Episode 49- WGM Tatev Abrahamyan

                                                         Photo by Austin Fuller 

                                                         Photo by Austin Fuller 

WGM Tatev Abrahamyan was my guest this week on Perpetual Chess. Tatev recounted the challenges of moving from Armenia to Southern California with her family at the age of 13. Tatev's family moved for economic and professional reasons, but the young chess talent quickly made a mark on the American chess scene while slowly acclimating to American culture and language. After overcoming the culture shock, Tatev has built a nice life for herself as a chess professional who plays, teaches and announces chess events all over the world.  She gave us some simple advice for improving at chess, discussed the past and future of the U.S. Women's Chess Championship and, of course, we talked about penguins. :) Follow Tatev on Twitter here.

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Episode 48- Jonathan Corbblah

                                          Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Corbblah 

                                          Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Corbblah 

In addition to being an USCF expert, chess teacher, and blitz specialist, Jonathan Corbblah is a game show wizard! He has appeared on 12 game shows and is a Jeopardy champion. In our interview, Jon tells us how chess helped inform his knowledge of trivia and how chess players can improve their trivia games. Jonathan also has many funny stories to tell about his brushes with fame in New York City.  Among other adventures, he has played basketball with Magnus Carlsen and slow chess with George Soros. Lastly, Jonathan leaves with an impassioned defense of his controversial "never resign" policy. You may not always agree with him, but you will definitely be entertained. Get in touch with Jonathan on Facebook or chess.com

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Episode 47- GM Cristian Chirila

Photo Courtesy GM Chirila  via twitter

Photo Courtesy GM Chirila via twitter

GM Cristian Chirila is a chess player, journalist, coach and commentator. He talked with me about why he believes that's its necessary for a modern chess professional to wear many hats, and about what he likes about each of the roles that gen plays. Cristian also discusses his youth in Romania and tells what it was like to move to Texas to attend college. Cristian also pulls back the curtain on what it was like to attend the Chess Olympiad in 2016 in order to assist GM Eric Hansen. Lastly, we talk about Cristian's current goal for his own play, and discussed his training methods. Follow GM Chirila on twitter here

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Episode 46- IM John Watson

Photo courtesy of John Watson  via twitter . 

Photo courtesy of John Watson via twitter

IM John Watson has over 30 chess books under his belt, and several of them are widely considered classics. In addition, John is a renowned chess teacher and player. 

In our interview, we discussed numerous interesting topics, including John's recent trip to play in the Isle of Man Tournament, tales from his glory days on the chess circuit (including Mikhail Tal's drinking habits), and John reveals what it felt like to look at a chess board for the first time after suffering a stroke.

You can email John here, and you can watch his Internet Chess Club/Youtube show, "Ask the Master"  on Tuesday's at 6 here.

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Episode 45- IM Sagar Shah

                 Photo courtesy of  Sagar Shah

                 Photo courtesy of Sagar Shah

IM Sagar Shah is best known in the chess world as a reporter for and co-founder of Chessbase India. Sagar travels the world and covers many of the top tournaments. In this role, he watchesthe world elites up close, and in our talk, he shares some observations from this unique perspective. Additionally, Sagar has his ear the the ground in the Indian chess world, so he tells us which Indian talents to watch for, andtells us what factors have contributed to the many recent successes of Indian chess players. We also talk about assorted topics such as Sagar's own chess ambitions, and the highlights of the recent "teaching tour" of India conducted by renowned chess trainer, GM Jacob Aagard (and arranged by IM Shah).  You can read IM Shah's excellent work on Chessbase India, or email him here

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Episode 44- GM Jesse Kraai

Photo courtesy of Jesse Kraai via  twitter

Photo courtesy of Jesse Kraai via twitter

As GM Jesse Kraai tells us, he has completed 3 "major projects" in his life: earning a Ph.D. in Philosophy, writing a chess novel, Lisa, and of course, earning the Grandmaster title. These projects have taken him to many different places and given him perspective on lots of topics. These topics include: chess improvement (obviously), what its like to live in a "chess house,"  and which tv shows to watch, among many others.  Follow GM Kraai on twitter here, check out his blog here. 

