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.
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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