Episode 93- Tarjei Svensen


Photo by Rolf Haug

Norwegian reporter, chess player, and photographer Tarjei Svensen is a frequent correspondent at elite chess tournaments and a popular and indispensable source of information on “chess Twitter.” Tarjei joins me this week to discuss the following: 

- How he gets scoops and manages finances as a chess reporter who is often working independently. 

- His plans for covering the 2018 World Chess Championships and some info on whether his friend and collaborator, GM Jonathan Tisdall, will be writing about the match again this year. 

- Tarjei’s own chess game, including some discussion of encounters with a very young Magnus Carlsen, and a few books that he recommends. 

We also talk about some interesting match-related statistics that Tarjei recently revealed on Twitter, and his twitter recommendations for whom to follow during the World Championships. Tarjei recommends following Olympiu Urcan, GM Jonthan Tisdall, Chess.com, Chessbase, and Chess24

Thanks to Tarjei for taking time from his busy schedule! You can follow him on twitter here, and read his chess coverage here

Click here to download the episode

Episode 92- GM Lev Alburt

Photo courtesy of GM Lev Alburt

Photo courtesy of GM Lev Alburt

Editor’s Note- We had some audio issues on the recording of this interview, so if you would like to read a transcript of our interview, you can do so here.

This week on Perpetual Chess my guest is the 3 time champion of both the US and Ukraine, GM Lev Alburt. Lev is also a very popular chess author and teacher. He has co-authored books, such as World Chess Championships: Karjakin-Carlsen (with Jon Crumiller and GM Vladimir Kramnik,) The Comprehensive Chess Course (with Roman Pelts,) plus many others. Lev also writes the popular Back to Basics column in Chess Life Magazine. I hope you will enjoy our conversation about: 

  • The world champions and chess legends he has known. When did he first hear about future World Champions Vladimir Kramnik and Garry Kasparov? Who are the modern-world chess champions he has found to be less likable than the others? 

  • How Lev decided on the unique format for this 2016 Carlsen-Karjakin Match book, and why GM Vladimir Kramnik was persuaded to contribute to the book after some initial hesitation. Of course, GM Alburt also shares his thoughts on the rapidly approaching 2018 World Chess Championship. 

  • Tips and recommendations for chess improvement. The three pillars of Lev's study advice are the 1) play chess competitively 2) Analyze your games and 3) Find time for uninterrupted study. 

There is much more!  Thanks so much to GM Alburt for joining me. You can reach Lev via his webpage here.

Click here to download the episode.

Episode 91- GM Andy Soltis


Photo by Marcy Soltis

This week on Perpetual Chess I am joined by the acclaimed and prolific chess author, columnist and historian, GM Andy Soltis. GM Soltis and I discussed the following:

Of course, GM Soltis also had great stories to share about the likes of Bobby Fischer, Viktor Korchnoi and Mikhail Tal. Thanks so much to Andy for joining me. It was an honor to speak with him. 

Click here to download the interview.

Episode 90- IM V. Saravanan

Photo courtesy of IM  V. Saravanan

Photo courtesy of IM V. Saravanan

V. Saravanan is an International Master, a chess journalist and a voracious reader of chess books. Saravanan resides in Chennai, India, but joined me from St. Louis where he had just concluded covering the Sinquefield Cup for Chessbase. We discussed: 

  • IM Saravanan’s impression of the St. Louis Chess Club, and of the tournaments he had just witnessed.

  • Stories and impressions of Super GM Viswanathan Anand, whom he has known for decades. What makes Anand a special talent and person? Saravanan also shares broader perspective about the Indian chess boom.

  • Saravanan expounded on the incredible YouTube video he did, showing off his chess library to IM Sagar Shah. He rattled off a few more favorite chess books and shared his views regarding chess improvement.

Thanks to Saravanan for an entertaining and informative conversation. Follow him on twitter

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 89- IM Kostya Kavutskiy returns

                                    Photo Courtesy of IM Kostya Kavutskiy 

                                    Photo Courtesy of IM Kostya Kavutskiy 

This week on Perpetual Chess, one of my earliest guests returns for an update on his life and travels. Twenty-five year old IM Kostya Kavutskiy is an active chess player, teacher, writer and content creator.  We catch up with him after his busy summer of traversing 3 continents while playing and coaching chess.  

Kostya discusses the highlights of his trip, and the primary chess lessons he derived from his summer of high level competitive chess. (This includes a discussion of a position where he agreed to a draw in what was actually a winning position.) Check out the game here

We also cover:

  • Chess improvement advice focused on methods of analysis of one's own games, plus some fresh chess book recommendations. 
  • A breakdown of some of his favorite chess announcers, both in the English and the Russian languages. 
  • A discussion of how he uses chess engines, and what it means when two different engines give starkly different evaluations. 

