Level. You can order Steps books here. Han also asks some questions from Patreon supporters of the podcast relating to the qualifications for becoming a Certified Steps Trainer and how to “mine the data” of the LiChess Online database .
Mentioned: Perpetual Chess Patreon Page, Rob Brunia, IM Cor van Wijgerden, GM Loek Van Wely, GM Erwin L’ami, Chess Tutor discs, LiChess Opening Explorer, Hiarcs Opening Book Subscription
30:00- We transition to talking about Han’s chess playing and chess improvement more generally. Han shares how he has managed to continue to improve into his 50s, and answers a few questions from supporters of the podcast about how to budget one’s chess study time.
Mentioned: Chess Steps, Step 3 Books, 100 Endgames You Must Know (Chessable version), Perfect Your Chess, Chess Structures, Keep it Simple 1. D4 (Chessable Course) . Grandmaster Repetoire 1. e4 , 1. d4 : Dynamic Systems, Game Changer, Chess for Life, Vladimir Chuchelov, Alex King, IM Ali Mortazavi, Fred Wilson
1:04- Han retells a great story from his blog relating to former World Champion, GM Boris Spassky.
Mentioned: Daniel Yarur Elsaca
1:15- Han shares some advice for other parents based on his experiences as a chess parent.
Mentioned: GM Robin Van Kampen
1:18- Goodbye. Keep up with or contact Han via his Chess.com account
Isaac Steincamp is only 22, but has already been quite busy making a name for himself in the chess world. He is an expert level chess player, and after recently graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, he has begun working at Chess.com as The Lead Solutions Architect. In the past he has been a chess streamer, has made videos for ChessOpenngsExplained.com, and he founded Chess Summit. In our conversation, we talk about how Isaac got his new gig, what is going on at Chess.com, and Isaac’s chess improvement recommendations, both for his own game and for other players. Please read on for timestamps, links and more details.
0:00- Intro. We begin by discussing how Isaac ended up with the position of Lead Solutions Architect at Chess.com
Referenced NM Sam Copeland, Aran S, Nick Barton
9:00- As the Deputy Commissioner of the Pro Chess League, Isaac gives us a rundown of all that is going on with the Pro Chess League, including the Summer Series, which is winding down.
Referenced The Pittsburgh Pawnsgrabbers, IM Greg Shahade, Reykjavik Puffins, IM John Bartholomew, Chessbrahs
24:00- We dive deeper into the Fischer Random World Championship, which is a year long competition which begins on Chess.com and culminates in a live championship in Norway in October.
27:00- We digress into a discussion of the 2019 FIDE World Cup, my favorite event on the 2019 Chess Calendar. Email me if you would like to run a World Cup Pool and I will help promote it. :)
31:20- Chess improvement! A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks about the status of Isaac’s quest for the US Chess National Master Title. Why does he think he has plateaued of late?
Mentioned: GM Eugene Perelyshteyn, FM Gabe Petesch
42:00- What has helped Isaac improve the most?
Referenced Endgame Essentials, 100 Chess Master Trade Secrets, Chess Structures, Chess.com Survival Mode, IM Hans Niemann, IM Casper Schoppen
49:00- Another supporter of the podcast asks Isaac to share his views on the importance of “storyboarding” each game of chess.
54:00- Goodbye! You can keep up with and contact Isaac via Twitter and His Chess.com account
If you would like to help support and grow the podcast, you can do so here.
26 year old Grandmaster Aman Hambleton is one of Canada’s top 10 players and, among other distinctions, he has represented his country in the Chess Olympiad multiple times. Of course, he is best known as one of the founding members (along with GM Eric Hansen) of the extremely popular chess streaming team known as the Chessbrahs. In our lengthy and entertaining conversation we discuss topics ranging from Chessbrah origins, to the business of being a chess streamer to the struggles Aman endured to earn the Grandmaster title. This was a fun one! Please read on for timestamps and relevant links.
0:00- Intro! We kick things off by discussing all that goes into creating a vlog, like this awesome Reykjavik Open Tournament Recap Vlog that Aman and the Chessbrahs recently released.
8:00- We transition to discussing the business of Chessbrah. How many employees does Chessbrah have? What project are they working on outside of chess? This includes a discussion of the origins of GM Eric Hansen and Aman forming Chessbrahs.
Mentioned: Aman Hambleton’s old blog
14:00- Aman tackles the first of many questions (thanks guys!) from a Patreon Supporter of Perpetual Chess. This question relates to how much income Twitch streamers can expect to make. Other questions relate to advice for getting into chess streaming.
29:30- GM Hambleton fields some listener questions about how GM Yasser Seirawan joined team Chessbrah, what his favorite Yasser story is, and Aman even does an impromptu Yasser impersonation!
Mentioned: Trailer Park Boys. Chess World Cup 2019 (which the Chessbrahs will be covering), Second City Improv , GM Vidit Gujrathi
45:00- Another listener asks about how many mice the Chessbrah’s have broken due to chess rage, and whether people complain that the Chessbrah’s sometimes suggest moves to each other.
Mentioned: GM Robin van Kampen, FM Lefong Hua
51:45- Chess improvement! How much has Aman trained his blndfold chess abilities?
Mentioned: Jeff Coakley
58:00- Aman talks about the immense challenge it was for him to get the GM title, and about what motivated him and enabled him to get it.
Mentioned: The Taimanov Bible: A Complete Manual for the Sicilain Player, Aman explain his win vs GM Shirov to Fiona Steil-Antoni, or play through Hambleton-Shirov 2017 here
1:08- Another listener asks about the history of the opening containing a queen sacrifice that Aman has dubbed “the undefeated opening”.
Mentioned: Check out one of Aman’s blitz games with the Undefeated Opening with it here. Englund Gambit game from Reykjavik Open vs. Lars Laustsen here
1:12- A listener asks, has blitz helped Aman’s chess, can it help ours? Does Aman play better or worse chess while streaming?
1:24- Who have been Aman’s toughest online blitz opponent?
Mentioned: GM Alireza Firouzja, GM Sergei Karjakin, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen-Hambleton 2017
1:28- Spurred by another listener question, Aman assesses the current health of the Canadian Chess Scene
Mentioned: GM Pentala Harikrishna, GM Vassily Ivanchuk, GM Sam Shankland, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly, GM Wang Hao, GM Wesley So, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Leinier Dominguez
1:38- How can one become a Chessbrah?
Mentioned: GM Yasser Seirawan, John Urschel, Chessbrah Norway Chess 2019 Coverage
1:44- One last listener question- How does being a chess professional/well known personality help or hurts Aman’s dating life?
1:48- Goodbye! Here is how you can keep up with Aman and the Chessbrahs: Aman’sTwitter, Aman’s Instagram, Chessbrah Twitch, Chessbrah Youtube Channel,Chessbrah TV Twitter
If you would like to help support the podcast, go here.
Sasha Chapin is a writer who has just published his first book, All the Wrong Moves, a Memoir about Chess, Love, and Ruining Everything. Sasha’s book tackles themes quite familiar to many chess enthusiasts: Chess love, chess addiction, chess improvement, the inevitable intersection of chess and real life, and how to grapple with one’s own chess limitations. Sasha’s book is a fun read which resonated with me, and features mentions of many prominent chess players and personalities. For another perspective on Sasha’s book, you can read the Washington Post’s review of his book here. For more details, timestamps, and relevant links please continue reading.
0:00- We begin by discussing how Sasha was able to get a book deal with Doubleday to write a “chess memoir,” and how he approached writing the book once the project was a reality.
Mentioned: GM Vassily Ivanchuk, Gm Alexander Morozevich, IM John Bartholomew, GM Ben Finegold, GM Eric Hansen, GM Var Akobian, IM Eric Rosen, GM Peter Svidler, Video of GM Magnus Carlsen and Peter Svidler doing post-mortem analysis
17:33- We transition from talking about chess streamers and announcers to Sasha’s favorite chess books. Mentioned: My System by Aron Nimzowhich, Chess for Zebras by Jonathan Rowson
21:00- A Patreon supporter of Perpetual Chess asks what helped Sasha the most in terms of chess improvement. As Sasha tells it, his greatest improvements came from some key insights that GM Ben Finegold provided during their lessons. .
32:00- Another Patreon supporter asks how to prevent one’s ego from ruining one’s chess mood, and also asks for Sasha’s input about the pros and cons of playing live vs. online.
39:00- Does Sasha think that chess is inherently addictive?
43:00- We circle back to what Sasha’s chess routine was like during the time that this book takes place. Was he working at the time? What did he study? How many hours per day did study? Mentioned: Chess Tempo Tactics Trainer
48:00- Sasha discusses a bit of his impressions of some of the places that he visited while writing this book, including St. Louis, and Hyderabad, India.
54:00- We wrap by talking a bit about Sasha’s future plans. You can keep up with Sasha via Twitter,Instagram, or his email list
All the Wrong Moves is now available from Amazon and many other book sellers.
If you are in the Los Angeles area you can go see Sasha Chapin discuss his book on August 20. Details here.
If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.
This week the popular Chess Author, Presenter, and USCF Master, Dan Heisman joins me. As someone who has been teaching adults (and kids) chess for decades, Dan has special insight into the way that amateurs should think about chess and also knows the ways that they actually do think about chess. It was a pleasure to pick Dan’s brain and to hear some of his stories! Please read on for many more details, relevant links, and timestamps.
0:00- Intro and we begin by discussing of why Dan recently decided to launch his instructive new Youtube Channel.
Mentioned: Kurt Schneider (chess master and creator of College Musical) , GM Daniel King’s Youtube Channel, John Bartholomew’s Youtube Channel, Christof Sielecki’s Youtube Channel, Back to Basics Tactics, John Nunn’s Learn Chess Tactics, The Evaluation of Material Imbalances by GM Larry Kaufman
19:00- Dan talks about how he transitioned from working as an engineer to teaching chess full time in the 1990’s.
Mentioned: Bobby Dudley, NM Daniel Benjamin, Arthur and Matthew Traldi, Everyone’s Second Chess Book by Dan Heisman
27:20- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks for tips for how a 1700 rated player should approach teaching a 1300 rated player.
Mentioned: Chess for Zebras by GM Jonathan Rowson, Thought and Choice in Chess by Adriaan DeGroot, FM Charles Hertan
44:40- Another Patreon supporter writes to ask whether it is important to use an actual chess board rather than screen when solving tactics.
Mentioned: Grandmaster Preparation: Calculation by GM Jacob Aagard,
52:30- Another Patreon supporter asks a question relating to how much time to spend studying the opening versus other aspects of chess.
Mentioned: WGM Jennifer Shahade, NM Mike Shahade, Ruy Lopez Riga Variation, GM Andy Soltis, Howard Stern, The World’s Most Instructive Amateur Games by Dan Heisman
1:13- Chess books! Here is the link to Dan’s excellent recommended chess books page.
Mentioned: John Bain’s Chess Tactics for Students, Logical Chess Move by Move
, The World’s Most Instructive Amateur Games, The Art of Logical Thinking by GM Neil McDonald, Tim Krabbe’s Chess Curiosities, The Joys of Chess by Christian Hesse , Pawn Power by Hans Kmoch, Alekhine’s My Best Games of Chess
1:22- Dan breaks down what you can find in some of his own books.
Mentioned: Is Your Move Safe, The Improving Chess Thinker, The World’s Most Instructive Amateur Games, Everyone’s Second Chess Book , A Guide to Chess Improvement: The Best of Novice Nook, GM James Tarjan
1:31- Dan tells stories from the time that he spent teaching chess to the famous radio host Howard Stern, and from his encounters with former World Champion GM Garry Kasparov
1:39- Goodbye and final plugs! Links: Dan’s Youtube Channel, Dan’s Website , Dan’s Twitter Chess Tip of the Day
IM Erik Kislik is a popular American chess trainer and author who is now based in Hungary. We talk about Erik’s first book, Applying Logic in Chess, which lays out his a framework for how to think about chess, and his just-released new book,Chess Logic in Practice. Chess Logic in Practice expands on this framework and provides concrete examples to augment your chess understanding (more details about Erik's new book can be found at the bottom of this description). During our conversation, we discuss Erik’s favorite game collection chess books, and Erik shares lots of chess improvement advice based on his experiences as a player and coach. For relevant links, timestamps, and more details about all that we discussed, please continue reading.
0:00- We begin by talking about how Erik developed the framework that he lays out in his first book, Applying Logic in Chess, which he expands upon in his new book Chess Logic in Practice. This includes a detailed discussion of an updated version of the point values in chess, as laid out by GM Larry Kaufman (who is also the designer of the Komodo engine.)
GM Kaufman’s point values:
Pawn – 1
Knight – 3.45
Bishop – 3.55
Mentioned: The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White: A Complete, Sound and User-Friendly Chess Opening Repertoire, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy by John Watson
Botvinnik-Tal 1960 World Chess Championship, John Nunn’s Secrets of Practical Chess (This book coined the term- Loose Pieces Drop off, aka “LPDO”), Jon Speelman’s Chess Puzzle Book
34:00- Erik answers a couple of questions from a Patreon supporter of the podcast, about how one can analyze his/her own games and what to do if one doesn’t have time to play tournament games, but understands the importance of playing serious games for improvement.
Mentioned: Perfect Your Chess, Imagination in Chess , IM Stefan Kuipers, Ed Latimore
56:00- What are some of Erik’s favorite game collection books? What is it like it live in a chess hub like Budapest, Hungary?
Mentioned: Chess by Lazslo Polgar, Winning Chess Strategies by GM Seirawan, Kramnik: My Life of Games,GM Peter Lukacs, IM Lazslo Huzai, GM Peter Prohaszka, Vishy Anand: My Best Games of Chess, Victor Bologan: My Selected Games 1985-2004, Alexander Alekhine’s Best Games
1:14- What methods did IM Kislik’s best improving( most improved?) student, Thomas Callea, use to get better?
1:20- What plans does Erik have for sharing free content on his Youtube Channel and elsewhere?
Mentioned: Martin Shkreli, IM Kislik’s working list of 500 games you should study
1:29- Thanks and goodbye! You can keep up with Erik via his YouTube Channel, and The Internet Chess Club. His books, Applying Logic in Chess and Chess Logic in Practice are available from Amazon and many other book sellers.
Courtesy of Erik Kislik, here is a bit more about what you can expect to find in Chess Logic in Practice:
The book Chess Logic in Practice consists of Thinking Concepts, Positional Concepts, and exercises. The first two chapters deal with pursuing the most direct idea as actively as possible and, conversely, when the logic of that idea doesn’t work and how to fix it. The first essential type of thinking concept stressed is related to urgency, and the second thinking concept emphasized relates to your sense of danger (addressed in the chapters Overpressing, Only One Way to Lose and Unlikely Draws).
In Part 2: Positional Concepts, a heavy emphasis is on
• understanding piece exchanges (with three separate chapters to increase our positional understanding)
• sensing the quality of pieces (with chapters on various weak pieces)
• grasping and creating weaknesses
• appreciating difficult moves we tend to miss or misevaluate
• defensive play concepts like tenacity and the queen’s value and role in defense;
• maneuvering in closed positions.
With this book, players will learn how to analyze with helpful thinking methods and apply them practically in their games, developing their ability to handle common situations with a clear thought process.
Dr. Kenneth Regan is an International Master, an associate professor of Computer Science at the University of Buffalo, and is one of the world’s foremost experts on using predictive analytics to help detect computer-assisted cheating in chess tournaments. With the chess world abuzz about the alleged cheating of GM Igors Rausis, I thought it would be the perfect time to invite Dr. Regan to join me to discuss all of the challenges faced by those who work to stop chess cheaters from undermining the integrity of our beloved game. Naturally we also discuss IM Regan’s other research and hear stories and reflections on his background as a strong chess player. (Dr. Regan was the 1977 US Junior co-champion and broke the record of Bobby Fischer as the youngest USCF Master!) Please continue reading for more details, links and timestamps.
0:00- Intro. We begin by discussing some background about the Igors Rausis cheating scandal and the issue of engine-assisted chess in tournaments more generally. As Kenneth explains, his work involves using predictive analytics to assess the probability that a person received engine assistance in a chess game or series of chess games.
Mentioned: 2006 Kramnik-Topalov World Championship Match (aka “ToiletGate”) , Frederic Friedel, Alekhine-Capablanca 1927 , Tamal Biswas
21:00- According to Dr. Regan’s metrics, what was the best played chess match in history prior to Fischer-Spassky 1972?
Mentioned: So-Karjakin 2019
26:00- Dr. Regan’s discusses some of the inherent challenges of his work detecting possible cheating in live chess tournaments, including the issue of the risk of “false positive” results in his algorithm.
Mentioned: Howard Goldowsky’s 2014 Chess Life Feature of Kenneth Regan
39:00- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks Dr. Regan what club players can do to detect and deter potential cheaters.
44:00- How does online cheating differ from live tournament cheating?
Mentioned: Daniel Sleator of the Internet Chess Club, Danny Rensch and Mike Klein of Chess.com (the February 2019 Chess Life article by Danny Rensch that Dr. Regan mentions is behind the USCF paywalll.)
46:45- Another supporter of the show submits a list of questions for Dr. Regan touching on topics ranging to his own experiences with cheating to his background as a strong chess player, to where he sees the next battle being fought in the realm of chess cheating.
