Episode 72- Coach Jay Stallings returns

                                                                Photo by IM  Eric Rosen

                                                               Photo by IM Eric Rosen

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. 


Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 71- Carol Meyer (USCF Executive Director ) and Mike Hoffpauir (President of USCF Board of Directors)

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 competing 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.  



 Photos courtesy of US Chess 

Photos courtesy of US Chess 

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 70- GM Akshat Chandra

                                  Photo courtesy of Akshat Chandra

                                 Photo courtesy of Akshat Chandra

This week’s guest is talented 18 year old GM Akshat Chandra. The former U.S. Junior Champ 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


Click here to download the episode. 


Episode 69- IM Kassa Korley

                                                        Photo Courtesy of Kassa Korley 

                                                       Photo Courtesy of Kassa Korley 

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.

Click here to download the episode


This episode is brought to you by Silver Knights Enrichment, if you are interested in working for them, check out their current opportunities here

Episode 68- US Chess Federation Director of Content Dan Lucas

                                                          Photo Courtesy of Dan Lucas 

                                                         Photo Courtesy of Dan Lucas 

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. 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

Click here to download the episode 

Episode 67- Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi

                                   Photo by Alina L'Ami, courtesy of Vidit Gujrathi

                                  Photo by Alina L'Ami, courtesy of Vidit Gujrathi

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

Click here to download the episode

Episode 66-Silver Knights Chess Founder Adam Weissbarth

                                                     Photo Courtesy of Adam Weissbarth 

                                                    Photo Courtesy of Adam Weissbarth 

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 provider 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. 

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

Click here to download the episode 

Episode 65- GM Yaroslav Zherebukh

 Photo courtesy of  US Chess Champs.com

Photo courtesy of US Chess Champs.com

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.

Click here to download the episode 

Episode 64- GM Melikset Khachiyan

 Photo Courtesy of GM Khachiyan's  twitter page

Photo Courtesy of GM Khachiyan's twitter page

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

Click here to download the episode.

Episode 63- IM Asaf Givon

 Photo courtesy of Asaf Givon

Photo courtesy of Asaf Givon

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

Click here to download the episode 

Episode 62- GM Jan Gustaffson Returns

 Photo Courtesy of Jan's famous  twitter page

Photo Courtesy of Jan's famous twitter page

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 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

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 61- GM Denes Boros

 Photo by  Austin Fuller  

Photo by Austin Fuller 

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

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 60- John Hartmann, Book Reviewer for Chess Life Magazine

                                                    Photo Courtesy John Hartmann 

                                                   Photo Courtesy John Hartmann 

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.

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 59- Mark Crowther, Founder of The Week in Chess

                                                  Photo courtesy of Mark Crowther 

                                                 Photo courtesy of Mark Crowther 

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 Chess here

Click here to download the episode 



ere is a picture of his favorite recent chess books. :) 

Episode 58- GM Elshan Moradiabadi

                       Photo courtesy Elshan Moradiabadi via  twitter

                      Photo courtesy Elshan Moradiabadi via twitter

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 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

Click here to download the episode

Episode 57- GM Pascal Charbonneau

                                      Photo courtesy of GM Pascal Charbonneau

                                     Photo courtesy of GM Pascal Charbonneau

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

                                             Click here to download the episode 

Episode 56- GM Pepe Cuenca

             Photo Courtesy Pepe Cuenca  on twitter

            Photo Courtesy Pepe Cuenca on twitter

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.  

Click here to download the episode

Episode 55- IM Greg Shahade returns

     Photo courtesy  Greg Shahade

    Photo courtesy Greg Shahade

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, Nakamura, 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

                                           Click here to download the episode 

Episode 54- IM John Donaldson

 IM John Donaldson (3rd from left) at the 2006 Turin Olympiad (Do you recognize those other guys?) Photo courtesy John Donaldson 

IM John Donaldson (3rd from left) at the 2006 Turin Olympiad (Do you recognize those other guys?) Photo courtesy John Donaldson 

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


Click here to download the episode 

Episode 53- GM Nils Grandelius

             Photo via  twitter.com

            Photo via twitter.com

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 revealed some 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 would like to donate to the podcast, you can do so here