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.

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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