Mentioned: Dennis Monokroussos’ The Chess Mind Blog , Dr. Regan’s Ted Talk ., IM Regan’s blog post, London Calling , Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O Neil
1:05- How surprised was Dr. Regan by the rise of neural networks like AlphaZero and Leela?
1:09- We talk a bit about Dr. Regan’s own chess career. How did he improve? What were his favorite chess books?
Mentioned: Sam Copeland’s interview with Kenneth Regan
Pawn Power in Chess, My System,Capablanca’s Hundred Best Games of Chess, Laszlo Szabo, Jaan Ehlvest, Rafael Vaganian, John Fedorowicz, Tarjei Svenson article summarizing Magnus Carlsen’s dispute with Norwegian Chess Federation
1:19- Goodbye! Keep up with IM Regan via his blog and his professional page.
If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.
This week it was my honor to interview renowned player, author, and trainer, GM Vladimir Tukmakov. GM Tukmakov was once one of the world's top 20 players and was the 1970 Ukrainian national champion. More recently, he has switched his focus to coaching and writing about chess. He has had 4 chess books published in English, including the excellent new book Coaching the Chess Stars, which we discuss in great detail. This book shares his memories and annotates some key games from his time coaching teams such as the Ukraininian, Dutch and BeloRussian national teams, and from working with individuals like GMs Wesley So and Anish Giri, who currently sit #4 and #5 in the world, respectively. Please read on for timestamps and relevant links. Enjoy!
2:30- We launch right into discussing Coaching the Chess Stars . GM Tukmakov tells us how he had the idea for this book, and he retraces the arc of his career as a chess trainer.
11:00- GM Tukmakov reflects on his experiences working with the legendary former World Champion Finalist Viktor Korchnoi.
Mentioned: GM Gyula Sax. GM Dmitri Gurevich GM Jan Timman
21:30- What was it like to work on the team of former World Champion GM Anatoly Karpov during his 1998 FIDE World Championship Match with GM Viswanathan Anand?
Mentioned: IM Mikhail Podgaets, GM Alexander Onischuk, and GM Ivan Morovic
34:15- GM Tukmakov discusses some details of working with Super GM Anish Giri
Mentioned: Chess24 Jan Gustafsson interview with Magnus Carlsen, This Anish Giri tweet
42:00- After working with Anish Giri for a few years, the next player with whom GM Tukmakov worked was GM Wesley So. GM Tukmakov discusses what it was like to work with this “pure chess talent.”
Mentioned: GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Ding Liren, David Cox’ Chess.com interview with Wesley So
55:30- GM Tukmakov coached GM Vugar Gashimov, (who died tragically young) when he was a member of the Azerbijani National Team. You can read more about Vladimir’s interactions with GM Gashimov in Coaching the Chess Stars
58:30- We talk a bit of chess books and chess improvement. Mentioned: Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953, Paul Keres Best Games of Chess
1:04- Thanks and good bye, GM Tukmakov can be reached via email here
If you would like to help support the podcast go here.
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 ChessTwitlonger 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
If you would like to help support the podcast you can go here:
GM Pentala Harikrishna has been World Junior Champion, Asian Individual Champion, and he has been ranked as high as #10 in the world! In between tournaments, while home in Prague, GM Harikrishna joined me to assess his most recent tournaments, reflect on his career, and to talk about his recently released Chessable course, which provides a complete repertoire against the French Defense. Please read on for many more details, notes and timestamps. ..
0:00- GM Harikrishna has been quite busy of late, so he begins our conversation by discussing his two recent most GM tournaments, The Shenzen Masters, and The TePe Sigeman Chess Tournament. GM Harikrishna finished in second place in both tournaments.
Players mentioned: Anish Giri, Nihal Sarin, Gawain Jones
Games Mentioned: Harikrishna-Giri 2019, Harikrishna-Sarin 2019
8:35- Does GM Harikrishna have a special knack for endgames? How does he prepare for an invitational GM tournament
11:45- Why did GM Harikrishna recently move from Belgrade to Prague?
Mentioned: Nový Bor Chess Club, GM David Navara
15:00- We talk about chess in India, includiing whether living away from India affects GM Harikrishna’s sponsorship with Bharat Petroluem Corporation Limited? We also briefly discuss some of India’s young phenoms including Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa and Nihail Sarin
19:00- As a former top junior player and World Junior Champion, what advice would GM Harikrishna give to other strong young players?
25:30- We talk about GM Harikrishna’s new Chessable Course, called French Toast: How Harikrishna Fries 1… e6 . This includes a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast about the challenges GM Harikrishna faced in trying to tailor an opening course for players of a wide range of experience levels.
Mentioned: GM Magesh Panchanathan, IM Dmitri Schneider, Harikrishna-Rapport 2019 (Watch GM Hari analyze his the game here), Adams-Gupta 2018
36:30- We talk chess improvement. GM Harikrishna weights the importance of solving studies, and answers a question from friend of the podcast, Moonmaster 9000 about whether it is important to memorize games.
Mentioned: Domination in 2,545 Studies
44:00- What is GM Harikrishna’s favorite game of his?
Mentioned: Mamedyarov-Harikrisha 2016, Bobby Fischer
48:00- We say our goodbyes. You can check out GM Harikrishna’s Chessable course here, and can keep up with him by following him on twitter here.
To help support the podcast, go here.
FM Alex Dunne is the author of over 12 books, including the recently released, Fred Reinfeld, The Man Who Taught America Chess. Alex is also an ICCF Correspondence Chess Master, and is well known for his popular column about correspondence chess in Chess Life magazine, called The Check is in the Mail. In our interview we discuss Fred Reinfeld, correspondence chess, chess improvement, Bobby Fischer and more. Please read on for more details.
0:00- We kick off by discussing Alex’s latest book, Fred Reinfeld, The Man Who Taught America Chess. We discuss the life and legacy of Fred Reinfeld. Reinfeld was a top 10 player in the US, and is probably the best selling chess author of all time. He was also one of the first Americans to make a living from chess, and managed to do so despite coming of age during The Great Depression.
Mentioned: Israel “Al” Horowitz, Irving Chernev, Fred Reinfeld Whales and Whaling . 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate . Keres Best Games of Chess. 1931-1940
18:00- Alex discusses how correspondence chess has changed at its highest levels, and assesses the future of correspondence chess. We also discuss the nuts and bolts of how correspondence games are transmitted, and the rules regarding when book/engine assistance is and is not allowed in correspondence chess.
27:45- Alex has written a book about chess books, and has over 2,000 chess books titles in his library, so naturally I had to ask him about chess books.
Mentioned: My Great Predecessors, Vassily Ivanchuk: 100 Selected Games, Mato Jelic’s YouTube Channel , The Complete Chess Course by Fred Reinfeld
36:00- It took Alex about 20 years to go from the expert level to the master level, and then he continued to ascend up to a peak rating over 2400 USCF. How did he improve so much as an adult? Mentioned. Interview with Bob Ferguson and Alex Dunne
42:00- Alex reminisces about playing ping pong with Bobby Fischer as a teenager. Also mentioned GM Arthur Bisguier, GM Larry Evans
47:00- How did Alex get into chess writing?
49:30- Goodbye! You can email FM Alex Dunne here.
If you would like to help support the podcast, go here.
17 year old GM Nicolas "Nico" Checa is one of the young stars of the American chess scene. He recently tied for first place in the 2019 National High School Chess Championship. With a 2617 USCF rating, he is #7 on the US Chess top 100 Under Age 21 List, and has beaten Fabiano Caruana in the Pro Chess League. On top of that, Nico is a regular 17 yr old, with other interests and activities competing for his time. In our interview Nico talks about how he finds time for everything, and shares a lot about his approach to chess and chess improvement. Read on for links and timestamps.
0:00- Intro. We launch right into a discussion of how getting the GM title has changed Nico’s tournament selection and preparation.
Mentioned in this segment: GM Ruifeng Li, GM John Michael Burke, IM Advait Patel, IM Praveen Balakrishnan
8:00- As Nico finishes his junior year at Dobbs Ferry High School, he touches on his after-high school plans, and discusses the reasons that he and his family never felt that home schooling was the right choice for him.
15:30- What “gaps in his play” did Nico need to plug in order to reach the strength to get the GM title?
Mentioned in this segment: IM Alexander Katz, GM Jacob Aagard
Game: Checa-Katz 2018, 2019 Philadelphia International , 2019 US Junior Championship
23:55- How did Nico discover and get so good at chess anyway?
Mentioned: Marshall Chess Club Books: Chess Secrets: Giants of Power Play by Neil McDonald, Learn from the Legends, Chess Champions at Their Best by GM Mikahil Marin,
The books of GM Jacob Aagard,Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games
Games: Checa-Smirin 2016, Fischer-Byrne 1956
40:30- Who are Nico’s favorite chess players? Mentioned: Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Bobby Fischer, Botvinnk,
44:30- Fast chess vs. slow chess we settle the debate once and for all!! Just kidding, but Nico weighs in and shares his ideas about the roles of classical chess and rapid chess in the chess world. Mentioned: IM Greg Shahade
47:00- We discuss Nico’s interests outside of chess, including soccer and political science. Mentioned in this segment: GM Parham Maghsoodloo
56:00- Goodbye! Keep up with Nico via Chess.com
If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here:
Nearly two years after our first interview popular Chess YouTuber, Twitch streamer, Photographer, Author, and yes, chess player, IM Eric Rosen returns to Perpetual Chess. As we discuss, a lot has changed for Eric in the past two years, including his place of residence and many of his professional responsibilities, but he remains a great person with whom to talk all things chess. Read on for more details, timestamps and links.
0:00- Intro. Eric discusses why he has set up residence in St. Louis and gives some
details on his most recent tournament, The St. Louis Norm Congress. This includes a discussion of a new video approach Eric recently tried, where he recorded his opening preparation for specific opponent’s and subsequently posted it to YouTubet. Check out one of these YouTube prep videos here. You can see the list of Eric’s most popular YouTube videos here (as we discuss) here.
12:00- Why has Eric decided to deemphasize competing in tournaments as compared to all of his other chess work? Mentioned in this segment: Chessbrahs, FM LeFong Hua
16:30- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks for advice in filtering YouTube videos for players in the 1300-1500 rating range. Mentioned in this segment: St. Louis Chess Club’s YouTube Channel, John Bartholomew’s Climbing the Rating Ladder Series
19:30- Another listener question leads to Ben and Eric discussing their favorite drinks to consume while playing chess. Mentioned in this segment: The Queen Side Cafe in Sydney, Australia
23:45- Since Eric is a popular Twitch streamer and I am a Twitch noob, he patiently answered some questions for me about how it works. Mentioned in this segment: Hikaru Nakamura
31:30- Eric reflects a bit on what has changed in his professional life since our first interview, which occured in August of 2017. Mentioned in this segment: Marc Maron interviewing David Letterman
37:00- We talk some chess improvement. Mentioned in this segment: Imagination in Chess , Recognizing Your Opponent’s Resources by Mark Dvoretsky
43:00- Eric answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast regarding whether it is better to study at a fast or a slow pace. Mentioned in this segment: The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin , Searching for Bobby Fischer (the book) and the movie
48:00- One more listener question for Eric relates to how Eric balances all of his differing professional roles. Mentioned in this segment: Calendy.com
54:00- Eric tells the stories of the two different times he has managed to beat World Champion Magnus Carlsen in online chess tournaments. Mentioned in this segment: The Reddit Post about Eric beating ManWithAVan, Unknowingly Beating the World Champion , Playing the World Champion in Chess960, Game Show Network’s New Master Trivia Game (featuring former Perpetual Chess guest Jonathan Corbblah)
1:02- Eric asks me who my current dream guests for Perpetual Chess are. Mentioned in this segment: Timman’s Titans , Yasser Seirawan, Boris Spassky, Maurice Ashley, Perpetual Chess World Championship Report with IMs Eric Rosen and Kostya Kavutskiy
1:05- Goodbye! Follow Eric on YouTube, Twitch, Instagram and Twitter
To help support the podcast, go here.
This week’s guest is the highly productive and popular author and teacher, IM Cyrus Lakdawala. Cyrus has recently published his 40th (!) book, Opening Repertoire 1. d4 2. c4., and already has more books in the works. In addition to publishing multiple books per year, Cyrus also teaches chess for about 20 hours a week, plays in two tournaments per month, and even manages to meditate, exercise and read very regularly. In our conversation, Cyrus reveals how he accomplishes so much, talks some chess improvement, and tells some fun stories. Read on for details, links and timestamps.
0:00- Intro. We being by discussing Cyrus latest book, Opening Repertoire 1. d4 2. c4. Cyrus tells the story of how he decided it was time to try a spicier opening repertoire, after decades of playing "like a chicken.” The results he attained with this experiment pleasantly surprised him.
Mentioned in this segment - IM Dionisio Aldama, IM Tony Saidy, IM Keaton Kiewra
12:00- Cyrus discusses the philosophy behind his unique, very personal writing style. We also discuss Cyrus’ writing routine, and how he reacts to critics.
Mentioned in this segment - John Hartmann, ChessBase interview with Davide Nastasio
21:00- What is Cyrus’ opinion of the rise of engine use in chess study and chess spectacting? How does he use engines in his own game analysis and writing?
25:30- Cyrus answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast asking him to compare his book Opening Repertoire… c6: Playing the Caro-Kann and Semi-Slav as Black to the book A Complete Repertoire for Black Using Solid Systems by Jovanka Houska and James Vigus. This leads to a broader discussion about how one should choose repertoires and opening books.
34:00 - We discuss Cyrus’ award winning book, Chess for Hawks. The premise of the book is that everyone is predisposed toward risky or safe chess, and should tailor her game accordingly. Cyrus also discusses what happens when he clashes against his most frequent opponent, IM Dionisio Aldama, who is a “hawk” to Cyrus’ “dove.”
45:00- Cyrus answers a question from another listener about how an under 2000 player should improve at endgames. Aside from his own endgame book, Cyrus recommends studying the games of Rubinstein, Capablanca and Magnus Carlsen. Also mentioned: Timman’s Titans, Kasparov’s Great Predecessors.
52:00- IM Lakdawala tells the story of how he met former World Champion, GM Boris Spassky a couple times, and shares his impressions of him. Also mentioned- GMs Tony Miles and Kasparov.
58:00- Cyrus shares some stories from his teenage years in Montreal, were he earned spending money by playing speed chess for money.
1:01- After five decades immersed in it, does Cyrus ever feel burnt out on chess?
1:04- Cyrus discusses the benefits and drawbacks of being autistic.
1:14- Goodbye and contact info! You can keep up with Cyrus via Facebook.
To help support the podcast, go here.
Douglas Griffin is a chess author/blogger, translator, and an indispensable source of historical chess perspective on “chess twitter”. He is particularly interested and knowledgeable about chess in the Soviet Union. Doug is also a strong player. As a teen, he was one of Scotland’s stronger junior players. His FIDE rating reached about 2270, before his family, his work and his strong interest in chess history overtook his interest in tournament participation. While Doug may not be as well-known as some of the Grandmasters and personalities that have been on the show, our talk was one I looked forward to, and sure enough, it was highly informative and inspiring.. For more information about Doug, you can check out his blog, and his twitter page. Please keep reading for timestamps and many fun links and resources.
0:00- Intro and discussion of Doug’s intro to the chess world. Mentioned in this segment, GMs Anatoly Karpov, Tony Miles, VIktor Korchnoi. The BBC show, The Master Game
6:00-How did Doug improve in chess and develop an interest in Soviet-era chess and the Russian language? He owes a debt of gratitude to his former teacher IM Danny Kopec, among others.
9:00- Doug transitions to telling some stories about some of the chess greats he encountered early in their careers. Players mentioned are those he saw at the Lloyds Bank London 1984- GM Vishy Anand, Ivanchuk, Spassky, Nigel Short. You can read a bit more about the Lloyds Bank tournament in this Chessbase article by Priyadarshan Banjan Read Doug’s blog post about the Troon 1984 tournament he mentions and about GM Lev Psakhis in his blog post here.
14:30- How did Doug learn Russian, and where does he get all of the original sources for his blog? Magazines mentioned: Shakhmatny Bulletin , Chess in the U.S.S.R. and “64” Doug bought a lot of his Soviet chess magazine’s from Kimmo Välkesalmi's website. Translator named in this segment: Ken Neat
25:00- Friend/supporter of the podcast, John Hartmann of Chess Life Online (and author of CLO’s Throwback Thursday) writes in to ask whether Doug has any plans of turning his material into a book and/or launching a Patreon page. Mentioned in this segment; Ilan Rubin of Elk and Ruby. .
31:45- We discuss an excerpt of Doug’s most recent blog post, which unearthed a great and prescient quote from former World Champion GM Mikhail Botvinnik regarding an ascendant Bobby Fischer. Read Doug’s blog post here.
38:00- Are there any Soviet periodicals or books that Doug is especially excited to translate? Mentioned in this segment:, IM John Donaldson and IM Nikolay Minev’s books about The Life and Games of Akiba Rubinstein, GM Razuvaev and Murahveri’s Russian language Rubinstein biography. Nikolai Krylenko is also mentioned
43:00- Chris Wainscott writes in to ask if Doug has favorite lesser-known Soviet chess players. Doug mentions Andor Lilienthal, Isaac Boleslavsky, Semyon Furman, Ratmir Kholmov, Grigory Levenfish (about whom Doug is writing a book) Books mentioned by GM Genna Sosonko: Russian Silhoettes, The Reliable Past, Smart Chip from St. Petersburg and other tales of a bygone chess era
Also mentioned GMs John Shaw and Jacob Aagard, co-founders of Quality Chess
53:00- Doug and I wax nostalgic about The Chess Informant and he discusses some exciting upcoming projects on which he will work with their publishers.
