Episode 84- FM Carsten Hansen

Photo courtesy of Carsten Hansen 

Photo courtesy of Carsten Hansen 

The popular and prolific chess author, FM Carsten Hansen is my guest this week. By his current count, Carsten has written 26 chess books.. The depth of his chess knowlege is quite impressive, but his knowledge of chess openings is a particular specialty.


 Carsten and I discussed the following topics:

  • Carsten's latest book, The Full English Opening.  How did he pick the topic, and what is the story of how he came to love the English opening?
  • How did his initial venture into the world of writing and publishing chess books come about? He also shares some insider intell on how the chess publishing business works, including the impact that Print on Demand may have on the industry in the future. 
  • Carsten's favorite chess players, advice for chess improvement, and a couple of book recommendations that  have not previously been suggested on Perpetual Chess. 

Thanks to Carsten for joining me.   You can buy his books here, Follow him on twitter here, and check out his webpage here

To support the podcast click here


To download the episode click here

Episode 83- Grandmaster Paco Vallejo

                                              Photo courtesy of Paco Vallejo

                                              Photo courtesy of Paco Vallejo

Thanks to 5 time Spanish National Champion, GM Paco Vallejo, for being my guest on Perpetual Chess this week.   GM Vallejo had just returned from the Leon Masters Chess Tournament, featuring GM Wesley So, and young talents, GM elect- Ramesh Praggnanandhaa and IM Jaime Santos. Paco recapped the event for listeners, with a particular emphasis on the peculiar "dual blunder" that helped him get by IM Santos in the opening round.


 Other topics covered in our conversation:

  • Paco discussed the experience of serving as a second to GM Topalov, and revealed why he is unlikely to pursue a similar job again. 
  • Paco discussed the challenges he has faced in his life away from the board over the past few years, including family issues and a vexing tax issue courtesy of the Spanish government. 
  • Paco gave detailed chess improvement advice to hungry chess students, and even gave some advice for male chess players looking to meet women!

You can follow Paco on twitter here.or via his website here

To support the podcast go here


Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 82- Frederic Friedel (co-founder of ChessBase) (Guest host Macauley Peterson)


Photo courtesy of Chessbase.com

Summer substitute Macauley Peterson takes another turn on the mic, this time close to home with a sort of guided oral history by ChessBase co-founder Frederic Friedel. Frederic tells stories of meeting Garry Kasparov, Nigel Short, Viswanathan Anand and many others for the first time, and later hosting them at his home in a suburb of Hamburg. There may be something in the water there, because it seems like practically every World Champion and challenger since Kasparov has spent time with the Friedels over the past 35 years.

You'll learn how ChessBase came to be, how Vladimir Kramnik felt about an early version of Fritz, what endgame kept Peter Leko up at night, which Leonard Barden book Frederic keeps in arms reach, and much more. 

Check out bonus material and support Perpetual Chess using this special link at the ChessBase shop.

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 81- Judit Sztaray (Executive Director of Bay Area Chess)

                                         Photo Courtesy of Judit Sztaray (3rd from left)

                                         Photo Courtesy of Judit Sztaray (3rd from left)

Judit Sztaray, the Executive Director of Bay Area Chess, is my guest this week on Perpetual Chess.  Bay Area Chess, based in San Jose, California, is the largest provider of chess classes on the west coast of the US, with programs in over 100 schools.  Bay Area Chess frequently runs tournaments as well as its classes, and Judit has a great deal to share about the goals and the work of the organization. In my conversation we discuss:

  • The recent simul they hosted, conducted by Former Women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan. Judit discussed how an event like this comes about, and how the event was received in the Bay Area. 
  • The origins of BAC and how Judit wound up as Executive Director. Judit also discussed the funding of their program and the challenges she and her team can face in looking to raise money for BAC and for the Pro Chess League. 
  • The role of Bay Area Chess' as supporter of the San Jose Hackers of the Pro Chess League. Judit reviewed their 2018 season and talked some about how they recruited world class players like Grandmasters Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Rauf Mamedov. 

