Perpetual Chess Podcast

By Ben Johnson

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 Mar 24, 2020

 Jan 25, 2020

 Nov 29, 2019


Perpetual Chess features weekly conversations with the chess world's best players, promoters, and educators about their lives, careers, current projects, and best practices. Learn more at

Episode Date
EP.203 - GM Wojciech Moranda
This week we are joined by top chess player, trainer and author GM Wojciech Moranda. GM Moranda is one of the highest ranked and most accomplished players in Poland, with a FIDE rating of 2618 and many tournament victories.  Wojciech has also been a frequent competitor in  the Pro Chess League, where he has beaten the likes of GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Alexander Grischuk. As a trainer, GM Wojciech has worked with both amateur adults and with top young players in conjunction with the  National Youth Chess Academy of the Polish Chess Federation. GM Moranda is a chess bibliophile who has developed a unique chess instruction style, which is on display in his excellent new book,Universal Chess Training, recently published by Thinkers Publishing. We talk about the book as well as chess improvement more generally, including getting Wojciech’s takes on the age old questions of what to study, how to study, and how much to study. If you are looking to improve your own game you are assured to pick up something both from Wojciech’s book, and from our conversation. Please continue reading for timestamps and relevant hyperlinks.    0:00- We begin by discussing GM Moranda’s new book from Thinker’s Publishing, Universal Chess Training.  GM Moranda shares how he decided on the unique presentation style of this book, and what he likes and dislikes about other recent chess books.  Mentioned: Reshevsky-Petrosian 1953 (25...Re6), Jon Edwards, My Great Predecessors, Kasparov-Topalov 1999, Episode 199 with Dr. Barry Hymer and GM Peter Wells    24:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by One of their latest offerings is a Lifetime Repertoires course on the Taimanov Sicilian by GM Harikrishna. Check it out here:   25:30- GM Moranda answers a question from the Patreon mailbag about whether playing blitz and rapid is bad for one’s chess development.  Mentioned:, Episode 200 with GM Boris Gelfand,  GM Alireza Firouzja   34:30- We discuss how much one should study, and how one should allocate chess study time.  Mentioned: Applying Logic in Chess by IM Erik Kislik    41:00- Are the rumors true that GM Moranda has a law degree? How did Wojciech get into chess?  Mentioned: FM Kamil Plichta    48:30- GM Moranda answers another question relating to the state of the chess culture in Poland.  Mentioned: GM Jan Krzysztof Duda, Paul Morphy, The Queen’s Gambit Series    56:30- What are GM Wojciech’s favorite chess books?  Mentioned: GM Jacob Aagaard’s Grandmaster Preparation Series, Beyond Material, GameChanger    1:03:00- GM Moranda has some experience teaching blindfold chess and visualization. What advice does he usually give his students?    1:19:00 Thanks so much to GM Moranda for sharing his chess wisdom! You can reach him via email at You check out a teaser  of Universal Chess Training here: and  you can buy it here: Its also available from Forward Chess here: See for privacy information.
Nov 24, 2020
EP.202 - Dr. Frank Brady
This week we are joined by top chess player, trainer and author GM Wojciech Moranda. GM Moranda is one of the highest ranked and most accomplished players in Poland, with a FIDE rating of 2618 and many tournament victories.  Wojciech has also been a frequent competitor in  the Pro Chess League, where he has beaten the likes of GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Alexander Grischuk. As a trainer, GM Wojciech has worked with both amateur adults and with top young players in conjunction with the  National Youth Chess Academy of the Polish Chess Federation. GM Moranda is a chess bibliophile who has developed a unique chess  instruction style, which is on display in his excellent new book, Universal Chess Training, recently published by Thinkers Publishing.  We talk about the book as well as chess improvement more generally, including getting Wojciech’s takes on the age old questions of what to study, how to study, and how much to study. If you are looking to improve your own game you are assured to pick up something both from Wokciech’s book, and from our conversation. Please continue reading for timestamps and relevant hyperlinks.    0:00- We begin by discussing GM Moranda’s new book from Thinker’s Publishing, Universal Chess Training.  GM Moranda shares how he decided on the unique presentation style of this book, and what he likes and dislikes about other recent chess books.  Mentioned: Reshevsky-Petrosian 1953 (25...Re6), Jon Edwards, My Great Predecessors, Kasparov-Topalov 1999, Episode 199 with Dr. Barry Hymer and GM Peter Wells    24:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by One of their latest offerings is a Lifetime Repertoires course on the Taimanov Sicilian by GM Harikrishna. Check it out here:   25:30- GM Moranda answers a question from the Patreon mailbag about whether playing blitz and rapid is bad for one’s chess development.  Mentioned:, Episode 200 with GM Boris Gelfand,  GM Alireza Firouzja   34:30- We discuss how much one should study, and how one should allocate chess study time.  Mentioned: Applying Logic in Chess by IM Erik Kislik    41:00- Are the rumors true that GM Moranda has a law degree? How did Wojciech get into chess?  Mentioned: FM Kamil Plichta    48:30- GM Moranda answers another question relating to the state of the chess culture in Poland.  Mentioned: GM Jan Krzysztof Duda, Paul Morphy, The Queen’s Gambit Series    56:30- What are GM Wojciech’s favorite chess books?  Mentioned: GM Jacob Aagaard’s Grandmaster Preparation Series, Beyond Material, GameChanger    1:03:00- GM Moranda has some experience teaching blindfold chess and visualization. What advice does he usually give his students?    1:19:00 Thanks so much to GM Moranda for sharing his chess wisdom! You can reach him via email at You check out a teaser  of Universal Chess Training here: and  you can buy it here: Its also available from Forward Chess here:     See for privacy information.
Nov 17, 2020
EP.201 - FM Peter Giannatos
FM Peter Giannatos,is the Founder and Executive Director of the Charlotte Chess Club and Scholastic Center (CCCSA), which is an award-winning chess club based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in 2007, Peter has taken the club from a small group meeting in a local library to a thriving organization with a large scholastic program, indispensable international tournaments, and a rapidly growing Twitch presence. In our conversation, Peter shares a lot of his hard-won wisdom about how to help build a vibrant local chess community, and he also discusses the difficulty that the club has faced recently due to the pandemic. Given the exploding popularity of chess, Peter is optimistic that any “brick and mortar” chess organization which can survive the lockdown period will come out of the Covid period better than ever.  Lastly, Peter is a  very accomplished chess player (2390 USCF peak rating) and improver in his own right, so he concludes the interview with some chess improvement tips and a few great book recommendations. Many of the details and timestamps related to the topics we discussed can be found below.    0:00- We begin our conversation by getting into reliving the modest beginnings of the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy, which has gone from being run at a local library to a beautiful brick and mortar facility, with city-wide outreach and international tournaments.  Mentioned: Grant Oen, FM Mike Klein, GM Daniel Naroditsky, Bradley Juopperi, Ursula Smith   28:30- GM Ben Finegold has built a successful chess center in Atlanta and credited Peter with helping him get started. How did Peter help? In this segment Peter also discusses how the pandemic has affected the chess center.  Mentioned: CBS Sunday Morning chess story featuring GM Maurice Ashley and WFM Alexandra Botez:, Silver Knights Chess Academy, Kids Chess, Chess Achieves, Raleigh Chess Academy    40:00- Perpetual Chess is proud to be brought to you in part by Check out one of their latest, Lifetime Repertoires, Sam Shankland’s 1. d4, from former US Champion Sam Shankland. The course is on sale for a limited time, check it out here:    40:30- Peter discusses the rough beginnings and then growth of Charlotte’s International Norm tournaments, which are well-regarded tournaments that enable young talents to earn GM and IM norms.  Mentioned: FM Yuriy Krykun, GM Michael Brown, IM Kassa Korley, Grant Oen. DGT Smart Boards, GM Pragganandha, GM Aman Hambleton, IM John Bartholomew, FM Gauri Shankar, IM Brandon Jacobsen   57:30- We discuss the Chess Center’s relationship with GM Daniel Naroditsky, Twitch Streaming, and their popular “Daniel Naroditsky vs. the World” Online events Mentioned: Castle Chess Camp, Episode 191 with GM Daniel Naroditsky- Charlotte Chess Center Twitch Channel-, GM Wesley So, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, GM Jan-Krzysctof Duda, GM Vladimir Fedoseev, GM Rauf Mamedov, GM Salem Saleh, GM David Bronstein    1:10:00- Peter has made huge gains in his rating in his 20s. What advice does he give for improvement? Where did he learn about all of the chess greats that he covers in his Learn from the Legends Twitch Series.   Mentioned:, Douglas Griffin’s twitter page, The Art of Sacrifice in Chess, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Magnus Carlsen, Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, GM Alexander Shabalov, GM Vassily Smylov, GM Tigran Petrosian, GM Mikhail Botvinnik, GM Vladimir Kramnik, Simple Chess, NM Matthew Noble, Perfect Your Chess (Out of Print but Available on Kindle!),    1:22:30- Thanks so much to Peter for sharing so much of his experience and knowledge!  Here are all of the ways to keep up with the CCCSA: Email Peter here: Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy- Facebook- Twitch- YouTube- If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here:         See for privacy information.
Nov 10, 2020
EP. 200 - GM Boris Gelfand
On episode 200 of Perpetual Chess we are joined by a legend of chess, GM Boris Gelfand! GM Gelfand has been one of the world’s top players since the 1990’s, has amassed countless tournament titles, and played a breathtakingly close World Championship match with GM Viswanthan Anand in 2012. He is also an acclaimed author, and has released recently two new books in cooperation with GM Jacob Aagaard and Quality Chess Books. The books are Decision Making in Major Piece Endings, and Technical Decision Making in Chess. Both are highly instructive reads which lay bare the thought processes of an elite chess player. In our conversation, we discuss his books and their implications for chess improvement.  GM Gelfand also  shares highlights of and reflections on his own life at and away from the chessboard. As always, read on for timestamps and related links.  0:00- We begin by discussing a few quotes from Gelfand, one of which distills his chess improvement advice to a few sentences. GM Gelfand also gives us  his opinion of how to use chess engines, a common topic in his writing.   Mentioned:  Surya Ganguly interview part 1- Surya Ganguly interview part 2-   10:00- GM Gelfand tells the story of the formative experience of seeing an elite level tournament up close when he was just an adolescent in Belarus.  Mentioned: GM Mikhail Tal, GM Garry Kasparov, Boris Postovsky, GM Alexander Nikitin, GM Salo Flohr    13:30- How can up-and-coming players manage the “curse and the blessing” of great online study tools but also the potential distraction of online bullet chess?  Mentioned: GM Alireza Firouzja, GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov    18:45- What does GM Gelfand think of the increased popularity of online chess with faster time control? How did he enjoy the recent Chess24 Legends of Chess Tournament in which he competed?    23:00- GM Gelfand discusses the increased importance of organizing knowledge as compared to the challenge of acquiring knowledge when he was a young player.    25:30- Since GM Gelfand collaborates with GM Jacob Aagaard in his writing, I asked him who wrote a particularly funny quote from Technical Decision Making in Chess.  Mentioned: Jumabayev-Gelfand 2016   30:15- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Check out their latest offerings here, including a brand new course from GM Yasser Seirawan:   30:45- GM Gelfand answers a question from one of the podcast’s Patreon supporters regarding the great documentary Album 61.  Album 61 covers his World Championship Match with GM Viswanathan Anand and is available for free with English subtitles on Youtube.  Mentioned: Watch Album 61 here-   34:00- On the road to qualifying to challenge Anand for the 2012 World Championship, GM Gelfand faced a must-win game with Black against Kamsky. How did he keep his composure in such a moment ?  Mentioned: GM Alexander Grischuk    40:00- As a World Championship challenger over the age of 40, did GM Gelfand make adjustments to his approach?  Mentioned: GM Surya Ganguly, GM Vladimir Kramnik, GM Viswanthan Anand, GM Alexander Grischuk    44:00- GM Gelfand answers another question from the Patreon mailbag relating to his thoughts on the current Candidates cycle, as well as the next one.  GM Maxim Vachier-Lagrave, GM Ian Nepomniatchi, GM Anish Giri, GM Fabiano Giri, GM Jeffrey Xiong, GM Danill Dubov    48:45- GM Gelfand answers another question relating to the subject matter of his new book, Decision Making in Major Piece Endings.    53:30- How can we know when to calculate in chess and when to rely on intuition?    57:30- What advice did GM Gelfand give to Magnus Carlsen’s family when they asked him if Magnus should pursue chess professionally?     1:02:00- GM Gelfand discusses a popular chess program in his hometown of Rishon Lezion, Israel, as well as his frustrations with the state of chess in Israel generally.    1:05:00- We discuss some of GM Gelfand’s favorite chess books.  Mentioned: Anand Files by FM Michiel Abeln, GM Yury Razuvaev, The Best Move by Hort and Jansa,  The Nemesis by Efim Geller, FM Eduard Zelkind,   World Chess Championship 1948 by GM Paul Keres   1:10:00- Thanks so much to GM Gelfand for an amazing interview! You can purchase his books from Quality Chess, Forward Chess or other book sellers.   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can so here: See for privacy information.
Nov 03, 2020
EP.199- Dr. Barry Hymer and GM Peter Wells
This week I am joined by Dr. Barry Hymer and GM Peter Wells, who are the authors of the new book, Chess Improvement: It’s All in the Mindset. Dr. Hymer is a Professor of Psychology in Education, as well as a long time chess enthusiast. GM Peter Wells, in addition to being an active player is a prolific chess author and a trainer for some of Great Britain’s top juniors. As a pair, they are perfectly suited to write a book tackling so many persistent questions related to chess improvement. Our conversation discusses questions such as the following: What is a growth mindset, and how can it apply to chess improvement? What can parents and trainers learn from the approach to nurturing talent taken by the family of GM Magnus Carlsen?  How much of chess talent is determined by genetics? What are Peter’s favorite games of his career? How has Barry managed to go from the 1800 level to over 2000 while in his 50s?  For the answers to these questions and many more, please enjoy the show. You can find timestamps and show notes below.  0:00- We begin by discussing the source of  the authors’ idea for this book, and they explain  the research that framed their writing of it.  Mentioned: Tim Kett, Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success    7:00- What psychological issues in his own chess game did Carol Dweck’s research help Peter address?    10:30- Barry and Peter answer the first of many Patreon mailbag questions relating to whether their book is more of a “how-to guide” or more of an overview of research chess players should know?   Mentioned: GM Boris Gulko, GM Boris Gelfand, Tim Kett, Henrik Carlsen, GM Erwin L.Ami   Henrik Carlsen interview with IM Sagar Shah here-   20:00- Another Patreon question- what advice do Peter and Barry have for managing chess study while working full time?    25:00- Must “deliberate practice” be inherently unenjoyable?   Mentioned: Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers    30:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable is a great way to put in your deliberate practice and learn opening lines, tactical patterns and other aspects of the game. Check out their latest offerings here:   31:00- Dr. Barry Hymer is an adult improver who has gained over 200 rating points in his 50s. What has been his approach to chess study?  Mentioned: GM Luke McShane, The King’s Indian Attack Move by Move, Bill Goichberg    38:30- How will this research affect GM Peter Wells' approach as chess trainer? 42:30- Another Patreon mailbag question: What does Peter think can be done to help improve the British chess scene, especially for talented juniors?  Mentioned:GM Alexander Morozevich, GM Gawain Jones, IM Malcolm Pein    48:00- What is the chess scene like in Barry’s native South Africa?    50:00- The authors answer another Patreon mailbag question relating to the always controversial topic of the extent to which chess ability is determined by nature as opposed to nurture.  Mentioned: Chessdojo, Robert Plomin, GM Bobby Fischer, IM Kostya Kavutskiiy, GM Jesse Kraai, IM David Pruess, GM Luke McShane,    1:02:00- The authors interviewed many of the top players of Great Britain, including IM Harriet Hunt and GM Nigel Short. Were they more struck by the similarity of their approaches or their differences?  Mentioned: IM Harriet Hunt, GM Nigel Short    1:04:30- Another Patreon question- How can parents find the right balance between being encouraging their children and  being pushy with their encouragemen?  Mentioned: IM Merijn Van Delft, Angela Duckworth    1:15:00- Peter answers a listener question relating to what it was like beating GM Alexei Shirov with the Trompowsky Opening in just 13 moves.  Mentioned: IM William Hartston, GM Joel Lautier, GM Judit Polgar, GM Patrick Wolff  Wells-John Emms 2000 Wells- Zoltan Almasi 2001 Chess24 coverage of Norway Chess Round 6, featuring GM Joel Lautier:   1:23:30- Another listener question: What type of work will Barry be doing with  GM Alex Colovic   1:26:00- Thanks so much to Peter and Barry for sharing their knowledge and experiences. You can buy the books here:   You can keep up with them in the following ways:  Barry Hymer website- Chessable blog- Peter Wells twitter- Email the authors through Crown house publishing-   You can help support the podcast here:   See for privacy information.
Oct 27, 2020
Book Recap- Talking Winning Chess Strategies with Neal Bruce
This month on “Chess Books Recaptured” we discuss a book that is especially vital for club players, Winning Chess Strategies, by the beloved former top player, turned author and announcer, GM Yasser Seirawan. As the title might suggest, this is a book that focuses on the subtler, non tactical aspects of chess that are not always intuitive for adult improvers. I am joined again by popular guest co-host Neal Bruce. Neal has read many chess books focused on positional chess, and feels that this is the best one. In our recap, we discuss a few of the key concepts, and some of our favorite quotes and games, all of which Yasser explains in his inimitable style. Please read on for more details, timestamps and show notes.  0:00- We begin by discussing why Winning Chess Strategies is a beloved and well-reviewed book, and discussing the various formats in which it’s available.    April 2020- Book Recap: Talking Woodpecker Method Recap with Neal Bruce   December 2019- Book Recap: Talking Reassess Your Chess with Todd Kennedy: Winning Chess Strategies is in print, and is available on Chessable among other formats: 8:30- What guests on Perpetual Chess Have recommended this book?  Mentioned: GM Robert Hess, GM Lev Alburt, Stjepan Tomic GM Maurice Ashley on the Tim Ferris show:   10:30- Despite the oft repeated dictum that chess is “99% tactics” Neal and I both think books like this are important. Why?  Mentioned: GM Avetik Grigoryan on why chess isn’t just tactics:   14:00- For what level is this book appropriate? How difficult are the quiz questions?  Neal thinks the 1200 to 2000 range.  I think more like 1000-1800 would benefit the most from it.  Mentioned: GM Ben Finegold    20:45- Perpetual Chess is proud to be brought to you in part by check out Yasser’s Chessable offerings here:   21:30- We read a few key paragraphs from the book, and then discuss our favorite chapters.    Mentioned: Wilhelm Steinitz, Akiba Rubinstein, GM Jose Raul Capablanca, Aron Nimzowitsch, Tigran Petrosian, GM Anatoly Karpov   30:00- We discuss a few of our favorite strategic concepts from the book. Mine include good, bad and active bishops, static vs. dynamic advantage and rules for when to attack. Neal highlighted the importance of a strong center, and “target consciousness” among a few other ideas.     43:00- We discuss a few of our favorite games from the book. They are: Alekhine-Nimzowitsch- Steinitz-Blackburne-  Seirawan-Zarnicki- Seirawan-Karpov- Karpov-Spassky Game 9-   Also mentioned: GM Maurice Ashley, Endgame Strategy by Mikhail Sherevsky    50:00- Power rankings! Neal ranks his favorite chess strategy books for club players.   Books discussed include: Simple Chess, Best Lessons of a Chess Coach, The Amateur’s Mind, How to Reassess Your Chess , Chess Strategy for Club Players, Find the Right Plan, and Modern Chess Strategy, Positional Chess Handbook by Israel Gelfer,Practical Chess Exercises, Blindfold Chess    1:02:00- Thanks again to Neal for coming on and sharing his knowledge. You can keep up with all of his chess reading and puzzle sharing by following him on Twitter: If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Oct 24, 2020
EP.198 - Ren Escalera (Adult Improver Series)
Ren Escalera is a 37 year-old dad and adult chess improver. As Ren describes, he had a brief, but strong, passion for chess as a scholastic player in the Phillipines and has rekindled his love for the game in order to help his talented young son improve. Ren’s son, Scott, is rated 1248 at the age of 7, which is good for #16 for his age in the country!  Meanwhile, Ren has seen some vast improvements of his own. Prior to the pandemic, Ren had taken his rating from 1056 to a peak of 1702 in just 1.5 years! How did Ren do it? How did Scott do it? What is next for this powerful father-son tandem?  I think you will enjoy Ren and Scott’s inspiring story, as well as his equally useful chess improvement and parenting reflections. You can find more information and timestamps below.  0:00- We begin by discussing how Ren and his son, Scott, became interested in chess. As Ren describes, he loved chess as a kid in the Phillipines but walked away.  He introduced his son to it when he was a young boy, and it was  then that Ren found himself coming back to it.    10:40- When did his son start to play tournament chess? How did this affect Scott’s interest in chess?    17:00- How many hours per day are Scott and Ren spending on chess? What is their daily routine?  Mentioned: IM Angelo Young, Megan Chen    22:00- What do Scott and Ren study during their 2-3 hours of training per day?  Mentioned: Chess 5334 Problems by Laszlo Polgar, The London System with 2. Bf4 by Ginger GM, Pirc video Damian Lemos, Fundamental Chess: Logical Decision Making by GM Ramesh, Chessking App, Perpetual Chess Episode 190 with Adult Improver Andrew Zinn, Perpetual Chess Episode 42 with James Altucher    28:00- With limited finances, how does Ren’s family handle the expense of chess?    32:00- Are there times that Scott does not want to do chess? How does Ren handle it?    34:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Winning Chess Tactics by GM Yasser Seirawan is one of their latest offerings. You might find it on sale if you act quickly.    35:00- Ren answers a Patreon mailbag question regarding whether he believes its true that club-level players should focus primarily on tactics. After that he discusses his approach to reviewing games.     41:00- Ren answers a question from another of the podcast’s Patreon supporters relating to the nature of his rating climb, and whether he has had moments of stagnation and frustration in his quest to improve at chess.    47:00- Ren gives a bit of advice about how to allocate chess study time.    50:00- Ren gives some advice to a fellow parent about how to potentially introduce his 4 year old to chess.    58:30 Ren discusses his goals, and how he thinks he will approach chess as both he and his son continue to improve.    1:01:30- Thanks so much to Ren for sharing his inspiring story! You can keep up with him via the Kings Wisdom Chess Club web page, or email him at escalerarv at See for privacy information.
