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.