Episode 135- GM Vladimir Tukmakov

Photo Courtesy of Thinker’s Publishing

Photo Courtesy of Thinker’s Publishing

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! 


Click here to download the episode



0:00- Intro

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 CarlsenThis 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.

Episode 134- Megan Chen (Adult Improver Series)

Photo courtesy of Megan Chen

Photo courtesy of Megan Chen

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 break. The short answer, of course, is that she did lots of hard work on her chess and played in tons of tournaments. 


Click here to download the episode.

0:00- Intro. Megan talks about how she rediscovered a passion for chess in college at Carnegie Mellon after many years away. Mentioned in this segment: USCF Masters Beilin Li and Grant Xu 

8:00- Once Megan recommitted to chess as a serious hobby, what did she do to help improve her game? She found stronger players to review her games, and found her coaches, Ryan Murphy and WGM Nazi Paikidze

Mentioned: Chicago Chess Meetup , Combinative Motifs by Maxim Blokh , Illinois Chess Association article about Megan Chen 

18:00- Megan answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast about how she structures her lessons and study time.

29:00- What change in Megan’s lifestyle helped her game of chess the most? What are Megan’s current goals in chess? How is she approaching a current slump in her results?  

40:00- Megan answers some more questions from Patreon supporters of the show. They relate to the best way to spend one’s chess study time, choosing coaches, seeking book recommendations for a new player rated around 900, and her biggest challenge as an adult improver is. . 

Mentioned: Chess: 5334 Problems Combinations and Games, and Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess Twitlonger post from IM Alexander Katz LiChess Coaches Page, Chess.com coaches page

56:00- What are Megan’s favorite chess books?

Mentioned: Combinative Motifs by Maxim Blokh , Active Pieces by Jay Bonin, Imagination in Chess, Attacking Manual Volume 1 and Volume 2 by GM Jacob Aagard 

58:00- As is becoming a tradition in the Adult Improver Series, Megan gives her opinion of the importance of various study methods in the quest for improvement. These methods include: Studying Openings, playing blitz, having a coach, studying endgames, doing tactics, exercising, and watching chess broadcasts and videos. 

Mentioned: 100 Endgames You Must Know, SIlman’s Endgame Course, Chess.com Endgame Practice, Nazi Paikidze’s Endgame Renaissance Video 

1:12- Does Megan have any longer term chess goals? 

1:14- Goodbye! Keep up with Megan via her LiChess and Chess,com accounts, or join her in the Chess.com club Play Like the Masters

Episode 133- GM Pentala Harikrishna

Harikrishna.jpg

This week I am honored to joined by Super GM Pentala Harikrishna! 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. ..


Click here to download the episode

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.

Episode 132- FM Alex Dunne

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. 


Click here to download the episode.



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.

Episode 131- GM Nico Checa

Photo by Michael Atkins,  courtesy of GM Nicholas Checa

Photo by Michael Atkins, courtesy of GM Nicholas Checa

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.

Click here to download the episode.


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: 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

Episode 130- IM Eric Rosen returns

Photo by Austin Fuller of the  St. Louios Chess Club

Photo by Austin Fuller of the St. Louios Chess Club

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.



Click here to download the episode

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: Calendly.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  

Episode 129- IM Cyrus Lakdawala

Photo courtesy of IM Cyrus Lakdawala

Photo courtesy of IM Cyrus Lakdawala

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.


Click here to download the episode.


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 vi

Episode 128- Doug Griffin (Chess writer/translator/blogger)

Doug Griffin at the Chess Museum in Moscow (courtesy of Doug Griffin)

Doug Griffin at the Chess Museum in Moscow (courtesy of Doug Griffin)

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.

Click here to download the episode

Episode 127- GM Neil McDonald

Photo Courtesy of Neil McDonald

Photo Courtesy of Neil McDonald

Neil McDonald is a Grandmaster, a trainer for the British Chess Federation and  a prolific and accomplished author of 37 chess books! He also is a guy who 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 below the break for more details, links and timestamps.