Thanks to Judit for joining me on the podcast.  You can reach her via email here, and learn more about Bay Area Chess here

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 80- GM Genna Sosonko

                                                Photo courtesy of  Elk and Ruby publishing

                                                Photo courtesy of Elk and Ruby publishing

This week’s guest on Perpetual Chess is the eminent chess author, GM Genna Sosonko. GM Sosonko has enjoyed a distinguished career as a chess player.  He  was once in the top 20 of the world's players and has helped train chess legends like Mikhail Tal and Viktor Korchnoi.  But in recent years he has become best known for his beautiful chess writing. 

In our interview, we touch on GM Sosonko’s career and on the story behind his emigrating from the USSR to the Netherlands in the 1970’s, but the main focus of our discussion is his two most recent books: The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein, and Evil-Doer: Half a Century with Viktor Korchnoi. We talked about:

  • What made David Bronstein's chess so brilliant? What did his peers think of him?
  • What did those who trained with Viktor Korchnoi' say about him?  Has GM Sosonko met any other chess player who could rival Korchnoi's legendary love for, will to study, and obsession with chess? 
  • What shaped the personalities of these two notoriously prickly chess legends?

In closing, we touched a bit on the modern chess landscape, and of course GM Sosonko told some great stories during our conversation.  He even recommended a book (although it may not be so easy to find. ) Thanks so much to GM Sosonko for joining me for a very entertaining and informative conversation. 

Please buy and enjoy his wonderful books here:

Evil Doer: Half a Century with Viktor Korchnoi

The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 79- IM Malcolm Pein (guest host Macauley Peterson)

                      Photo via  @telegraphchess

                      Photo via @telegraphchess

Picking up on the theme of FIDE politics from the last episode, ChessBase Editor-in-Chief Macauley Peterson also spoke with IM Malcolm Pein while attending the first stop on the Grand Chess Tour in Leuven, Belgium. Macauley and Malcolm discuss the GCT 2018, which is continuing with more rapid and blitz in Paris, before turning to issues related to the FIDE election. 

Malcolm weighs in on the FIDE / Agon proposed "broadcast policy," the upcoming World Championship in London, why he joined the Makropoulos team, the impact of the pending RCF nomination of Arkady Dvorkovich, whether the election will be free and fair, and of course his old friend Nigel Short

While you listen, swing by the ChessBase shop, using this special link through which any orders will help support Perpetual Chess.

Click here to download the episode 

Episode 78- GM Nigel Short (guest host Macauley Peterson)


Perpetual Chess makes a "zwischenzug" over to Europe where Macauley Peterson, Editor-in-Chief of ChessBase.com, is filling in for Ben this week. Macauley caught up with Grandmaster Nigel Short in Leuven, Belgium, at the close of the first tournament of the Grand Chess Tour 2018, the "Your Next Move Rapid and Blitz" tournament, where Short was a commentator. 

The former World Championship challenger is still an active player, but in May he launched a bid to succeed Kirsan Ilymzhinov as President of FIDE, the World Chess Federation. Shortly before the interview, news broke that in addition to FIDE's current Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, who declared his candidacy in April, a new candidate from Russia was entering the race: Arkady Dvorkovich, a prominent figure in Russian chess circles who currently serves as Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the FIFA 2018 World Cup, and has deep Kremlin ties, as a former Deputy Prime Minister. 

Short explains why he's in the race, what's wrong with FIDE, and how he intends to fix it.  

If you're interested in browsing the vast ChessBase shop, use this special link to help support Perpetual Chess.

Click here to download the episode 

Episode 77- GM Josh Friedel


This week’s guest on Perpetual Chess is well-regarded American GM Josh Friedel. Josh is a frequent competitor on the American GM circuit, who also teaches, writes and lectures about chess. We talked about the following:

- His most recent project, a YouTube series called “Autopsy,” in which he does an in-depth analysis of an educational chess game, with an emphasis on highlighting critical mistakes. 

- The matter of prearranged draws in GM games (an issue recently raised by Magnus Carlsen) is there a way to avoid them? 

- Lots of other topics, including what openings we might expect in the upcoming World Championships, reflections on Sam Shankland’s torrid 2018, and a couple of fun stories about Kasparov and Karpov. 