56:30- Doug names of a few of his favorite chess books amongst those that have been published in the English language. They are: Botvinnik’s Best Games, Smyslov’s Best Games, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal , Anatoly Karpov: My 300 Best Games , Kasparov on Kasparov, Leonid Stein: Master of RIsk Strategy
1:00- Doug reflects a bit on what helped him become a strong chess player. He credits reading voraciously and being blessed with a good memory.
1:05- On the heels of GM Neil McDonald’s story of meeting legendary GM David Bronstein, Doug shares his own story . Also mentioned in this segment: Jon Speelman, Julian Hodgson, Paul Motwani, Colin McNab, Jonath Rowson, Bojan Kurajica
1:09- Reluctantly, we discuss non-chess related stuff. Doug discusses his day job and his affinity for hiking and photography. Check out his landscape photography site here. The Dutch online photo archive Doug mentions is here.
1:13- Goodbye! A friendly reminder to read Doug’s blog here, follow him on twitter here, You can email him here.
Neil McDonald is a Grandmaster, a trainer for the British Chess Federation and a prolific and accomplished author of 37 chess books! As you will hear, he has gathered some great stories to share in his decades in the chess world. His most recent book, Coach Yourself: A Complete Guide to Improvement at Chess is now available from Amazon and many other sellers. Read on for more details, links and timestamps.
0:00- Intro. Neil kicks off with a few great stories relating to chess history. The first connects his mom with a radio interview of former World Champion Alexander Alekhine. You can hear the interview in question here on YouTube. The second story describes an opportunity Neil had to travel to the Soviet Union in 1986 and play legends of the game like former World Champion Mikhail Tal, Oleg Romanishin and many others. Others mentioned in this segment include: GMs Polugaevsky, Vaganian, Portisch, and Spassky, . Ovidiu-Doru Foisor and Sabina Foisor.
22:00- Neil shares a few more stories from his travels, including tales of chess trips to Serbia, Hungary and the Ukraine, interweaving chess and world history.
28:30- Neil tells the story of meeting legendary GM David Bronstein in the mid 1990s. Find out the chess improvement advice Neil got from one the strongest non World chess champions in history. Books mentioned in this segment: GM Genna Sosonko’s The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein, and Irving Chernev’s The Golden Dozen.
35:30- Neil fields some questions regarding chess improvement from some of the podcast's Patreon supporters. They touch on selecting opening repertoires, the importance of doing “post-mortems” after a game, . Player mentioned include: GMs Kasparov, Karpov, Korchnoi, Botvinnik, Baskaran Adhiban, Richard Rapport, Chris Ward, John Nunn, Boris Spassky. Books mentioned:The Giants of Chess Strategy by Neil McDonald Perpetual Chess Episodes mentioned: Stacia Pugh
1:07- Another listener asks about which of the older authors like Reinfeld and Horowitz are the most instructive to read these days. Authors mentioned: Irving Chernev, Fred Reinfeld, Al Horowitz, Lev Alburt, Raymond Keene. Books mentioned: From Morphy to FischerThe Chess Training Pocket Book
1:17- We plug Neil’s books! Coach Yourself has a wealth of material for players of many levels. Other books mentioned: Chess Fundamentals by Capablanca Chess Secrets: The Giants of Chess Strategy by Neil McDonald
1:24- Goodbye! Keep up with Neil’s works by following his publisher, Everyman Chess’s webpage or twitter account.
If you would like to help support and sustain the podcast, you can do so here.
This week the esteemed Grandmaster Evgeny Bareev joined me on the podcast. GM Bareev has been ranked as high as #4 in the world. He has been the trainer of the Russian National Team, and was a vital member of the team that assisted former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik in the early 2000s.
Evgeny is also an acclaimed chess author. His prior book, From London to Elista, (co-authored with Ilya Levitov), won the 2007 Book of the Year, from the British Chess Federation. This year, Thinker’s Publishing has recently released his new work, Say No to Chess Principles . This fun and informative book contains some great stories and explores the topic of when one should “break the rules” in chess, as shown in Evgeny’s and some other top level games. In our interview, Evgeny discussed both of his books, shared some stories, and offered some chess improvement advice. Read on for details, links and timestamps.
0:00- Intro and discussion of Say No to Chess Principles . GM Bareev tells the story of the idea behind the book and of how the project came to fruition. He also shares some memorable stories from growing up in the Soviet Chess School which are touched on in his book. People and books mentioned include Boris Postovsky, who headed the Vasily Smyslov School of chess, and the book Devoted to Chess: The Creative Heritage of Yuri Razuvaev . This includes a discussion of whether or not it's important to have a good memory (14:00) to be a top chess player. According to GM Bareev, former World Champion Anatoly Karpov had a notoriously faulty memory in his prime. Evgeny gives some helpful tips for how to approach chess if you have a bad memory.
23:00- How do we know when to “say no to chess principles” anyway?
28:00- As a former member of his “Team Kramnik,” was GM Bareev surprised by the retirement of former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik? Evgeny also reflects on some of the stories and perspectives from the classic book From London to Elista. His current take on the some of the stories shared in this book might surprise you. We also touch on Carsten Hensel’s recent book about his time as the manager of GM Kramnik. You can hear my interview with Carsten Hensel here.
37:00- GM Bareev shares some stories dealing with getting sick at a chess tournament and about how to deal with tough losses. This includes some discussion of Peter Leko, who lost to GM Kramnik for the 2004 World Championship in a very close match.
45:00- Who were GM Bareev’s toughest opponents? Players mentioned include Garry Kasparov, Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexey Dreev and Alexei Shirov.
49:00- Chess books! Since GMs Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri have been tradingbarbs about Vladimir Tukmakov’s new book, I asked Evgeny if he had read it. Evgeny does not read all of the chess literature, but has enjoyed the books of Boris Gelfand, Matthew Sadler and Yasser Seirawan.
54:00- A Patreon supporter of Perpetual Chess asks if GM Bareev uses a particular method as a trainer.
58:00- We talk a bit about how GM Bareev ended up emigrating to Toronto, Canada, and he answers a question from a Patreon supporter comparing chess and literature.
Jason Cigan is a 29 year old US Chess Master who recently won the Oregon State Championship. As Jason tells us, he did not begin seriously playing chess until he was 18, but in the past 11 years, he has managed to slowly and steadily gain over 1,000 rating points while working full time as a software engineer . (You can see his US Chess rating graph here.) How has he done it? Listen to the show and you will find out. For relevant links, timestamps, and many book recommendations, please keep reading. :)
0:00- Intro and Jason tells his chess story, including how he got into chess, and why it took a while for his passion for the game to fully manifest.
10:25- So how did Jason improve so much, anyway? In his opinion, having master level mentors played a big role in his improvement. Jason credits FM Charles Schulien, NM Corbin Yu and NM Jeremy Kane with helping him immeasurably along the way. The video from GM Vidit Gujrath regarding chess improvement can be seen here. Jason is a fan of the books of GMs Mikhail Marin and Boris Gelfand, and also Seven Deadly Chess Sins by GM Jonathan Rowson
18:00- A listener, new to chess, who is 62 year old and recently retired, is eager to devote 20 hours a week to chess books and chess improvement. How should he spend his time, what resources should he utilize? How good can he become? In Jason's response, he mentions that he is a strong proponent of John Nunn’s chess books. I chimed in and mentioned that the listener might want to pursue something more systematic to improve, like the acclaimed series from GM Arthur Yusopov , The Steps Series, or the Susan Polgar series for those brand new to chess.
29:00- As is a regular feature on the Adult Improver Series, we launch into a discussion of how useful various attempts at improving one’s chess games are. Jason gives his opinion on the importance of having a coach, as well as the relative merits of analyzing one’s games, solving tactics, studying endgames, playing speed chess, learning openings, exercising, and more. Jason benefited from taking lessons with GMs Melik Khachiyan and Sabino Brunello and from playing training games with IM Craig Hilby. One can always look for coaches on the LiChess coaches page
39:00- Jason answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast, about whether its important to set up a board when solving tactics. The US Championship summary by Jennifer Yu that I mentioned can be read here.
46:00- How should one approach openings when you live in a community where you play the same players repeatedly?
51:00- Jason tells a fun story related to opening preparation, of a game between GM James Tarjan and recent Perpetual Chess guest GM Alex Ipatov. Check out the game here. Mr. Moonmaster 9000 asks for some clarification about something Jason wrote: Does Jason believe it's impossible for him to become a super GM?
1:02- A 3 minute digression into the intersection of the NBA and professional chess. Sorry NBA haters!
1:06- Back on track, Jason talks about the importance of endgame studies in helping your chess game. Jason is a big fan of the book 100 Endgames You Must Know He also mentions enjoying the Yusupov and Dvoretsky features on chess24.com
1:10- Jason discusses his coaching philosophy, and shares some methods that he has used to help his student, Gavin Zhang. He emphasizes the importance of studying the classics, and identifying and working on one’s strongest point and one’s weakest points in chess.
1:19- We discuss books on endgames and endgame studies. Jason mentions: Capablanca’s Best Chess Endings by Irving Chernev
Endgame Training by Bernd Rosen
Endgame challenge by John Nunn
Studies for the Practical Player by Mark Dvoretsky
One Pawn Saves the Day by Sergei Tkachenko
Under the Surface by Jan Markos
Chess Structures by Mauricio Flores Rios
Grandmaster Repetoire: 1. E4 by Parimarjan Negi
1:30- Keep up with Jason’s progress via his chess.com account here.
If you would like to help support the podcast you can do here.
This week I am joined by 25 year old GM Alex Ipatov. Alex is quite an accomplished chess player who is well known for winning the 2012 World Junior Chess Championship, among many other distinctions. These days, Alex is graduate student at St. Louis University, and he has recently published an original chess book called Unconventional Approaches to Modern Chess Volume 1: Rare Ideas for Black. His book is available from Thinker’s Publishing, Amazon and Forward Chess. Please keep reading to see more details of what we discussed, as well as relevant links and contact information.
0:00-Intro and discussion of Alex’s new book. It is based on the thesis that the trend of memorizing too many opening lines has become unhealthy. Alex believes that we can learn from the very strong GMs who utilize offbeat lines, such as GMs Baadur Jobava and Richard Rapport. Naturally, GM Ipatov also relies heavily on his own chess repertoire to find lines to recommend, but he wishes to stress that adopting an original and practical approach to chess openings is more important than buying his book and copying his lines.
7:30- We discuss Alex’s life away from the board for a bit. He discusses his academic pursuits, his enthusiasm for soccer and how he enjoys life in St. Louis.
11:00-We return to the topic of how the club level player should approach studying openings. A couple supporters of the podcast wrote to ask about how to balance avoiding getting bogged down in theory, while also making sure that they know a bit about classical structures.
21:00- What did Alex think of the news that FIDE is sponsoring a Fischer Random World Championship tournament?
25:00- We delve a bit into Alex’s background. He spent his early years in Lviv, Ukraine. We briiefly discuss the past and future of chess in his native Ukraine. As Alex tells, chess standouts like GMs Vassily Ivanchuk and Yuriu Kryvoruchko,Oleg Romanishin, Alexander Beliavsky, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Martyn Kravtsiv Yaroslav Zherebukh and Ilya Nizhnik are only a few of the Ukrainian chess standouts who have made names for themselves, but many have relocated to different countries.
29:00- Chess improvement! Why should we study the classics? Which classics should we study? Alex is a big fan of Alexander Alekhine’s Best Games and recommends that stronger players study Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual.
One of Alex's own most memorable games is Grandelius-Ipatov, and one of his favorite of all time is Rotlewi-Rubenstein (1907)
39:00- Who does Alex think we might see in the next World Championship? Who are the strongest players he has ever played? What lesson did he learn from GM Vladimir Kramnik when he played him at the 2013 Olympiad?
47:00- How did Alex end up representing Turkey in international chess competitions? Has he lived in Turkey?
50:00- Before we say our goodbyes, we briefly discuss an interesting game Alex annotated in his book with online bullet star, GM Andrew Tang. You can see Alex’ annotation in his book, but can also see notes to the game here. You can follow Alex on twitter here, or reach him via email here.
This week on Perpetual Chess, I would like to spotlight some of the ways that people are using chess as a vehicle to make a difference in the world. I am happy to say that there are countless qualified guests to choose from in this regard, and it was hard to limit myself to only 2 segments. As you will hear, the guests in both segments have great stories to tell.
My first interview this week is with Scott and Norma Mero, the founders of the Charity Chess Championship, while Part 2 (26:30) features Gabrielle Moshier and Jason Bui, who are Philadelphia school teachers and board members of The Philadelphia Chess Society, Please read on for relevant links and more detailed timestamps.
0:00- Part 1- Scott and Norma Mero are the founders of the Charity Chess Championship which will take place this year on June 2, 2019. It will feature more titled players than I can list here, but a few who may be familiar to listeners are GM Joel Benjamin, GM Robert Hess and GM Irina Krush.
This year the money that the event raises will go to the help the early detection and prevention of pancreatic cancer. You can read GM Robert Hess’ write-up of last year’s event here, as well as Jenn Shahade’s interview with Kimberly Doo previewing last year’s event here.
9:30- Scott and Norma talk about how this annual event originated. They started the event in 2017 with their son, Daniel Mero who is a very active scholastic player. Daniel (who is 12 years old and rated about 1800) draws inspiration from his coach, GM John Fedorowicz, and the YouTube videos of GM Ben Finegold. We also talk about their son’s approach to chess improvement.
18:00- We get into the nuts and bolts of the Charity Chess Championship by answering the following questions: How do they line up so many titled players to attend the Charity Chess Championship? Is is mandatory to spend money to attend the event? Does one need to sign up in advance to attend?
26:00- Goodbye and contact info.You can email Scott and Norma Mero here, or drop them a line if you will be attending the 2019 National Elementary School Chess Championships in Nashville, Tennessee. Of course, you can also see them (and me) at the Charity Chess Championships on June 2 in New York city.
26:30- Part 2 I am now joined by Philadelphia teachers, and board members of the Philadelphia Chess Society, Gabrielle Moshier and Jason Bui. In addition to their work as chess coaches, Gabrielle is an English teacher at the Esperanza Academy Charter Middle School, while Jason teaches science and math at the S. Weir Mitchell Elementary School.
29:00- Gabrielle and Jason begin by telling the stories of how they got into chess and discussing how chess can change the kids that they teach.
36:00- Gabrielle and Jason share their experiences from the 2019 All Girls Nationals in Chicago, IL, from whence they had just returned. What sort of obstacles do girls encounter that boys do not in chess? They also discuss the remaining major events on their chess calendar.
44:00- How does the Philadelphia Chess Society go about trying to raise money? One small but easy way to support the program is to shop on Amazon using this Amazon Smile link. We briefly discuss the movie Brooklyn Castle, and Jason and Gabrielle share a few stories in the spirit of that great movie.
53:00- What are Jason and Gabrielleftitl’s favorite chess books and resources as teachers and players? Gabrielle is a big fan of Jenn Shahade’s Play Like a GIrl. Jason is a big fan of Silman’s Complete Endgame Chess as well How to Beat Your Dad at Chess, and Winning Chess Tactics for Kids .
56:00- Patreon supporter of the podcast, Mr. Moonmaster 9000 is back in the house! The Moonmaster asks whether Jason and Gabrielle feel like they have to overcome a negative image of chess when presenting it to students and parents. Gabrielle’s answer might surprise you!
1:01- Here is how you can keep up with the Philadelphia Chess Society: Follow on Twitter here, Facebook here. Email Jason here.
You can donate to the organization through the Facebook page, or mail checks (payable to Philadelphia Chess Society) to:
Philadelphia Chess Society. 4916 Paschall Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19143
This week it is my great honor to talk with the five-time US Champion and 1996 FIDE World Championship Challenger, GM Gata Kamsky! Gata has just released Volume 1 of his highly anticipated games collection, Gata Kamsky - Chess Gamer, Volume 1: The Awakening 1989-1996. The recent release of this book gives us a rare opportunity to listen in as Gata Kamsky reflects on his illustrious chess career and discusses the past and future of chess. As usual, read on for timestamps of our discussion topics and relevant links. Enjoy! 0:00- Intro and discussion of GM Kamsky’s new book, Gata Kamsky - Chess Gamer. Gata discusses the following details:
How the project came into existence and why he gives credit to the indispensable roles played by his wife, WGM Vera Nebolsina, and the team at Thinkers Publishing for helping him push forward with the book.