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Episode 43- GM Loek Van Wely

                                                Photo courtesy of Loek Van Wely 

                                                Photo courtesy of Loek Van Wely 

Loek Van Wely is the 8 time Dutch National Champion, and he has played against and analyzed with many of this era's greatest chess players. Which one of them impressed him the most? He answers that question when he joins the podcast this week.   We also talk Dutch chess history, tales from his chess travels, and Loek discusses what it was like to work with GM Kramnik, as he reflects on his life, career, and the current chess landscape. You can contact Loek via Facebook here.

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Episode 42- James Altucher


Photo courtesy, James Altucher, twitter.com

James Altucher is a best-selling author, successful entrepreneur, popular podcast host, and most recently, aspiring comedian. Of most importance to Perpetual Chess is his title of USCF Chess Master.  We asked him to join us because we wanted him to tell his own chess story and talk about the significance of chess in his own life. Of particular interest to James is the debate about whether talent or hard work is more determinant of success in chess and in other challenging pursuits. He shares his opinions on this matter, and he also talks podcasts, poker, Jim Cramer, the crafting of a comedy act and much more. You can follow James Altucher on twitter here and visit his website here.  

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Episode 41- GM Judit Polgar

                                                     Photo courtesy of  juditpolgar.com

                                                     Photo courtesy of juditpolgar.com

GM Judit Polgar needs no introduction to the Perpetual Chess audience, but here's one anyway.   Chess legend Judit Polgar joins me this week to tell us what she has been up to since retiring from tournament chess three years ago. As Judit shares, she has been keeping busy with family, chess education initiatives, and with organizing the upcoming Global Chess Festival on October 14, 2017, in Budapest, Hungary. We also talked about today's top players, the FIDE World Cup, and why she thinks top level chess is a different game from when she was competing actively. Follow Judi Polgar on twitter, here, To buy Judit's excellent books- go here

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Episode 40- GM Robert Hess


GM Robert Hess is this week's guest on Perpetual Chess. Young GM Hess already has loads of experience as a chess competitor, announcer, and coach. (He coached some of the most talented youth for the U.S. as well as the women's Olympiad team.)  We talk about all of these things, as well as the FIDE World Cup, sports, and whether or not he was a "rival" of Fabiano Caruana when they were both top scholastic players from New York.  Follow GM Hess on twitter here, and on chess.com here.


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Episode 39- Coach Jay Stallings

                                          Photo by Jim Doyle couresy of Jay Stallings 

                                          Photo by Jim Doyle couresy of Jay Stallings 

"Coach Jay" Stallings has taught over 35,000 students to play chess over the past 23 years. Jay takes us back to the beginning (1994) when you counted full-time chess coaches nationwide on your fingers. Jay shares with us many of the teaching tricks and recommendations for improvement that he has gleaned from years of experience as he has refined what ultimately became Coach Jay's Chess Academy. He also assesses the general state of the chess world; discusses some of his current projects, including a Kickstarter project aimed at sharing his educational materials and promoting chess; and the Sean Reader Fund, which, among other programs, provides financial assistance to those who love chess but can’t afford tournaments and classes. Thanks to Jay for sharing his enthusiasm for chess, contact Jay here.

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Episode 38- GM Danny Gormally

Photo courtesy of  chessbase.com

Photo courtesy of chessbase.com

GM Danny Gormally joined me to recap his experience at the recent British Chess Championships. In addition to discussing his near-miss there, Danny also reveals which GMs could be found at the pub after the rounds and analyzes the impact such unseen factors can have on one's results. He also talks candidly about the challenges of playing chess for a living with a FIDE rating around 2500. 

Lastly, GM Gormally gave his perspective on the upcoming Candidates cycle for the World Championship and had some names to watch in the FIDE World Cup and beyond. Follow Danny on twitter here, and buy his book here.