Click here to download the episode.

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 Fischer The 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.

Episode 126- GM Evgeny Bareev

Photo courtesy of Thinker’s Publishing

Photo courtesy of Thinker’s Publishing

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.



Click here to download the episode

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 trading barbs 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 GelfandMatthew 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.

Episode 125- USCF Master Jason Cigan (Adult Improver Series)

Photo by Andrei Botez courtesy of Jason Cigan

Photo by Andrei Botez courtesy of Jason Cigan

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. :)

Click here to download the episode




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 GM 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 Yuspov and Dvoretsky features on chess24.com

1:10- Jason discusses his coaching philosophy, and shares the philosophy 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.

Episode 124- GM Alex Ipatov

Photo courtesy of GM Alex Ipatov

Photo courtesy of GM Alex Ipatov

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 read below the break to see more details of what we discussed, as well as relevant links and contact information.



Click here to download the episode.



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 were all born in or not far from Lviv, 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.

Episode 123- Charity Chess Championship + Philadelphia Chess Society (Double Episode!)

A photo from the 2017 Charity Chess Championship, courtesy of Scott and Norma Mero

A photo from the 2017 Charity Chess Championship, courtesy of Scott and Norma Mero

Gabrielle Moshier of the Philadelphia Chess Society, with students

Gabrielle Moshier of the Philadelphia Chess Society, with students

Photo courtesy of Jason Bui, of the Philadelphia Chess Society,

Photo courtesy of Jason Bui, of the Philadelphia Chess Society,

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.


Click here to download the episode


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 then 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 the a line if you will be attending the 2019 National Elementary School Chess Championships in Nashville, Tennessee.


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 Gabrielle’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

Episode 122- GM Gata Kamsky

Click here to download the episode.

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 below the break 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 it 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

Episode 121- WIM Alexey Root

Photo Courtesy of WIM Alexey Root

Photo Courtesy of WIM Alexey Root

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 below the break for all of the details, links, and timestamps:

Click here to download the episode

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

---

Instructional books:

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

Plus.

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.

 

Adult books:

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.

Episode 120- John Hartmann returns

Live from St. Louis, its John Hartmann!

Live from St. Louis, its John Hartmann!

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:


Click here to download the episode.

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

Twitter

YouTube Channel

John’s Book Review Archive

Email

If you would like to help support the podcast, and you can so here.

Episode 119- GM Alex Colovic

Photo Courtesy of GM Colovic

Photo Courtesy of GM Colovic

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 status of the tournament to date, 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:


Click here to download the episode

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 herehere 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 GrunfeldSeven 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 may have been 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.

Episode 118- IM Herman Grooten

Photo by  Hans Hoornstra , courtesy of IM Herman Grooten

Photo by Hans Hoornstra , courtesy of IM Herman Grooten

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 well known players such as GM Loek Van Wely, GM Jan Werle and GM Benjamin Bok among many others. Read below the break for more details and timestamps.

Click here to download the episode

 

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 Structures has 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.

Episode 117 - Stjepan Tomić (Adult Improver Series)

Photo Courtesy of Stjepan Tomić

Photo Courtesy of Stjepan Tomić

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:

Click here to download the episode

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 GrandmasterMy SystemTal-Botvinnik 1960The Meran and Anti-Meran and The Moscow and Anti-Moscow  by Alexei DreevThe Rules of WInning Chess by GM Nigel DaviesDvoretsky’s Endgame ManualJohn Nunn’s Understanding MiddlegamesWinning Chess Strategies- by GM Yasser SeirawanAttack like Mikhail TalGM Ivan Sokolov’s Winning Chess MiddlegamesConcise Chess MiddlegamesMy Great PredecessorsMy 60 Most Memorable GamesThe 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 ChannelEmail address, Twitter and Instagram

Episode 116- GM Michal Krasenkow

Photo Courtesy of GM Krasenkow

Photo Courtesy of GM Krasenkow

GM Michal Krasenkow has 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.


Click here to download the episode
 

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.