Oct 20, 2020
EP.197 - IM Cyrus Lakdawala returns
Since our first interview in June of 2019, IM Cyrus Lakdawala has increased the number of books he has authored to 50! Cyrus’ newest published book is Rewire Your Chess Brain: Endgame Studies and Mating Problems to Enhance Your Tactical Abilities . I have been excited for this book because endgame studies have frequently been mentioned by guests as an effective way to improve one’s visualization abilities and pattern recognition. The book did not disappoint me! It is filled with creative, diabolical and often difficult chess problems that can stump you for hours or days. We also discuss Cyrus’ recent award-winning book  In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History. In the book, Cyrus deconstructs the magic of chess hot streaks and reveals who he thinks had the most impressive tournament performance of all time. For those interested in chess improvement, this interview is packed with useful advice. Cyrus shares his advice for how to tackle difficult chess problems, and reveals a simple formula for how one should allocate one’s chess study time. Please read on for lots more details and timestamps.   0:00-  We begin  by discussing his newest, the excellent book of endgame studies and difficult mate problems, Rewire Your Chess Brain.     Mentioned: Episode 129 With Cyrus Lakdawala: Chess Endgame Studies and Compositions Facebook Group- Also Mentioned:  GM Max Illingworth, Jonathan Fry, GM Nigel Short, GM Alexei Shirov, Joseph William Abbott    “It’s not the solving that matters, it’s the combination of straining to solve… mixed with seeing an original pattern in the solution, and you are adding to your internal database a new pattern.”  13:15- This episode is brought to you in part by If you sign your child up for a Gold level Membership,  you can use promo code “HOMEFUN” for a 10% discount, and if you are interested in bulk discounts on chess club memberships, you can email    14:15- Cyrus answers a Patreon mailbag question relating to the proper way to tackle chess endgame studies.  As Cyrus explains, the key is to strain for the answer.    Mentioned: Reti-Alekhine 1925, Satanick Mukhuty, Steven Dowd    25:15- What are some common themes you might come across in chess studies?  The Blathy 1962 endgame study we discuss can be found here: 28:30- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Whether you are interested in openings, endgames, or chess history, Chessable has plenty of books and courses to help you learn and retain the information you learn using its MoveTrainer technology. 29:30- We talk some chess improvement, as Cyrus answers another question from the Patreon mailbag- What aspects of studying chess are overrated and underrated?  35:30- In the wake of the recent Pro Chess League cheating scandal, we discuss the issue of cheating in chess a bit. Background on the cheating scandal here: Mentioned: GM Tigran L. Petrosian, GM Wesley So, GM Miguel Quinteros 43:15- Another recent book of Cyrus’ In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History, just won an award for Best Instructional Book from the Chess Journalists of America. What can we learn from studying the winning streaks of the greats?  Mentioned: Paulsen, Morphy, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Veslin Topalov, GM Levon Aronian, GM Magnus Carlsen. GM Bobby Fischer, GM Bent Larsen, GM Mark Taimanov, GM Alexander Alekhine  58:30- One more supporter question for Cyrus:  Who would he pick as the best opening, middlegame, and endgames specialists in chess history?   Mentioned: GMs Kasparov, Korchnoi, Karpov, Carlsen, Alekhine 1:00:30- Thanks to Cyrus for rejoining the show!  You can buy his books here: Join the Facebook Chess Endgame Studies and Compositions  Group here: And contact Cyrus here: See for privacy information.
Oct 13, 2020
EP.196 - GM Jan Timman
This week on Perpetual Chess, it's a privilege to be joined by a chess legend. GM Jan Timman! GM Timman is the 9 time champion of the Netherlands and spent decades as one of the top players in the world.  He has had numerous tournament triumphs, and played GM Anatoly Karpov for the FIDE World Championship in 1993. For all of his striking chess successes, GM Timman may be equally skilled as a writer. He is a founding editor of New in Chess Magazine, and penned the outstanding and award-winning book,  Timman’s Titans, among many other works. In 2020, GM Timman has released another great book, Timman’s Triumphs: My 100 Best Games. GM Timman has a treasure trove of amazing chess stories, and we are lucky that he touched on many of them in this interview. A few of the topics discussed include: what modern chess engines taught him about his classic games, what it was like to drink with Mikhail Tal, and go to a disco with Bobby Fischer, and what his most cherished and painful memories are from a lifetime’s worth of chess battles. GM Timman is someone I have always hoped to interview, so it was an honor and pleasure to hear his stories and reflections. Please read on for more details, timestamps and relevant hyperlinks.  0:00- We begin by discussing GM Timman’s latest great book, Timman’s Triumphs. Why does he think that, under today’s circumstances,he would not become a chess professional as an up-and-coming player?  Mentioned: GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic, Chessbase, NICBase, Fritz, GM Garry Kasparov, GM Erwin L’Ami   08:00- After reviewing his games with today’s state of the art engines, how did the quality of play in GM Timman’s games hold up?  GM Wolfgang Uhlmann, GM Judit Polgar     10:45- GM Timman tells a story of travelling to a tournament in Stockholm when young, and staying at a hotel where he couldn’t afford lodging unless he won prize money. How did it turn out?  Mentioned: Rilton Cup,  IM Hans Bohm    14:30- GM Timman answers the first of many questions from the Patreon mailbag relating to his dynamic play as Black. Does GM Timman agree with IM Mark Dvoretsky that this style may have cost him some points? Mentioned: GM Max Euwe, GM Hein Donner    19:00- What was GM Timman’s approach to preparing for games?  Timman-Ribli 1978, GM Bobby Fischer, GM Judit Polgar   23:00- Bobby Fischer was a chess hero of GM Timman.  What was it like to meet and spend time with him?  Mentioned: Bessel Kok    26:30-GM Timman tells another great story from Timman’s Titans, of discovering, as he shopped at a second hand shop in Lisbon,  a chess set that once belonged to World Champion Alexander Alekhine.    29:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Whether you are interested in openings, endgames, or chess history, Chessable has plenty of books and courses to help you learn and retain the information you learn using its MoveTrainer technology.   30:00- GM Timman  answers a listener question comparing the feeling of playing Kasparov over the board  to that of playing GM Anatoly Karpov.  Yasser Chessable interview here-   33:30- GM Timman  discusses his relationship with GM Viktor Korchnoi and offers his theory of how Korchnoi stayed so strong into his golden years.  Biel 2001, GM Alexander Grischuk, GM Peter Svidler, GM Lajos Portisch, GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic    38:30- What has changed in Jan’s chess game over the years?  Mentioned: The Ragozin Defense    41:00- We discuss modern chess a bit. Who is Jan’s favorite player? What does he think about the soon to be resumed 2020 FIDE Candidates tournament?  GM Ding Liren, GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, GM Ian Nepomniatchi, German Bundesliga    45:00- Jan answers another question from the  Patreon mailbag  relating to a memorable result in the Immopar rapid tournament in 1991.  Timman-Karpov 1991, Immopar 1991    47:30- What are Jan’s most pleasant and most memorable chess memories?  Mentioned: GM Arthur Yusopov   50:00- What was it like to be a celebrity in his native Netherlands in the 1990’s? Why does GM Timman think Magnus Carlsen prefers to defend his World Championship title outside of Norway? Mentioned: Dirk Jan Ten Geuzendam of New in Chess Magazine, Former FIDE President Florencio Campomanes, GM Nigel Short, GM Boris Spassky, GM Bobby Fischer     52:00- How does GM Timman  spend his chess-focused time these days? What are his interests outside of chess?  Mentioned: New in Chess Magazine, Luis Borges, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa   54:30- What are GM Timman’s favorite cities and tournament venues that he has attended? Mentioned: Paris, London, Madrid, Prague, Reykjavik Open    57:30- What was it like to spend time with legendary World Champion GM Mikhail Tal? If he were to be stranded on a desert island with one GM, who would it be? Mentioned: Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer    1:00:00- GM Timman answers another listener question:  Does he think that much of his success in chess can be attributed to the creative environment that surrounded him in the Netherlands?   Mentioned: De Kring, Hein Donner, GM Evgenii Sosonko    1:02:00- How much is Jan keeping up with chess literature? What are his favorite chess books?  Mentioned: My 60 Memorable Games, Paul Keres: The Road to the Top, Rapport-Sprenger 2020    1:06:00- GM Jan Timman answers one last Patreon mailbag question: How does GM Timman keep his motivation and focus to play lower rated players in club games?  Mentioned: GM Max Euwe    1:08:30- Thanks so much to GM Timman for joining the show! His books are widely available including from New in Chess, as well as Forward Chess.'s-triumphs:-my100-best-games?sscid=91k3_fazxa See for privacy information.
Oct 06, 2020
EP.195 - GM Keith Arkell
GM Keith Arkell is a constant presence in chess tournaments ranging from smaller British weekend tournaments, to big-stage open tournaments like the Isle of Man International. Over the years, he has amassed dozens of tournament victories, including winning the 2014 European Over 50 Championship, and tying for first in the 2008 British Championships. Of course, Keith is best known for his legendary endgame prowess, and he shows off and explains his approach to endgames in his enjoyable and instructive new book,  Arkell’s Endings. In our interview,Keith discusses the book, including his fascinating “hierarchy of pawns.” Keith shares some great chess tips as well as life reflections from a life spent wholly immersed in chess. As always, please read on for more details and timestamps.   0:00- We begin by discussing the genesis of Arkell’s Endings, as well as the origins  of Keith’s legendary endgame skills.  Mentioned: Chess for Life by GM Mathew Sadler and Natasha Regan, Ginger GM Publishing, GM Simon Williams, GM Anatoly Karpov, GM Ulf Andersson, GM Tony Miles,    08:00- Does Keith think he is uniquely feared due to his propensity for grinding down opponents in long games?  Mentioned: GM Mark Hebden   12:00- In Arkell’s Endgames, he lays out his “heirarchy of pawns”- how does he value each pawn, and how did he come upon that framework?    18:30- Keith makes no secret that he dislikes opening theory. How does he approach chess to minimize memorization? How does he characterize his chess style generally?  Mentioned: IM John Bartholomew,  GM Simon Williams    26:30- As a European senior champion what is Keith’s advice for other older players? How does he balance a desire to socialize with his chess colleagues while also trying to perform well in tournaments?    30:30- In addition to an evident endgame prowess, Simon Williams shows some impressive tactical melees that Keith has played  in Arkell Endgames.   How did Keith learn to calculate?    34:00- Keith has a light touch in Arkell’s Endings, with regard to how much analysis he includes. How did he decide on this approach?  Mentioned: Bertrand Russell, GM Peter Svidler, IM Ali Mortazavi    41:50- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Check out all of their latest offerings here:   42:30- How does Keith stay sharp in blitz?  Mentioned: Hodgson, Howell, GM Simon Williams, IM Ameet Ghasi, GM Alireza Firouzja, GM Mickey Howell, GM Luke McShane, GM Gawain Jones,GM Ivan Sololov, John Naylor    46:00- Are the rumors true, that Keith’s fun first book, Arkell’s Odyssey, will soon be updated and reissued? Keith expounds on some personal issues touched upon in the book, including a lack of confidence before he discovered chess, and a history of panic attacks.    56:00- Keith made an early decision in life to try to avoid a “real job.” How old was he when he made this decision? How strong was he at chess?  Mentioned: IM Susan Lalic, GM Glenn Flear, WIM Christine Flear    1:03:00- What are Keith’s favorite places that he has visited for tournaments?  Mentioned: GM Vassily Smyslov, GM Lev Psakhis, Arkell-Psakhis 1983,  GM Leonid Yudasin, GM Alexander Khalifman, Marshall Chess Club,    1:08:00- How did Keith find his chess heroes, like Anatoly Karpov and Ulf Andersson?  Mentioned: Simple Chess, My System, Think Like a Grandmaster, Chess for Zebras, Fred Reinfeld, Irving Chernev, GM Yuri Averbakh    1:13:00- What is Keith’s approach to analyzing his own games?    1:15:30- What was it like to play Magnus Carlsen when Magnus was 11 years old? What other memorable encounters has Keith had with top players?  Mentioned: Arkell-Carlsen 2002, Isle of Man International, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Sergei Karjakin, Arkell-Karjakin 2003, GM Michael Adams, Gm Jonathan Speelman, GM Nigel Short, GM Anish Giri, GM Teimour Radjabov, GM Vidit Gujrathi    1:22:00-  Thanks so much to Keith for joining the show!  Get Arkell’s Endings here: Follow Keith on Twitter here: Track him on Facebook here: Check out how he did at Pardubiche here: See for privacy information.
Sep 29, 2020
EP.194 - FM Yuriy Krykun
FM Yuriy Krykun is a young and accomplished chess player, graduate student, trainer and author. As a player, Yuriy was the 2018 Under 20 Champion,  is rated nearly 2500 USCF, and in 2019, he attained 2 IM norms.  Since Yuriy’s hopes to earn one more IM Norm have been delayed by coronavirus, he has been focusing on churning out quality opening courses and books.  I was particularly eager to discuss Yuriy’s new Chessable course, The Dynamic Italian Game, which focuses on the Evans Gambit. As we discuss, modern chess engines have made lots of new discoveries in the famed Evans, so it was a fun course for him to write, and it’s a fun opening to play if you are a club player looking for dynamic positions. Lastly, since Yuriy is norm chasing himself, and is also an active coach, he had lots of good chess improvement recommendations. As always, you can find lots more details, timestamps and relevant links below.    0:00- We begin by discussing how Yuriy has been impacted by coronavirus. He got stranded when visiting his native Ukraine, but now he has returned to St. Louis, where he can train with the powerhouse Webster University Chess Team. Yuriy also discusses why he decided to study at Webster.  Mentioned:Webster University, Yuriy’s Chessable Course page,  A Complete Repertoire for Black after 1. e4-e5 ,  Squeezing the King’s Indian Defense GM  Ilya Nyzhnyk, GM Lázaro Bruzón Batista, GM Alexander Lenderman, GM Peter Prohaska, GM Aram Hakobyan, GM John Burke,GM Emilio Cordova, GM Yuniesky Quesada    10:00- Yuriy shares his reasons for designing a Chessable course on the historic Evans Gambit, The Dynamic Italian Game, Mentioned: Stacia Pugh, GM Jan Gustafsson    22:00- As always, Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by In addition to Yuriy’s courses, FM Kamil Plichta is out with a new course on the Budapest Gambit (free preview here- , and there is lots more to check out on the site.     22:45- We discuss Yuriy’s approach to engine use, as well as his advice for how much improvers should be using them.  Mentioned: Stockfish, AlphaZero, LeelaZero, Fat Fritz, GM Patrick Wolff, Stockfish NNUE   29:30- What study tools did Yuriy use during his quick ascent up the chess-rating ladder? What study advice does he have for current adult improvers of different levels?  Mentioned: GM Alex Yermolinsky’s The Road to Chess Improvement, Zurich 1953, Endgame Strategy, Yusopov Chess School Series, Logical Chess Move by Move, How to Reassess Your Chess     40:00- What are Yuriy’s current chess goals and plans? Mentioned: Charlotte Chess Center    44:30- What is next for Yuriy, chess-content wise? How is life in St. Louis?  Mentioned: Check for Yuriy’s YouTube Channel here:   49:30- Despite coronavirus, FIDE has announced that the 2020 Candidates will resume in November. What does Yuriy think about it? Mentioned: GM Teimour Radjabov    53:00- Thanks to Yuriy for joining the show.  He has lots more stuff coming out, so it would be wise to keep up with him the following ways:    Twitter- YouTube-   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Sep 22, 2020
EP.193 - Tom Murphy
USCF expert Tom Murphy is undoubtedly one of the most renowned “park speed chess” players to live in the U.S. in the last few decades. He is a local legend in the cities in which he has lived:  Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Chicago, and has often been featured in the local media in those cities. It’s hard to miss Tom in popular chess hotspots due to his strong play and his entertaining banter. In our conversation we cover topics ranging from blitz and trash-talking tips, to Tom’s unique improvement advice, to the most money he has made in a day while gambling on chess. Tom shares many great stories and has an evident love of chess, but his life has not always been easy. As we also discuss, Tom has battled addiction at times, and even had a short stint in jail as a result of these issues. As you can tell, Tom has quite a story to tell! More details can be found below, along with time stamps and relevant links.  0:00- Perpetual Chess Happy Hour info here: 2:45- Tom tells the origin story of how he discovered chess as a teenager in Philadelphia and began to take it increasingly seriously over time.  Mentioned: Central High School, NM Norman “Pete” Rogers, A Contemporary Approach to the Middle Game by GM Alexei Suetin, NM Wilbert Paige 8:30- Tom tells the formative story of a moment when a top player underestimated him, and how this served to motivate him to work to improve. Mentioned: IM Anthony Saidy, GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Robert Byrne  11:30- Does Tom consider himself a chess hustler?  Mentioned: Daaim Shabazz of The Chess Drum’s coverage of Tom Murphy: Tim Ferris video in which GM Maurice Ashley plays a park player - 14:45- Tom Murphy answers a question from the Patreon mailbag about the art of trash- talking.  Sideline: The History of Chess from a Black Point of View preview here:  16:45- What is the story behind the birth of the Chicago based National Blitz League?  Mentioned: Nathan Kelly,, Daniel X Jones, George Li 19:45- Tom reveals his “3 Ps” for chess improvement- Patience, Perseverance and a Peaceful Mind  Mentioned: IM Greg Shahade, WGM Jennifer Shahade  23:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Check out all of their latest offerings here. 24:00- Who is Tom’s best “customer” of all time in terms of playing him in blitz for money?  Mentioned: FM Sunil Weerumantry  27:15- Who is the strongest player Tom ever faced? What were the reasons for his moving from Philly to DC, and then later to Chicago? GM Roman Dzindzichashvilli, GM Ben Finegold, GM Nikola Mitkov  30:30- Does Tom think that park chess is dying?  The National Blitz League Facebook page- Henry Getz, Steve Jennings  32:00- Tom has battled addiction in the past, has been homeless for periods and even spent six months in jail due to addiction issues, so he reflects on that experience and offers advice to others battling addiction.  37:30- Is Tom stronger online or over the board?  38:00- What are Tom’s favorite chess publications to read?  Mentioned: New in Chess Magazine,  Endgame Strategy, The Art of The Middle Game in Chess,My System, 500 Master Games of Chess  44:00- How does Tom use computers to work on his chess game?  Mentioned: The Perpetual Chess Facebook Group 46:00- What is Tom’s blitz chess advice?  Mentioned: GM Pablo Riccardi 48:30- IM Greg Shahade writes in to ask about the state of Tom Murphy’s Ms. Pac Man skills, then Tom discusses his enthusiasm for poker and backgammon.  Mentioned: Paul Baraz  55:00- Thanks so much to Tom for sharing his great stories! If you would like to contact him about online lessons, you can text him at 202-279-1442   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Sep 15, 2020
Adult Improver follow up - Andrzej Kryzdwa and Stacia Pugh return!