How he decided on the structure of the book, which begins with the games he played when he emigrated from Russia in 1989.12:00- Gata answers a listener's question regarding his intended audience for the book, and he reveals the classic chess book from which he drew inspiration.17:30- What lessons about the role of psychology in chess did Gata Kamsky learn from studying Emanuel Lasker ?20:45- What did it feel like to immigrate to the US and play former World Champion Mikhail Tal in his first tournament after arrival in the United States? Gata annotates the game in detail in his book, but you can take a look at the game here.25:45- Gata reflects on playing Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov as a teenager and in the ensuing years. This includes a discussion of his reflections on the FIDE and Professional Chess Association World Championship Cycles in the early to mid-1990’s.36:30- A Patreon supporter of Perpetual Chess asks about Gata’s future plans with regarding to writing books.41:00- The mysterious Moonmaster 9000 asks what chess improvement methods Gata has found to be most effective. His recommendations: 1. Study your games 2. Play frequent tournaments 3. Work on endgames. As a youth, Gata found it particularly helpful to solve the chess compositions of Sergey Kasparyan and Leonid Kubbel 54:00- Gata answers another question from a supporter of the podcast relating to why some players are able to reach their maximum potential while others are not. This segment touches on top chess players including Anish Giri, Garry Kasparov, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So and Boris Spassky. Gata also tells the story of some encounters with a young Magnus Carlsen.1:07- Are we likely to see Gata Kamsky in another US Chess Championship?1:11- Gata discusses his recent forays into streaming chess on Twitch, and the possibilities for chess as an e-sport. In this segment he also touches on the issues of cheating in chess and the promise of Chess960 aka Fischer Random Chess.1:18:00- Goodbye and thank you to GM Kamsky! You can keep up with Gata via Facebook and Twitter. You can buy Gata's book from Thinkers Publishing, (where a free excerpt of the book is available), Gata Kamsky-Chess Gamer is also available from US Chess Sales, and it is coming soon to Amazon. If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.
WIM Alexey Root is a former US Women’s Chess Champion among many other distinctions. She has a Ph. D. from UCLA in Education,and is a lecturer at The University of Texas at Dallas. Alexey has written 7 books about chess and education, and is also a frequent writer for US Chess and other publications. In our interview we discussed collegiate chess in the U.S, how opportunities for female chess players have changed, plus the important topic of what chess parents can do to help safeguard their children.
Please read on for all of the details, links, and timestamps:
0:00- Intro and discussion of college chess in the United States in general, and at University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in particular. The Final Four of College Chess just concluded, with The University of Texas-Rio-Grande Valley emerging as the winner for the second consecutive year. The other participants were Webster University, UTD, and Harvard University.
11:00- How did Alexey decide to pursue a PhD in Education?
18:00- We segue into a discussion of approaches to teaching chess to very young students. Elizabeth Spiegel’s Chess Educator of the Year speech can be seen here, and Jeff Bulington’s here.
21:45- Alexey will be a featured guest in the Girls Club Room at the US Chess National Junior High Championship- go say hi to her-if you are there. How has the world of Women’s chess changed during Alexey's career? Will strong female players like Hou Yifan and newly crowned US Women’s Champion Jennifer Yu pursue chess professionally?
33:00- Chess books! What are Alexey’s favorites (other than her own books)? Alexey was nice enough to provide a list of her favorite books- you can find it at the bottom of this description.
44:00- What advice does Alexey give to chess parents? Alexey stresses that the #1 priority should be child safety! Alexey has written movingly in the past about how being a victim of sexual abuse framed her experiences as a parent and teacher, and I really appreciate her willingness to talk about this important subject.
56:00- How did Alexey get her first chess book published? Piggybacking off of John Hartmann’s advice, Alexey also gives advice on how to (eventually) find paid work as a chess writer. Alexey is also quite forthcoming about the compensation one can expect as a chess writer.
1:06:00- Why are the supporters of the podcast slacking when it comes to sending in questions? 😉
1:07:00- Goodbye and contact info! Keep up with Alexey’s writing here, email her here. Follow her on Facebook here.
Alexey’s Book Recommendations
include the following:
Free: A Guide to Scholastic Chess by Dewain Barber (11th edition) http://www.uschess.org/images/stories/scholastic_chess_resources/guide_to_scholastic_chess_rev_7-04-17.pdf
Ashley, M. (2005). Chess for success: Using an old game to build new
strengths in children and teens. New York, NY: Broadway Books.
Bain, J. (1994). Chess rules for students. Corvallis, OR: Learning Plus.
Bain, J. (2002). Checkmate! Ideas for students. Corvallis, OR: Learning
Bosch, J., & Giddins, S. (Eds.). (2008). The chess instructor 2009. Alkmaar, The Netherlands: New in Chess.
Garrow, S. (1983). The amazing adventure of Dan the pawn. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Kidder, H. (1990). The kids’ book of chess. New York, NY: Workman.
Pandolfini, B. (1993). Beginning chess: Over 300 elementary problems
for players new to the game. New York, NY: Fireside.
Shulman, Y., & Sethi, R. (2007). Chess! Lessons from a grandmaster.
Rapid City, SD: Spizzirri.
Benjamin, J. (2007). American grandmaster: Four decades of chess
adventures . London: Everyman Chess.
Eade, J. (2016). Chess for dummies (4th ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley.
Nimzowitsch, A : My System
Polgar, J. (2012). How I beat Fischer's record. Glasgow: Quality Chess.
Sadler, M., & Regan, N. (2016). Chess for life. London: Gambit Publications.
Wolff, P. (2005). The complete idiot’s guide to chess (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Alpha Books.
This week features another return guest, as John Hartmann joins me from the US Chess Championships in St. Louis. As listeners who heard our popular first interview will recall, John is the book reviewer for Chess Life Magazine, but they may not know that he was also recently named digital editor for Chess Life Online.
Some of the highlights of this conversation include: a discussion of the 2019 US Championship, a rundown of some recent standout chess books, details on John’s new job, and his reflections on how to find work in the chess world. For timestamps, links and more details, please continue reading:
0:00- Intro and John’s report from the US championship in St. Louis. He recorded the first half of this interview at the St Louis Chess Club following the first half of the tournament’s completion. The games we referenced were Xiong-Shankland, as annotated by IM Kostya Kavutskiy at US Chess online here. The Sevian-Garyev swindle we reference can be found here.
11:00- What are John’s duties in his new gig as digital editor of US Chess?
As John tells, the planned schedule for US Chess podcasts will be:
Cover Stories with Chess Life, hosted by Dan Lucas (1st Tuesday of each month)
One Move at a Time, hosted by Dan Lucas (2nd Tuesday of each month)
Ladies Knight hosted by Jenn Shahade (3rd Tuesday of each month)
Chess Underground with Pete Karagianis (4th Tuesday of each month, coming soon)
You can keep with all of US Chess’ podcasts here.
18:00- John’s first Perpetual Chess appearance can be heard here. (If you haven’t heard that one yet, you are in for a lot of great background and book recommendations. :)
In this segment, John discusses some of his favorite newer chess books, including Game Changer (John’s review here), Better Thinking, Better Chess and Understanding Minor Piece Endings. As John mentions the analysis from the Karsten Müller & Yakov Konoval book can be downloaded here, courtesy of Russell Enterprise.
25:20- Our discussion of chess books and Alphazero segues into the topic of Leela, the open-sourced neural network chess engine, which has quickly become a world class chess engine.
33:00- We discuss John’s excellent nascent Youtube series, First Look Chess, which gets into the nuts and bolts of how to use Chessbase.
37:00- What is the state of John’s own chess game, what tournaments does he plan to play?
39:30- Back to books! What did John like about Joel Benjamin’s latest book? Other books that John mentions enjoying include My Magical Years with Topalov by Romain Eduoard, Gata Kamsky: Chess Gamer by Gata Kamsky, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy by John Watson. Chess Coaching for Kids. The Longest Game by Jan Timman, and Practical Chess Beauty by Yochanan Afek. He also gives a glowing review of the book, Andy Soltis teased on Perpetual Chess, Tal-Petrosian-Spassky-Korchnoi, a Chess Multibiography with 207 games.
53:00- Why should we watch the Chess24 series, “Inside the 2018 World Championship Match”?
57:00- What advice would John would give to someone who wants to write about chess or work in the chess world? John felt this was an important topic to get right, so we re-recorded this part of the conversation. This also includes a discussion of how John deals with negative feedback on his reviews. His reviews have ruffled some feathers even when they aren’t uniformly negative. The books mentioned include The Shereshevsky Method to Improve in Chess: From Club Player to Master by Mikahil Shereshevsky, Active Pieces: Practical Advice from America's Most Relentless Tournament Player by Jay Bonin, and Applying Logic in Chess by Eric Kislik. Read John's reviews of the three books here (Bonin), here (Shereshevsky) and here (Kislik).
The game John mentions from the 2019 US Women’s Championship is Foisor-Krush, available here.
1:28- Goodbye! Here is how you can keep up with John Hartmann:
Chess Life Online
John’s Book Review Archive
If you would like to help support the podcast, and you can so here.
This week GM Alex Colovic joins me from his native Skopje, Macedonia, speaking to me on the "rest day" of the European Chess Championship, in which he is competing. Alex Colovic is a Grandmaster, blogger, author and newly elected President of the Association of Chess Professionals. Alex catches us up on the status of the tournament at the midway point, and from there we have a wide-ranging conversation which covers topics which range from his latest Chessable course, The Najdorf Sicilian Simplified, to why he loves studying the games of Jose Raoul Capablanca. I think that Alex’s love for and knowledge of chess and chess history is evident in our conversation. Read on for timestamps, links and GM Colovic’s contact info:
0:00- Intro and Alex’s breakdown of the ongoing European Chess Championship. On the day that we talked Alex was enjoying a break from the tournament
10:20- We discuss Alex’s brand new Chessable course, The Najdorf Sicilian Simplified. This includes the story of how he began to collaborate with Chessable, and why now is a good time to learn more about the storied Najdorf defense. In our conversation, Alex gives some updates on the theory of particular lines of the Najdorf, including the contributions that GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave made to the Poison Pawn Variation. The Karpov-Kasparov game that GM Colovic mentions can be seen here.
26:30- Alex’s chess improvement advice for club players. If you want instant results, Alex says, the first thing you should do is improve your calculation. He says that the fact that you are doing the work is more important than the tools that you use to do it.
The viral Quora post that Alex wrote and that we reference can be read here. (In the interview, I erroneously said that Alex’s post got 67,000 views, but actually that particular post got 18,000 views. it is Alex’s Quora posts in total that got 67,000 views.) The study composer that Alex mentions who helped him finally achieve the GM title is Genrikh M. Kasparyan. For all of Alex’s book recommendations check out his blog posts here, here and here. The more beginner-oriented tactics books/courses that Alex mentions in our interview are Mastering Mates 1: 1,111 One-Move Mates by Jon Edwards, and Chess - 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games by Lazlo Polgar. For his own chess, Alex greatly enjoyed the Jonathan Rowson books, Understanding the Grunfeld, Seven Deadly Chess Sins, and Chess for Zebras
42:30- Why is Jose Raul Capablanca Alex’s favorite player? What is his favorite book about Capablanca? The game that Alex is referring to is this one. The footage of Fischer playing over a game can be seen here.
50:30- How and why did Alex just become President of the Association of Chess Professionals? How did he become involved with the FIDE Fair play commission?
58:30- Goodbye and contact info. Read Alex’s blog here, follow him on Twitter here and Facebook here.
If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.
This week it my pleasure to talk with the well known Dutch trainer, and award-winning author, IM Herman Grooten. Herman has been active as a chess trainer for more than 45 years and has worked with countless players, including well known players such as GM Loek Van Wely, GM Jan Werle and GM Benjamin Bok. Read on for more details and timestamps.
0:00- Intro and discussion of Herman’s life as a football/soccer coach and “chess dad.” Herman’s son, Tommy is a scholastic chess champion. What are the secrets of Tommy’s success? How much credit do Dad and Mom, FM Petra Schuurman, deserve for it?
18:00- Herman tackles the age old question of how important talent is for chess achievement. He looks at the question through the lens of having coached elite players such as GM Loek Van Wely. What lessons has he learned that have helped him become a better trainer over the years?
28:30- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks Herman, "How should we select a coach and assess their work?" The game referenced from IM Grooten’s book is Petrosian-Planinc 1972 (I have uploaded the game from my database for listeners to see, but they are encouraged to buy Chess Strategy for Club Players: The Road to Positional Advantage in order to see IM Grooten’s analysis of this and countless other instructive games. 😃 )
37:40- Another question comes from a listener/supporter of the show, "How can one go from 1700 to GM in 10 years?" The famed Dutch chess players that Herman mentions are are the co-founders of the Steps Method., IM Cor van Wijgerden, and Rob Brunia and Adrian de Groot.
49:00- We discuss IM Grooten’s acclaimed book, Chess Strategy for Club Players: The Road to Positional Advantage, as well as Attacking Chess for Club Players: Improve Your Skills to Overpower Your Opponent. IM Grooten's book Understanding Before Moving 2: Queen's Gambit Structureshas just been released on Chessable.
55:00- Goodbye and contact info. You can email IM Grooten here.
If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.
This week the Adult Improver Series continues with another inspiring guest. Twenty eight year-old Stjepan Tomić (creator of the Hanging Pawns Channel on Youtube) learned the rules of and fell in love with chess only a few years ago. Since that time he has not let a full-time job or a girlfriend (his life currently includes both) interfere with his drive to improve at the royal game. Stjepan details for us how he created a nine-year plan to become a Grandmaster, and three years into the plan, he has made steady progress, with an ELO peak nearing 1900. In our conversation Stjepan shares what he has learned about how to manage one’s time, deal with defeat, create a Youtube channel, and of course, improve at chess. Read on for many more details and timestamps:
0- Stjepan tells the story of how he discovered chess by happenstance in Poland, and breaks down the chess scene in Zagreb, Croatia, where he lives. He also recounts the first steps he took in his study of chess, before he became systematic and serious about this pursuit.
11:45- Stjepan details the nine-year plan he made to become a grandmaster after he decided to commit himself to chess. The video we mention of Stjepan’s, discussing how to deal with defeat, can be viewed here.
16:45- Stjepan answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast- What challenges are unique to the efforts of adults to improve at chess, as opposed to those of kids?
19:00- We dive into a regular feature of the Adult Improver Series, in which Stjepan gives his opinion about the relative merits of some different ways to study chess, including solving tactics, watching videos, playing blitz and analyzing one’s own games. An excellent YouTube video of Stjepan’s discussing his recommended study methods can be viewed here.
36:00- Stjepan answers a question from another Perpetual Chess supporter regarding his favorite tactics books, and also rattles off some other chess books which have really helped him. They include: Think Like a Grandmaster. My System. Tal-Botvinnik 1960. The Meran and Anti-Meran and The Moscow and Anti-Moscow by Alexei Dreev. The Rules of WInning Chess by GM Nigel Davies. Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual. John Nunn’s Understanding Middlegames. Winning Chess Strategies- by GM Yasser Seirawan. Attack like Mikhail Tal. GM Ivan Sokolov’s Winning Chess Middlegames. Concise Chess Middlegames. My Great Predecessors. My 60 Most Memorable Games. The Complete Book of Chess Strategy. Grandmaster Preparation: Strategic Play.
43:00- Stjepan discusses the vision behind his Youtube Channel, Hanging Pawns, and its rapid growth. He also gives some helpful tips for other content creators and aspiring content creators. The Youtube Channel that helped Stjepan with his own channel is called Video Creators
56:00 Goodbye and contact info. Here is Stjepan’s Youtube Channel, Email address, Twitter and Instagram
If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.
GM Michal Krasenkow has battled many legends of the chessboard during the course of his life, and he has been one of the top 10 chess players in the world. He is also a respected chess trainer and author. His recently released and excellent new book, Learn from Michal Krasenkow shares many of his memories and favorite games. In our conversation, we discuss GM Krasenkow’s book in great detail, along with the usual assortment of improvement advice, recommendations, and favorite stories. Please read onward for many more details of this week's podcast.
0:00- Introduction. Then GM Krasenkow discusses the legacy of chess in the Soviet Union and shares with listeners details from his experience of falling in love with chess in Moscow in the 1970’s. Details include which future grandmasters he studied with, which trainers he worked with, and how classes and tournaments were structured at the fabled Pioneers Palaces that Michal attended.15:30- GM Krasenkow describes his late teenage years, where he studied Applied Mathematics at University, and shares how he ended up pursuing a career as a chess professional rather than another field. His time in the Soviet Army was one of the factors that pushed him toward chess because he was able to pursue chess while serving in Armenia and Azerbaijan.28:00- GM Krasenkow describes the impact that the collapse of the Soviet Union had on his chess career in the early 1990’s. He ultimately emigrated to Poland with the help of some local chess players there. He has lived in Poland ever since.34:00- We transition to discussing GM Krasenkow’s chess career. What does he consider the greatest achievement of his storied career? GM Krasenkow also describes what it was like to make a big push to reach the top 10 of the world only to enter a slump, during which he lost more than 100 ELO points in subsequent tournaments.41:00- We discuss a few of GM Krasenkow’s most memorable games. Michal mentions, Krasenkow-Nakamura 2007 where he was victim to a striking sacrifice by GM Nakamura. Some of the most memorable victories include Krasenkow-Defirmian 1995, and the elegant Lagunov-Krasenkow 1985 (included in the book, but not online).47:00- What was it like to attend the lectures of legendary trainer Yuri Razuvaev? What was GM Razuvaev’s teaching style?48:00- What is GM Krasenkow’s advice for chess improvement? His primary advice is to play in lots of tournaments against stronger opponents.53:00- Book recommendations! GM Krasenkow recommends IM Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual, along with his other classics, and describes what it was like to train with IM Dvoretsky.59:00- How have computers changed chess in the past few decades?1:02- GM Krasenkow answers a question from one of the podcast's Patreon supporters about what life lessons chess has given him.1:07- Story time! GM Krasenkow tells a couple of his favorite stories from time he spent with former World Champion GM Vasily Smyslov in 1995.
