Episode 137- IM Erik Kislik

Photo courtesy of IM Erik Kislik

Photo courtesy of IM Erik Kislik

IM Erik Kislik is a popular American chess trainer and author who is now based in Hungary. We talk about Erik’s first book,  Applying Logic in Chess, which lays out his a framework for how to think about chess, and his just-released new book, Chess Logic in PracticeChess Logic in Practice expands on this framework and provides concrete examples to augment your chess understanding (more details about Erik's new book can be found at the bottom of this description). During our conversation, we discuss Erik’s favorite game collection chess books, and Erik shares lots of chess improvement advice based on his experiences as a player and coach. For relevant links, timestamps, and more details about all that we discussed, please continue reading below the break. 

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0:00-  We begin by talking about how Erik developed the framework that he lays out in his first book, Applying Logic in Chess, which he expands upon in his new book Chess Logic in Practice. This includes a detailed discussion of an updated version of the point values in chess, as laid out by GM Larry Kaufman (who is also the designer of the Komodo engine.) 

GM Kaufman’s point values:

Pawn – 1

Knight – 3.45

Bishop – 3.55

Rook- 5.25

Queen- 10

Mentioned: The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White: A Complete, Sound and User-Friendly Chess Opening Repertoire, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy by John Watson 

Botvinnik-Tal 1960 World Chess Championship, John Nunn’s Secrets of Practical Chess (This book coined the term- Loose Pieces Drop off, aka “LPDO”), Jon Speelman’s Chess Puzzle Book 

34:00- Erik answers a couple of questions from a Patreon supporter of the podcast, about how one can analyze his/her own games and what to do if one doesn’t have time to play tournament games, but understands the importance of playing serious games for improvement. 

Mentioned: Perfect Your Chess, Imagination in Chess , IM Stefan Kuipers, Ed Latimore

56:00- What are some of Erik’s favorite game collection books? What is it like it live in a chess hub like Budapest, Hungary? 

Mentioned: Chess by Lazslo Polgar, Winning Chess Strategies by GM Seirawan, Kramnik: My Life of Games,GM Peter Lukacs, IM Lazslo Huzai, GM Peter Prohaszka, Vishy Anand: My Best Games of Chess, Victor Bologan: My Selected Games 1985-2004, Alexander Alekhine’s Best Games

1:14- What methods did IM Kislik’s best improving( most improved?) student, Thomas Callea, use to get better?  

1:20- What plans does Erik have for sharing free content on his Youtube Channel and elsewhere? 

Mentioned: Martin Shkreli, IM Kislik’s working list of 500 games you should study 

1:29- Thanks and goodbye! You can keep up with Erik via his YouTube Channel, and The Internet Chess Club. His books, Applying Logic in Chess and Chess Logic in Practice are available from Amazon and many other book sellers.

Courtesy of Erik Kislik, here is a bit more about what you can expect to find in Chess Logic in Practice:

The book Chess Logic in Practice consists of Thinking Concepts, Positional Concepts, and exercises. The first two chapters deal with pursuing the most direct idea as actively as possible and, conversely, when the logic of that idea doesn’t work and how to fix it. The first essential type of thinking concept stressed is related to urgency, and the second thinking concept emphasized relates to your sense of danger (addressed in the chapters Overpressing, Only One Way to Lose and Unlikely Draws).

In Part 2: Positional Concepts, a heavy emphasis is on
• understanding piece exchanges (with three separate chapters to increase our positional understanding)
• sensing the quality of pieces (with chapters on various weak pieces)
• grasping and creating weaknesses
• appreciating difficult moves we tend to miss or misevaluate
• defensive play concepts like tenacity and the queen’s value and role in defense;
• maneuvering in closed positions.

With this book, players will learn how to analyze with helpful thinking methods and apply them practically in their games, developing their ability to handle common situations with a clear thought process.