This week we have a special edition of Perpetual Chess, as the two first adult improver guests return to the show to update us on the state of their chess games, their lives, and their improvement regimens. The guests are Andrzej Krzydwa and Stacia Pugh, who both originally appeared on the show 2+ years ago (links to their interviews below.) Andrzej is a Polish small business owner, dad and programmer who manages to devote a ton of time to his chess improvement. At the time of our first interview he had just earned an IM norm by posting a dazzling 2579 performance rating in a tournament called the Katowice Spring 2018 . Stacia is a former professional cornhole player who now devotes all of her time to studying chess and teaching with Ohio’s Progress with Chess. At the time of our first interview she had gained 300 rating points in the prior years, and Stacia exuded an evident passion for chess improvement. Both guests come back with new improvement tips in addition to a continued appreciation of some of their favorite study methods mentioned in their first interviews. Lastly, I wanted to thank another former adult improver guest, Jason Cigan. A follow up with Jason was originally planned to be part 3 of this episode, but through no fault of Jason’s we encountered technical issues that forced me to postpone that interview. Please read on for more details and show notes.  Episode 76 with Andrzej Krzydwa, June 3,2018   Episode 87 with Stacia Pugh, August 14, 2018: 0:00- Here is the info you need for the announcements made at the top of the show.    If you are interested in signing up for the randomized trial of best improvement methods sign up at the following link or email I make a couple of announcements at the top of Tuesday’s episode.   First, a devoted improver is going to run a proper randomized trial of best improvement methods. It is only for certain ratings, but go to the link below to get all the details. Matt is hoping to run a similar study in the future for higher rated players as well. You can find more information about the Perpetual Chess Happy Hour here:    6:00- Andrzej  Krzyydwa rejoins the show, and we dive right into an update of how his chess games have been going.  Mentioned: Kasparov on Kasparov    11:45- What does Andrzej  notice from analysing his games? What are the tournament fields like in Poland?  Mentioned: GM Bartosz Soćko     19:30- Andrzej  discusses the ways that he finds chess competition meditative, and also discusses his actual meditation practice.    23:00- How is Andrzej able to maintain his morale when results aren’t going as well as he would like? He also answers a question from the Patreon mailbag about whether or not he ever suffers from chess burnout, and he gives a few improvement recommendations.  Mentioned: GM David Navara, Perpetual Chess Episode 173 with Philemon Thomas,,, Hiarcs Chess Explorer,, FM Kamil Plichta    32:00- Thanks to Andrzej for coming back on the show, you can keep up with him via the following outlets: Facebook page- Twitter-   33:00- Perpetual Chess Yasser Seirawan’s classic book Winning Chess Strategies is now available on! Check out a free sample of it here:   33:30- Stacia Pugh rejoins the show to talk about how her life and chess have progressed since our previous conversation.  NM Michael Joelson, IM Calvin Blocker, IM Marc Esserman, Stacia’s blog is here:    44:00- Why did Stacia revamp her opening repertoire, and how has it affected her results?    49:00- In our first interview Stacia was an advocate of the use of flashcards, does she still believe in them? She also delves into her current chess study regimen.  Mentioned: The Art of Checkmate, Progress with Chess’ Tuesday Tussle    56:00- We revisit Stacia’s top 10 improvement tips, shared in our first interview.    59:00- Stacia shares her advice regarding how to deal with burnout in chess.    1:00:00- Have Stacia’s goals changed since our first conversation?    1:01:00- Thanks to Stacia for stopping by and catching up.  Here is how to keep up with her: blog- YouTube- Twitter- See for privacy information.
Sep 08, 2020
EP.192 - GM Avetik Grigoryan
Avetik Grigoryan is an Armenian grandmaster and chess trainer, who is also the founder and lead instructor of Chessmood is a subscription based educational chess site that offers a large library of instructive videos, covering all phases of a chess game. Avetik has a team of grandmasters working with him on the site, who also answer member questions, stream shows, and write articles. In our conversation, Avetik shares his vision for chessmood, gives some  improvement tips and book recommendations, and tells some great stories of a few key moments in his life that changed his perspective about life and about chess. It was a fun and wide ranging conversation. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  0:00- We begin by discussing a bit about the background of Chessmood, and the day-to-day life of running and generating tons of videos related to all phases of the chess game.    07:30- What issues does Avetik see in the students he works with through   13:00- GM Kevin Goh’s recent Perpetual Chess Interview (Episode 184) really resonated with listeners, and in the interview Kevin gave Avetik a lot of credit for helping him attain the grandmaster title. What is Avetik’s perspective on Kevin’s accomplishments?  Mentioned: Kevin Goh on Perpetual Chess-   19:00- What type of material is available on Chessmood?  Mentioned: GM Ulf Andersson, GM Vassily Smyslov, GM Akiba Rubinstein , The Scotch Game, The Benko Gambit, The Maroczy Bind, The London System, The Open Sicilian, Caro Kann, The Grand Prix Attack, The King’s Gambit    28:30- Avetik answers a Patreon mailbag question about whether Chessmood will be covering 1. d4 in addition to 1. e4, This leads to a general discussion about its philosophy regarding course design.  Mentioned: The Benko Gambit, The Scotch Game   34:00- Perpetual Chess is proud to be sponsored in part by They are releasing new courses practically every day, including a new course on the Chebanenko Slav, and GM Anish Giri on the French Defense. Check out their latest offerings here:   35:00- Avetik tells the story of how a taxi ride as a teenager changed his life, and then discusses the chess culture and general lifestyle in his native Armenia.  Mentioned: WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, GM Melik Khachiyan, GM Levon Aronian, GM Tigran Petrosian, GM Alex Colovic interview with Avetik-   42:30- Why did GM Grigoryan transition from focusing on OTB competitive chess to training?  Mentioned: GM Patrick Wolff, GM Viswanthan Anand, GM Hrant Melkumyan, Anand-Grigoryan 2011   51:00- Avetik answers a question from the Patreon mailbag about what it was like to play at the St. Louis Chess Club, and whether he would do so again despite being partially retired from competitive chess.    56:30- What did Avetik study when he was working to achieve the grandmaster rating? What does he recommend?  Mentioned: GM Zaven Andriasian, IM Mark Dvoretsky, Gelfand’s My Most Memorable Games, GM Vladimir Akopian   1:03:00- How should we divide our chess study time? Once your opening repertoire is decent, Avetik recommends dividing study time evenly between openings and tactics.  GM Daniel Naroditsky    1:08:00- Is it true that Avetik is a Kung Fu GM? What other interests does he have outside of chess?  Way of the Peaceful Warrior, IM Josh Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning, Tools of Titans, Arnold Schwarzenegger, IM Sagar Shah of Chessbase India     1:15:00- Thanks so much to Avetik for coming on the show! Here is how to reach him: Avetik’s Facebook- If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Sep 01, 2020
Book Recap- Talking Blindfold Chess with guest co-host Jerry Wells
This month on Chess Books Recaptured, guest co-host Jerry Wells and I do a deep dive on the topic of Blindfold Chess. Jerry is an Arkansas-based school teacher, chess coach, and dedicated adult improver who has emphasized blindfold chess in his study regimen. The first half of the show is devoted to discussing the definitive work on blindfold chess, called Blindfold Chess, History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games. The book is by NM Eliot Hearst and John Knott, and it was clearly a labor of love from two passionate chess enthusiasts. Following our conversation about this detailed historical tome, Jerry and I summarize and share many other resources you all can check out if you are interested in improving your own blindfold and visualization skills. We’ve got lots of detailed links and show notes for this one, so please read on to find them along with timestamps.  0:00- We begin by learning a bit about the background of our guest co-host, Jerry Wells, and about why he was interested in the book Blindfold Chess, History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games, by Eliot Hearst and John Knott, and why he has worked on his own blindfold game.  Mentioned: Perpetual Chess 191 with GM Daniel Naroditsky, Link for forthcoming blindfold study book by Martin Justesen: 10:30- As we discuss, Blindfold Chess is primarily available in paperback from Macfarland Publishing. There are no e-books available.  Mentioned: GM Richard Reti, GM George Koltanowski  12:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by One way to work on your visualization skills is through Chessable’s excellent, Visualize series by Benedictine. Check it out here: 13:00- We read the opening paragraphs of the book and dive into its contents.  Mentioned: GM Alexander Alekhine, Alfred Binet, Harry Pillsbury, GM Timur Garyev, GM Andy Soltis, John Knott’s essay on Timur Garyev’s Blindfold Simul Record: . NM Christopher Chabris, Andre Philidor, Lionel Kieseritzky, Louis Paulson, Paul Morphy, Joseph Blackburne, Johannes Zukertort, GM Patrick Wolff  31:00-  A recurring question in the book is whether or not performing many blindfold simuls can drive you insane? What did the authors conclude?  Mentioned: Harry Pillsbury George Koltanowski  35:30- We discuss a few of the other notable players mentioned in the book.  Mentioned: GM Miguel Najdorf, GM Ken Rogoff, The simul Polgars, GM Robert Hungaski  40:00- We answer a Patreon mailbag question about the ranking of  George Koltanowski in the pantheon of blindfold players throughout chess history.  Mentioned: GM Hans Ree, GM Erich Eliskases  48:30- We discuss part 2 of the book, which synthesizes a lot of the research available regarding how chess players learn, and whether they have superior memories, etc.  Mentioned: NM Christopher Chabris, The Melody Amber Blindfold Tournaments:, GM Peter Svidler, GM Vasyl Ivanchuk, GM Aman Hambleton  56:30- We share a few of our favorite quotes from the book.  Mentioned: GM Richard Reti, GM Reuben Fine. GM Alexander Alekhine  1:03:00- We briefly discuss a few of the highlight games from the book.  Mentioned: Alekhine-Schwartz 1926- Koltanowski-Burnett 1937- The Polgar game Jerry mentions is not available online. :(  1:05:00 What blindfold-playing tips are shared within the book?  Mentioned: George Koltanowski, Branco Tchabritch, GM Anthony Miles, IM John Watson 1:11:00- We synthesize a lot of Blindfold Tips from other chess books and other resources.  Here are the resources we discuss:  Improve Your Chess Now by GM Jonathan Tisdall  Noir Chess- Chessvis- IM Danny Rensch’s- Achieving Full Board Awareness and Nivana videos- Chess Steps Thinking Ahead Volume 2- Visualize 1 on Chessable by Benedictine- ChessFox Visualwize- NM Elliott Neff’s Step by Step Blindfold Tips- NM Elliott Neff on Perpetual Chess- Blindfold Chess Podcast- 1:28:00- Thanks so much to Jerry Wells for suggesting this great topic and preparing so much. You can follow him twitter here: And thanks to his suggestion of another donation to Books Through Bars: 1:31:00- Blindfold Puzzle Time!   (from Chess steps thinking ahead)- 1. E4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 Nc6 5. ? Answer in link Mate in 2 from Chess Steps vol. 3) White: pawn on a5, queen on h1, King on c5 Black: King on a7, White to move and mate in 2 Puzzle here- Solution here- Pillsbury- BVD Dixon, 1900, Blindfold Simul- what move did Pillsbury “overlook” on move 10 for Black  [Event "Pillsbury blindfold sim"] [Site "New Orleans"] [Date "1900.03.08"] [Round "?"] [White "Pillsbury, Harry Nelson"] [Black "Dixon, B."] [Result "0-1"] e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bc5 5. O-O O-O 6. Nxe5 Qe7 7. Nxc6 dxc6 Bd3 Qe5 9. h3 Bxh3 10. gxh3  What move did Pillsbury “overlook” on move 10 for Black?  Game link with conclusion here… Thanks for listening everyone! If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Aug 29, 2020
EP.191 - GM Daniel Naroditsky
24 year old GM Daniel “Danya” Naroditsky is one of the top players in the US, and won many scholastic titles in his career, including the 2007 World Under 12 Championship. He also has written two chess books, and graduated last year from Stanford University with a degree in history. Since graduating, Danya has relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina and turned his attention to chess full time. Aside from his classical chess accomplishments, Danya is making a name for himself as an entertaining and insightful announcer, Twitch Streamer and Youtube presenter. GM Naroditsky is especially talented at fast chess, and has had many blitz and bullet battles with the likes of GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Alireza Firouzja and GM Andrew Tang. Danya sometimes wins and sometimes loses these matches, but the results are always entertaining. In our interview,  we discuss Danya’s many roles in the chess world, and Danya also provides the usual helping of chess improvement talk and entertaining stories. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  0:00- We begin by discussing GM Daniel Naroditsky’s favorite Perpetual Chess interviews and the recent dramatic conclusion to Chess24's Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Mentioned: Perpetual Chess Episode 46 with IM John Watson, Perpetual Chess Episode 190  with Andrew Zinn, GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Hikaru Nakamura     7:30- I love watching Danya play blitz, so I had to ask him about his rise up the ranks, and his battles with the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Andrew Tang and other great bullet and blitz players.  Mentioned: Mechanics Institute Chess Club in San Francisco, IM John Donaldson    14:00- Our conversation segues into Danya’s practical advice for improving at fast chess, expanding on a great series he wrote for, starting with The Blitz Chess Manifesto: Mentioned: How to be Lucky in Chess: The Swindle, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Alireza Firouzja   24:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable  is constantly releasing new courses utilizing its MoveTrainer technology. It helps players assimilate patterns and learn opening lines efficiently. One of their latest is  a brand new course on the French by Super GM Anish Giri. Check out a free mini-course on it here:    24:30- We delve more into Danya’s blitz escapades including some great stories of his first encounters with Magnus Carlsen in online blitz.  Mentioned: Limitless,  Daniel’s YouTube Video- One of My Best Wins Against the World Champion:   34:45- How could Danya get better at fast chess? What could he do to crack 2700 ELO at Classical Chess?  Mentioned: GM Lev Psakhis, FIDE World Cup    44:00- Despite Danya’s success with multiple chess platforms, chess teaching remains his #1 passion? Why? And what are the pros and cons of streaming?  Mentioned: IM Levy Rozman    55:00- a Patreon supporter of the podcast writes in to ask Danya to discuss a story he had heard about Danya’s taking  tons of notes about his games when he was a child. If you are interested in supporting Perpetual Chess and submitting questions for upcoming guests, you can find out more here: Mentioned: Mastering Positional Chess, Mastering Complex Endgames  1:01:30- Danya tells a great story of a personal encounter, as a promising young chess player,  with Garry Kasparov.  Then he names a few of his favorite books.  Learn from the Legends, Zurich 1953, My 60 Memorable Games, Capablanca’s Chess Primer, IM John Donaldson    1:04:30- We talk chess improvement, as I ask Danya the age old question of how to manage chess study time.  Mentioned: The Best Move    1:07:30- GM Naroditsky answers a Patreon mailbag question regarding whether he enjoys announcing scholastic tournaments, and how the presentation of these events could be improved.  Mentioned: GM Robert Hess,’s “I am Not a GM tournament”   1:11:00- Why are all these Chess Twitch stars so good at chess impersonations? Here is Danya doing GM Yasser Seirawan and GM Garry Kasparov  Mentioned: IM Levy Rozman, GM Aman Hambleton, GM Alexander Grischuk   1:14:00- Why did Daniel relocate to Charlotte, and how is life there? Mentioned: FM Peter Giannatos, Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy, Charlotte Chess Center Summer 2020 Norm Invitationals    1:19:00- Thanks so much to GM Naroditsky for his insights, impersonations and fun stories. Here is how to keep up with him: His Website- YouTube- Twitch- Twitter-      See for privacy information.
Aug 25, 2020
EP.190 - Andrew Zinn (Adult Improver Series)
Andrew Zinn is a 29 year old Mathematics graduate student who also works in the finance industry . Despite his busy career, Andrew managed to take his USCF rating from 1567 to 2027 in the two years leading up to the coronavirus shutdown. How did he do it? As Andrew tells us, he has an approach based on playing lots of tournament chess, reading classic chess books, and really focusing on improving his visualization skills. Of course, there is more to Andrew’s approach than that, as you will hear in the interview.  Andrew has much to say about what contributed to his remarkable rating leap. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  0:00- Andrew tells the story of his discovery of chess as a kid, and his rediscovery of the game in recent years. As Andrew explains it, his approach has changed a lot as an adult.  Mentioned: GM Alex Shabalov, NM Jerry Meyers, Richard James, GM Magnus Carlsen   09:45- Andrew is also an adult improver as a piano player. How did learning piano as an adult inform his chess learning?  Mentioned: Chess by Laszlo Polgar, Blindfold Chess: History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games, Pillsbury, Alekhine, Lasker’s Manual of Chess, The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings by Reuben Fine      22:30- A supporter of the podcast asks Andrew what classical player he most likes to study.  Mentioned: Masters of the Chessboard by Richard Reti, GM Alexander Alekhine   25:30- We discuss tournament chess. Andrew discusses how often he played competitively,  and answers a Patreon mailbag question about his approach to analyzing those games.  Mentioned: Marshall Chess Club  Mentioned: GM Jesse Kraai    34:00- How much time per week has Andrew been devoting to chess?    37:30- Chessable is out with another new course by none other than World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Like all of Chessable’s courses, it utilizes spaced repetition to make sure you remember what you learn. Check it out here:   38:00- What has Andrew done to improve his chess visualization abilities?  Mentioned: Think Like a Grandmaster by GM Alexander Kotov, IM John Donaldson, GM Jacob Aagaard, Chess Books Recaptured discussing Think Like a Grandmaster with NM Christopher Chabris.   44:00- Andrew answers one more Patreon question about which training technique he thinks has given him the best return on time invested.  Mentioned: Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953   52:00- What is Andrew’s approach to studying openings?    54:30- What about endgames?  Mentioned: Chess Endgames by Laszlo Polgar    57:00- In closing, Andrew discusses his future plans for chess as his life continues to get busier. You can keep up with Andrew via Lichess: or you can email  him via email at zinn.andrew.m at See for privacy information.
Aug 18, 2020
EP.189 - GM Patrick Wolff
Two-time US Chess Champion GM Patrick Wolff retired from competitive chess in 1998 and has led a busy life away from the board. He is married with two kids, and has had a successful career in the hedge fund industry. Nonetheless, Patrick shares, he still thinks about chess “all the time,” and he follows top level chess whenever he can. On the topic of top level chess, in the 1990’s Patrick had a ringside seat to World Championship Level chess, as he was a member of young Viswanthan Anand’s inner circle. Patrick wrote a great book about these experiences, Kasparov vs. Anand, The Inside Story, and shares some vivid recollections from observing the historic 1995 World Championship up close. Patrick is also the author of the popular series, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Chess (newly updated with the title, Learn to Play Chess Like a Boss.) As his unique background might suggest, Patrick is full of insights and ideas about the past and future of chess, artificial intelligence in chess, and the ways that chess could potentially be promoted differently to increase its popularity even more.I greatly enjoyed our conversation, and I think you will too! More details and timestamps can be found below.  0:00- We begin by talking about GM Wolff’s current relationship with chess. Despite being retired from competitive chess for decades, a day doesn’t go by during which Patrick  doesn’t think about chess, and he has had periodic binges of internet blitz addiction, which ultimately leave him unsatisfied.  Mentioned: Chess24,, GM Viswanathan Anand, Internet Chess Club, Christopher Chabris, GM Viktor Korchnoi. GM Vassily Smyslov, Anand-Wolff 1984   9:00- Patrick dives deeper into his working and professional relationship with GM Viswanathan Anand. He worked on his team for a few key matches, including his world championship match with Kasparov.  Mentioned: PDF link for Kasparov vs. Anand, The Inside Story- here: , GM Vasyl Ivanchuk, GM Boris Gelfand, Tim Henke, American Chess Journal featuring GM Wolff’s article about the 1992 Anand-Ivanchuk match can be read here:, Luis Rentero, Ivanchuk-Anand 1992    21:00- Patrick walks us through his decision to pursue a career outside of chess.  Mentioned: IM Stuart Rachels, American Gambit documentary (not “American Grandmaster”, as I called it in the show)   27:00- We return to the topic of GM Viswanathan Anand, as Patrick reflects on working on his team for the 1995 World Championship Match against Kasparov. Mentioned: GM Elizbar Ubilava, GM Jonathan Speelman, GM Artur Yusopov, Anand-Kasparov Game 11:, GM Vladimir Kramnik    39:00- Chessable has many great ways to study the World Champions, including a brand new Free Endgame Course from World Champion, GM Magnus Carlsen. You can get it here:   40:00- Patrick has a keen interest in the use of AI in chess and took this opportunity to expand here on a great lecture he gave regarding the topic at the St. Louis Chess Club. (Talk here-  Mentioned: AlphaZero, Leela, Learn to Play Chess Like a Boss, IM David Levy, Deep Thought, GM Walter Browne, GM Alex Fishbein, Deep Blue, Hydra, GM Michael Adams,     47:30- We are all enjoying the recent online chess boom, but Patrick shared some fascinating ideas for ways to promote online chess even more. Mentioned: 2015 Patrick Wolff interview with GM Maurice Ashley:,, , GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Peter Svidler, IM Greg Shahade  Professional Chess Association,    1:02:30- Patrick answers a question from the Patreon mailbag about which skills as a chess player have helped his career in finance, and then tells some stories about how chess has intersected with his professional life.  Mentioned: Emanuel Lasker, Peter Thiel, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger    1:09:30- Patrick shares a few tips from his experiences doing blindfold chess exhibitions.  Mentioned: GM Michael Wilder, GM Kenneth Rogoff, Peter Thiel    1:12:30- My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer was a formative book for Patrick. He discusses the reasons for its powerful impact and gives a few other book and improvement recommendations.  Mentioned: Wolff-Rachels 1992, Fischer-Trifunovich, R. Byrne-Fischer, Pawn Structure Chess, Art of Defense in Chess, The Art of Attack in Chess, which is also available from Chessable,  Alexander Alekhine. Mikhail Botvinnik, Mikhail Tal, Zurich 1953   1:21:00- Patrick answers another listener question relating to whether he will ever write a chess book for intermediate players.    1:25:00- Thanks to Patrick for sharing his experiences! If you would like to reach him his email is: Patrick at  See for privacy information.