1:12- Goodbye and contact information. GM Krasenkow can be reached here.His book is available from Thinker’s Publishing, on the Forward Chess app, and you can order it in the U.S. from Chess4Less and some other retailers. If you would like to help support the podcast, go here.
This week, the always popular and entertaining GM Jan Gustafsson makes his third appearance on Perpetual Chess. In addition to the broadcasting, streaming and video creation that Jan does for Chess24.com, he also was a part of "Team Magnus" for the 2016 and 2018 World Chess Championships. Naturally we discussed the most recent World Championships in great detail, as well as catching up on what else Jan has been up to since his Perpetual Chess interviews #1 and #2. As always you can keep up with Jan on twitter or by subscribing to and monitoring the calendar on Chess24.com Read on for details and timestamps about all that we discussed:
0:00- Glowing intro and discussion of Jan’s work as a member of Magnus Carlsen’s team for the 2018 World Championship Match. Jan reflects on his overall thoughts on the match and answers some follow up questions I had based on the excellent Chess24 series “Inside the 2018 World Championship Match” featuring Jan and GMs Peter Heine Nielsen and Laurent Fressinet.
31:30- More World Championship talk, but now with a focus on the openings that were played.
36:00- Is it really true that a Queen and Knight is better than a Queen and a Bishop?
38:00 What should one do to get back into playing shape after a layoff from competitive chess? (a discussion prompted because Jan will be playing in the Bangkok Chess Club Open in April)
39:00- Coaching Netherlands at Olympiad. What mystery book was Jan pictured reading while the games went on? The Patrick Melrose books
44:00- What is Jan’s favorite Jan Gustafsson game? What about his favorite other people games? Jan mentions his opening prep paying off in the following games: Naiditsch-Gustafsson 2007 and Gustafsson-Rodshtein 2007 Jan also highlights the modern classic, Wei Yi-Lazaro Bruzon Batista 2015 and Jinishi Bai vs. Ding Liren 2017
49:00- Some idle chit-chat and Jan’s latest pop culture recommendations. Jan gives a lukewarm recommendation for True Detective Season 3 and did not share Ben’s level of enthusiasm for Atlanta, but is a big fan of the movie Burning.
53:00- Goodbye and what to watch for coming from Chess24. Jan recommends GM Laurent Fressinet’s recent series Playing the Berlin and teased a blitz match between Magnus Carlsen and Peter Svidler, which you can now watch on Chess24.
If you would like to help support the podcast go here.
28 year old Grandmaster Romain Edouard has been a top 50 chess player in the world, with a peak rating over 2700, but in recent years, he has been quite busy with other chess related work. He is the author of the highly regarded, Chess Calculation series, and this year, has published, My Magical Years with Topalov.a book about his time working as the second to one of the strongest players in the world. GM Edouard is also the Editor-in-Chief at Thinker’s Publishing, the publisher of his acclaimed works. For more detail about all that we discussed, plus recommendations and contact information, please read on:
0:00- Intro and discussion of GM Edouard’s new book, My Magical Years with Topalov. This book annotates games and shares stories and reflections from GM Edouard’s time working as a second to GM Veselin Topalov, between the years of 2010-2014. Romain shares how the relationship began and how it evolved in the ensuing years.
17:00- What differentiates GM Topalov’s chess style from other top-level players?
20:00- Romain discusses his most recent chess tournament. He recently played in the super strong 2019 Gibraltar International, and finished with 7 points, as part of a big tie for 6th-22nd place.
25:30- GM Edouard retells how he became the Editor-in-Chief with Thinker’s Publishing, and what that works entails. The two new books that we mention are: Gata Kamsky - Chess Gamer, Volume 1: The Awakening 1989-1996, and Michal Krasenkow - Learn from Michal Krasenkow
32:00- Romain’s gives his chess improvement advice for those with a limited amount of time. 1) Play lots of games 2) Find openings you like and know well 3) Learn Endgames from Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual 4) Practice Calculation
37:30- Discussion of the London Lions of the Pro Chess League, who have had a disappointing season, but just had a strong showing in defeating the Montreal Chessbrahs.
39:00- Discussion of GM Edouard’s favorite game of his own (Edouard-Tkachiev 2010) , as well as his favorite game of all time (Kasparov-Topalov 1999)
43:30- Goodbye and contact info, you can follow Thinkers Publishing on Facebook and their website, and GM Edouard on Facebook and Twitter.
My guest this week is 21 year old GM-elect Michael Brown. Michael just earned his final GM norm in January 2019, but the path to earning the highest chess title has come with many challenges. In our conversation, Michael walks us through how he overcame those challenges, and gives advice for how others can do the same in their own chess journeys. For many more details about our conversation, check out the timestamps below. Michael can be reached via email here.
0:00- Intro and recap of the tournament at the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy where GM-elect Michael Brown got that elusive and coveted 3rd GM Norm. The dramatic GM Norm clinching-game vs. FM Gauri Shankar that Michael discusses can be found here.
10:00- How did Michael stay sharp as his time became more scarce after enrolling in college? Michael mostly credits study partnering with other strong players, such as IM Keaton Kiewra,and IM Shiyam Thavandiran.
16:30- After graduating from BYU in December 2018 what is Michael’s next professional step?
19:30- We discuss Michael’s memorable experience beating world class GM Yu Yangyi in 2016. Michael annotates this game in this very instructive Youtube video, and you can also play through the moves here. We then discuss some of the “super GMs” Michael has played in addition to Yu Yangyi.
32:00- Michael tells a couple fun stories of playing at the notoriously strong Chess.com Isle of Man International tournament in 2017 and getting to see and meet the likes of GM Vishy Anand and GM Magnus Carlsen.
39:00- What have been the most challenging periods during Michael’s chess career? How did he get through them? What advice did his trainer at the time, IM Armen Ambartsoumian, give him?
44:00- What are Michael’s favorite chess books? As a young, improving player, he learned a ton from Winning Chess Brilliancies by GM Yasser Seirawan and later used CT-ART to sharpen his tactics.
51:00- What was the connection between his choice of college, Brigham Young University, and his desire to remain dedicated to chess? What other factors went into Michael’s decision as to which college to attend?
59:00- What is going on with the San Diego Surfers of the Pro Chess League?
1:04- Goodbye and contact info
This week I am joined by the authors by one of the most anticipated chess books in recent memory, Gamechanger: AlphaZero's Groundbreaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI.GM Matthew Sadler and WIM Natasha Regan have written a fascinating and revelatory book, so I was very excited to chat with them about the background to the book and discuss some highlights from it.
In our conversation, we also touch on other aspects of Matthew and Natasha’s accomplished careers, particularly, how adults can continue to make strides in chess, as discussed in their prior collaboration, Chess for Life.. You can find many more details about our conversation with timestamps below. Gamechanger is now available from New in Chess, Chessable, and Forward Chess, and will be released on Amazon in the US on February 15.
0:00 Intro, discussion of the genesis of the GameChanger project and how its seeds were sown at the London Chess Classic
5:00- Natasha and Matthew talk about how they approached the project once Demis Hassabis of DeepMind gave them permission to write about AlphaZero
10:00- We get into the meat of the GameChanger book, beginning with a discussion of which players in history Alphazero’s chess style is reminiscent of. Kasparov, Carlsen and Botvinnik are mentioned.
22:00- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks a question about how Alphazero learned chess. In Gamechanger Matthew and Natasha lay out 4 principles in Alphazero’s approach to learning chess (as well as how other DeepMind programs have learned other games, such as Go): :
Learning rather than being programmed
General rather than specific
Grounded rather than logic based
Active rather than passive
24:00- What openings did AlphaZero gravitate toward, and we can we learn from those choices? Among other openings, Matthew mentions that Alphazero plays the Botvinnik System and the Anti Moscow Gambit against the Semi-Slav, and double king pawn and the Berlin Defense against e4.
29:00- How will these opening choices and this playing style filter through to the professional and amateur chess circuits?
34:00- Have the authors heard anything about whether Deepmind will continue to improve and deploy Alphazero in chess competitions?
35:00- We discuss Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan’s previous collaboration, Chess for Life. This is a book of interviews and games based specifically on how adults can maintain and/or improve their level of chess play. What was some of the advice for adults that the authors gleaned from their interviews? They mention insights from the games and repertoires of GM Keith Arkell, FM Terry Chapman, GM Pia Cramling and GM Sergei Tiviakov, as discussed in the book. Both Gamechanger and Chess for Life have instructive chapters on The Carlsbad Structure.
43:00- What did the legendary trainer, IM Mark Dvoretsky tell GM Matthew Sadler in what he called “the most instructive 5 minutes of my life?” What else did he learn from a memorable couple of weeks working with Mark Dvoretsky?
48:00- How has Matthew managed to reach his peak rating despite being 44 years old and employed full time?
54:00- Book recommendations! Natasha enjoyed My 60 Most Memorable Games and Chess Bitch. Matthew recommends Small Steps to Giant Improvement,Positional Decision Making in Chess, The Chess Toolbox, and Emmanuel Lasker, Volume 1
56:00- How can we keep up with Matthew and Natasha’s chess work? They have a Facebook page for Gamechanger here, and a Youtube Channel with bonus material related to the book here. They also have a Youtube channel for Chess for Life here.
If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, go here.
This week it was my great honor to get to chat with the acclaimed author, trainer and co-founder of Quality Chess, GM Jacob Aagaard. GM Aagaard is chairing the FIDE trainer’s commission and has worked with elite chess players like GM Sam Shankland and GM Boris Gelfand. Jacob was very generous with his time and wisdom in our conversation. You can keep up with Quality Chess on their blog, and you can email GM Aagaard here. You can find out more about the Quality Chess Academy here.
For timestamps and details about all that we discussed, read on.
0:00- Intro and discussion of the vision behind Quality Chess Publishing, co-founded by GM Aagaard in 2004 (along with GM John Shaw and IM Ari Ziegler).
12:40- A brief digression into some Science Fiction shows Jacob has been watching in his scant free-time. He recommends Altered Carbon on Netflix and a German series called Dark.
15:30- We segue into a detailed discussion of Jacob’s most recent highly acclaimed book, Thinking Inside the Box. As GM Aagaard discusses in the book, each move in chess can roughly be categorized into one of 4 decision types:
Automatic Decisions (This includes a discussion of this game between GM Sam Shankland and GM Richard Rapport. )
SImple Decisions (This is where Aagaard’s famed 3 questions come into play- 1. Where are the weaknesses? 2. What is the opponent’s idea? 3. Which is my worst placed piece?)
Critical Moments (positions where there is a large difference between the best move and the next best move)
Strategic Decisions (complicated positions with no clear-cut way to approach them)
34:00- Jacob answers a question from a supporter of the podcast relating to how to use diagrams in chess books. While answering, Jacob rattles off a few of his favorite chess books. They include GM Romain Edouard’s calculation books, Imagination in Chess (out of print), Perfect Your Chess, and the Arthur Yusopov series. As a scholastic player, Jacob was a big fan of legendary Danish player Bent Larsen’s books.
42:30- GM Aagaard tells the story of how he became a trainer of other high level players. For any listener looking for a coach, GM Aagaard recommends his former student, Italian GM Sabino Brunello. Jacob also tells the story of how he became one of the trainers of former World Championship Challenger, GM Boris Gelfand and of US Champion Sam Shankland.
52:00- What feat did GM Sam Shankland accomplish that has gone a but under the radar? What does he think of GM Shankland’s prospects for a continued ascent in the world rankings?
1:02- GM Aagaard answers another question from a Patreon supporter about how to work on your chess when you do not have a coach. Jacob stressed the importance of analyzing one’s own games.
1:08- Jacob discusses his upcoming chess camp, The Quality Chess Academy, which will be co-taught along with renowned trainer R.B. Ramesh. You guys should sign up for the camp, then after attending you should email me to tell me about the camp. :)
1:15- Jacob discusses another new project of his, chairing the FIDE trainer’s commission.
1:26- Jacob gives his opinion on how big a role rapid chess should play in the World Championship Cycle.
1:35- What will be the next phase of chess, following what Jacob calls, “the digital period"? Jacob mentions a couple of alternatives to Chess960 that he finds interesting.
1:42- Jacob’s contact info and goodbyes 👋
USCF Master Michael Aigner is a player and coach who is well-known in the Bay Area of California. He has coached many future titled players, and also holds a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Thanks to Michael for an informative and inspiring conversation. Read on for details of all that we discussed.0:00- Intro and quick discussion of how the Bay Area teams are doing in the Pro Chess League. What distinguishes Michael’s coaching style? Amongst his favorite games to share are those of Mikhail Tal, and any game between Carlsen and Aronian.8:00- How did Michael get into chess as a teen in the early 1990s? How did he get better quickly in the pre-computer age? (There were a lot of early losses involved.) Michael was not a big chess book aficionado but he learned openings from an encyclopedia called Modern Chess Openings and was a big fan of the book Mikhail Tal’s Life and Games. 18:50- Michael shares some of the advice he generally gives his students. For example, he thinks 15 minute chess is a good time control to practice online, as it is fast enough to be able to play multiple games, but slow enough to have educational value for the player.What was it like for Michael to coach future GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Steven Zierk? Michael tells some great stories to illustrate the tenacity and enthusiasm that these top players showed at a young age.27:30- A brief discussion of what scholastic chess teachers and US Chess can do to help chess players retain interest in chess past their teen years.31:00- Michael discusses the special role that chess plays in his life due to his physical condition, called quadrilateral phocomelia. As Michael discusses, this condition means that he gets around in a wheelchair, but this definitely does not deter him from competing over the board.37:30- Michael answers a question from a listener about how he handles wheelchair accessibility issues in his tournaments.44:30- Michael answers another question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast, about whether he would recommend chess as a hobby to others with physical disabilities.48:00- Michael tackles a list of questions sent in from Michael’s friend and sometime opponent, Stewart Katz, relating to chess teaching and competing.1:00- Michael discusses how he follows top level chess and names a couple of his favorite chess announcers, plus he gives his take on whether the World Championship format should be changed.1:06- Wrap up and contact info for Michael Aigner- You can keep up with Michael on his website,Facebook, Twitter and his blog. This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable.com- Check it out if you haven't already!
This week’s guest on Perpetual Chess is Chilean Grandmaster, acclaimed chess author and newly minted Applied Mathematics Ph. D., Mauricio Flores. Mauricio and I covered a wide variety of chess related topics. Check them out below:
0:00- Introduction and we discuss Mauricio’s outstanding book Chess Structures. Mauricio explains how the idea for the book occurred to him and how he went about writing it. This includes a discussion of how Mauricio managed to become a GM despite a relative lack of resources in Chile, and the changes he made in his playing style as his study time became more scarce. How did he get great at tactics? Mauricio recommended CT-Art. He completed the entire tactics course 4 times!
16:00- How did Mauricio find out about the possibility of getting a chess scholarship in the United States, how did chess change his life? How did he find life in the US when he enrolled at University of Texas at Brownsville as an 18 yr. Old? What is next for Mauricio on the heels of finishing his math Ph. D?
25:00- Mauricio answers a question about his thoughts on other chess “structure books”, and reveals what he believes to be the most important aspect of writing a chess book.
34:00- Mauricio discusses his playing career and talks about why he is unable to compete much these days. We also discuss the Pro Chess League- Mauricio will be playing for his hometown Minnesota Blizzard along with IM John Bartholomew, GM Andrew Tang and others.
39:00- Book recommendations. Mauricio is a big fan of Quality Chess books such as Grandmaster Repetoire: 1.e4 , Learn from the Legends, and also of 100 Endgames You Must Know.
43:00- Mauricio gives his perspective on what the implications for chess could be of AlphaZero’s ascent.
50:00- What is the difference between 2500 level GMs and Super GMs? What steps would Mauricio take if he were to focus only on improving his chess even more? Mauricio can be reached via email here.
This week’s guest is well known chess competitor, presenter and Red Bull Athlete, IM Tania Sachdev. Check the timestamps below for discussion topics. 👇👇
0:00- Introduction and discussion of what to watch for and who is playing at the upcoming Gibraltar Chess Festival where Tania, along with GM Simon Williams and IM Jovanka Houska, will be a part of the announcing team. We also talk about the 2017 controversy at Gibraltar involving former Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan.
14:45- We segue into the schedule of upcoming tournaments in which Tania plans to compete These include the India Team Championship, and the Reykjavik Open The interview Tania mentions, which she conducted with GM Boris Gelfand at the 2018 Gibraltar Chess Festival, can be viewed here. Tania mentions that she always studies Mark Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual before a tournament. She also recommends the books Positional Play, and Thinking Inside the Box, both of which are part of the Grandmaster Preparation Series by GM Jacob Aagaard.
23:26- What was it like to train with renowned trainer GM Jacob Aagaard? Tania tells a great story regarding the memorable advice GM Aagard gave her as she struggled to keep up with stronger players at a training camp.
30:33- Actionable advice for chess players looking to improve. Tania emphasizes that remembering GM Aagaard’s fabled 3 questions when playing helped her game immeasurably. (The 3 questions are: What is your worst placed piece? What is my opponent intending? What is your opponent’s weakness?)
33:50- How did Tania became a representative of Red Bull India, and what is the nature of her role as a Red Bull athlete?
37:50- How are things changing for women in Chess within her native India?
41:00- Tania discusses how she spends her time away from the board when at home in Delhi.