Thanks to Kostya for joining me.   He has a Patreon page on which he shares great chess educational content. Check it out here. You can also follow/contact him via twitter or his webpage

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 88- GM Yannick Pelletier (guest host Macauley Peterson)


Photo by Lennart Ootes

Today's show was recorded in Switzerland: Biel to be exact, home of the 51st International Chess Festival — which included a GM tournament won by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov ahead of Magnus Carlsen — and also the birthplace of today's guest, Grandmaster Yannick Pelletier. In chess, he's the Tournament Director in Biel as well as an accomplished player and commentator, but also polyglot and soon-to-be art/design/lifestyle media entrepreneur. Check out his YouTube channel and new magazine project Yunomi. Pelletier has been the Swiss Champion six times, and although he doesn't play more than a few tournaments a year nowadays, he has won three games from Magnus Carlsen, including one after Carlsen became World Champion. Yannick talks about life as a chess professional both before and after having kids, provides a history of the Biel Festival plus gives the 101 on how the Swiss manage to get along so well despite having multiple official languages.


Macauley Peterson (Editor in Chief of ChessBase News) guest hosts once again and strongly suggests you support Perpetual Chess either via Patreon or using this special link at the ChessBase shop. Perhaps a video series from Yannick himself — he's recorded several and also contributes to ChessBase Magazine!

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 87- Stacia Pugh (Adult Improver Series)

                                                     Photo Courtesy of Stacia Pugh 

                                                     Photo Courtesy of Stacia Pugh 

This week on Perpetual Chess, the popular adult improver series makes its triumphant return, with another great guest. I am joined by Stacia Pugh. Stacia has only been playing tournament chess for a few years but has seen her rating rapidly rise to 1777, including a 300 point rise in the past year. What's her story? How did she do it? Stacia joins us to discuss exactly that. 

  • - Stacia retells how she got into chess, and shares how the male and youth dominated chess world has treats an adult woman. She also shares how she is managing to turn her love of chess from a hobby into a career. 
  • - She gives tons of study advice, including book recommendations and a discussion of the study habit that she feels helped her chess the most. 
  •  Stacia even made a list of her top 10 chess improvement tips for Perpetual Chess listeners; it can be found at the bottom of this capsule. 

To reach Stacia and/or track her progress, you can follow her on twitter here, or contact her and read her blog on chess.com, here

If you would like to help support the podcast go here

Click here to download the episode 

Stacia's top 10 improvement tips:

  1. Maintain balance between hard work and passion
  2. Game Analysis - always learn from your mistakes
  3. Work with a coach or stronger player
  4. Tactics book with themes
  5. Teach or explain what you learn (helps solidify)
  6. It's not about rating; it's about learning
  7. Patterns make you better
  8. OTB and community will inspire you and keep your interest
  9. Don't forget end game
  10. Openings choices should be chosen by someone else!  (that knows what they're doing)

Episode 86 USCF Master Fred Wilson


This week's guest on Perpetual Chess is USCF Master Fred Wilson. Fred is a chess author, teacher and for forty-five years, he has run a business, selling used and rare chess books! He also still competes actively, and he recently became one of the oldest US chess players to attain the USCF Master title for the first time, at the age of 71. How did he do it? Fred joins us to tell us just that, as we discussed the following topics:

  • His #1 piece of advice for older chess players, along with plenty of study tips and recommendations of chess books.
  • His stories from his time hosting a chess interview show, "Chess and Books with Fred WIlson,"  in the early 2000s for the Internet Chess Club. Fred discusses his favorite guests, and reveals what has become of the audio files of these interviews. 
  • His memories of a few of his encounters with Bobby Fischer and other NY chess personalities. 

Thanks to Fred for joining me, check out the books he has written here
You can see the list of books he is currently selling here, or visit his store in NYC at:

41 Union Square West (at 17th Street),,Suite 718,  New York 10003. 

Click here to download the episode. 

Episode 85- FM Mike Klein

                                          Photo by Photgrapher Extraordinaire/IM  Eric Rosen

                                          Photo by Photgrapher Extraordinaire/IM Eric Rosen

FM Mike Klein is an old friend of mine.  He also is a guy who has been involved in many facets of the chess industry. Mike was a scholastic champion, he's a great chess teacher, he was recognized as chess journalist of the year in 2012, and now he writes, edits, and creates content for chess.com and chesskid.com (for the latter he goes by the moniker "Fun Master Mike"). Here is what Mike and I discussed:

  • Mike's newest project, an entertaining and informative chess-free podcast, called Extreme Travel Odysseys
  • Chess advice relating to competing in, studying, and teaching chess
  • Stories from his reporting assignments, including the times he spent playing tennis, soccer, and basketball with the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Rex Sinquefield and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and others. 

Thanks to Mike for joining me. You can reach him via chess.com here. Subscribe to his podcast here





To download the episode click here

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.