Aug 11, 2020
EP.188 - GM S.P. Sethuraman
S.P. Sethuraman is a Grandmaster and Author based in Chennai, India. GM Sethuraman is known as a dynamic and well-prepared player, and he has earned lofty titles such as the 2016 Asian Chess Champion and the 2014 National Champion of India among many others. He has now put his formidable opening knowledge to use by publishing a new book with Thinker’s Publishing. Beat the Najdorf and Taimanov Sicilians. It offers sharp lines against two of the more popular Sicilian variations. We discuss this book, as well as topics ranging from the life of a traveling chess pro during quarantine, to the highs and lows of his career, to why chess players should practice yoga and meditation.   I also enjoyed our usual discussion of chess books, chess engines, chess improvement and more. As always, please read on for more details and timestamps.   0:00- We begin by discussing how coronavirus is impacting India and GM Sethuraman, and he discusses his new book, Beat the Najdorf and Taimanov Siclians   Mentioned: GM Viswanathan Anand, GM R.B. Ramesh, Geert van der Velde of Chessable, Archangel Variation of the Ruy Lopez, Sicilian Najdorf, Siclian Taimanov, Daniel Vanheirzeele of Thinker’s Publishing, Sethuraman-Giri FIDE World Cup 2017, Anand-Ding Liren 2020   11:30- Chennai is one of the strongest chess cities in the world with both established and up and coming GMs among its residents. GM Sethuraman discusses how chess has grown there and in India generally, and answers a Patreon mailbag question about whether he has picked up any new hobbies during the time he’s been stuck at home.   Mentioned: GM Baskaran Adhiban, GM Pragganandha, GM Aravindh Chatrambaram, GM Sasrikan, GM R.B. Ramesh , GM Surya Ganguly’s YouTube Channel, GM Wesley So, GM Vidit Gujrathi’s Twitch Channel, Chessbase India YouTube Channel    21:30- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by There are great courses for purchase as well as free of charge. One of the latest is GM Pascal Charbonneau’s free, Short and Sweet: Legendary Chess course. Check it out here:   22:30- What did GM Sethuraman learn from training with GM R.B. Ramesh Mentioned: GM Jacob Aagaard, GM Sam Shankland, IM Stuart Rachels    29:00- What were GM Sethuraman’s toughest losses and most memorable victories? Mentioned: Le Quang Liem vs. Sethurman 2019, Wei Yi vs. Sethuraman 2016, Le Quang Liem vs. Ganguly 2016   32:00- GM Sethuraman tells a story about how seeing an interesting game, Karjakin-Anand 2006, ignited a fierce interest for him in opening theory and made an impression on his trainer, GM R.B. Ramesh.  Mentioned: GM R.B. Ramesh,   36:00- What are GM Sethuraman’s recent preferred books and training methods? Mentioned: Python Strategy by Tigran Petrosian, Alekhine’s Greatest Games, Positional Decision Making in Chess by GM Boris Gelfand, Gata Kamsky: Chess Gamer, David Navara: My Chess World   40:45- How widely available and affordable are chess books in India? What is the “chess business” landscape like there? Mentioned: India, Chessbase India,, 44:00- How would GM Sethuraman recommend that club players utilize engines?  GM Lawrence Kaufman, GM Erwin L’Ami, Stockfish, LeelaChessZero   49:00 GM Sethuraman takes a couple of questions from the chess Twitter community  Mentioned: IM Venkat Saravanan, Tal Chess Club in Chennai, Chessable   53:45- Thanks so much to GM Sethuraman for joining us. Keep up with him here: Twitter- Instagram- Book via Thinker’s Publishing (with a link to a downloadable free preview)- Book via Forward Chess- If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Aug 04, 2020
EP.187 - USCF Master and Cognitive Scientist Christopher Chabris returns!
Christopher Chabris is a renowned cognitive scientist, and co-author (with Daniel Simons) of the best selling book, The Invisible Gorilla.  Long-time Perpetual Chess listeners will know that he is also a USCF Master, an adult-improver, and a chess dad, thus making him a great recurring guest.  Since we have been discussing the science of learning a lot in recent conversations, I thought it would be a great time to check back in with someone with specific domain knowledge. Christopher walks us through the latest in scientific research, as it pertains to learning. This includes explanations of spaced repetition and how aging effects chess skill. Christopher also shares some thoughts about ways that chess learning could be properly studied scientifically.   Of course, there was a lot more to discuss than just the science of learning, so Christopher and I also talked about the latest, greatest chess books, what he learned from an online camp with GM Jacob Aagaard. He also told a few more  fun stories from his many chess adventures. As always, keep reading for more information and timestamps.    0:00- Since Christopher is a frequent Perpetual Chess Listener, we begin by hearing his perspective on the recent chess improvement tips that have been shared on the show, especially as they relate to the science of learning.  Mentioned: Listen to Christopher’s prior Perpetual Chess interview here: Also Mentioned: IM Erik Kislik    8:45- What do we really know for sure when it comes to chess learning?  Mentioned: Spaced repetition. Some of the information cited comes from a study by  Yana Weinstein, Christopher R. Madan, & Megan A. Sumeracki- Teaching the Science of Learning Christopher recommends this book for a general overview of the science of learning: GM Jacob Aagard, Perpetual Chess: Woodpecker Method book recap with Neal Bruce, Perpetual Chess Interview with NM Elijah Logozar, interleaving    20:30- Christopher tackles a couple of good Patreon mailbag questions relating to how one could conduct a study to test best practices in chess learning and how to correct any misconceptions that are cited about brain science in the chess world.   Mentioned: GM Jan Gustafsson, Malcolm Gladwell    33:00- What do scientists know about aging as it relates to brain function?    37:45- As always, Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by One of the many free courses that I like is GM Alex Colovic’s Short and Sweet: Queen’s Gambit Declined.    38:00- Christopher gives a “trip report” on an online chess camp he did with renowned trainer, GM Jacob Aagaard. Also mentioned: GM Leonid Shamkovich, NM Bruce Pandolfini, IM Erik Kislik    49:00- Christopher’s son is playing chess fairly actively, and gives an update on his progress.  Then he discusses the aspect of chess he is finding most challenging in his competitions these days, and how he is spending his study time. Mentioned: IM Jim Rizzitano, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy   57:00- Christopher is an avid chess reader, so he gives a detailed update on some chess books he has recently enjoyed. Mentioned: Gambit App Books here:, The Anand Files, The Road to Chess Improvement, Game Changer Improve Your Chess Now, Secrets of Practical Chess, GM Jonathan Rowson We also mentioned, but haven't yet read the following:  Think Like a Machine, GM Tukmakov ‘s Modern Chess Formula, The Powerful Impact of Engines   1:02:00- Christopher discusses some of the online leagues in which he has played and gives preparation tips as well as a general comparison of playing online compared to OTB. Mentioned:   1:16:30- Christopher was ready this time for the question of brushes with famous chess players! Mentioned: IM Dan Edelman, GM Anatoly Karpov, Deep Thought, GM Walter Browne, GM Patrick Wolff, GM Viswanathan Anand, Murray Campbell, GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Fabiano Caruana, Dan Smith, Twitter Chess Tournament    1:25:00- Thanks as always to Christopher for stopping by and sharing his knowledge and stories. Here is his info: Website- Twitter-   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess you can do so here:   See for privacy information.
Jul 28, 2020
Book Recap: My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer with guest co-host FM Donny Ariel
On this month’s edition of Chess Books Recaptured, I am joined by FM Donny Ariel to discuss one of the most acclaimed chess books of all time, Bobby Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games.  This book, of course needs little introduction. It is a game compilation that covers the period 1957-1967, a stretch that saw Fischer ascend from talented teen to the world’s elite. The book has been mentioned as a favorite countless times on Perpetual Chess, and was a formative one for both Donny and me. My co-host, like Fischer, is a New York native, who used to frequent the Manhattan Chess Club, and has heard stories passed down about Fischer throughout his chess-playing life. When Donny is not helping me recap chess books, he is a bankruptcy lawyer with 2 young kids at home, so I greatly appreciate his taking the time to help with this project. As always, you can find lots more details and timestamps below, and embedded hyperlinks are on the podcast website here: 0:00- We begin by talking about Donny’s background, and about the long shadow that Fischer casts in New York City, where Donny lives.    Mentioned: Profile of a Prodigy by Frank Brady, GM Garry Kasparov on Fischer in the NY Review of the Books, GM Alex Fishbein, Fischer-Geller 1967, Fred Wilson books-, The Art of Chess Analysis by GM Jan Timman, IM Kamran Shirazi, GM Larry Evans,    19:00- We share a few stories from those who had the experience of being alive when Fischer’s book came out in 1969. Mentioned: NM Fred Wilson, Richard Reich, GM William Lombady, Fischer-Gligoric Candidates 1959, Spassky-Fischer Game 1 1972    31:00- We discuss the available formats of the book. It is available on Kindle, but there it is not available on Chessable, Forward Chess or another e-book app that enables you to play through the moves. ,A LiChess study compilation here has all 60 games:,and lists the games here:, GM Jesse Kraai    34:00- My Great Predecessors Part 4 by Garry Kasparov is largely about GM Bobby Fischer, and it is a great way to study his games. It is available with MoveTrainer technology on   35:00- We read the introduction and then discuss the themes of the book a bit.  Mentioned: GM Larry Evans, GM Emanuel Lasker, NM Nick Conticello, Fischer-Lombardy 1960, GM Mark Taimanov, GM Bent Larsen, GM Tigran Petrosian, GM Peter Svidler    44:30- We share and discuss some of our favorite quotes from the book and talk about some of the most famous games. Mentioned: Fischer-Larsen 1958, Fischer-Larsen 1963/4, Agadmator’s Fischer-Botvinnik Recap, The Old Riddle of Fischer-Botvinnik by Karsten Muller for, Botvinnik-Fischer brief YouTube footage, Szabo-Fischer 1960, Fischer-Tal 1961,Endgame by Frank Brady , Fischer-Lombardy 1960, Fischer-Bolbachan 1962, Walther-Fischer 1959, Fischer-Gligoric 1959   1:10:00- Why did he choose the title “My 60 Memorable Games?”  Fischer-Celle 1964, IM Anatoly Lein, IM Kostya Kavutskiy    1:17:00- Getting back to our favorite games, Fischer-Geller 1967 is another fascinating game, despite its being one of the 3 in the book that Fischer lost.  Mentioned: Fischer-Benko 1963, Pal Benko: My Life, Games and Compositions, GM Jan Gustaffson, Fischer-Najdorf 1962   1:29:00- What chess improvement lessons can we learn from My 60 Memorable Games? For what level student is it appropriate? Mentioned: GM Hikaru Nakamura,GM Jesse Kraai,  Logical Chess Move by Move, Zurich 1953   1:48:00- Thanks to FM Donny Ariel for helping out! Next month’s book recap will be Blindfold Chess: History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games By Eliot Hearst and John Knott  If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can so here:   See for privacy information.
Jul 24, 2020
EP.186 GM Erwin L'Ami
35 year-old Grandmaster Erwin L’Ami has had quite a varied and interesting chess career thus far. He is one of the top players in the Netherlands, and has competed on every Dutch Olympiad team since 2006. He has had many impressive finishes in individal tournaments, including winning the 2015 Reykjavik Open. When not competing himself, Erwin is a highly respected opening theoretician, who has worked with former FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov and currently works with perennial top 10 player, GM Anish Giri. All of this makes Erwin the perfect person to publish a Lifetime Repertoires course on the Caro-Kann defense for Chessable. In our conversation, we touch all aspects of his chess career. Topics included how he works with engines, the life of a traveling second, the 2020 FIDE Candidates, Anish Giri and Magnus’ Carlsen’s twitter banter, the latest in Caro-Kann theory, improvement advice,and the identity of his favorite player of all time. As you can imagine, there is lots to dig into! Show notes and timestamps can be found below:  0:00- We begin by chatting a bit about the Caro-Kann and about Erwin’s new course. Why was now a good time to do a course on the Caro-Kann? This also includes talk of what sort of engine use goes into top-level opening preparation generally.    Mentioned: Leela Chess Zero, Stockfish Open Source Engine, Setting up Engines in Chessbase Video with John Hartmann of US Chess-, Jon Edwards, GM Viswanthan Anand   14:00- Erwin tells some stories about working with GM Veselin Topalov during his 2010 World Championship Match  Mind Master by GM Viswanthan Anand, The Anand Files by VIshwanathan Anand, Episode 177 with GM Peter Heine Nielsen   19:00- Should the format of the World Chess Championship be changed? Mentioned: Daryl Morey interview with GM Hikaru Nakamura- IM Greg Shahade, GM Magnus Carlsen, FIDE Candidates Tournament 2011   23:30- We talk about what it was like for GM Erwin L’Ami to travel to the 2020 FIDE Candidates tournament in Yekaterinburg, Russia and what he thinks of how the tournament was handled generally.  Mentioned: Perpetual Chess Episode 174 with GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov , GM Teimour Radjabov, GM Emil Sutovsky    33:00- GM Anish Giri has been showing great results in rapid and blitz chess lately. What is his secret to his improvement?  Mentioned: GM Ian Nepomniatchi, Chessable Masters 2020, GM Mikhail Botvinnik   41:00- We finally tackle the Girl-Carlsen “Twitter Beef!” Erwin answers two related questions from the Perpetual Chess Patreon mailbag! Mentioned:  IM Anna Rudolf   46:30- As always, Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable! Check out GM Erwin L’Ami’s Free Short and Sweet Caro Course here: Check out his comprehensive and impressive,  Lifetime Repertoire Caro-course here:   47:30- We talk about some of Erwin’s favorite chess books and a novel he has been enjoying.  Mentioned: On the Origin of Good Moves by IM Willy Hendriks, Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, My Great Predecessors, GM Jacob Aagaard, Game Changer by GM Mathew Sadler and WIM Natasha Regan    54:00- What is GM Erwin L’Ami’s Best Chess Improvement Advice?  Mentioned: GM Peter Svidler    59:00- Erwin tells the story of being in attendance while Garry Kasparov, his favorite player,  played one of his most famous games, vs. GM Veselin Topalov in Wijk an Zee in 1999.  Mentioned: Test of Time by GM Garry Kasparov   1:02:00- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks about the role that body language plays in top level chess.  Mentioned: GM Viswanthan Anand, GM Michael Adams, IM Stuart Rachels’ The Best I Saw in Chess, see Chess24’s coverage of Magnus’ 2014 blunder against Anand, here:   1:08:00- Erwin briefly discusses what it was like to be the student of famed trainer GM Vladimir Chuchelov, who has also worked with GMs Caruana and Anand.    1:10:00- What is life on the road like  for the second of a top 10 player?  Mentioned: GM Max Euwe, GM Jan Timman, IM Alina L’Ami, Jeroen Van Den Berg, organizer of Tata Steel Chess    1:20:00- We bring it back to the Caro-Kann, and Erwin answers some questions, including one from a Patreon supporter, relating to the theoretical state of the Caro Kann defense.  Mentioned: Panov-Botvinnik attack, Shirov variation, Short variation of the Advanced Caro  Mentioned: GM Danil Dubov, GM Alireza Firouzja, GM Vladislav Artemiev, GM Jan Gustafsson    1:28:00- Thanks to GM Erwin L’Ami for an insightful and enjoyable interview.  Get his Caro-Kann Chessable course here: Follow him on Twitter here:   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do here: See for privacy information.
Jul 21, 2020
EP.185 - IM Stuart Rachels
In 1993 IM Stuart Rachels was one of the top young chess players in the United States. He was the winner of  the U.S. Junior Championship in 1988, was United States co-champion in 1989-1990, and had played casual and tournament games with the likes of GM Garry Kasparov, GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Boris Spassky, and many others. So why did he decide to hang up the chessboard when he pursued a doctorate in philosophy? Stu answers this question in our interview, as well as discussing a few of the highlights from his great new book The Best I Saw in Chess. In the book, he tells some amazing stories and provides high level analysis of his many memorable chess skirmishes. In our conversation, we talk about how this 8 year project came to be, as well as Stu's future plans related to the chess world.  Please keep reading for more details, links and timestamps.    IM Stuart Rachels    0:00- Stuart walks us through the eight- year process of writing this book   Mentioned: FM Dave Gertler, NM Kyle Therrell, GM Garry Kasparov    8:00- How did IM Rachels, as a young chess prodigy, get to play Garry Kasparov in 2 simuls?  Mentioned: American Gambit (Some videos have been removed, so you have to jump around YouTube to different excerpts to watch the whole thing, but here is part 1- )   GM Alex Fishbein, GM Patick Wolff, Kudrin-Rachels 1989, GM Andy Soltis, GM John Nunn, FM Dave Gertler, My Great Predecessors, GM Yasser Seirawan    17:30- IM Rachels shares one of his many Yasser Seirawan stories, and shares a few more of his favorite memories from his life in chess.    Mentioned: IM John Donaldson, GM Samuel Reshevsky, GM Robert Byrne, GM Alexander Kotov, GM Miguel Najdorf, GM Boris Spassky, GM Tony Miles, GM Anatoly Karpov, Karpov-Miles 1980   25:00- GM Ben Finegold told me to ask Stu who he thinks is better, Kasparov or Carlsen? So I did!  Mentioned: Howard Stern, NM Dan Heisman, IM Vivek Rao, IM Jim Rizzitano, GM Patrick Wolff    33:00- My Great Predecessors Part 5 is now available on Chessable! Get it here:   34:00- We dive into the Perpetual Chess Patreon mailbag. Why did Stu decide to retire from tournament chess after so much success?   Mentioned: IM Vivek Rao, FM Mike Klein, GM Tal Shaked, IM Boris Kogan, GM Gata Kamsky, GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Ben Finegold, GM Larry Christiansen, Alexey Troitsky, Genrikh Kasparyan, Francois Labelle, GM Jonathan Rowson, Andrew Metrick, Joel Friedman, GM Maxim Dlugy    52:00- In 2017 Stu drove to St. Louis to see Kasparov, Anand and other greats at the St. Louis Rapid and Blitz. What was that experience like?   Mentioned: Allen Kaufman , GM Vassily Smyslov   57:00- What are some of Stuart’s favorite chess books?  Tal, Petrosian, Spassky and Korchnoi by GM Andy Soltis, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, Secrets of Practical Chess by GM John Nunn   1:04:00- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks Stu a question related to a story that  he heard about Stu’s ability to calculate as a kid and about the abilities of strong players generally to calculate and visualize.    1:10:00- Has Stu kept up with his chess peers from his active days? Mentioned: GM Ben Finegold, Adam Lief, Andrew Metrick, GM Joel Benjamin    1:14:00- Thanks so much to Stuart for sharing his experiences!    You can read an excerpt of his book from New in Chess Publishing:   You can buy the book from Amazon or New in Chess or Forward Chess: Lastly, you can email IM  Rachels at StuartRachels at    See for privacy information.
Jul 14, 2020
EP.184 - GM Kevin Goh (Adult Improver Series)
GM Kevin Goh Wei Ming is the seven- time champion of Singapore, and is a renowned  opening theoretician who wrote Chess Developments, Sicilian 6. Bg5 Najdorf, and has published many articles for  This year, Kevin earned the GM title at the relatively late age of 36 while working full time as the CFO of an oncology company! As Kevin tells us, earning the title was the culmination of a 10 year quest, which  involved many setbacks, much travel and time off from work and an indispensable support network of friends, family and a few GM mentors. Kevin’s inspiring story is full of good chess improvement advice no matter what title or rating you may be chasing. You can find many more details of our conversation and the related links and timestamps below.  02:00- We begin by discussing the current state of Coronavirus and chess in Kevin’s native Singapore, and the Chess against Covid initiative that Kevin and some friends of his recently started.    Mentioned: Chess against Covid initiative, Junior Tay, Olimpiu Urcan (see his great Patreon page here: ), GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov   8:30- Kevin walks us through his long journey to the GM title, which has been a nearly a decade-long quest as well as the highlight of his chess career.  Mentioned: IM John Bartholomew    14:00- Once Kevin decided to pursue chess full time, what study routine did he implement?  Mentioned: Perfect Your Chess, IM Erik Kislik, GM Gyula Sax, see Gyula-Sax-Kevin Goh 2011 here: Secrets of Spectacular Chess by GM Jonathan Levitt and FM David Friedgood, GM Daniel Fernandez, Chessbase India feature on Kevin Goh by Junior Tay here:, Episode 178 with IM Kare Kristensen   36:00- When Kevin got his 3rd norm in 2018, he needed just 7 more ELO points for the title, little did he know that these last rating points were far from a formality!  Mentioned: GM Ashwin Jayaram, IM Elect Donny Ariel!, GM Avetik Grigoryan, GM Boris Avrukh,    49:00- What did it feel like to finally earn the GM title in 2020 after all of these struggles?    51:00- has many excellent  “Lifetime Repertoire” courses including ones by GM Jan Gustafsson, IM Christof Sielecki and a brand new one on the Caro Kann, from GM Erwin L’ami. The place  to see the all of Chessable’s Lifetime Repertoire courses is here:     51:45- What is Kevin Goh’s chess improvement advice for fellow adult improvers?  GM Karsten Muller, GM David Smerdon, GM Tigran Petrosian, GM Anatoly Karpov, Positional Sacrifices by GM Neil McDonald, Karpov-Gelfand 1993: GM Jonathan Rowson , IM Willy Hendriks On the Origin of Good Moves, NM Elijah Logozar,    1:08:00- What is Kevin’s opinion and experience with The Woodpecker Method and spaced repetition generally?  Mentioned: GM Hans Tikkanen and GM Alex Smith, Recapping the Woodpecker Method with Neal Bruce , The Road to Chess Improvement. Caruana-Carlsen Game 1 2018 1:14:00- Patreon supporter of the show, FM Andrey Terekhov, writes in to ask his friend Kevin what his next goal is now that he has gotten the GM title.  Mentioned: Aeroflot Open, FIDE Online Olympiad    1:20:00- What advice did GM Jacob Aagaard give Kevin when he was stuck at a plateau?    1:23:00- Thanks so much to Kevin for sharing his story and his wisdom. Here is his contact info:  Facebook- Twitter- Email- kgwm83 at   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Jul 07, 2020
EP.183 - Rochelle Ballantyne
Rochelle Ballantyne is best-known in the chess world as one of the star scholastic chess players featured in the excellent 2012 documentary, Brooklyn Castle, which chronicles the lives of the students and teachers  at the scholastic chess powerhouse school, IS 318 in Brooklyn, New York. In the years since that movie, Rochelle has continued to pile up impressive achievements. She earned a BA from Stanford University, a Masters of Education degree from Columbia University, and has been accepted into the New York University Law School for the fall. Rochelle also had many scholastic chess successes, she attained a peak US Chess rating of 2127, and she actively promotes chess as an educational tool. Last, but most importantly, Rochelle has long been a staunch advocate for criminal justice reform and the Black Lives Matter movement.   She shares her perspective on this movement, both as it pertains to the chess world, and to the world at large. Please enjoy our wide-ranging conversation. Timestamps and relevant links can be found below.    We catch up on what Rochelle has been doing since she was featured in Brooklyn Castle.  Mentioned:  Elizabeth Spiegel on Perpetual Chess December 10, 2019 ,  Brooklyn Castle’s Website Lists Where You Can Watch The Movie, here:’  Read Melinda Mathews’ 2018 Interview with Rochelle here:   7:00- What is the update on Rochelle’s Chess Playing?  Mentioned: IM Greg Shahade, US Chess School   12:00- From her viewpoint as a woman and an African American chess player, what were Rochelle’s interactions like in the chess world?  Mentioned: FM Justus Williams, NM James Black, FM Joshua Colas, Stanford University,    23:45- A Patreon supporter of the podcast writes in to ask Rochelle how tournament players can help be supportive African American chess players. Mentioned: Alexandra Botez shares a personal experience about sexual harassment in the chess world:      29:00- The latest and greatest from Chessable is an updated and expanded comprehensive checkmate pattern course by CraftyRaf- check it out here:   30:00- What is Rochelle’s opinion of how race relations have been handled by the US Chess Federation and other entities?  Mentioned: Read the US CHess statement on Black Lives Matter here: Chess GIrls DC,’s Peter Doggers interview series, On Racism, can be read here: Bill Goichberg    38:00- Rochelle answers a few more listener-questions relating to education policy, both inside and outside of the chess world.  Mentioned: IS 318 Vice Principal John Galvin, GM Maurice Ashley, Queen City Classic Chess Tournament     47:00- Has Rochelle been attending any of the Black Lives Matter protests?  Mentioned: IM Greg Shahade’s Twitter and Facebook,     54:00- Does the fact that White moves first in chess have racist undertones in Rochelle’s opinion?  Mentioned: Jen Shahade, Alexandra Botez    1:00- Thanks to Rochelle, for sharing her perspective with us. Here is a list from Rochelle of Black Lives Matter causes and organizations that could use some support: See for privacy information.