You can keep up with Tania on: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable
If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here.
This week on Perpetual Chess, Pro Chess League and US Chess School founder IM Greg Shahade makes his annual return to the podcast. Instead of giving a detailed description of all that we discussed, my New Years Resolution for the podcast is to endeavor to provide timestamps of the major topics that each guest addresses. Below, you can find this week's timestamps, including any relevant links. As always, you can keep up with Greg on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
0-20:50- Greg previews the upcoming Pro Chess League season. It returns on January 8 on Chess.com
20:50- Greg discusses his ideas for improving the format of the World Chess Championship. The blog posts with Greg's suggestions that we referenced are here and here.
32:10- We discuss Greg’s love for Puzzle Rush on Chess.com
37:45- How necessary are chess books for improvement in the modern chess era? The game we were discussing between FM Christopher Yoo and GM Le Quang Liem can be seen here.
44:00- A listener inquires, whatever happened to the book that Greg discussed writing in his first appearance on Perpetual Chess?
49:10- Greg ranks his top 5 chess players of all time!
53:15- Greg’s advice for improving at blitz and action chess, including a fun story about a high stakes blitz match between Greg and GM Jan Gustafsson.
1:03:45- We devolve into non-chess related talk from this point forward- this includes a discussion of Greg’s Crossfit strategies and peccadillos, plus Greg tells the story of when he tried out for American Idol, and reveals some of his favorite songs.
This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable.com
If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here.
This week the popular, chess improvement-focused, "adult improver" edition of Perpetual Chess returns, but with a twist. This week's improver, USCF Master Vinesh Ravuri of California, is just 17 years old. Nonetheless, I felt that motivated chess players of all ages could learn from the meteoric rating gain that Vinesh has shown in the past few years (over 1000 USCF points since 2014). Check out his US rating graph here. Here is a bit more detail about what Vinesh and I discussed:
Vinesh told the story of how he got into chess, and shared why he thinks it took multiple exposures to the game, in both the U.S. and India, for a passion for it to take hold.
Vinesh and I discussed the many ways to try to improve at chess, and discussed which methods have been most effective for him. Spoiler: he has done a ton of tactics puzzles.
Vinesh shared a few book recommendations for different levels, and talked about the challenges he has faced as his rating has climbed and his free time has become more scarce.
Thanks to Vinesh for joining me, you can root on his San Jose Hackers in the upcoming Pro Chess League, and track his games or contact him about chess lessons here. This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable. If you would like to help support the podcast, go here.
This week’s guest, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, has won countless chess titles but is probably best known as The 12th Women’s World Champion and a perennial threat to retake that crown. GM Kosteniuk stays extremely busy, as in addition to being playing frequent top-level chess, she streams chess on twitch for chess.com, has been announcing high-level events and also somehow finds the time to work on her chess, spend time with her family, and even run marathons. In our conversation, Alexandra and touched on all of these facets of her life, and she tackled the following questions:
What does she think of the format of the Men's World Championship? What about the announced changes in the Women's World Championship Candidates Cycle?
What does she advise to study when one feels like they have hit a plateau? How can one maintain perspective when struggling at the chessboard?
What advice would she give to young female chess players who may feel daunted by the preponderance of men playing chess?For someone who has had so much success, Alexandra clearly has a grounded perspective on chess and on life. When she is not battling at the board, you can follow her on twitter here. This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable
A giant of US Chess, GM Joel Benjamin, joins me this week. In addition to being a 3 time US champion, and hosting a weekly chess show on the Internet Chess Club, Joel has just published his fourth book, Better Thinking, Better Chess. Naturally, Joel and I began our conversation by discussing some topics covered in the book such as:
What are the causes of and potential solutions to typical mistakes that Joel sees in his students, such as a failure to generate candidate moves, and a hesitance about sacrificing the exchange?
Joel and I also discussed the following:
What was GM Benjamin's impression of the World Championship? Should the match format be changed?
What are Joel's favorite chess games, stories and books? Joel has some great stories!
Joel Benjamin has had a long and storied career, so needless to say, this was an entertaining conversation. Thanks to Joel for joining me. In addition to his excellent new book, Liquidation on the Chessboard, and American Grandmaster, also come highly recommended. The chess games Joel mentions are:Seirawan-Benjamin 1979Portisch-Benjamin 1987Abramovich-Benjamin 1984 game not online, but an excerpt can be found in his new book :) This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable.com To support the podcast, go here.
GM Jóhann Hjartarson is a legend of Icelandic Chess and has a firm place in the chess history books. He is best known for defeating GM Viktor Korchnoi in a match during the 1988 Candidates Cycle (before succumbing to Anatoly Karpov), but he is also the 6 time champion of Iceland, and the 2 time Nordic Champion. Jóhann took some time out from his duties at the World Championship in London, and we discussed the following:
His impressions of the World Championship, and what his responsibilities were as a member of the Appeals Committee for the match.
Perspective and stories from the height of his chess career, when he was among the top players in the world and crossed swords with all time greats like Kasparov, Karpov and Korchnoi.
What led him to decide, at a time when he was near the peak of his chess powers, to transition from playing chess full time to working as a lawyer? Does he regret this decision?
Has he kept up with the changes in study habits among world elites? What are his favorite chess books?
This interview was quite a treat for me as a fan of chess history, and I think that you will enjoy it too. Thanks so much to Johann for sharing his experiences! This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable.comGM Hjartarson's favorite game of his own, Game 1 of his match vs. Korchnoi is here. His favorite game by any player, Spassky vs. Fischer, Game 13, is here. If you would like to donate to support the podcast, go here.
I am off this week, but I have some awesome bonus content for you. Have a listen to the January 7, 2004 interview that Fred Wilson conducted with the now-deceased, legendary chess trainer, author, and player IM Mark Dvoretsky. This is one of the many great historical chess interviews that I am posting on the Perpetual Chess Patreon page for those who donate $3.50 per month or more. Fred WIlson's archive will also feature old interviews with GMs Andy Soltis, Arthur Bisguier, Maurice Ashley, Lubomir Kavalek and many more. Here are a few of the questions that Fred asked of IM Dvoretsky in their conversation:
Did Mark agree with GM Lev Alburt's suggestion that Boris Spassky had more chess talent than Bobby Fischer as a youth?
How many positions did IM Dvoretsky have in his legendary file of positions for titled students to study?
What were some of his favorite chess books of all time (besides his own)?
What did he think of Peter Svidler's prospects of becoming World Champion in 2004? Was there any other young talent he thought might ascend to the highest title?
So much chess history is shared within this 90 minute conversation that it is difficult for me to do it justice in a summary. Just listen and enjoy! The Perpetual chess t-shirt and hoodie sale ends on December 4- get one here while you can.
On a rest day (after Game 8) for the World Championship in London, friends of the podcast (and previous guests) IMs Eric Rosen and Kostya Kavutskiy were nice enough to take some time and give Perpetual listeners a taste of what its like to be attending, reporting, and photographing the dramatic, ongoing World Chess Championship between GMs Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana. This episode is meant to have more of a "breaking news" feeling than your typical Perpetual Chess interview, so it's a shorter interview, but we covered a lot of ground. To wit:
What was the mood like at the venue in Game 8 as Fabiano Caruana missed his best chance for a win over Magnus Carlsen? What openings might we see in the remaining games?
Is there a clear rooting interest among the people attending the match? Does either player have more vocal fans?
What are the conditions like for spectators? What about for photographers like Eric Rosen and his colleagues?
IM Kostya Kavutskiy has done some great write-ups and game analysis for US Chess for the games that he has attended, while Eric Rosen has taken over the US Chess twitter account in addition to taking great photos like this one,. You can keep up with their great content in the following places:
Kostya Kavutskiy's twitter account, Kostya's Youtube Channel
Eric Rosen's twitter account and Eric's Youtube Channel
To support the podcast or purchase a limited edition Perpetual Chess t-shirt or hoodie, go here and/or here, respectively.
Almost 17 months after his first visit to Perpetual Chess, GM Pontus Carlsson returns to discuss his latest projects and the recent developments in the chess world (including the World Championship). Among the topics we talked about are:
Pontus' recent trip to New Orleans for a philanthropic initiative. He has helped launch Business meets Chess and Kids, an organization that pairs business leaders with underprivileged kids in tandem chess, with the goal of using chess as a form for networking and mentorship for the younger generation. Pontus told stories from his trip and talked about future plans for this inspiring effort.
Pontus gave a couple of great book recommendations and gave some advice for infrequent tournament competitors who are trying to shake off some rust (for example, say, the host of this podcast).
We talked about a couple of the themes emerging from the ongoing World Championship match, and Pontus shared some stories and perspectives from past experiences having met and talked with the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Veselin Topalov and Anish Giri.
This guest is always entertaining, with plenty of wisdom to share, so there is lots more to enjoy from our conversation. You can reach Pontus via his website here. If you would like to buy a limited edition Perpetual Chess t-shirt or hoodie, you can do so here. (A portion of the proceeds will go to Business meets Chess and Kids ) To support the podcast via Patreon, click here.
My guest this week is Carsten Hensel. He is a chess organizer and author who has also spent time as the manager for two elite players- GMs Vladimir Kramnik and GM Peter Leko. Much to the benefit of chess fans, he has written a book about his experiences managing GM Kramnik, called Vladimir Kramnik - The Inside Story of a Chess Genius. The English version of this book will be published by Quality Chess later in November. The published excerpts and this interview suggest that this book will be a must read for those interested in GM Kramnik and/or modern chess history. Here are a few of the highlights of what Carsten Hensel and I discussed:
How did he first encounter GM Kramnik, and how did they come to develop a working relationship? Carsten reflects on some of Kramnik's most famous matches- a disappointing Candidates loss to GM Alexei Shirov in 1998, followed by a thrilling World Championship victory over Garry Kasparov in 2000.
What was it like to be the manager of both World Championship participants in the 2004 Leko-Kramnik World Championship match?
As a high-level chess organizer and promoter, what are his thoughts on how to pitch corporations on sponsoring chess players and events?
This was a fascinating conversation, as Carsten has had a ring side seat to much of modern chess history. Thanks to Carsten for chatting- you can email him here.
If you are interested in learning more about hearing Fred WIlson's old interviews
(as mentioned in the introduction) go to the Perpetual Chess Patreon here.
This week I talked to 31 year old programmer, chess player, and entrepreneur David Kramaley, who is the co-founder and CEO of Chessable, a fast growing chess-educational start up. During our conversation,David and I discuss
How he caught the "chess bug" in his early 20's. and how that enthusiasm ultimately led to the launch of Chessable. With its co-founder, IM John Bartholomew David launched Chessable in February of 2016.
What lessons did David learn from his prior startup, Sharkius? What is he doing to make sure he strikes the right balance between product development and marketing?
What new features are forthcoming from Chessable? How does David decide which improvements to prioritize?
Of course we also get chess and business book recommendations which can be found here. You can email David here. Some other events/opportunities that came up during our conversation are linked below.
To celebrate the release of Christof Sielecki's Chessable book in print form, Chessable is having a giveaway/contest. Enter here.
Chessable meet-up in London on November 20, during the World Championship
Geert van der Velde's free courses include Carlsen-Caruana move by move, and the Olympiad Tactics Trainer.
IM Christof Sielecki's. aka ChessExplained 's repetorire against 1. e4, featuring Fabi’s Petroff, wil be released next week, and can be found here.
Venerable American GM Michael Rohde has been one of the top 100 players in the world, and he still competes actively on the American chess circuit. Mike writes frequently for US Chess Online, and American Chess Magazine and is also a practicing lawyer, and chess teacher. Here is what Mike and I discussed:- What psychological dynamics come into play when he plays another strong chess grinder, such as IM Jay Bonin, whom he has played hundreds of times in tournament games? - Are there any talented young players he has noticed recently while competing in and reporting on tournaments?- What are his memories of playing GM Spassky and seeing the young Polgar sisters at the 1987 New York Open Tournament (which was one of the largest and strongest open tournaments in the world for many years)? We covered all of this and much more, so listen up! Thanks to GM Rohde for sharing his knowledge and experiences. If you'd like to help support the podcast go here.
Alex King is a 29 year old Memphis,Tennessee based USCF Master. He is also a full time chess teacher, an adult improver, and a talented musician. We covered many topics on this week's podcast such as:
Alex's recent return to the U.S. after traveling to Prague in order to board the fabled "Chess Train," through Central Europe. Alex told us a bit about the history of this unique chess vacation, shared the highlights of his trip and gave us the recap of his 11 round tournament on the train.
Alex gave detailed practical advice on how to improve one's calculation and blindfold abilities. He also shared many of the adjustments he made to his game after completing college, just before he made a 170 point rating jump to 2350 USCF (26:00).
We discussed the similarities between chess and music, and whether or not Alex likes to listen to music when he's playing and studying chess.
We touched on assorted other topics such as Alex's unique approach to studying his blitz games, his book recommendations, his thoughts on the world championship, and lots more. Thanks to Alex for a fascinating conversation. You can follow/friend him on Facebook here or chess.com here. If you'd like to help support the podcast go here.
The Perpetual Chess Adult Improver Series charges onward this week with another inspiring tale of chess improvement. This week's guest, Candidate Master and economist Cristobal Cervino, wrote some popular blog posts detailing how he made a 170 ELO point jump (from 1935 to 2102) in a fifteen-month span a few years back. For background, you can read the posts that Cristobal wrote about his approach here, here and here. Cristobal and I discussed:
Why is calculation the most important thing to work on for club-level players? What resources did he utilize to improve at it?
How should one go about analyzing one's own chess games? How soon after playing should one analyze them?
Why has he plateaued at around the 2100 level in the past few years? Does he have current aspirations of making another push forward?
Cristobal was glad to share some of his favorite chess books and resources, both for chess improvement and for appreciation of chess history. Thanks so much to Cristobal for joining me. You can find him as "Kingzilla" on chess.com or chesstempo.
This week Perpetual Chess features an interview with USCF Master and renowned Cognitive Scientist Christopher Chabris. In the world of psychology, Christopher is best known for his collaboration with Daniel Simons regarding "inattentional blindness". This was most famously demonstrated in the viral Youtube video called "Invisible Gorilla." Professors Chabris and Simons later published a book expanding on their research and Christopher has published many more interesting studies related to human biases and cognition. But of course, we mostly talked about chess and how Christopher's research relates to chess!
Are there examples of "inattentional blindness" or other cognitive biases in chess competitions? If so how can we combat them?
Detailed advice on how to assimilate chess patterns and improve quickly at the game based on Christopher's experiences and his knowledge of how the brain works.
Stories from Professor Chabris' time in the chess world. He has been in involved in publishing chess books and periodicals (see here), and has rubbed shoulders with Kasparov, Caruana and other chess luminaries.
A discussion of the state of Christopher's own chess game, and some prominent and some lesser known chess book recommendations.
Thanks to Christopher Chabris for a fascinating discussion! You can follow him on twitter here, or visit his website here. To support the podcast go here.
Elliott Neff, my guest this week on Perpetual Chess comes to us direct from the Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. Elliott is a USCF Master who founded the thriving Chess4Life chess education organization. He is also a chess trainer who will be releasing his first book, A Pawn's Journey: Transforming Lives one Move at a Time, on October 9. Elliott and I discussed:
Elliott's perspective on the Olympiad. This is his first time attending, so he told us what has surprised him about the event. He reported on a couple of the teams, including the Ugandan women's team, which he is helping to coach.
How Elliott became a friend and coach of Phiona Mutesi of Queen of Katwe fame. Plus, Elliott gives an update on Phiona's life and chess career since the release of the movie telling her story.
Elliott's recommendations for chess improvement, plus some awesome advice on how to get better at blindfold chess and visualization.
What inspired Elliott to write a book? What impact can chess have away from the chessboard?
Thanks to Elliott for joining me. You can reach him via Chess4life here, or at his website here.
If you would like to help support the podcast go here.
Norwegian reporter, chess player, and photographer Tarjei Svensen is a frequent correspondent at elite chess tournaments and a popular and indispensable source of information on “chess Twitter.” Tarjei joins me this week to discuss the following: - How he gets scoops and manages finances as a chess reporter who is often working independently. - His plans for covering the 2018 World Chess Championships and some info on whether his friend and collaborator, GM Jonathan Tisdall, will be writing about the match again this year. - Tarjei’s own chess game, including some discussion of encounters with a very young Magnus Carlsen, and a few books that he recommends. We also talk about some interesting match-related statistics that Tarjei recently revealed on Twitter, and his twitter recommendations for whom to follow during the World Championships. Tarjei recommends following Olympiu Urcan, GM Jonthan Tisdall, Chess.com, Chessbase, and Chess24. Thanks to Tarjei for taking time from his busy schedule! You can follow him on Twitter here, and read his chess coverage here. If you are interested in supporting Perpetual Chess go here.
Editor’s Note- The audio quality on this interview is somewhat lackluster, so if you would like to read a transcript of our interview, you can do so here. This week on Perpetual Chess my guest is the 3 time champion of both the US and Ukraine, GM Lev Alburt. Lev is also a very popular chess author and teacher. He has co-authored books, such as World Chess Championships: Karjakin-Carlsen (with Jon Crumiller and GM Vladimir Kramnik,) The Comprehensive Chess Course (with Roman Pelts,) plus many others. Lev also writes the popular Back to Basics column in Chess Life Magazine. I hope you will enjoy our conversation about:
The world champions and chess legends he has known. When did he first hear about future World Champions Vladimir Kramnik and Garry Kasparov? Who are the modern-world chess champions he has found to be less likable than the others?