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Episode 37- FM Alisa Melekhina


Alisa Melikhina is a practicing lawyer who has managed somehow to write a book while working long hours at a major law firm. We talk about her book, Reality Check, which details the parallels between the worlds of chess, business, and law.  We also discussed Alisa's scholastic chess career, women's chess titles, and how her Eastern European heritage affects her psychology during tournament chess games. Check out Alisa's website here, follow her on twitter here

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Episode 36- IM Eric Rosen


This week IM Eric Rosen joined me to give a report from the 2017 Sinquefield Cup, where he has been doing some reporting. I also asked him to recap his epic Summer Chess Europe trip.  We also talked about Eric's favorite podcasts,  some ways to improve your chess game, and the secrets of the robust scholastic chess scene in the state of Illinois (which I kept calling Chicago for some reason. :-) ) . Thanks to Eric for a great conversation, follow him on twitter here, check out his website and blog here

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Episode 35- Writer Sean Williams

On the heels of his terrific profile of GM Levon Aronian in the New Yorker, freelance writer Sean Williams joined me from Berlin to talk more about his subject. I was interested in hearing how this profile came to be published in one of my favorite magazines,  and in hearing more behind the scenes details from this excellent writer. He also gave us some writing tips and reading recommendations. Sean on Twitter here. Read the Aronian profile here. 

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Episode 34- WIM Fiona Steil Antoni

                                                     Photo courtesy of  wikipedia.org

                                                     Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

I caught WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni just before she hopped onto her next plane for a chess tournament in Sicily. We discussed the production of Fiona's excellent travel/chess vlogs, and she shared insights into the chess culture in her native Luxembourg. Fiona also dissected her own chess game and recounted the ups and downs its had recently. Fiona is well-traveled and has lived in several European cities, so she also shared her favorite European tournaments to visit as well as a favorite non-chess destination. Follow Fiona's adventures on Facebook and twitter. Watch her vlogs on her Youtube channel


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Episode 33- Rex Sinquefield

Photo courtesy of  U Chicago Booth School  

Photo courtesy of U Chicago Booth School 

The founder of the St. Louis Chess Club, Rex Sinquefield is my guest this week. We have a timely conversation about the upcoming Sinquefield Cup, and about how Garry Kasparov's return to competitive chess came to be. We also talked about his vision for the future of chess, his favorite chess openings, finance, and baseball.  To donate to the St. Louis Chess Club, click here.


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Episode 32- Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura

                                             Photo courtesy of  chess-db.com  

                                             Photo courtesy of chess-db.com 

Perennial top 10 Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura was kind enough to join Perpetual Chess for an expansive interview. We talked about Garry Kasparov's upcoming return to competitive chess and about Hikaru's experience training with Kasparov. I asked him to handicap Kasparov's chances in St. Louis, and his answer may surprise you.  We also touch on a myriad of other topics of interest to chess fans, including computers in chess, Hikaru's passion for trading stocks options, and his training methods.  Enjoy this ringside seat to elite level chess. You can follow Hikaru on Twitter here

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Episode 31- Grandmaster Eugene Perelshteyn

Photo courtesy of  chess.com

Photo courtesy of chess.com

As someone who spent formative years in both the former Soviet Union, and the US, Eugene Perelshteyn has studied with and competed against many iconic chess players and trainers. Eugene discusses the different approaches he encountered from various trainers and also discusses how he approaches helping his chess own students. We also relive Eugene's playing career highlights, which include winning the Samford fellowship in 2001. Much more recently, he had the opportunity to play Anish Giri in the 2017 Reykjavik Open. To reach Eugene, look for him on his instructional chess website, Chess Openings Explained, or message him on chess.com.  

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Episode 30- GM David Smerdon

Photo courtesy of  WIkipedia

Photo courtesy of WIkipedia

GM David Smerdon is one of those people who seems to find more hours in the day than the rest of us. In addition to being the #2 player in Australia, he recently completed his Ph.D. in economics and landed a job as an assistant professor in his native Brisbane. David also manages to stay quite active in and vocal about chess, particularly on his excellent blog. In our conversation, we discuss David's experiences representing Australia at several Olympiads, including the 2016 Olympiad in which he drew against Magnus Carlson. We also talk about gender in chess and his economic research away from the board. Naturally, I didn't let David escape without coaxing him to dish some excellent chess advice as well. David gives great tips on how to play against higher rated opponents and also offers a book recommendation. Please enjoy our interview, and then check out David's blog here, follow him on Twitter here.

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