Jun 30, 2020
Book Recap: The World Champions I Knew by GM Genna Sosonko
Welcome back to another monthly edition of Perpetual Chess, Chess Books Recaptured! This month, I am joined by electrical engineer, Chessable author, and chess blogger, Vjekoslav “Vjeko” Nemec. Like me, Vjekoslav is a big fan of GM Genna Sosonko’s writing, so we were eager to discuss one of his books. Vjeko and I agree that The World Champion’s I Knew may not be Sosonko’s best book, but due to its prominent subjects,  it might be the most accessible. Like his other books, The World Champions I Knew is marked by vivid first hand accounts and beautiful prose, and its high points make the book well worth reading. In his book, GM Sosonko writes about 7 different world chess champions, so Vjeko and I spent time sharing quotes and reflections about each essay, and ranked our favorite chapters. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  If you are not seeing embedded hyperlinks in your podcast feed,  you can find them here:   1:00- We begin by discussing why Vjeko Nemec wanted to discuss a book by Grandmaster Genna Sosonko, why we settled on The World Champions I Knew , and we share a few details from GM Sosonko’s fascinating life story.  Mentioned: Perpetual Chess interview with GM Genna Sosonko (June 2018), Smart Chip from St. Petersburg, Russian Silhoettes, The Reliable Past,  Evil-Doer: Half a Century with Viktor Korchnoi, GM Garry Kasparov    13:45- As always, Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable. Two of the many courses that you can check out right now are Vjekoslav Nemec’s The Modern Against Everything, and GM Sam Shankland’s new course, Lifetime Repertoires: Black Against the English, The Reti, and sidelines   14:30- We read a bit of the introduction to the book and give an overview of the book before discussing the book chapter by chapter.  Mentioned: The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein, John Hartmann,    19:00- The first chapter we discuss is the one about Jose Raoul Capablaca, which focuses on GM Sosonko’s interactions with Capablanca’s then wife, Olga Clark Capablanca.  The Genius and The Princess by Edward Winter   26:30- Next up is legendary world champion Alexander Alekhine Mentioned: Chess Historian Edward Winter on Sourcing 32:45- Smyslov  Mentioned: Smyslov on the Couch, The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn   45:00- Legendary Dutch Champion Max Euwe  Mentioned: Todd Bryant, Mike Zaloznyy   54:00- We discuss the chapter about Sixth World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik Mentioned: Soviet Outcast: The Life and Games of Grigory Levenfish, GM Viktor Korchnoi   1:02- GM Tigran Petrosian  Mentioned: GM Boris Spassky, GM Efim Geller    1:13- Tal time! We discuss the best part of the book, the chapter GM Mikhail Tal. Tal-Lautier 1992, Timman’s Titans, The Longest Game, Chess Duels by Yasser Seirawan, Tal Keller Zurich 1959, Steve Doyle, GM Alexei Suetin, Lev Tolstoy, Bacchus, Mythos by Stephen Fry   1:35:00- Thanks to Vjeko for helping out and sharing his knowledge! In lieu of payment for his efforts, Vjeko is donating to Tunde Onakoya’sChess in Slums Program. You can donate to support them here:   1:39:00- Blindfold puzzles of the month courtesy of SayChess1   Puzzle #1- White to move  White Pawn h4 King b1 Queen c2   Black Pawns g7 and h5 King h7 Queen g6 Puzzle #2- White to move   White  Rook a1 King d2   Black Pawns on b2 and c2 King b4!    Follow Vjeko on twitter here: Read his Chessentials blog here: Buy his Chessable course here: See for privacy information.
Jun 23, 2020
EP182 - IM Willy Hendriks
IM Willy Hendriks is a Netherlands based chess trainer, and an award winning author of two books:  Move First Think Later (2012) and his excellent new book, On the Origin of Good Moves. IM Hendriks is quite an impressive chess player and adult improver. He has two GM norms, and he attained his peak rating at the age of 43.  Eleven years later his 2438 FIDE rating is still not far from his personal  best. IM Hendriks and I had a fascinating conversation about both of his books ,and about the subject of chess improvement generally. Please read on for more details and time stamps.    2:30- After a brief intro we dig into how IM Hendriks came up with the original presentation style that distinguishes both of his books, as well as the unifying vision of chess that ties his books together.  Mentioned: Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker    12:00- Willy’s first book, Move First Think Later was critical of some well-known chess authors. Did the controversy that this book caused in the chess world surprise him?  Mentioned: IM Jeremy Silman, FM Carsten Hansen, Logical Chess Move by Move, Lasker’s Manual of Chess    18:15- We transition to discussing IM Hendriks new book, On the Origin of Good Moves, Mentioned:  Emanuel Lasker, Wilhelm Steinitz, William Purdy, Adolf Anderssen, and Paul Morphy   31:30- What sort of feedback has he gotten for his new book so far?  Mentioned: Richard James’ Review of Move First Think Later from British Chess News   34:30- Why does IM Hendriks think that one should, in fact, study openings frequently?  Mentioned: IM Kare Kristensen    40:00- Check out Alan B’s Free Chessable series focusing on attacking with each piece type here:   45:45- As a strong player near his peak rating in his 50’s, what are Willy’s own chess study methods? What are his general opinions about best adult improvement practices?  Mentioned: IM Levy Rozman, NM Christopher Chabris, Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations    58:30- OK but really, how is Willy staying so strong at chess? :)    65:30- Thanks to IM Willy Hendriks for joining the show. You can reach him and keep up with him via his website: If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can so here:   See for privacy information.
Jun 16, 2020
EP.181 - USCF Master Elijah Logozar (Adult Improver Series)
 Tennessee-based teenage improver (19 years old)  and prolific Chessable author and superuser NM Elijah Logozar has taken his rating from the 1700s to the USCF Master title (2200) in about 3 years!  He has probably improved even more in online blitz and puzzle rush, which he utilizes as serious training tools. As Elijah tells us, his “secret” is that he often spends 10 hours per day on chess, an approach that admittedly is not replicable for most of us. But Elijah also takes the science of chess improvement very seriously, and despite his young age, he is well-versed on the topic of chess improvement and aging. Elijah is also a big advocate of and exemplar of using spaced repetition and The Woodpecker Method, and he answers questions and shares insight on how he thinks to best use these training tools.  So all in all, there is a lot to learn about chess improvement in this densely packed conversation. Please sit back and enjoy.   As always you can find more information, timestamps and hyperlinks below.  04:00- After a brief intro Elijah dives into his experiences with spaced repetition in his training, and he talks about The Woodpecker Method in particular.  Mentioned: Recapping The Woodpecker Method and Rapid Chess Improvement wiith Neal Bruce, David Milliern, The Mozart Effect    19:30- Elijah Logozar’s Chessable courses are on sale at! Check them out here: 20:00- Elijah fields a question related to frustrations with using the Woodpecker Method. For what level chess player is it really appropriate? Is solving for accuracy or speed more important? Mentioned: IM Kostya Kavutskiy, Flamingo Chess’s Woodpecker-Related Blog Post , Pokerram’s Chess Diary on ChessTempo, Randy Julian, ChessIMO app  29:00- Elijah answers a question from a Patreon Supporter regarding other recommended methods of tactics training.  Mentioned: Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors, Dvoretsky’s Analytical Manual  40:00- Openings talk! A Patreon supporter asks, “What should you do if you consult two different authors on chess openings and they each recommend a different move?”  GameChanger by GM Mathew Sadler and Natasha Regan, Questions of Modern Chess Theory by Isaac Lipnitsky, Crush the Taimanov by Elijah Logozar  52:00- A Patreon mailbag question relates to how Elijah uses Chessable in his study regimen, and another relates to how to incorporate analyzing one’s games.  Mentioned: 100 Endgames You Must Know, Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual  57:00- This episode is brought to you in part by Decode Chess- a company whose software explains the suggestions of chess engines in plain language that you can understand. Go here to try it out for free: 58:00- One last Patreon mailbag question asks whether Elijah plays with training partners, and then we segue into the topic of Elijah’s favorite chess books.  Mentioned: ChessDojo Discord Channel, Aagaard’s Thinking Inside the Box, Secret’s of Modern Chess Strategy by IM John Watson, Move First Think Later, Quality Chess Books, Small Steps to Giant Improvement,  Dynamic Chess Strategy, The Road to Chess Improvement  1:13:00- Elijah volunteered to do an impromptu blindfold chess puzzle, so I read him a miniature that ends in a tactic. The game is here: 1:17:00- Thanks to Elijah for coming on and sharing his chess improvement experiences. You can reach him on these platforms: Chessable- Twitter- If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Jun 09, 2020
EP.180 - IM Levy Rozman
IM Levy Rozman is a 24 year-old, New York-based chess streamer, announcer and instructor. Levy has quickly found an audience online due to his ability to explain chess in a humorous and accessible way. In our conversation, we talk about the origins of Levy’s announcing career, his chess ambitions, and about the fast-changing world of Twitch chess streaming in 2020.  Please read on for lots more details, and timestamps. Embedded hyperlinks can be found on the podcast website here: 0:00- We dive right into a discussion of the ways that chess coverage on Twitch has been making news recently. This includes the continued ascension of GM Hikaru Nakamura’s popular Twitch channel Mentioned: GM Ben Finegold, Chessbae94, Alexandra Botez, GM Daniel Naroditsky    6:45- Levy traces the origins of his popular Twitch channel, Gotham Chess.  Mentioned: IM Eric Rosen, IM Alex Ostrovskiy, Alexis Parades, Brooklyn Castle, Baruch College,    15:00- Friend and Patreon supporter of the podcast, Chris Wainscott, asks Levy about whether he plans to pursue the Grandmaster title.  Mentioned:’s  I am not a GM tournament    23:00- What are  Levy’s goals for his Twitch channel? What recommendations would he give to others thinking of getting into Twitch streaming?    28:00- The Magnus Touch by Magnus Carlsen is still on sale at Get it here:   29:00- Levy tells the story of how he got his start as an announcer for Mentioned: GM Robert Hess, GM Daniel Naroditsky, IM Danny Rensch, Levy’s Recap of one of Magnus’ Recent Blitz Games,  Mr. Dodgy’s compilation of GM Magnus Carlsen’s recent Twitch stream, GM Peter Leko, GM Alexander Grischuk, GM Anish Giri, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Jan Gustafsson     35:00- Chris Wainscott asks Levy about the status of his amusing chess show, Post Mortem.   39:00- We also dive into a recent controversy involving and, and the way that the sites broadcast events that are sponsored by their competitors.    44:30- Levy answers another question from the Patreon mailbag, and gives some advice to a newer player who is having trouble avoiding blunders.  Mentioned: You can buy Levy’s opening repertoire course here:   51:00- A related question has to do with how a newer player should be using Chessbase.  Mentioned: The London System, The King’s Indian Attack    59:00- Levy fields a few fun questions from Twitter, and tells the story of why he got kicked out of legendary GM Arthur Yusupov’s chess camp as a kid.  Mentioned: International Chess Academy, Sam Copeland’s interview with Levy Rozman, Greg Shahade, IM Teddy Coleman, Jen Shahade, IM John Bartholomew, IM Alex Ostrovskiy   Thanks to Levy for coming on the show. Here is how you can keep up with him: Twitch: Youtube: Twitter:   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here.     See for privacy information.
Jun 02, 2020
EP.179 John Hartmann Returns Again
US Chess’s John Hartmann is always a popular guest on Perpetual Chess due to his relatability and his encyclopedic knowledge of chess books. As of June 2020, John will no longer be writing the book reviewer for Chess Life, because he has been promoted to editor of the magazine!  Nonetheless, John’s passion for chess books remains strong, and in this visit he gives us a comprehensive rundown on some of the best recent books. John also gives an update on his chess improvement ambitions,  and we spend a lot of time talking about how coronavirus is affecting the finances and plans of US Chess, and how it might change tournament chess generally.  (If you aren't seeing embedded hyperlinks in your podcast feed you can find them on the podcast webpage: ) 0:00- We begin by discussing how coronavirus is affecting tournament chess and especially the US Chess Federation. They are launching many exciting initiatives, but  are also facing some financial headwinds, as the US Chess President Allen Priest recently discussed in  a video. .  Mentioned: John Hartmann Perpetual Chess Appearance #1, John Hartmann Perpetual Chess Appearance #2, Chris Bird’s The TD Show, Jen Shahade, IM Carissa Yip, WGM Sabina Foisor, US Chess’ YouTube Channel,, IM Eric Rosen, Sunway Sitges Chess, GM Jesse Kraai, Steve Doyle, US Chess President Allen Priest, Melinda Mathews, Chess Life and Review Online Archives, Bob Sostack, Chess Life for Kids,, GM Jacob Aagaard on the US Candidates, Brian Karen, Ding Liren-Caruana 2020  You can renew Your US Chess Membership here:   35:40- Chessable’s newest release is from GM Simon Williams AKA the Ginger GM. Simon has recorded 30+ hours of video to accompany the classic chess book, The Art of Attack. It’s on sale now. Check it out here:   36:00- We talk about changes with the book review column for Chess Life Magazine, and about John’s favorite recent chess books.  Mentioned: IM John Watson, Beyond Material, Keep it Simple, 1. d4 , GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov’s The Benoni is Back in Business, Hein Donner: The Biography, GM Max Euwe  The Best I Saw in Chess by Stuart Rachels, On the Origin of Good Moves by IM Willy Hendricks The Nemesis: Geller’s Greatest Games, Douglas Griffin,  Coaching Kasparov, The Anand Files, Training Program for Chess Players, 1st Category , Bob Long, The Search for Chess Perfection, Dale Brandreth, Bobby Dudley, Fundamental Chess Strategies in 100 Games,     55:00- John talks a bit about what it is like to be a member of 365ChessAcademy, and to learn from GMs Aagaard, Ramesh and others.  Mentioned: GM Reinier Castellanos, IM Christopher Yoo, Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual, GM Karsten Muller, GM Alex Fishbein, Megan Chen’s Perpetual Chess Interview, Harold Stenzel    1:06:00- John answers some Patreon mailbag questions regarding the conditions under which OTB tournaments might eventually return.   Mentioned: IM Steffan Löffler’s Chessbase Article on Long-Distance Chess, GM Jesse Kraai, Jack Spence, Nassau Chess Club, IM Jay Bonin    1:18:00- Thanks again to John for joining the show once again. You can follow all of US Chess’ Podcasts here: Follow John on Twitter here: Sign up for the US Chess Fundraiser, “Blitzing Covid,” here:   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so  here: .    .  See for privacy information.
May 26, 2020
Book Recap: Judit Polgar's How I Beat Fischer's Record with Jen Shahade
This month for Chess Books Recaptured, my good friend Jennifer Shahade joins me to  talk about a book that we both absolutely love,  How I Beat Fischer’s Record by legendary GM Judit Polgar.     Of course, Jennifer is a great person to discuss this book, as she herself is quite an ambassador for female chess players, and among other distinctions, Jen is the two-time US Women’s Champion, and the host of 2 award winning podcasts, Ladies Knight, and The Poker Grid.  In this podcast, Jen and I share our favorite quotes, stories and games from this 2012 Quality Chess publication, and we also contextualize the life and legacy of GM Judit Polgar. Please read on for lots more details, hyperlinks and timestamps.  For embedded hyperlinks, go to the podcast website here:   0:00- We kick off by discussing how we decided to discuss Judit’s book, and to talk generally a bit about how Jen personally,  and the chess world generally, are being affected by the coronavirus.  Mentioned: Ladies Knight Podcast, The Grid Poker Podcast, Jen Shahade’s Twitch Channel The Polgar Sisters, Training or Genius? by Cathy Forbes, IM Not a GM Speed Chess Championship, IM Greg Shahade, St. Louis Chess Club’s Clutch Chess  10:00- We drill down more specifically into Judit’s book and her story. What is the background of the Polgars? Do Judit’s books get the credit they deserve? For what level is the book most helpful?  Mentioned: From GM to Top 10, A Game of Queens, David Llada, IM Eric Rosen, Lennart Ootes, GM Susan Polgar  Forward Chess- Use Promo Code “Judit” if you buy one of her e-books from them!  20:30- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by To check out the exciting new course from World Champion Magnus Carlsen, go here: Mentioned: IM Greg Shahade, IM John Bartholomew  23:00- We talk about how Judit changed women’s chess by eschewing Women’s Events in favor of mixed events. Will another woman follow in her footsteps?  Mentioned: GM Hou Yifan, GM Humpy Koneru, GM Humpy Koneru on The Ladies Knight Podcast, Free Excerpt of Judit’s Book from Quality Chess here: 31:00- We discuss some of our favorite quotes and stories from the book. Mentioned: GM Boris Gelfand, GM Susan Polgar, Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, My 60 Most Memorable Games, GM Pal Benko, GM Mikhail Marin, GM Boris Gelfand, GM Vasil Ivanchuk Gelfand-Polgar 1989, GM Jonathan Rowson, Magnus Kingdom app 48:00- It was tough to pick only a few favorite games each from the book, but we did! Here they are: Polgar-Chilingrova 1988 Polgar-Lars Bo Hansen 1989 Tisdall-Polgar 1988 Zifroni-Polgar 1990  Polgar-Flear 1989 Tolnai-Polgar 1991 Xie Jun- Polgar 1988 1:05:00- What are the chess improvement takeaways from this book?  Mentioned: GM Judit Polgar’s interview on Perpetual Chess, GM Alejandro Ramirez, Polgar at London Chess Conference, Irving Chernev’s Chessboard Magic, GM Garry Kasparov  01:27:00- Thanks so much to Jen for helping out this month. You can follow her on Twitter here. This month’s donation went to the US Chess Women Initiative.  01:28:00-  Next month we will be recappingThe World Champion’s I Knew  by Gennadi Sosonko, and Vjekoslav Nemec, from, will be helping me out!  Here are the Blindfold puzzles: Puzzle #1 1500 level White to move and win - White- pawns f4 and g5, king on d4, Black- pawn on a4, king on b4  NOTE ON PUZZLE #2 I READ THE PUZZLE WRONG, IN ADDITION TO THE PIECES I NAMED, WHITE ALSO HAS A QUEEN ON A2 Puzzle 2 2100 level?- White to move, mate in 2 White: King on a1, queen on a2,  pawns on e3 and e5, Rook on h1, knight on c7 Black- king on g7, pawn on g6, knights on g8 and e7, rook on f8   Puzzle #1 1500, (no answer) Puzzle #1 (with answer) Puzzle 2 (no answer) Puzzle 2 (with answer)   See for privacy information.