How Lev decided on the unique format for this 2016 Carlsen-Karjakin Match book, and why GM Vladimir Kramnik was persuaded to contribute to the book after some initial hesitation. Of course, GM Alburt also shares his thoughts on the rapidly approaching 2018 World Chess Championship.
Tips and recommendations for chess improvement. The three pillars of Lev's study advice are the 1) play chess competitively 2) Analyze your games and 3) Find time for uninterrupted study.
There is much more! Thanks so much to GM Alburt for joining me.
You can reach Lev via his webpage here.
This week on Perpetual Chess I am joined by the acclaimed and prolific chess author, columnist and historian, GM Andy Soltis. GM Soltis and I discussed the following:
His most recent book, 365 Chess Master Lessons: Take One a Day to Be a Better Chess Player, and his upcoming work, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky and Korchnoi: A Chess Multibiography with 206 Games. We discussed how GM Soltis got the ideas for these books, and how he comes up with writing subjects generally. Andy also shared lots of details about what goes into researching, writing and naming his books.
His two longstanding chess columns in the New York Post (since 1972), and in Chess Life magazine (since 1079), Andy discusses how these columns came into being, and how he has managed to keep them going all those years.
Andy shares his thoughts on the upcoming World Championships and the modern chess scene more generally.
Of course, GM Soltis also had great stories to share about the likes of Bobby Fischer, Viktor Korchnoi and Mikhail Tal.Thanks so much to Andy for joining me, it was an honor to speak with him.
V. Saravanan is an International Master, a chess journalist and a voracious reader of chess books. Saravanan resides in Chennai, India, but joined me from St. Louis where he had just concluded covering the Sinquefield Cup for Chessbase. We discussed:
IM Saravanan’s impression of the St. Louis Chess Club, and of the tournaments he had just covered.
Stories and impressions of Super GM Viswanathan Anand who he has known for decades. What makes Anand a special talent and person? Saravanan also shares broader perspective about the Indian chess boom.
Saravanan expounded on the incredible YouTube video he did, showing off his chess library to IM Sagar Shah. He rattled off a few more favorite chess books and shared his views regarding chess improvement.
Thanks to Saravanan for an entertaining and informative conversation. Follow him on twitter here
To support the podcast go here.
This week on Perpetual Chess, one of my earliest guests returns for an update on his life and travels. Twenty-five year old IM Kostya Kavutskiy is an active chess player, teacher, writer and content creator. We catch up with him after his busy summer of traversing 3 continents while playing and coaching chess. Kostya discusses the highlights of his trip, and the primary chess lessons he derived from his summer of high level competitive chess. (This includes a discussion of a position where he agreed to a draw in what was actually a winning position.) Check out the game here. We also cover:
Chess improvement advice focused on methods of analysis of one's own games, plus some fresh chess book recommendations.
A breakdown of some of his favorite chess announcers, both in the English and the Russian languages.
A discussion of how he uses chess engines, and what it means when two different engines give starkly different evaluations.
Thanks to Kostya for joining me. He has a Patreon page on which he shares great chess educational content. Check it out here. You can also follow/contact him via twitter or his webpage. Tu support the podcast go here.
Today's show was recorded in Switzerland: Biel to be exact, home of the 51st International Chess Festival — which included a GM tournament won by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov ahead of Magnus Carlsen — and also the birthplace of today's guest, Grandmaster Yannick Pelletier. In chess, he's the Tournament Director in Biel as well as an accomplished player and commentator, but also polyglot and soon-to-be art/design/lifestyle media entrepreneur. Check out his YouTube channel and new magazine project Yunomi. Pelletier has been the Swiss Champion six times, and although he doesn't play more than a few tournaments a year nowadays, he has won three games from Magnus Carlsen, including one after Carlsen became World Champion. Yannick talks about life as a chess professional both before and after having kids, provides a history of the Biel Festival plus gives the 101 on how the Swiss manage to get along so well despite having multiple official languages. Macauley Peterson (Editor in Chief of ChessBase News) guest hosts once again, and he strongly suggests you support Perpetual Chess either via Patreon or using this special link at the ChessBase shop. Perhaps a video series from Yannick himself — he's recorded several and also contributes to ChessBase Magazine!
This week on Perpetual Chess, the popular adult improver series makes its triumphant return, with another great guest. I am joined by Stacia Pugh. Stacia has only been playing tournament chess for a few years but has seen her rating rapidly rise to 1777, including a 300 point rise in the past year. What's her story? How did she do it? Stacia joins us to discuss exactly that.
- Stacia retells how she got into chess, and shares how the male and youth dominated chess world has treated an adult woman. She also discusses how she is managing to turn her love of chess from a hobby into a career.
- She gives tons of study advice, including book recommendations and a discussion of the study habit that she feels helped her chess the most. To see her recommendations and those of all the other Perpetual Chess guests, go here. (and scroll way down)
Stacia even made a list of her top 10 chess improvement tips for Perpetual Chess listeners; it can be found at the bottom of this capsule. To reach Stacia and/or track her progress, you can follow her on twitter here, or contact her and read her blog on chess.com, here. If you would like to help support the podcast go here. Stacia's top 10 improvement tips:
Maintain balance between hard work and passion
Game Analysis - always learn from your mistakes
Work with a coach or stronger player
Tactics book with themes
Teach or explain what you learn (helps solidify)
It's not about rating; it's about learning
Patterns make you better
OTB and community will inspire you and keep your interest
Don't forget end game
Openings choices should be chosen by someone else! (that knows what they're doing)
This week's guest on Perpetual Chess is USCF Master Fred Wilson. Fred is a chess author, teacher and for forty-five years, he has run a business, selling used and rare chess books! He also still competes actively, and he recently became one of the oldest US chess players to attain the USCF Master title for the first time, at the age of 71. How did he do it? Fred joins us to tell us just that, as we discussed the following topics:
His #1 piece of advice for older chess players, along with plenty of study tips and recommendations of chess books.
His stories from his time hosting a chess interview show, "Chess and Books with Fred WIlson," in the early 2000s for the Internet Chess Club. Fred discusses his favorite guests, and reveals what has become of the audio files of these interviews.
His memories of a few of his encounters with Bobby Fischer and other NY chess personalities.
Thanks to Fred for joining me, check out the books he has written here.
You can see the list of books he is currently selling here, or visit his store in NYC at:
41 Union Square West (at 17th Street), Suite 718, New York 10003.
FM Mike Klein is an old friend of mine. He also is a guy who has been involved in many facets of the chess industry. Mike was a scholastic champion, he's a great chess teacher, he was recognized as chess journalist of the year in 2012, and now he writes, edits, and creates content for chess.com and chesskid.com (for the latter he goes by the moniker "Fun Master Mike"). Here is what Mike and I discussed:
Mike's newest project, an entertaining and informative chess-free podcast, called Extreme Travel Odysseys
Chess advice relating to competing in, studying, and teaching chess
Stories from his reporting assignments, including the times he spent playing tennis, soccer, and basketball with the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Rex Sinquefield and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and others.
Thanks to Mike for joining me. You can reach him via chess.com here. Subscribe to his podcast here.
The popular and prolific chess author, FM Carsten Hansen is my guest this week. By his current count, Carsten has written 26 chess books.. The depth of his chess knowlege is quite impressive, but his knowledge of chess openings is a particular specialty. Carsten and I discussed the following topics:
Carsten's latest book, The Full English Opening. How did he pick the topic, and what is the story of how he came to love the English opening?
How did his initial venture into the world of writing and publishing chess books come about? He also shares some insider intell on how the chess publishing business works, including the impact that Print on Demand may have on the industry in the future.
Carsten's favorite chess players, advice for chess improvement, and a couple of book recommendations that have not previously been suggested on Perpetual Chess.
Thanks to Carsten for joining me. You can buy his books here, Follow him on twitter here, and check out his webpage here.
To support the podcast go here.
Thanks to 5 time Spanish National Champion, GM Paco Vallejo, for being my guest on Perpetual Chess this week. GM Vallejo had just returned from the Leon Masters Chess Tournament, featuring GM Wesley So, and young talents, GM elect- Ramesh Praggnanandhaa and IM Jaime Santos. Paco recapped the event for listeners, with a particular emphasis on the peculiar "dual blunder" that helped him get by IM Santos in the opening round. Other topics covered in our conversation:
Paco discussed the experience of serving as a second to GM Topalov, and revealed why he is unlikely to pursue a similar job again.
Paco discussed the challenges he has faced in his life away from the board over the past few years, including family issues and a vexing tax issue courtesy of the Spanish government.
Paco gave detailed chess improvement advice to hungry chess students, and even gave some advice for male chess players looking to meet women!You can follow Paco on twitter here.or via his website here. To support the podcast go here.
Summer substitute Macauley Peterson takes another turn on the mic, this time close to home with a sort of guided oral history by ChessBase co-founder Frederic Friedel. Frederic tells stories of meeting Garry Kasparov, Nigel Short, Viswanathan Anand and many others for the first time, and later hosting them at his home in a suburb of Hamburg. There may be something in the water there because it seems like practically every World Champion and challenger since Kasparov has spent time with the Friedels over the past 35 years. You'll learn how ChessBase came to be, how Vladimir Kramnik felt about an early version of Fritz, what endgame kept Peter Leko up at night, which Leonard Barden book Frederic keeps in arms reach, and much more. Check out bonus material and support Perpetual Chess using this special link at the ChessBase shop.
Judit Sztaray, the Executive Director of Bay Area Chess, is my guest this week on Perpetual Chess. Bay Area Chess, based in San Jose, California, is the largest provider of chess classes on the west coast of the US, with programs in over 100 schools. Bay Area Chess frequently runs tournaments as well as its classes, and Judit has a great deal to share about the goals and the work of the organization. In my conversation we discuss:
The recent simul they hosted, conducted by Former Women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan. Judit discussed how an event like this comes about, and how the event was received in the Bay Area.
The origins of BAC and how Judit wound up as Executive Director. Judit also discussed the funding of their program and the challenges she and her team can face in looking to raise money for BAC and for the Pro Chess League.
The role of Bay Area Chess' as supporter of the San Jose Hackers of the Pro Chess League. Judit reviewed their 2018 season and talked some about how they recruited world class players like Grandmasters Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Rauf Mamedov.
Thanks to Judit for joining me on the podcast. You can reach her via email here, and learn more about Bay Area Chess here.
This week’s guest on Perpetual Chess is the eminent chess author, GM Genna Sosonko. GM Sosonko has enjoyed a distinguished career as a chess player. He was once in the top 20 of the world's players and has helped train chess legends like Mikhail Tal and Viktor Korchnoi. But in recent years he has become best known for his beautiful chess writing. In our interview, we touch on GM Sosonko’s career and on the story behind his emigrating from the USSR to the Netherlands in the 1970’s, but the main focus of our discussion is his two most recent books: The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein, and Evil-Doer: Half a Century with Viktor Korchnoi. We talked about:
What made David Bronstein's chess so brilliant? What did his peers think of him?
What did those who trained with Viktor Korchnoi' say about him? Has GM Sosonko met any other chess player who could rival Korchnoi's legendary love for, will to study, and obsession with chess?
What shaped the personalities of these two notoriously prickly chess legends?
In closing, we touched a bit on the modern chess landscape, and of course GM Sosonko told some great stories during our conversation. He even recommended a book (although it may not be so easy to find. ) Thanks so much to GM Sosonko for joining me for a very entertaining and informative conversation. Please buy and enjoy his wonderful books here:Evil Doer: Half a Century with Viktor KorchnoiThe Rise and Fall of David Bronstein
Picking up on the theme of FIDE politics from the last episode, ChessBase Editor-in-Chief Macauley Peterson also spoke with IM Malcolm Pein while attending the first stop on the Grand Chess Tour in Leuven, Belgium. Macauley and Malcolm discuss the GCT 2018, which is continuing with more rapid and blitz in Paris, before turning to issues related to the FIDE election.
Malcolm weighs in on the FIDE / Agon proposed "broadcast policy," the upcoming World Championship in London, why he joined the Makropoulos team, the impact of the pending RCF nomination of Arkady Dvorkovich, whether the election will be free and fair, and of course his old friend Nigel Short.
While you listen, swing by the ChessBase shop, using this special link through which any orders will help support Perpetual Chess.
Perpetual Chess makes a "zwischenzug" over to Europe where Macauley Peterson, Editor-in-Chief of ChessBase.com, is filling in for Ben this week. Macauley caught up with Grandmaster Nigel Short in Leuven, Belgium, at the close of the first tournament of the Grand Chess Tour 2018, the "Your Next Move Rapid and Blitz" tournament, where Short was a commentator.
The former World Championship challenger is still an active player, but in May he launched a bid to succeed Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as President of FIDE, the World Chess Federation. Shortly before the interview, news broke that in addition to FIDE's current Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, who declared his candidacy in April, a new candidate from Russia was entering the race: Arkady Dvorkovich, a prominent figure in Russian chess circles who currently serves as Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the FIFA 2018 World Cup, and has deep Kremlin ties, as a former Deputy Prime Minister.
Short explains why he's in the race, what's wrong with FIDE, and how he intends to fix it.
If you're interested in browsing the vast ChessBase shop, use this special link to help support Perpetual Chess.
This week’s guest on Perpetual Chess is well-regarded American GM Josh Friedel. Josh is a frequent competitor on the American GM circuit, who also teaches, writes and lectures about chess. We talked about the following:- His most recent project, a YouTube series called “Autopsy,” in which he does an in-depth analysis of an educational chess game, with an emphasis on highlighting critical mistakes. - The matter of prearranged draws in GM games (an issue recently raised by Magnus Carlsen) is there a way to avoid them? - Lots of other topics, including what openings we might expect in the upcoming World Championships, reflections on Sam Shankland’s torrid 2018, and a couple of fun stories about Kasparov and Karpov. Thanks to Josh for joining me. Check out his new YouTube series here, follow him on twitter here, and Facebook here. To support the podcast go here.
This week on Perpetual Chess, by popular demand, we begin an occasional series which will be called "Adult Improvers". For Adult Improvers we will feature a guest who is making significant strides in improving his or her chess performance, and focus extensively on how that improvement is being attained. The first such guest is Polish Candidate Master Andrzej Kryzdwa. Andrzej had been hovering around 2100 FIDE for over 20 years when he decided to devote a significant amount of his time to pursuing the International Master title. Andrzej is 38 years old, runs a small business, and is married with two children, so the time that he can devote to this pursuit is limited. Nonetheless, in the past couple of years, Andrzej has shown great success, culminating in a recent tournament with a 2579 Performance Rating, his first IM Norm (!), and a FIDE rating now well north of 2200. How did he do it? We discuss the following details of Andrzej's inspiring story:
How does Andrzej find the time to study? What is his routine?
What, specifically does he study?
What "clicked" in the tournament where he earned an IM Norm? Did he feel like a stronger player at the time of that achievement?
What is next for Andrzej?
What resources does he recommend for other adult improvers?
Thanks so much to Andrzej for joining me, you can follow his journey and contact him on his facebook page, "From 2100 to International Master," here. To support the podcast go here.
On this week’s Perpetual Chess I talk to Super GM David Navarra. GM Navara is the eight time champion of the Czech Republic. He has been ranked as high as #14 in the world, but you wouldn’t know it by talking to him. GM Navara and I discussed the following-
- His busy schedule of upcoming tournaments
- His most memorable chess achievements, including being a part of the winning European Club Cup winning team in 2013, and playing with the likes of Kasparov and Karpov.
- His advice for improving your chess play and enhancing your chess intuition.Thanks to GM Navara for joining me for an insightful interview.
My final guest live from Nashville was none other than the seven-time winner of the US Women’s Championship, GM Irina Krush. Irina and I had a fun discussion, and covered the following topics: - Her reflections on the most recent US championships in St. Louis. (Irina finished in 3rd place)- How does she recover from tough losses? This is a crucial skill for all chess players to develop, and no, it doesn’t get much easier for grandmasters. - Why did she decide to devote herself full-time to chess while some of her peers have sought work in other fields? How does she manage to play so much while also teaching and writing about chess? Irina had many tales to tell, including stories of playing blitz with Magnus, playing future World Champ Hou Yifan when she was just 11 years old, the Olympiads and more. Thanks to Irina for a great chat.
To see the puzzle from Shereshevsky's new book mentioned by Irina, go here. Black to move and win.
To support the podcast go here.
This is the last "Friday bonus" podcast, Perpetual returns to weekly Tuesday releases next week.
Today's guest on Perpetual Chess is renowned chess teacher and author, FM Sunil Weerumantry. Sunil has been teaching chess in the New York area for more than 30 years and has coached more national scholastic champions than one can count. He is also the step dad of GM Hikaru Nakamura and his brother Asuka, who also broke many US Scholastic records as a child. Sunil and I discussed:
The great new book he co-authored with Alan Abrams and Robert McClellan called Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History. I highly recommend this book for chess teachers and chess history buffs.
Sunil's story of growing up in Sri Lanka, making his way to New York, and becoming a chess teacher.
What does one need to be "talented at chess"? Did he notice it in Hikaru and Asuka?
Stories from travels with Hikaru and meeting chess legends
Thanks to Sunil for joining me. You can order his book here. To support the podcast, go here.