Thanks to Josh for joining me.  Check out his new YouTube series here, follow him on twitter here, and Facebook here

Click Here to Download the Episode 

Episode 76- Andrzej Krzywda (Adult Improver Series)

                                               Photo courtesy of Andrzej Kryzdwa

                                               Photo courtesy of Andrzej Kryzdwa

This week on Perpetual Chess, by popular demand , we begin an occasional series which will be called "Adult Improvers".  For Adult Improvers we will feature a guest who is making significant strides in improving his or her chess performance, and focus extensively on how that improvement is being attained. The first such guest is Polish Candidate Master Andrzej Kryzdwa.  Andrzej had been hovering around 2100 FIDE for over 20 years when he decided to devote a significant amount of his time to pursuing the International Master title.  Andrzej is 38 years old, runs a small business, and is married with two children, so the time that he can devote to this pursuit is limited. Nonetheless, in the past couple of years, Andrzej has shown great success, culminating in a recent tournament with a 2579 Performance Rating, his first IM Norm (!), and a FIDE rating now well north of 2200. How did he do it? We discuss the following details of Andrzej's inspiring story: 

  • How does Andrzej find the time to study? What is his routine?
  • What, specifically does he study?
  • What "clicked" in the tournament where he earned an IM Norm?  Did he feel like a stronger player at the time of that achievement?
  • What is next for Andrzej?
  • What resources does he recommend for other adult improvers?

Thanks so much to Andrzej for joining me, you can follow his journey and contact him on his facebook page, "From 2100 to International Master,"  here


Click here to download the episode 

Episode 75- GM David Navara

                                            Photo by Anezka Kruzikova, courtesy of GM David Navara

                                            Photo by Anezka Kruzikova, courtesy of GM David Navara

On this week’s Perpetual Chess I talk to Super GM David Navarra. GM Navara is the eight time champion of the Czech Republic.  He has been ranked as high as #14 in the world, but you wouldn’t know it by talking to him. GM Navara and I discussed the following- 
- His busy schedule of upcoming tournaments
- His most memorable chess achievements, including being a part of the winning European Club Cup winning team in 2013, and playing with the likes of Kasparov and Karpov.
- His advice for improving your chess play and enhancing your chess intuition. 

Thanks to GM Navara for joining me for an insightful interview.

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 74- GM Irina Krush

                                                                Photo by Paul Swaney 

                                                                Photo by Paul Swaney 

My final guest live from Nashville was none other than the seven-time winner of the US Women’s Championship, GM Irina Krush. 

Irina and I had a fun discussion, and covered the following topics:

  • Her reflections on the most recent US championships in St. Louis. (Irina finished in 3rd place)
  • How does she recover from tough losses? This is a crucial skill for all chess players to develop, and no, it doesn’t get much easier for grandmasters. 
  • Why did she decide to devote herself full-time to chess while some of her peers have sought work in other fields? How does she manage to play so much while also teaching and writing about chess?

Irina had many tales to tell, including stories of playing blitz with Magnus, playing future World Champ Hou Yifan when she was just 11 years old, the Olympiads and more. Thanks to Irina for a great chat. 

  • To see the puzzle from Shereshevsky's new book mentioned by Irina, go here. Black to move and win. 
  • This is the last "Friday bonus" podcast, Perpetual returns to weekly Tuesday releases next week. 

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 73- FM Sunil Weeramantry

                                    Photo Courtesy of the  National Scholastic Chess Foundation

                                    Photo Courtesy of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation

Today's guest on Perpetual Chess is renowned chess teacher and author, FM Sunil Weerumantry. Suniil and I recorded this interview live in Nashville, Sunil has been teaching chess in the New York area for more than 30 years and has coached more national scholastic champions than one can count. He is also the step dad of GM Hikaru Nakamura and his brother Asuka, both of whom broke many US Scholastic chess records.. Sunil and I discussed:

  • The great new book he co-authored with Alan Abrams and Robert McClellan called Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History. I highly recommend this book for chess teachers and chess history buffs. 
  • Sunil's story of growing up in Sri Lanka, making his way to New York, and becoming a chess teacher. 
  • What does one need to be "talented at chess"? Did he notice it in Hikaru and Asuka? 
  • Stories from travels with Hikaru and meeting chess legends

Thanks to Sunil for joining me. You can order his book here




Click here to download the episode. 



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