May 22, 2020
EP.178 - IM Kåre Kristensen (Adult Improver Series)
What is the likelihood that a fully employed dad in his mid 40s could bring his rating from 2200 FIDE up to  2400 and earn the title of International Master at the age of 54? I didn’t know the answer to this question, but this week’s guest, IM Kåre Kristensen actually did it!  Kåre was at such a low point in his chess in 2008 that he considered quitting.   But instead he stuck with it and became one of the relatively rare folks to earn the IM title past the age of 50!  How did he do it? What did he study? How hard did he work on chess? What does he do away from the chessboard? You can hear Kåre’s inspiring story in  this week’s Perpetual Chess. Please read on for more details and timestamps.    0:00- We discuss the impact of the coronavirus in Denmark, as well as a bit about Kåre’s professional and family background.    8:00- Chess talk time! IM Kristensen shares his “chess origin story,” and traces some of the ups and downs of his career, culminating in his earning the IM title at the age of 54!    24:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable. They have just released what may be their most exciting course to date, The Magnus Touch! Check it out here:   25:00- Kåre answers a few questions from The Perpetual Chess Patreon Mailbag relating to his experiences with the effects of aging on one’s chess game, and whether he has made any age-related changes to his game. .  Mentioned: GM Jens Kristensen, FIDE Title Application Webpage   43:00- Kåre shares the chess improvement methods that have been most effective for him, and gives a few universal tips.  Mentioned: Tactics Trainer Endgame App. GM Mikhail Botvinnik    57:00- Now that we know what Kåre studied, it’s time to find out how much he studied to keep improving! Mentioned: The Anand Files by FM Michiel Abeln, The Slav Defense, Grandmaster Chess Move by Move by GM John Nunn    1:05:00- Jaydeep Chakrabarty writes in to ask Kåre for advice about building an opening repertoire. Read more about Jaydeep’s new Digital Chess Board, named Rolling Pawn, here: Mentioned: My 60 Most Memorable Games    1:14:00- Another question from the Patreon mailbag: if Kåre could restart his chess career from scratch, how would he approach his studies?  Mentioned: Bent Larsen’s Best Games , IM Christof Sielecki,  1:23:00- Kåre tells a story from a long-ago tournament where he sat near a young Vishy Anand and took notice of his play.  Mentioned: Anand-DeFirmian 1986   1:30:00- Thanks so much to IM Kristensen for joining the show and sharing his experiences and advice. You can keep up with him as follows:  Email him here: Reach on Facebook here: See for privacy information.
May 19, 2020
EP.177 - GM Peter Heine Nielsen
This week on Perpetual Chess, we break from format a bit, as 5 time Danish Champion and world-class chess trainer, GM Peter Heine Nielsen, takes us behind the scenes of the night before a decisive game in a World Championship Match. The Match in question, was the 2010 World Championship between GM Viswanathan Anand and GM Veselin Topalov in Sofia, Bulgaria. The game was game 12, the final game of the “classical portion” of the match, with Peter Heine Nielsen and his fellow “ Team Anand” members, preparing Vishy to take the Black pieces against GM Topalov in a tied match with the World Championship and a $1.2 million Euro prize for the winner. How is it decided which opening will be played? How is work delegated among the team members? Why did 2 former World Champions and other chess heavyweights also pitch in to help with preparation this night? How did it feel when GM Anand won the game? GM Peter Heine Nielsen answers all of these questions and many more in a very fun and detailed conversation about a landmark game in modern chess history. You might want to play through the game in question before you listen, then sit back and enjoy the interview. More notes, timestamps and details can be found below.  0:00- We begin by discussing a bit of background about the match, with discussion of other relevant background information, and of how GM Anand and his team felt as they were going into the deciding game of the match.    Mentioned:  Team Anand Members: GM Peter Heine Nielsen, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov, GM Radoslav Wojtazek, and GM Surya Ganguly, Mind Master by GM Viswanathan Anand, 2008 FIDE Anand-Kramnik World Chess Championship in Bonn, Germany  For more background on this match, you can listen to the following  Perpetual Chess Interviews with: FM Michiel Abeln, GM Vishy Anand, GM Ivan Cheparinov, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov 10:00- What factored into GM Anand’s decision to surprise Topalov with the Queen’s Gambit Declined in Game 12?     21:30- Friend and supporter of the podcast, IM Kåre Kristensen, writes in to ask about the role that the “supercomputer” played in the match. It was rumored, though not confirmed, that Team Topalov was accessing a turbo charged chess engine to help with preparation. Mentioned:  Rybka Chess Engine   24:30-  None other than World Champion, GM Magnus Carlsen has a free lesson available on, called “The Magnus Touch.” To check it out, go here:   25:00- Once the opening for the Game 12 was chosen how was work delegated among the Team Anand members? How did former World Champion Kramnik end up voluntarily helping Team Anand, what about GM Kasparov?  Mentioned: Lasker Variation of Queen’s Gambit Declined, The Catalan, 2006 Kramnik-Topalov World Championship Match, aka Toilet Gate , GM Gata Kamsky, GM Magnus Carlsen, Topalov’s Manager Silvio Danailov, GM Anatoly Karpov, GM Boris Gelfand, “Elista Ending” of the Slav, as seen in Game 3 of the 2012 Match   40:45- Peter delves into the nature of the help given to Team Anand by then 19 year old GM Magnus Carlsen, and the unsung hero for prepping that night, British GM Luke McShane.    Mentioned: GM Elizbar Ubilava, The “problem” line that Peter mentions and that Luke McShane solved, can be seen in Peter Heine Nielsen’s  tweet here.    58:30- After all of this stressful prep, what did Peter and the other seconds do once Game 12 actually started?    Mentioned: GM Anish Giri’s annotations can be seen here:   1:15:30- Thanks so much to GM Peter Heine Nielsen for regaling us with his experiences. You can follow him on Twitter here:    If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can so here: See for privacy information.
May 12, 2020
EP.176 - GM David Howell
GM David Howell is the three-time champion of the United Kingdom and holds the record as the youngest player to earn the GM title in UK history. He has been a top 50 player in the world rankings and has a peak rating of 2712. He has been well-known in British chess circles since the age of 8, when he impressively beat GM John Nunn in a blitz game! As David tells, such accomplishments,have come with amazing opportunities, such as playing against and alongside GM Magnus Carlsen and training with GM Garry Kasparov, but he has also had to reckon with significant external expectations placed on him from a young age.  In the past year, David has also been getting more involved in chess media. He is now the chess columnist for The Times of London, was one of the broadcasters of 2019 Gibraltar Chess, and has begun doing entertaining “banter blitz” shows for David also recently released a great instructional DVD, called “Winning Grandmaster Methods: How I Got to 2700.” We discuss all aspects of David’s chess work, and David candidly relives the ups and downs of his chess career, and shares some of the standout stories and improvement advice from his DVD. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  0:00- We chat a bit about how the coronavirus is treating David, and what he has been up to lately, including his newly released instructional DVD with GingerGM productions.    Mentioned: Seaford UK, Fiona Steil-Antoni vlogs, Tarjei Svenson, GM Glenn Flear, Jonathan Tuck Get David’s DVD here:   12:00- David reflects on his early successes as a chess player, which included a highly publicized victory in a blitz game over GM John Nunn when David was only 8 years old.    Mentioned: GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Maxime Vachier Lagravel, GM Ian Nepomiatchi, GM Sergei Karjakin GM Gukesh, GM Nihail Sarin, GM Praggnanandha    17:00- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks what a player of David’s caliber sees in his head when he calculates.  Mentioned: IM Mark Dvoretsky’s books, WGM  Irina Bulmaga, IM Alex Astaneh Lopez The challenging study David mentions is here (courtesy of GM Howell). Study without solution- Study with solution and GM Howell's notes-   26:00- What was it like to have high expectations placed on him by chess fans once David was identified as a bright chess talent? Does he think about different paths his career might have taken based on different life choices?  Mentioned: GM Nihail Sarin, GM Alireza Firouzja   35:45- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable. If you want to work on knowing the classics and improving your calculation at the same time check out Chess Calculation Training 3: Legendary Games, by GM Romain Edouard    36:45- What was it like to travel to GM Garry Kasparov’s home to play training games with him in 2017?    43:45- GM Howell also helped Peter Svidler prepare for the 2016 Candidates Tournament.  What did he learn from that experience?    45:30- What does GM Howell think of this year’s FIDE Candidates so far?    46:30- Out of his recent jobs as banter blitzer, chess writer, chess announcer, and chess competitor, which is David’s favorite?    Mentioned: GM Jan Gustafsson    50:00- In the final rounds of the 2019 Isle of Man Grand Swiss, GM David Howell came agonizingly close to qualifying for the 2020 FIDE Candidates, but he missed out. How has he processed that experience?  Did it affect his mental health?  Mentioned: GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Simon Williams, WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni, GM Wang Hao-Howell 2019    57:30- David tells a few more fun stories about encounters with celebrities, both in and out of the chess world.  GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, GM Magnus Carlsen, Woody Harrellson, Dave Grohl    1:01:00- We discuss a bit more of what can be learned from David’s instructive and fun DVD, Winning Grandmaster Method, How I Reached 2700.   Mentioned: Short-Timman 1991, Fischer-Benko 1963, Howell,D-Bitalzadeh 2009,  GM Simon Williams, IM Simon Ansell,    1:05:00- Thanks to David for a fun interview.  Help him boost his follower count on Twitter and Instagram.    David’s Twitter here: David’s Instagram here:   If you would like to help support the podcast you can do so here:  See for privacy information.
May 05, 2020
EP.175 - GM Jesse Kraai returns
This week author, teacher, YouTube presenter and philosophy Ph. D, Grandmaster Jesse Kraai is with me again to share more of his wisdom. Given his academic background, it is always fun to hear Jesse philosophize about chess and life, and this was a good time to catch up with him as we talked about the ways that tournament chess is changing and speculated about how it might continue to change due to shifts in perspective brought on by the coronavirus. Naturally we also talked about lots of chess improvement ideas, as Jesse shared his current chess goals, his approach to chess, and outlined the vision of ChessDojo.  ChessDojo is a new online chess learning community that Jesse has launched together with IMs David Pruess and Kostya Kavutskiy. As always, please read on for more details and timestamps.  0:00- Jesse discusses his personal experiences with the coronavirus, something which fans of his Youtube videos saw him endure.   Jesse also discusses the ways that the coronavirus affects his chess teaching, Chessdojo, and how it might affect chess tournaments in coming years.   Mentioned:  Jesse Kraai’s first appearance on Perpetual Chess in October of 2017: GM Jesse Kraai’s Road Back to 2500 series IM Kostya Kavutskiy, IM David Pruess, GM Jesse Kraai  Chess Dojo YouTube channel    Chess Dojo discord  22:00- This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable!  Check out the excellent book Chess Structures with Chessable's MoveTrainer capability here: 24:00- What are Jesse’s core beliefs about how to improve at chess?  Mentioned:  Jesse’s video- The True Path to Chess Improvement  The Road to Chess Improvement by GM Alex Yermolinksy , Chess24’s Magnus Invitational  IM Greg Shahade,GM Garry Kasparov  34:30- We discuss’s fun ongoing tournament, The “I’m Not a GM Speed Chess Invitational”.  Mentioned: IM Danny Rensch, IM Greg Shahade, IM Christof Sielecki, IM Lawrence Trent, IM David Pruess, IM John Bartholomew, WGM Anna Zatonskih 38:30- How can club players go about learning structures rather than lines in openings?   The London System, The Colle, The Zukertort  45:45- A question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast asks Jesse if his background as a student of  philosophy shapes his views on chess.  Mentioned: GM Emanuel Lasker, Martin aka Saychess on Twitter, GM Capablanca, Chess for Life by Mathew Sadler and Natasha Regan, The Scandanavian expert whose name I was forgetting is GM Sergei Tiviakov  1:00:00- Our conversation transitions to a discussion of whether chess books are decreasing in popularity. Mentioned: GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez, IM Cyrus Lakdawala 1:06:15- A Patreon supporter writes to ask Jesse’s opinion of the TV show Stranger Things.  1:11:00- Thanks to Jesse for re-joining us!  Keep up with GM Jesse Kraai here:  Twitter: Website: Follow ChessDojo here:  YouTube: Twitch:  Discord:  Twitter:   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can so here: See for privacy information.
Apr 28, 2020
EP.174 - GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov
This week it’s my great honor to host former World Champion of chess, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov. In addition to winning the 2004 FIDE World Chess Championship title, Kasimdzhanov was the 1998 Asian Champion of Chess and finished 2nd overall at the 1999 World Junior Championship and the 2002 FIDE World Chess Cup.  These days, of course, he is best known as a world-class chess trainer, as for many years he assisted former World Champion Viswanathan Anand, and today he works with the world’s 2nd highest ranked player, GM Fabiano Caruana. GM Kasimdzhanov is a renowned opening theoretician, and he has produced many video courses for Chessbase, including the recently released The Benoni is Back in Business. Given such a varied and accomplished career, obviously there was a lot to discuss, including the controversial 2020 FIDE Candidates Tournament, which he recently attended with GM Caruana. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  (If you aren't seeing embedded hyperlinks in your podcast feed, you can find them here:   0:00- GM Kasimdzhanov begins by discussing the Chess24 Magnus24 Cup  and shares how Fabiano will prepare and adjust for the format of this tournament.  Mentioned: GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Ian Nepomniatchi, CNN article about Firouzja-Carlsen match, GQ-England chess article 8:00- GM Kasimdzhanov attended the now-postponed 2020 FIDE Candidates  in Yekaterinaburg, Russia with GM Fabiano Caruana. He shares his frustrations about the circumstances under which the event took place and discusses what might be done to complete the tournament.  Mentioned: GM Teimour Radjabov, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkavich, GM Magnus Carlsen, Lev Tolstoy, GM Ding Liren   29:30-Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by You can check out Chessable’s course about the Petroff defense,  Fight 1.e4 like Caruana by IM Chrisof Sielecki here:   30:00- Rustam answers a couple of questions from the podcasts’s Patreon supporters: What are the best and the worst aspects of being a second to a top player?  What was it like to play Magnus Carlsen at’s Isle of Man Tournament in 2019, given how much time GM Kasimdzhanov has spent helping Fabiano prepare for him?  Mentioned: GM Kasimdzhanov-Korchnoi 2002, GM Alireza Firouzja    42:30- What does GM Kasimdzhanov notice about the play of some of  the top teenagers in the chess world, including GMs Nodirbek Abdussatorov, Alireza Firouzja,  Nihal Sarin, D Gukesh?  Mentioned: GM Nakamura  46:00- What improvement advice could Rustam give for working chess enthusiasts?  Mentioned: The Anand Files by Michiel Abeln, Mind Master by GM Viswanathan Anand  49:00- Rustam shares what he discovered  in making his fun and informative new Chessbase course,  The Benoni is Back in Business, and he delves into ways that  he researches openings more generally.  55:00- GM Kasimdzhanov discusses a couple of the books he has read recently, chess and otherwise.  Mentioned: Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane, Sacrifice and Initiative in Chess by GM Ivan Sokolov    If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Apr 21, 2020
Book Recap: Woodpecker Method and Rapid Chess Improvement with Neal Bruce
This month on Chess Books Recaptured, I am joined by Neal Bruce. Neal is the head of product management for a software startup, a dad, and a dedicated adult improver who has built a following on Twitter by sharing a lot of the chess puzzles on which he is always working.    For this month’s book review podcast, Neal suggested that we discuss two groundbreaking chess tactics books, Rapid Chess Improvement (2002)  by Michael de la Maza  and The Woodpecker Method (2018) by GM Axel Smith and GM Hans Tikkanen. As we explain, these chess books have significant differences between them, but they share a common thread in that they both strongly emphasize the efficacy of using spaced repetition to better assimilate tactical patterns and to improve chess visualization skills. Whether you are a chess player, chess teacher or both, it is important to be aware of the benefits of spaced repetition and to give some thought to how best to incorporate it into a chess training routine. In our conversation, we summarize and offer our opinions of each book, and discuss the experiences that other chess players have had using the training methods that these books advocate. As always, please read on for lots more details, links and timestamps.    0:00-  We begin by introducing this month’s guest co-host, Neal Bruce.  Guest co-host application form here: Chris Chabris Perpetual Chess interview here:   7:40- First up is a discussion of the controversial tactics manifesto, Rapid Chess Improvement by Michael de la Maza.   Mentioned: USCF Master Dan Heisman, Dan Heisman’s article, The Michael de la Maza story, de la Maza’s Chess Cafe article here, GM Ben Finegold, IM Jeremy Silman, Silman review of Rapid Chess Improvement here: IM Christopher Yoo, Young-Kyu Yoo, thread discussing Rapid Chess Improvement, Polgar’s Chess Tactics for Champions, CT-Art    30:00- This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable. It provides a great way to train with and learn the Woodpecker Method. Check it out here:   31:00- We introduce and discuss the excellent 2018 book, The Woodpecker Method by GMs Axel Smith and Hans Tikkanen from Quality Chess.  Mentioned: Pump Up Your Rating by GM Axel Smith,, IM Andreas Skytte Hagen, and  Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin,  A free excerpt of the Woodpecker Method is available from this link:, IM Kostya Kavutskiy’s Steam of the Woodpecker Method can be viewed here:   51:00- We discuss the experiences that some other chess players have had using the Woodpecker Method. Mentioned: NM Elijah Logozar, IM Kostya Kavutskiy, IM Andrew Greet’s blog regarding The Woodpecker Method is here:, FM Gabriel Petesch, 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations by Fred Reinfeld    58:30-  We discuss some other tactics books that could be effective with the Woodpecker Method.  Bain- Chess Tactics for Students:  Simple Checkmates by Gillem Polgars Chess Tactics for Champions  Tactics Time 1 and 2  Practical Chess Exercises    1:04:00- I almost forgot to discuss Chess Twitter Superstar Mr. Dodgy’s success with De La Maza’s recommendations.  Mentioned: CT-Art 3.0 Chess Reddit Thread about Rapid Chess Improvement here: Jenn Shahade, How I Beat FIscher’s Record by GM Judit Polgar, The Metrowest Chess Club in Massachusets  1:09- Thanks to Neal Bruce for joining me, you can often find him at The Metrowest Chess Club in Massachusetts, and you can follow him on twitter here:  1:10- Blindfold Puzzle Time Puzzle #1-  White: Qa8, Ne2, Kb1 Black: Pawn h3, g2, King h2 Diagram without solution here:   Puzzle #2-  King on e6, Pawn on f5, Pawn on h2 Black- Pawn on g7, King on e4    Diagram without Solution here:   Diagram with Solution here:   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here:               See for privacy information.
Apr 17, 2020
EP.173 - USCF Master Philemon Thomas (Adult Improver series)
Philemon Thomas is an Albany, NY native who has been playing competitive chess for 14 years. During this period, Philemon has endured ups and downs, but his evident passion for the game has always kept him coming back to the board. In March of 2020, all of his hard work culminated with Philemon earning the title of USCF Master! This places him in the 98.8 percentile of US Chess’ tournament players, and he also is the first African-American chess master who is based in the Albany area. To hear the study tips and advice that Philemon has picked along this journey, please tune in to the interview. More details and timestamps can be found below.  2:30- We begin by learning a bit more about how Philemon got hooked on chess and what he has done to improve over the years.  Mentioned: Townsend Park in Albany NY, Franklin-Mercantile Chess Club in Philadelphia, Washington Square Park in New York City, Union Square in NYC 7:50- What books helped Philemon along the way?  Mentioned: My System by Nimzowitch, The Art of Attack , IM Jeremy Silman, IM Mark Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual , Darryl Perkins, Bobby Rotter, Aanarian Stevens, Smyslov Endgame Virtuoso, Dave Finneman  14:50- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by The Art of Attack in Chess is one of the many books you can read and train with on Chessable utilizing its MoveTrainer technology. Check it out here: 15:50- Patreon supporter of the podcast, Firas Siraf of the Apprenchess Twitch channel writes in to ask what lessons Philemon has learned from his chess learning experiences. Another listener asks about how he fights through plateaus.  Mentioned: The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal,  23:30- How does Philemon divide his chess study time? What his approach to chess openings?  Mentioned: CT-Art, The Magic of Chess Tactics by GM Karsten Muller  30:30- We walk through Philemon’s rating graph and he discusses the obstacles he encountered at various rating levels. Here is his rating graph: 36:00- We discuss Philemon’s different approaches to different time controls.  43:00- When did Philemon set the goal of earning the USCF Master title? What are his current goals?  45:00- Does Philemon think that chess is less popular amongst African-Americans than people of other backgrounds?  47:00- Philemon gives a few more chess recommendations based on his experiences. Mentioned: Think Like a Grandmaster by Alexander Kotov, Chess Books Recaptured: Podcast talking Think Like a Grandmaster with NM Christopher Chabris  50:00- Thanks so much to Philemon for joining the show. You can contact him or track his progress via his Facebook account: If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do here: See for privacy information.