My second guest this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee marked the triumphant return to Perpetual Chess of popular chess teacher Jay Stallings.
Jay gave an update on the status of the publication of the instructional chess books that he has been working on, which are an amazing resource for chess teachers, and for which he launched a successful Kickstarter campaign. You can order them here.
Jay explained the difference between a "growth mindset" and a "fixed mindset", and shared what chess players can learn from Beyonce and baseball player Trevor Bauer.
He discussed upcoming travel plans, including plotting a potential trip to the upcoming World Championships
Jay suggested a few future Perpetual Chess guests.
Thanks much to Jay for joining me again, it is always fun to hear his ideas and absorb his enthusiasm for chess. To support the podcast go here.
This weekend at the biggest annual scholastic chess tournament in the United States, the Elementary School National Championships, I was honored to interview US Chess Federation (USCF) Executive Director Carol Meyer, and the President of the US Chess Board of Directors, Mike Hoffpauir. They both devote a big part of their lives to chess, and I think you will enjoy it as:
Carol and Mike both talk about their backgrounds and share how they became involved with the USCF
Carol discusses her vision for the USCF and discloses short-term and long-term plans that the organization is undertaking
Carol and Mike discuss the role that the USCF plays with an American in the upcoming World Chess Championship
Mike and Carol discuss some changes that they are implementing at future scholastic tournaments in light of a recent controversy. We also got some book recommendations and discussed the overall health of the USCF. Thanks to Carol and Mike for an insightful and fun interview.
This week’s guest is talented 18 year old GM Akshat Chandra. The former US Junior Champion spent some of his formative scholastic years in both India and the U.S., so he was able to offer some perspective on the differences between the two chess cultures. He also shared some insight about things that contributed to his swift improvement In chess, and shared his thoughts about the upcoming World Championship match. Last but definitely not least (13:00), we discussed the recent controversy that surrounds Akshat, as he finds himself defending against allegations of using engine assistance in online play. In a recent blog post, Akshat gave background information, about chess.com closing his account due to allegations of impropriety, and flatly denied these allegations. Subsequently he agreed to come on the podcast to discuss the issue with me. There has been a lot of public discussion of this controversy, such as in this chess Reddit thread In our conversation, Akshat tells his side of the story. This was a tough conversation to have and to summarize, so I encourage you all to listen to it yourself. Thanks to Akshat for joining me . You can follow him on twitter here, and check out his twitch streams here. To support the podcast, go here.
My guest this week is 24-year-old IM Kassa Korley. Kassa is a strong young chess player, a YouTube steamer, a Duke University graduate, and he also works for a tech education startup. During our conversation he answered the following questions:
Why does Kassa hate draws, what does he do to avoid them?
How is Kassa's chess game progressing? He was the youngest African-American National Master in US history in 2008. Is his long-stated dream to become the 2nd African-American GM still alive?
What was it like studying and playing chess in Denmark, of which he is also a citizen?
What modern elite chess player shaped Kassa's game the most?
What advice does he have for self-directed players looking to improve at chess?
How and when did he meet and play blitz with Magnus Carlsen
Thanks to Kassa for joining me, you can follow him on YouTube here, and reach him via email here. This episode is brought to you by Silver Knights Enrichment, if you are interested in working for them, check out their current opportunities here.
This week’s guest on Perpetual Chess is the Director of Publications for the US Chess Federation, Dan Lucas. Dan has just launched a great chess podcast of his own which Perpetual Chess listeners are very likely to enjoy, "Cover Stories with Chess Life."We discussed: - What inspired the USCF’s new podcast? - How did Dan become the editor of Chess Life magazine, the USCF’s flagship magazine?-What does he look for in quality chess journalism? - What book about chess that is not a “chess book” altered the trajectory of Dan’s career? - You can email Dan here. - To support the podcast go here.
This week it is my honor to talk with India's 3rd highest rated player, twenty-three-year-old rising star, GM Vidit Gujrathi. Gujrathi is at the forefront of India's torrent of chess talent, and is coming off a year in which his rating increased significantly. His recent highlights include a comfortable victory in the prestigious Tata Steel Masters' section and a feisty draw with Black vs. Magnus Carlsen at the Isle of Man tournament. In our conversation, we discuss those events, as well as the plans Vidit is making to try to ascend to another rung on the Fide top 100 ladder. We also discuss:
How Vidit has worked to overcome slumps
His thoughts on the World Championship
How he rates India's chances in the 2018 Chess Olympiad.
Whether GM Anish Giri gave him any twitter lessons when he worked as Anish's second.
Thanks to Vidit for joining me, you can track his progress on his Facebook page.
To support Perpetual Chess, go here.
My guest this week is Adam Weissbarth, a USCF National Master and the founder of Washington, D.C.- based Silver Knights Enrichment program. With 14 full-time employees, and more than 5,000 students participating in Silver Knights classes per week, Silver Knights is one of the largest providers of afterschool chess instruction in the United States. In our conversation, we discuss Adam’s modest beginnings as an independent chess teacher. He talks about the planning and the detail that went into the growth of this large and impressive organization. Spoiler alert- there was a TON of hard work and hustle involved. In addition to discussing the history of the business, Adam shares some chess improvement advice, gives some recommendations and weighs in on the potential impact that the upcoming World Championship could have on the popularity of chess You can email him here. To support the podcast go here.
In the midst of a very busy month of high profile competitive chess, talented young GM Yaroslav (“Yaro”) Zherebukh joined me for a fascinating conversation. Yaroslav talked about his upcoming events: the collegiate chess final 4 (our interview was recorded before it took place), the Pro Chess Leage live finals, and last but definitely not least, the upcoming US Chess Championships. Yaro started strong in last year's U.S. Championship, highlighted by a round 7 win over Fabiano Caruana, so he shared some lessons that he learned from that tournament. Naturally, Yaro also weighed in on the candidates and handicapped the World Championship in November. He looks forward to a highly competitive match. Thanks to Yaro for taking time from his busy schedule.
You can contact him via chess.com here.
To support the podcast go here.
This week's conversation is with renowned chess trainer, Grandmaster Melikset Khachiyan. Melikset has had many incredibly accomplished chess students, but his most accomplished of all is undoubtedly GM Levon Aronian. Because Melikset knows Aronian well, he talked about the special qualities of Levon's talent, and what has gone wrong for him at the 2018 FIDE Candidates tournament. After that we delved into GM Khachiyan's own approach to chess improvement. He told me how he managed to climb out of a slump, revealed the name of a favorite endgame composer is, and he recommended a handful of chess books. Along the way, Melikset told some amazing stories. What was it like to study under former World Champion Tigran Petrosian? How did he end up in a hotel room drinking whiskey with Boris Spassky? How did he make his way from Armenia to the US? You will hear the answers to these questions and much more in this interview- I think you will enjoy it!
GM Khachiyan can be reached via email here.
To support the podcast go here.
My guest this week is 23 year old Israeli IM Asaf Givon. In addition to being a 2480 FIDE rated player, Asaf is a YouTube streamer and highly regarded chess instructor. In our conversation, Asaf gave a lot of advice on how listeners can improve their own chess games. We also touched on the ongoing FIDE Candidates tournament, talked about the storylines emerging from it, and the likely opponents of Magnus Carlsen in the next World Championship match. Asaf also gave some perspective on chess in Israel and assessed the opportunities for a chess professional there. Lastly, Asaf told a great story about the experience of playing and analyzing with GM Michael Adams.
Asaf can be reached via his Youtube channel as well as through lichess and chess.com.
To support the podcast go here. .
This week marked the triumphant return of the hilarious and informative GM Jan Gustaffson to Perpetual Chess. Jan was one of my first guests on this podcast, and it was fun to have him back. He and his buddy, GM Peter Svidler, are gearing up to cover the FIDE Candidates tournament for Chess24.com beginning March 10. Jan revealed his own favorite to win the tournament and gave detailed information about the playing style of every player in the field.
We also talked about a variety of other topics, including his chess book and podcast recommendations, what it was like to work on Magnus Carlsen’s team, and whether or not we should be jealous of his life as a chess announcer.
Be sure to watch the Fide Candidates on Chess24
Follow Jan on twitter here.
To support the podcast go here.
My guest this week is St. Louis based, Hungarian born GM Denes Boros.Denes is a strong and active chess player, a chess reporter, and his frequent lectures at the St. Louis Chess Club are popular events. Denes is also a student of psychology, so we talked a lot about the intersection of psychology and chess. He offered suggestions for some common issues that plague tournament players, such as time-management and nervousness/anxiety issues.
We also talked about the history of chess in Denes's native Hungary, about the upcoming FIDE candidates tournament), and lots more. Thanks to Denes for joining me.
You can follow him on twitter here
You can email Denes here.
To support the podcast go here.
Chess writer, teacher and book reviewer John Hartmann is not a titled chess player, but man, does he know his chess books! In our conversation, John reveals his list of "desert island" chess books and gives chess book recommendations of all shapes and sizes. We talk of chess memoirs/game collections, books about chess tactics, endgame books, and even about chess software. John also tells the unique story of how he got into chess as a somewhat troubled teen and how he became a book reviewer for the USCF's venerable Chess Life magazine. Lastly, John gives an overview of the increasingly popular Chess Steps curriculum and all of the details about why he finds it so helpful for his students and his chess study.
You can check out John's reviews here and contact him here .
You can view his full list of recommendatons here.
To support the podcast go here.
Mark Crowther is the founder, editor, and writer behind the indispensable online periodical The Week In Chess (TWIC). In our conversation, we talked about Mark’s origins, TWIC’s humble beginnings, and how he manages the workflow of writing about and publishing a relentless torrent of chess games played by top players. Mark and I also talked about the chess world more broadly. He shared a rumor he recently heard about the next FIDE election and discussed his own chess playing, plus shared book recommendations. Thanks to Mark for joining me in a great conversation. You can follow him on twitter here, or read and support The Week in Chesshere.
This week GM Elshan Moradiabadi joined me. In addition to being a former champion in Iran, Elshan is a chess trainer and author. During our interview, Elshan explained why he and his fiance, WGM Sabina Foisor, have relocated to North Carolina and how they are enjoying life there.
We also discussed Iran's unique chess history- chess was banned there from 1980 to 1999. Elshan shared the prevailing theories on the reasons for Iran's chess ban. He also explained how he was able to ascend to the GM level, despite his native country's checkered chess history. Before I let him go, we touched on some perennial Perpetual topics, such as his experiences at chess Olympiads, the role of luck vs talent in chess, book recommendations, and his favorites in the upcoming Candidates tournament. Thanks to Elshan for a great talk. You can email him here. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it here. To take the Perpetual listener survey, go here.
This week’s guest on Perpetual Chess is two- time Canadian Chess Champion turned hedge fund analyst, GM Pascal Charbonneau. In our conversation, Pascal tells us how chess helped him break into the finance industry, and he gives advice for anyone contemplating such a transition. He also looked back fondly to a time when he was more active in chess, and talked about what he misses most. Pascal has so many chess stories and accomplishments to share. He has beaten Vishy Anand in a classical game and has spent time with legends like GMs Karpov and Aronian. He also talked about how he finds time to play in The Pro Chess League as a working dad. Thanks to Pascal for a great talk, you can email him here. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it here. To take the Perpetual listener survey, go here.
My guest this week is Spanish Grandmaster/chess24 streamer/civil engineer Pepe Cuenca. As a chess streamer, Pepe has an inimitable and energetic style. Pepe talked about how he cultivated that style and what his not-so-secret ingredient is (Red Bull). He also recapped a recent tournament he competed in in Argentina and gave the rundown on the Spanish chess scene. Lastly, Pepe gave us some helpful recommendations. He told us which International tournaments we should attend, which chess books to read, and he helped us handicap the Candidates tournament. Follow Pepe on twitter here, or Facebook here. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it here.
This week marks the return of the very first Perpetual Chess guest, IM Greg Shahade. With the Pro Chess League set to resume Thursday, January 18, Greg told us about the changes that he and the Chess.com team have cooked up with the goal of improving the viewer experience. He also reeled off the names of some of the top players slated to play this year (Carlsen, Anand, MVL, Caruana, among others). Greg talked about the rules that are in place to incentivize teams to recruit top players, including strong female players. Greg also named a few favorite chess books and relayed advice that he absorbed in his younger days when he took a few lessons with the legendary trainer, IM Mark Dvoretsky. Lastly, Greg and Ben reminisced about the time Greg had a chance to play Garry Kasparov in a simul in 1997. Be sure to tune in to watch the Pro Chess League starting Thursday, January 18 on chess.com.
My guest this week is renowned chess author, International Master John Donaldson. Along with his co-author, IM Eric Tangborn, IM Donaldson recently completed and released a 5 volume biography of Bobby Fischer. So naturally, John and I did a deep dive on the life and legacy of chess legend Bobby Fischer. John tackled several unanswered questions about Fischer's life that drove him to undertake this project. He also shared some memories about the recently deceased grandmaster Bill Lombardy, with whom John spent some time shortly before he died.
Following that, we discussed the venerable Mechanic's institute Chess Club in San Francisco, where John is the Director of the Chess Room. Along the way John gave some detailed and practical chess improvement advice and book recommendations. Thanks to John for joining me. You can buy his books here, and he can be emailed here.
This week I enjoyed talking with Sweden's highest rated chess player, the impressive young Grandmaster Nils Grandelius. Despite his being only 24 years old, Nils has had a wealth of experience in the chess world, including having played and held his own against such titans as Carlsen, Caruana, Kramnik, and Anand. Nils discussed those experiences with us and talked about what he thinks he needs to improve to ascend toward that level.
He also shared some behind-the-scenes details about what it was like to work as part of Magnus Carlsen's team in the last World Championship match. Before we ended our conversation, Nils touched on his affinity for playing bughouse and named some of the world's best bughouse players, and shared his upcoming tournament schedule. Thanks to Nils for a great interview. Follow him on twitter here. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it at Patreon or by buying chess improvement videos at ChessUniversity.com using the promo code "PERPETUAL."
To mark the one year anniversary of Perpetual Chess, Ben Finegold returned as our first repeat guest. When Ben first talked with us in January 2017, he talked about plans for The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta, and in the past year GM Finegold and his wife, Karen Boyd, have seen the club go from dream to reality. Ben shared the surprises and successes that they have encountered during the club's first year.
We also talked about the chess world more broadly, as Ben discussed the FIDE Candidates' Cycle (and why he picks Wesley So to win every event), and his plans for the upcoming Pro Chess League. He also told some great stories, old and new, from his chess travels. Follow Ben on twitter here, watch his YouTube lectures here. If you would like to donate to Perpetual Chess you can do so here.
IM Andrey Ostrovskiy joined me this week for an insightful conversation. We started off discussing the biggest news in the chess world, as Andrei gave his perspective on what Alphazero’s landmark success means, and doesn't mean. We then dug into Andrey's background. Andrey talked about why he made the move from his native Ukraine to Germany a few years ago and transitioned from his family business to working as a chess professional. Andrey was also happy to share some ideas about improving one's calculation and chess-playing skills. Lastly, Andrey answered a long-festering question of mine about how players of his caliber can tell when an opening line has become obsolete. Thanks to Andrey for joining me. Check out his YouTube channel here,and follow him here on Twitter. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it at Patreon or by buying chess improvement videos at ChessUniversity.com using the promo code "PERPETUAL." The game analysis video we discuss in our interview is here.
It was my pleasure to interview my longtime friend, two-time US Women's Champion Jennifer Shahade this week. Jenn is a well-known chess player and announcer, but she stays busy with many other roles as well. Her popular books, Play Like a Girl and Chess Bitch aim to attract more women to chess. She is also the Mind Sports ambassador for PokerStars, editor of the US Chess Federation website, and a board member of the World Chess Hall of Fame. We had a fun, wide-ranging talk about how Jenn juggles her many roles, as well as her most important role of all- the mother of almost -1 -year-old Fabian. Jenn and I traded stories about her growing up in a game-centric household, and about her ascendance in chess and poker. When I asked Jenn whether she'd be writing another book, she did not dodge the question. Tune in to hear what she said. You can find Jenn on Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to tune it in to watch Jenn and GM Yasser Seirawan and the rest of the team announce the The London Chess Classic. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it at Patreon or by buying chess improvement videos at Chessuniversity.com using the promo code "PERPETUAL."
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan was my guest this week on Perpetual Chess. Tatev recounted the challenges of moving from Armenia to Southern California with her family at the age of 13. Tatev's family moved for economic and professional reasons, but the young chess talent quickly made a mark on the American chess scene while slowly acclimating to American culture and language. After overcoming the culture shock, Tatev has built a nice life for herself as a chess professional who plays, teaches and reports on chess events all over the world. She gave us some simple advice for improving at chess, discussed the past and future of the U.S. Women's Chess Championship and, of course, we talked about penguins. Follow Tatev on Twitter here.
In addition to being an USCF expert, chess teacher, and blitz specialist, Jonathan Corbblah is a game show wizard! He has appeared on 12 game shows and is a Jeopardy champion. In our interview, Jon tells us how chess helped inform his knowledge of trivia and how chess players can improve their trivia games. Jonathan also has many funny stories to tell about his brushes with fame in New York City. Among other adventures, he has played basketball with Magnus Carlsen and slow chess with George Soros. Lastly, Jonathan leaves with an impassioned defense of his controversial "never resign" policy. You may not always agree with him, but you will definitely be entertained. Get in touch with Jonathan on Facebook or chess.com.