Apr 14, 2020
EP.172 - GM Andy Soltis Returns
Despite having retired from his day job at the NY Post, noted chess author and historian GM Andy Soltis remains quite busy writing chess books. This week he returns to Perpetual Chess to tell some great stories and discuss the books that he has been working on since our last conversation, in September of 2018. In particular, we discussed GM Soltis’ new book, How to Swindle in Chess, and his recently updated classic, Bobby Fischer Rediscovered. Andy was able to also provide some great historical perspective on topics ranging from chess in New York City in past decades, to the 2020 FIDE Candidates, to the coronavirus. Please read on for further details and timestamps.    0:00- We begin by catching up a bit on the impact that the coronavirus had on GM Soltis’ travel plans, and Andy shares some great historical perspective on some New York City chess characters.    Mentioned: Marshall Chess Club, GM Robert Byrne and IM Donald Byrne, GM Arthur Bisguier, IM James Sherwin, GM William Lombardy, Caroline Marshall, Manhattan Chess Club, Bobby Fischer, IM Ray Weinstein, Bruce Pandolfini, GM Nicolas Rossolimo   13:15- When I spoke with Andy, the 2020 FIDE Candidates Tournament was ongoing despite the coronavirus, and he was able to provide some historical perspective on other historical tournaments that took place under unusual circumstances.  Mentioned:  Mannheim 1914 Chess Tournament, Alexander Alekhine, Frank Marshall, Efim Bogoljubov, Ian Nepomniatchi, Alexander Grischuk, Ding Liren-Caruana 2020, Capablanca-Marshall 1918, GM Mikhail Tal, Carlsen-So 2020, Fischer-Taimanov 1971 match, game 4,Bobby Fischer: The Greatest? By Max Euwe, Frank Brady, FM Asa Hoffman, My Great Predecessors: Volume 4    29:00- Andy expounds on an interesting column he recently wrote for Chess Life magazine, called The Half Life of Truth: How long is it relevant what the result would have been in a famous chess game with best play?  Mentioned: Bobby Fischer Rediscovered, Fischer-Celle 1964, Fischer-Blackstone 1964, Fischer-Spassky 1972 Game 1, The Complete Chess Swindler by GM David Smerdon    37:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Check out Garry Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors, using Chessable’s MoveTrainer here:   38:00- What did GM Soltis discover in researching his new book, How to Swindle in Chess  Mentioned: GM Viswanathan Anand, Keres-Geller 1962, Carlsen-Van Wely, Viktor Korchnoi, GM Emanuel Lasker   48:00- How should chess improvers stuck at home with extra study time spend that time?   Mentioned: GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Tigran Petrosian, GM Mikhail Tal, Ruth Haring, GM Peter Biyiasis, Eliot Hearst     55:00- In closing, Andy tells a story in which he compares his experiences after September 11 in  NYC to the current tense moments we are now living through.    Thanks, as always, to GM Soltis for sharing his chess knowledge with us. You can buy all of his books here:   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Apr 07, 2020
EP.171 - Chess Twitch Streamer GoldDustTori (adult improver series)
In the 16 months since she got into chess, 23 year old Chess Streamer GoldDustTori has seen both her online following and her rating grow quickly. As her rating graph shows, she has gone from not knowing what en passant is, to a blitz rating which recently topped 1600. In our conversation, Tori retells how she got into chess and chess streaming, and shares how her consistent focus on a few key aspects of chess improvement have helped her boost her rating.  Please read on for more details and timestamps.  0:00- FIDE Candidates Coverage Resources: Youtube, Chess24YouTube, US Chess YouTube, Powerplaychess  3:00- Tori introduces herself and explains how she got into chess and chess streaming.  Mentioned: TwitchCon, GM Eric Hansen of the Chessbrahs, WIM Alexandra Botez, IM Danny Rensch, John Urschel, World of Warcraft, GM Aman Hambleton, IM Eric Rosen  11:30- As Tori explains, when she started streaming chess, she barely knew the rules of the game. How has she gone from 0 to 1600 in less than 1.5 years?  Mentioned: Tori’s YouTube Channel, Her Twitch Channel, including archive  17:30- This episode is brought to you in part by You can check out their many tactics resources here: 19:00- Tori answers a few questions from our Patreon supporters relating to what time control she thinks one should play at in order to improve, and what she has learned from streaming with super strong players  like GM Daniel Naroditsky and GM Jon Ludvig Hammer?  27:00- Tori reflects on her first live tournament, which took place at the North American Open in Las Vegas in December of 2019.  Mentioned: IM Hans Niemann, GM Daniel Naroditsky, NM John Williams, drills/lessons 38:00- Tori discusses a recent special event in which participated: The Isolated Queens tournament, organized by Alexandra Botez and Jenn Shahade.  Mentioned: GM Irina Krush, WGM Katerina Nemcova  41:00- Tori fields a couple of questions and comments relating to how she deals with haters and trolls.  Mentioned: Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana, Scene from From Dusk til Dawn mentioned  by IM Christof Sielecki (starting at 1:50 mark) 54:00- GM Denes Boros writes in to ask how her perception of the chess world has changed as she has gotten to know it better.  Mentioned: National Open 57:40- What would Tori’s “bullet point” advice be for how to improve at chess?  1:01:00-- What are Tori’s current chess and Twitch goals?  Mentioned: IM Eric Rosen 1:07:00- Thanks so much to Tori for joining the podcast. Here is how you can keep up with her: Twitch: YouTube: Twitter: Instagram:   See for privacy information.
Mar 31, 2020
EP.170 GM Daniel King Returns
Two weeks after Part 1 of our interview GM Daniel King returns. We catch up on the all of the drama surrounding the first 6 rounds of the FIDE Candidates Tournament, both over the board, and away from the board, as the spread of the Covid-19 virus continues to be an unwelcome, but serious disruption to some wonderful chess games. Following the Candidates discussion, GM King updates us on the many other projects that have been keeping him busy, including a discussion of his forthcoming book, Sultan Khan: The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire. Please read for many more details and timestamps relating to this fun and wide-ranging conversation. If you are not seeing embedded hyperlinks in your podcast feed, you can find them here: 0:00-  We begin by discussing the FIDE Candidates. Why did Daniel cancel his plans to announce at the tournament, why didn’t FIDE call it off? Should/will they call it off now? And last but not least, what does GM King think of the chess so far?  Mentioned: GM Teimour Radjabov, Powerplay Chess, GM Jesse Kraii for Chess Dojo, GM Jacob Aagaard for US Chess, Giri-Nepomniatchi 2020 20:00- We discuss GM King’s forthcoming book, Sultan Khan: The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire. Daniel gives a bit of background about how he became enthralled by this story, and a taste of what we can read about in this book. Free excerpts of the book are available via New in Chess Magazine, and New in Chess Publishing.  Mentioned: Sultan Khan-Capablanca 1930, Sultan Khan-Tartakower Match, GM Daniel King’s Patreon page, GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Maia Chiburdanidze  40:55- This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable. Links for GM Harikrishna’s Game of the Day Analysis and Candidates Course and the Candidates sale are below: Candidates Course- Candidates Sale- 41:30- Daniel tackles a couple questions from a Patreon supporter of the podcast, relating to how he learned to speak German, and to the philosophy behind Powerplay Chess, Daniel’s excellent YouTube channel.  Mentioned: Daniel King’s Powerplay DVD’s from Chessbase, GM Alexander Morezevich, GM Nigel Short, GM Ruslan Ponamariov, GM Jan Gustafsson, GM Baskiran Adhiban  54:30- GM King discusses another project he has been busy assisting, a forthcoming Chessable course called Tournament Ready, by Alex and Sarah Longson.  Mentioned: IM Mike Basman, FM Alex Longson, WFM Sarah Longson  58:00- GM King shares some chess study advice for those who are stuck at home with extra time on their hands.  1:02- Daniel shares some stories about one of his other passions- playing music.  Mentioned: Geert van der Velde of Chessable, Juga on Jenn Shahade’s Ladies Knight Podcast  1:10- Thanks to GM King for coming back on the show! All the links you need to keep up with him are below  Youtube channel, Powerplay Chess: GM King’s Twitter: If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here:       See for privacy information.
Mar 24, 2020
Book Recap: Alex Yermolinksy's The Road to Chess Improvement with Bryan Castro
Welcome to another edition of Perpetual Chess, Chess Books Recaptured!  My guest co-host this month is Bryan Castro. Bryan is a dad, businessman, chess teacher and adult improver from Buffalo, NY. Bryan and I are both fans of GM Alex Yermolinksy, and we share a strong affinity for his instructive and readable 1999 chess-improvement memoir, The Road to Chess Improvement. We like this book so much that we were not going to let a global pandemic stop us from getting together and sharing our favorite quotes, games and chess-improvement takeaways from this somewhat underappreciated gem. Please read on for more details, timestamps and relevant links.  4:00- After a few programming notes, Bryan Castro joins the show and shares a bit about his personal background. 7:00- What does Bryan like about The Road to Chess Improvement?  Mentioned: Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, GM Jon Ludvig Hammer, IM John Watson’s Review of Road to Chess Improvement, Hear GM Yermolinksy’s interview on Perpetual Chess here: 10:00- Both of us used the original Gambit version of Road to Chess Improvement  11:00- What was happening in the chess world when this book was released in 1999?  Mentioned: GM Kasparov, GM Alexander Khalifman, GM Alexei Shirov, GM Viswanthan Anand  13:00- Bryan shares a bit more about Yermolinksky’s background.  Mentioned: GM Gregory Serper, GM Alexander Shabalov  15:00- For what level player is this book most helpful? 16:30- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable.  Check out GM Pentala Harikrishna’s 2020 FIDE Candidates “Game of the Day” analysis and accompanying course here:  17:30-  We dive into the book, as Bryan reads some inspiring opening paragraphs from The Road to Chess Improvement   Mentioned: GM Alekhine, GM Botvinnik,  20:00- We discuss the structure of the book and our favorite chapters.  Mentioned: Vladimir Zak 29:30- We share a few of our favorite quotes from the book.  Mentioned: GM Evgeny Bareev, GM Vassilly Ivanchuk, GM Peter Svidler, GM Vladimir Kramnik, GM Sam Shankland, GM Viktor Korchnoi, GM Jan Timman, GM Alexander Beliavsky, GM Mikhail Tal, GM Mikhail Botvinnik 40:00- We each pick a favorite game from the book.  Mentioned: GM Arthur Yusopov, Yermolinsky-Khmelnitsky 1995, Hjartarson-Yermolinsky 1996   45:00- What are the chess improvement takeaways from The Road to Chess Improvement?  Mentioned: IM Greg Shahade  48:00- How useful is the book for improvement?   49:00 What, if any, are our quibbles with the book?  Deep Blue vs. Garry Kasparov 52:00- Closing remarks and good bye to Bryan Castro. In lieu of paying Bryan for his efforts I will be making a small donation to the East Aurora Chess Club.  You can keep up with Bryan the following ways:  Bryan’s Youtube Channel here: Bryan’s website, Better Chess Training here: Follow him on twitter here: 56:00- Blindfold puzzles of the month: Puzzle #1- White to move, find the best move Solution #1- Puzzle #2- Black to move and win material e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Qf6 5. Nxc6 Qxc6 6. Qe2 Bc5 7. Nc3 Ne7 Qf3 Ng6 9. Bc4 Ne5 10. Qe2 {Black to move and win material} 0-1   Solution #2-   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Mar 20, 2020
EP.169 - FM Terry Chapman (adult improver series)
FM Terry Chapman is a  63-year old retired businessman, having floated his company on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in 1999, with a day one capitalization of over £100 million. The Terence Chapman Group Plc was a major sponsor of chess activities in Britain, but Terry is probably best known in the English chess community for his charity match against Garry Kasparov in 2001 (at two pawns odds), which he only narrowly lost, 1 1/2 - 2 1/2! As he discussed in the great book, Chess for Life by GM Mathew Sadler and WIM Natasha Regan, Terry retired in 2007 and started devoting a lot of energy to competitive chess. In the next handful of years, he took his rating from 2156 to a peak of 2331! Last summer, Terry came equal first in the British over 50's Championship, a title he was proud to add to his British junior championship title won 49 years previously. In our conversation, Terry catches us up on what has occurred since the 2016 publication of Chess for Life. He shares the chess improvement lessons he has learned over the ups and downs of the last 12 years. Please read on for more details and timestamps.    0:00- We begin by delving a bit into Terry’s chess and personal background. What life circumstances motivated him to ramp up his competitive chess in the year 2007?   Mentioned: GM Jonathan Rowson 7:00 How had the chess world changed in the years that Terry was busy building a career and raising a family? Did he feel rusty upon returning to the board?  Mentioned: Chessbase  13:00- A Patreon supporter of Perpetual Chess asks FM Chapman if he thinks one should change their opening repertoire as they get older?  Mentioned: NM Fred Wilson, GM Ben Finegold  17:00- What coaches has Terry worked with? Mentioned: GM Jonathan Speelman  21:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Here are a few of the tactics resources Chessable offers:  Mastering Mates: Tactics Time: Woodpecker Method: 22:00- Patreon supporter, and adult improver  NM Han Schut writes in to ask Terry to ask for an update about time trouble issues that Terry mentioned in Chess for Life.   Mentioned: GM Natalia Zhukova  32:00- What is a typical day of chess study like for Terry Chapman?  Mentioned: Chess Calculation Training Volume 2: Endgame by GM Romain Edouard, New in Chess Yearbooks, New in Chess Magazine  43:00- Terry has described himself as a bit of an opening specialist, but also says his memory is nothing special.  How does he pull that off?  Mentioned: Kotrianas on the King’s Indian  49:00 What other books does Terry recommend for Club players?  Mentioned: Aagaard Manual Volume 1, From Amateur to IM, Winning Chess Strategies, Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors, Pump Up Your Rating, Yusopov books, Everyman Chess Move by Move series  56:00- What is the latest on Terry’s chess progress?  1:00- Terry tells a few stories about brushes with chess legends, including playing a charity game with Garry Kasparov.  Mentioned: GM Tony Miles, GM Ding Liren, GM Vishy Anand, GM Vladimir Kramnik , Garry Kasparov on Desert Island Discs, Understanding Maroczy Structures by GM Adrian Mikhalchishin  1:15- Thanks so much to Terry Chapman for sharing his tips and some great stories. You can reach him via email here: If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here:   See for privacy information.
Mar 17, 2020
EP.168 - FIDE Candidates Preview with GM Daniel King
With the highly anticipated FIDE Candidates tournament starting in a matter of days, I am honored to be joined by Grandmaster Daniel King to preview the tournament. GM King is well known for his accomplishments as a chess player, journalist and announcer. The videos on his YouTube channel, Powerplay Chess, are always a must-watch for me.  GM King will be part of FIDE’s announcing team for this event, and we talked to him just days before he planned to leave for Yekaterinaburg, Russia for the tournament. We recorded this interview on Tuesday, March 10.  Please read on for details and timestamps.  0:00- Intro.  We set the scene for the FIDE Candidates Tournament and discuss the dramatic late entry of GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who is replacing GM Teimour Radjabov who withdrew from the tournament due to concerns about the Corona/Covid-19 virus.  Mentioned: FIDE World Senior Team Championship:  10:00- This episode is brought to  you in part by Chessable! Check out GM Simon Williams brand new course “The Black Lion” here: 12:00- The odds I listed for the Candidates come from Unibet UK, you can find them here (They have changed a bit since we recorded):  We discuss the individual Candidates in the following order:  13:00- GM Kirill Alekseenko  Mentioned: GM Ali Firouzja 16:23- GM Fabiano Caruana  19:00- GM Anish Giri  23:20- GM Alexander Grischuk  Mentioned: Chess24’s Candidates 2020 A Preview: GM Peter Svidler  26:15- GM Wang Hao  Mentioned: Chessbase India’s IM Sagar Shah interviews Wang Hao: 30:30 GM Ding Liren  34:30- GM Ian Nepomniachtchi  39:00- GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Mentioned: UEFA Euro 1992 Final:, GM Etienne Bacrot  45:00- Thanks so much to Daniel King for joining the show. You can watch the FIDE Broadcast with GMs King, Judit Polgar and Evgeni Miroschenko beginning on March 15 here: Subscribe to GM King’s PowerPlayChess here: Support GM King via Patreon here: If you would like to support Perpetual Chess via Patreon, you can do so here: Chess via Patreon, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Mar 12, 2020
EP.167 - IM Jop Delemarre
IM Jop Delemarre is a former Dutch Youth Champion who has been a full-time chess trainer since 2004. Over the years, he has worked with many strong young players who went on to earn IM and GM titles.  Jop is an expert in the Chess Steps curriculum, and was a student of one of its founders, Rob Brunia. Due to his expertise in the Steps Method, Jop recently offered a Chess Steps Certification Workshop, that I and a few other U.S. based chess teachers completed and greatly enjoyed. Jop joined me to discuss this workshop, share plans for potential future workshops, and to reflect on his career in general. Jop shared plenty of great advice for chess improvers and teachers alike. Please read on for more details and show notes.  0:00- Jop shares some details about his life background, and the background of the Chess Steps Method.  Mentioned: GM Robin Van Kampen, Chess Steps Method, Rob Brunia, IM Cor van Wijgerdan, NM Matan Prilleltensky, Paul Swaney, NM Shawn Hoshall, NM Han Schut, US Chess Digital Editor John Hartmann  11:50- A Patreon supporter of the pod writes in to ask if the Chess Steps Method can be used as a “stand alone” improvement method.  Mentioned: Chess Steps Manuals, Chess Steps Workbook, Chess Tutor CDs 21:30- IM Jop Delemarre gives more details about how an opportunity for a Chess Steps Teacher Training Workshop came about, and discusses what the future plans are for more teacher certification workshops.   Mentioned: Paul Swaney, Geert van der Velde  26:40- Question from friend and former guest of the podcast, NM Han Schut, about whether the Steps Teacher Trainer program is sanctioned by the founder of the Steps Method, IM Cor van Wijgerdan Mentioned: Han Schut on Perpetual Chess  31:00- For the teachers listening, and for those interested in learning more about this generally, I share a few of the lessons that I learned from completing Chess Steps Teacher Certification Training.  Mentioned: Email Jop here:,  39:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable. You can check out FM Kamil Plichta’s new course, Four Horsemen: The Sicilian Four Knights here: 39:30- Jop discusses the reasons why practicing things repeatedly is important to acquire chess skills.  Mentioned: Peter Newhall, Susan Polgar series, Yusopov series   47:00- Jop shares a few of his favorite chess books.  Mentioned: Techniques of Positional Play, Chess Lessons by Popov, Tatiana and Nadhezda Kosintseva, Greatest 525 Puzzles by GM Csaba Balogh, IM Mark Dvoretsky’s books, Aagaard’s books, GM Boris Gelfand’s books, My Great Predecessors by GM Garry Kasparov , Tactics Time, Elizabeth Spiegel, IM Jeremy Silman, Mastering Opening Strategy by GM Johan Hellsten, IM Herman Grooten  1:01:00- Jop shares a few highlights from his career as a chess competitor, including a mini match with Dutch chess legend GM Jan Timman.  Mentioned: GM Alexey Dreev, GM Evgeni Bareev. GM Anatoly Karpov, Delemarre-Brodsky 1994,  Delemarre-Timman 1995, Sokolov-Delemarre 1997, GM Loek Van Wely  1:06:00- As a polyglot, what language-learning practices is Jop able to apply to chess improvement?  1:14:00- Thanks to Jop for joining the show! You can reach him via email here: Visit his website here: You can learn more about the Steps method on the official website here: And you can order the Steps books in the If you would like to help support the podcast you can do so here:   See for privacy information.
Mar 03, 2020
EP.166 - GM Jacob Aagard and GM R.B. Ramesh Return
This week we feature a double attack from two of the premier chess trainers in the world! GM Jacob Aagaard is the co-founder of Quality Chess Publishing,  is an award winning author, and has worked with many elite grandmasters including GM Boris Gelfand and GM Sam Shankland. GM R.B. Ramesh, is an award-winning trainer and author, who has coached the India National Team many times, and has worked with many young talents including GM Pragganandha. GMs Aagaard and Ramesh are both return guests  to Perpetual Chess, as they visit to discuss their new project, This new site offers dedicated chess students worldwide the ability to access daily lectures from a cadre of high level trainers, including themselves. In addition to explaining the vision behind this new project, they fielded many chess-improvement questions from Perpetual Chess listeners and provided many insights about common issues faced over the board. As always, you can find more details and timestamps below.  (If embedded hyperlinks aren't visible in your podcast feed you can find them here: 0:00- We kick off by discussing the vision behind GM Aagaard and GM Ramesh’s new initiative, an online chess academy, called 365ChessAcademy.  Mentioned: GM Sam Shankland, GM Ivan Salgado-Lopez, GM Julen Arizmendi Martinez, IM Renier Castellanos Rodriguez, GM Sabino Brunello  16:00- What have been the unexpected challenges of launching this website?    19:30- This episode is brought to you part by You can check out the first two volumes of GM Arthur Yusopov’s acclaimed Fundamental chess series on Chessable, here: 20:30- We dive into some questions from the Patreon mailbag, beginning with Jacob and Ramesh tackling the age-old question of how to allocate one’s chess study time. Is it better to focus on improving your weaknesses or building your strengths in your game? As a baseline for club players, GM Ramesh recommends spending 60% of study time on middlegame, 20% on endgame, and 20% on opening.  Mentioned: GM Elizbar Ubilava   35:30- The next Patreon question relates to chess study.  How does one know when to switch areas of focus in study, and how to draw up chess training plans.  Mentioned: GM Sam Shankland, GM Boris Gelfand, GM Viswanathan Anand, Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual   45:00- Another Patreon supporter writes to ask how he can work to limit tactical oversights in his games.  Mentioned: Quality Chess’s Yusopov Build up Your Chess Series, 365 Chess Academy’s Youtube Channel  54:30- Another Patreon question: How can one structure studies such that they acquire actual chess skills instead of just chess knowledge?  Mentioned: Quality Chess Academy Camps: 1:00:00- One more question: Should we change our study approach as we get closer to a tournament?  Mentioned: John Hartmann, GM Jan Gustafsson  1:02:00- Why is it that GM Aagaard has said that he doesn’t believe in goals?  Mentioned:, S.M.A.R.T. goals, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big 1:06:00- Would GM Ramesh or GM Aagaard be interested in working on a World Championship prep team if an opportunity presented itself?  Mentioned: GM Boris Gelfand, The Anand Files, IM Christopher Yoo  Thanks again to Jacob and Ramesh to share so much of their wisdom about chess improvement. To find out more about their academy head on over to       See for privacy information.
Feb 25, 2020
Book Recap: Alexander Kotov's Think Like a Grandmaster with NM Christopher Chabris
We are back with another edition of Chess Books Recaptured, a monthly bonus pod where we break down the highlights, best quotes and chess tips to be derived  from a classic chess book. This month, I am lucky that a friend of the podcast, USCF Master, author, and renowned Cognitive Scientist Christopher Chabris, has agreed to join me to discuss the classic Soviet era book, Think Like a Grandmaster, by GM Alexander Kotov. Lots and lots more details and timestamps below. Enjoy! 😀 0:00- Chris provides a background details and shares why he wanted to discuss this book.  Mentioned: Christopher Chabris’ Perpetual Chess Interview, October 9, 2018,  Recommended by Perpetual Chess guests, GM Rafeal Leitao, GM R.B. Ramesh, and Adult Improver Stepian Tomic (aka Hanging Pawns), Book versions- Batsford paperback, Kindle version,  GM John Nunn, FM Graham Burgess  9:00- What was happening in the chess world when this classic was first published, in 1971?   Mentioned: 1971 in Chess (link includes top 10),  Zurich 1953, GM Bobby Fischer,  The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein by GM Genna Sosonko,  16:00- We segue into some biographical details about GM Kotov.  Play Like a Grandmaster, GM Mikhail Botvinnik, GM Vassily Smyslov, GM Grigory Levenfish, The Soviet School of Chess, The Soviet Chess School, Averbakh-Kotov 1953, Averbakh-Kotov Kingscrusher Video, LiChess Analysis Board, GM Viswanathan Anand  22:00- For what level of chess player is this book best suited?   24:30- Perpetual Chess Recaptured is brought to you in part by Chessable. If you are looking for a great improvement manual for club-level players, check out Chess Strategy for Club Players by IM Herman Grooten here: 25:00- We dive into the opening paragraph of the book and discuss the structure of Think Like a Grandmaster.  Mentioned: My System, Chess Fundamentals, Lasker’s Manual of Chess, Tree of Analysis, Candidate Moves  33:00- What have other authors written about the idea of “candidate moves”? Mentioned: IM Mark Dvoretsky’s Attack and Defense, Move First,Think Later, by IM Wlly Hendricks, Improve Your Chess Now by GM Jonathan Tisdall, Secrets of Practical Chess by GM John Nunn, GM Jacob Aagaard, GM Eugene Perelshteyn on Perpetual Chess, GM Arthur Yuspov  45:00- We exchange some of our favorite quotes from the book.   There are some fun ones. :)  Mentioned: GM Mikahil Botvinnik, GM Miguel Najdorf, Mr. Mike Shahade, Sitsfleisch, Spassky-Korchnoi 1968, Game 7, Hot-Cold Empathy Gap, IM Kostya Kavutskiy’s Blueprint: Time Management, GM Alexander Grischuk  1:03:00- We highlight a few of our favorite games that are mentioned in Think Like a Grandmaster  Mentioned:Rossolimo-Nestler 1950, Membership, Plater-Botvinnik 1947  Im Peter Romanovsky, GM Mark Taimanov 1:10:00- What are the chess improvement takeaways from this book? Mentioned: Sergey Belavenets, GM Salo Flohr, Gm Vassily Smyslov, GM Jonathan Rowson, GM Jacob Aagaard, IM Erik Kislik, Blumenfeld’s Rule  1:21:00- How useful for your chess improvement is this book?   1:23:00- What would we change about this book if we could?  Mentioned: Quality Chess Books 1:25:00- We share our closing thoughts on the book, including the reading of  a quote from IM Kostya Kavutskiy about why he included it in this fun and popular YouTube Video Top 4 Overrated Chess Books.  Mentioned: Pump Up Your Rating, Improve Your Chess Now  1:28:00- Thanks to Chris Chabris for sharing so much great insight.   You can keep up with him on Twitter or reach him via his website.  Mentioned: Maryland Chess Association, Donate to support the Washington International here:  Tournament Director Michael Regan’s Perpetual Chess Appearance  1:31:00- In keeping with our tradition, I leave with 2 blindfold chess puzzles. Here is the piece placement and the diagram links.  Puzzle #1-  White- Pawns on c5, d5 and f4, king on b2 Black- Pawns on d7, e7 and h7, King on b5  Puzzle- Solution Puzzle #2- White- Pawns on f2 and g4, Bishop on f5, Queen on h8, King on d8 Black- King on g5  Puzzle- Solution-   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here:   See for privacy information.
Feb 21, 2020
EP.165 - GM Viswanathan Anand
This week my esteemed guest is none other than five-time World Champion and living chess legend, GM Viswanathan Anand!! Vishy has been busy as usual with high-level chess, as Tata Steel 2020 recently completed, and the Greinke Chess Classic is coming up for him in April. GM Anand also has recently released  (with co-author Susan Ninan) the inspiring and illuminating book, Mind Master: Winning Lessons from a Champion’s Life. This brilliant book provides a springboard for us to discuss various topics about which Vishy has unique insights. They include the effects of aging on his chess game,chess in the era of super engines, reflections on World Championship matches, life as a dad, and the side effects of fame. Please continue reading for more details and timestamps. (If embedded hyperlinks are not visible in your podcast feed, you can find them here: 1:00- Vishy reflects on the highs and lows of his recently completed tournament,Tata Steel 2020. Topics discussed include how he copes with tough losses as compared to how he coped earlier in life.  Mentioned: Caruana-Anand 2020, Firouzja-Anand 2020, Anand-Vituigov 2020, Chessbase India- Anand gives an endgame lesson to Firouzja, IM Sagar Shah, GM Ivan Sokolov 9:00- The conversation segues to a discussion of the lost art of post-mortem analysis, and the broader topic of how computers have changed chess.  Mentioned: GM Elizbar Ubilava, GM Gukesh D, GM Alireza Firouzja 16:00- A Patreon/Paypal supporter of the podcast wrote in to ask Vishy how he manages to appear so composed over the board. His answer surprised me!  Mentioned: Chessbase India video: Vishy Anand on the 9 Best Games of his Career, Kramnik-Anand 2008  22:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by  Among many other great offerings, you can check out their free course, Tournament Tactics: Tata Steel Chess 2020, featuring game analysis from GM Harikrishna   22:30- Vishy fields another Patreon mailbag question relating to how he maintains elite status into his 50th birthday.  Mentioned: GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Ian Nepomniatchi, GM Nikita Vitiugov,  GM Ali Firouzja, GM Jordan van Foreest, Jeroen van den Berg (Tata Steel Organizer), GM Vladimir Kramnik,  October 2001 FIDE Top 100 list, 2013 FIDE World Chess Championship, 2014 FIDE Candidates Tournament , GM Judit Polgar, GM Alexander Morezevich,GM Vassily Ivanchuk, GM Boris Gelfand, 2017 FIDE World Rapid Championships 35:15- Is Vishy’s son enjoying chess? What are his other interests?  Mentioned: 38:00- Vishy reflects a bit more on prior world championship matches, and he expounds on a few memories and stories shared in Mind Master.  Mentioned: The Anand Files by Michiel Abeln, GM Ivan Cheparinov, Silvio Danilov, Susan Ninan 44:30- Another Patreon supporter writes to ask about the standards Vishy uses in selecting a World Championship preparation team.  Mentioned: GM Peter Heine Nielsen, GM Radoslaw Wotjaszek, GM Surya Ganguly, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov, GM Grzegorz Gajewski, GM Sandipan Chanda 49:00- Is there a scenario in which Vishy would help out on a World Championship team in the 2020 match? How does he handicap the upcoming Candidates tournament?  Mentioned: GM Ding Liren, GM Fabiano Caruana 54:30- Another listener writes to ask, “Are there downsides to being as famous as Vishy is, especially in chess circles?” This question led to Vishy’s sharing a couple of funny stories relating to being recognized or unrecognized in public.  1:02:00- GM Anand’s next tournament is the Grienke Open in April of 2020. Thanks so much to GM Anand for joining me.  You can follow him on twitter, and can buy his book from Amazon and many other chess book  retailers. If you would like to help support the Perpetual Chess, you can do so here:                 See for privacy information.
Feb 18, 2020
EP.164 IM John Bartholomew returns
I had a lot to catch up on with IM John Bartholomew 2.5 years after his first visit to Perpetual Chess. Then,  as now, John is best known for his very popular Chess YouTube channel, and for being the co-founder of   John has seen the company and his following continue to grow rapidly in the past few years, and as you may have heard, Chessable merged with GM Magnus Carlsen’s Play Magnus company in September of 2019. John also has recently released a large-scale  project, a Chessable video course , explaining the endgame classic, 100 Endgames You Must Know, and he even got to film a video testing the World Champion on the material from this vital chess book.  In our conversation, John gave some behind-the-scenes details on all of these exciting events. He also threw in lots of good chess improvement advice in reply to some good questions from listeners. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  If you aren’t seeing embedded hyperlinks in your podcast feed, you can find them on the podcast website here: 0:00- Ways to interact with the Perpetual Chess Community include: Twitter, Perpetual Chess Facebook Group, and now, Perpetual Chess is sharing podcast clips on Instagram! 2:00- We begin by discussing John’s recent trip to Wijk an Zee in order to film a YouTube video with World Champion, GM Magnus Carlsen. Mentioned: Perpetual Chess Episode 26 with IM John Bartholomew, Chessable CEO David Kramaley, John’s YouTube video testing Magnus on 100 Endgames You Must Know , Geert Van der Velde of Chessable, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Nikita Vitiugov, GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Jesus de la VIlla  10:50- The first Patreon mailbag question of the week has to do with how the Chessable interface responds when someone (such as Magnus) inputs a solution to a puzzle that is not the primary solution.  16:00- John digs behind the scenes of how he made his 19+ hour video course, and discusses how this project affected his work as a chess teacher.  Mentioned: Philidor position, Lucena Position, Vancura Position, John’s free Endgame Bootcamp Video, Floating Square, Bird’s Color Rule, IM Greg Shahade’s last Perpetual Chess Appearance  24:30- We discuss some of the points discussed in the Chess Reddit thread, Are Chessable video courses worth the money?   33:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable. As John mentioned, in addition to his video course, one can check out AlanB’s courses here: Chessable’s sale on the 100 Endgames You Must Know ends on February 16: 34:00- We switch to the topic of chess improvement and dig into the Patreon mailbag. John answers questions relating to his recent tweet  regarding planning chess study time, as well as one’s relating to the difference between IMs and FMs in chess skills, and what he notices in his most accomplished students.  Mentioned: IM Kassa Korley, The Woodpecker Method on Chessable, Checkmate Patterns by CraftyRaf, LiChess, Internet Chess Club  52:00- The last Patreon question requests some additional resources to drill endgames: Mentioned: Mastering Endgames Strategy, Chesstempo Endgame Drills, From Amateur to IM, Lifetime Repertoires: 1. E4 e5 with GM Jan Gustafsson  56:30- On John’s last visit to Perpetual Chess, he shared some good chess business ideas. Does he have more ideas?  Mentioned: GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Wesley So, Chessbrah’s YouTube, Fiona Steil-Antoni’s YouTube Vlogs ,, IM Danny Rensch,, Play Magnus, IM Dmitri Schneider 1:05- What was it like for John to teach Bullet chess  phenom, GM Andrew Tang, aka Penguin GM, as a scholastic player? The puzzle John gave GM Andrew Tang can be seen here-  (to see the solution turn on the Engine icon just below the chessboard):  Mentioned:  Tune Your Chess Tactics Antenna, GM Robert Hess  1:10- Thanks to John for coming back on the show! John’s YouTube Channel: John’s Twitter: John’s 100 Endgames Video Course: Perpetual Chess Patreon Page: See for privacy information.
Feb 11, 2020
Ep, 163- USCF Tournament Director Michael Regan
  By day, USCF Tournament Director Michael Regan is an Observatory Scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute.  By night and weekend, he runs some of the most player-friendly chess tournaments in the United States, primarily in the Maryland/Washington DC area. Michael joins me this week, to share all of his insights and secrets, gained from many years of figuring out to how to improve the player experience at weekend chess tournaments. We talked about everything from hotel booking, to fair play to punctuality to hygiene. This is an important conversation for any active tournament player, so please take a listen. Timestamps and more details can be found below.  0:00- Perpetual Chess is now on Instagram! You can also interact with me and the Perpetual Chess community  via Twitter and the Perpetual Chess Facebook Group .  3:00- Michael goes a bit into his chess background, and shares what frustrated him about the other tournaments in which he and his son often played when he first got into chess. Michael’s primary frustration was with tournaments that often started late.  Mentioned: DGT Chess Boards and Clocks 11:30- Michael shared a lot of insight into the mechanics of booking hotels for chess tournaments.  Mentioned: The Baltimore Open (coming this weekend)  19:00- Why does Michael prefer to run tournaments with time increments rather than delay?  24:30- What does Michael think of the arguments that there needs to be shorter time control as well as more break times during chess tournaments? Mentioned:  IM Greg Shahade’s most recent Perpetual Chess Interview  30:00 This episode is brought to you in part by Check out John Bartholomew’s video course explaining the endgame classic 100 Endgames You Must Know: 31:00- Michael answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast regarding how to handle a small tournament field with large rating gaps among the players.  33:30- We discuss the dreaded issue of fair play. How can we prevent people from cheating using engines?  39:00- How can we promote better hygiene among chess players and thus limit the risk of illnesses and viruses being spread?  43:00- What is going on with Michael’s chess game?  45:00- Michael’s closing advice for those looking to make chess tournaments better are: Start on time Provide equipment (helps start on time)  49:50- Why does Michael often use a prize payment structure of paying a fixed amount based on players’ scores, rather than paying “1st place, 2nd place, etc.:?  52:00- Thanks so much to Michael for sharing his ideas and for coming on the show. If you would like to try one of his tournaments and find out what it’s like to be treated like a professional, you can see his upcoming schedule on the Maryland Chess Association website.  If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess you can do so here:   See for privacy information.
Feb 04, 2020
EP.162 - GM Ivan Cheparinov
GM Ivan Cheparinov is a very active player whose name can regularly be found amongst the top 50 players in the world,. He attained a peak rating of 2718, and has won or tied for first place in many tournaments, including the 2007 European Individual Championships, the 2014 Gibraltar Chess Festival, and the 2009 and 2010 Ruy Lopez Masters.   He has just released his first book, with Thinker's Publishing, called Cheparinov's 1. d4. As we discuss, this is to be the first of a multi-volume project, and offers some fighting lines to play against the Grunfeld and King’s Indian defenses.  Last but not least, Ivan was former FIDE World Champion, GM Veselin Topalov's second for 7 years, and had some great stories to tell from those times. He also dispensed a few important recommendations about the importance of visualization training and fitness for chess players. Please read on for more info and timestamps.  If you aren't seeing embedded hyperlinks on your podcast feed,you can find them here: 2:30- Ivan joined me days before jetting off to the Gibraltor Chess Festival. At the beginning we discussed how he prepares before a big event such as this.  Mentioned: WGM Antoaneta Stefanova (his wife) 4:15- We dive into his book, Cheparinov’s d4, which is available from Thinker’s Publishing (Thinker’s website includes a free preview),  and is also now available on Forward Chess.  Mentioned: Grandmaster Repertoire 1.d4 by GM Boris Avrukh, GM Veselin Topalov, GM Jan Gustafsson’s Lifetime Repertoire, GM Ding Liren, GM Vishy Anand, GM Wesley So, GM Gawain Jones, GM Bassem Amin  18:50-A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks for a less common opening recommendation to use in play against 1. D4 for club players.  Mentioned: The Benoni, The Benko, The King’s Indian, The Grunfeld Opening, Nimzo-Indian, The Slav  21:30 Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable. If you are a club-level player who would like to improve her visualization skills, check out this cool course called Visualize: 22:30- GM Cheparinov worked with GM Veselin Topalov for 7 years. He shares some stories and reflections from that period.  Mentioned: Topalov-Kasparov 2005 (Kasparov’s last game) , Topalov-Kramnik 2008, GM Jan Smeets  31:00- With the recent publication of the books The Anand Files and Mind Master, a lot of information has been shared about the 2010 Anand-Topalov World Championship match in Sofia, Bulgaria, so I was excited to ask GM Cheparinov (a team Topalov member) about some of the details.  Mentioned: GM Erwin L’Ami , Topalov-Anand World Championship Game 12, GM Vladimir Kramnik  42:00- Both GM Viswanathan Anand and Anand Files author, Michiel Abeln, wrote about Anand’s team’s  fears that team Topalov had a “super computer” at their disposal in 2010 to help with World Championship preparation- Was this true?  Mentioned: Silvio Danailov, Rybka Chess Engine, GM Romain Eduoard, Thinker’s Publishing  47:00- What are GM Chepariniv’s current study methods? What did he do as a rising scholastic player?  Mentioned: GM Vassily Ivanchuk, GM Boris Gelfand, Csaba Balogh’s Chess Books, Perfect Your Chess  59:00- Thanks to GM Cheparinov for joining the show. You can keep up with him via Facebook. Watch his last few rounds of the Gibraltor Chess Festival here.  If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here:     See for privacy information.
Jan 28, 2020
EP.161 - Geert van der Velde (Chief Content Officer of
This week’s guest, Geert van der Velde, is a semi-retired rock star who has recently managed to  turn his passion for all things chess into the role of Chief Content Officer for   Geert is quite knowledgeable about chess books, chess history, and chess teaching, and we hit all of these topics in our conversation. Geert was also able to share lots of information about some exciting projects in the works at Chessable, as well as trends of which we should be aware in the chess education space generally. More details and timestamps can be found below.  If you are not seeing embedded hyperlinks in your podcast feed you can find them here: 0:00- Geert delves into his chess background and talks about how his passion for chess was born and how it was revived in the past decade.  Mentioned:  BIll Wall’s Chess Website, My Great Predecessors, My Best Games of Chess by Alexander Alekhine, Alekhine BBC Interview YouTube clip, GM Neil McDonald, Chess Books Recaptured: Bobby Fischer goes to War 9:00- Geert shares how he ended up in his current role as Chief Content Officer at  12:30- We take a detour into Geert’s background as a successful touring rock musician, most prominently for a band called The Black Atlantic. Check out their music here: 14:45- We return to Geert’s chess background.  Mentioned: How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman , Grenke Chess Open, Chessable’s 100 Endgames You Must Know, IM John Bartholomew, GM Jorden Van Foreest, GM Jan Gustafsson,  22:00- What does Geert’s work for Chessable entail?  Mentioned: GM Sam Shankland’s Small Steps 2 Success on Chessable, GM Wesley So, Chessable’s “Lifetime Pro” Membership deal will only be available for a few more weeks, Chessable CEO David Kramaley on Perpetual Chess, GM Alex Colovic, GM Pentala Harikrishna, Memory Champ Simon Reinhard, Memory Games on Netflix, Moonwalking with Einstein  35:50- This show is brought to you in part by Chessable- As we discussed, one of the many great books you can learn online is 100 Endgames You Must Know: 36:50- A supporter of the podcast sent in some great Chessable-related questions pertaining to when Chessable’s IOS app will be coming and other Chessable business-related questions.  Mentioned: NM Mike Zaloznyy, IM Dmitri Schneider  44:00- What books would Geert most love to bring to Chessable? As a chess dad and part time chess teacher, what are Geert’s favorite apps for kids who are learning chess?  ERROR ALERT- Contra what I said, Magnus Trainer is available on Ipad. I apologize for the mistake!  Mentioned: How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman , The Chess Steps Method, Magnus Trainer,, Chess Steps: Chess Tutor Program , Cor van Wijgerden 53:00- We discuss Geert’s plans for attending the ongoing Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Can spaced repetition be used to learn music?  Mentioned: Black Atlantic’s Most Popular Song,I Shall Cross this River, has been streamed 31,000,000.   Thanks to Geert for being on the show, you can keep up with him via Chessable and Twitter.  If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do here:   See for privacy information.
Jan 21, 2020
Book Recap: Bobby Fischer Goes to War with guest co-host Chris Wainscott [Chess Books Recaptured Series]
Welcome to another edition of Chess Books Recaptured, a monthly Bonus Pod. This month, we tried something different and are recapping an enjoyable and informative chess history book, Bobby Fischer goes to War  by David Edmonds and John Eidenow. This book gives a deep and broad history of the “Match of the Century” between challenger Bobby Fischer, and World Chess champion, GM Boris Spassky, in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1972. To help me discuss the book, I enlisted the help of long time friend of the podcast, Chris Wainscott. Chris is a part time chess journalist, and a full time chess junkie and adult improver.  For lots more details of what we discussed, please keep reading. If you aren’t seeing hyperlinks in your podcast feed, you can find them here: 2:00- We being by introducing guest co-host Chris Wainscott, and discussing why we picked Bobby Fischer goes to War  for this month's book recap.  Mentioned:  Recap of Life and Games of Mikhail Tal here, and Reassess Your Chess by IM Jeremy Silman, here. One Move at a Time podcast  with Chris Wainscott 8:00- I read the Kindle Version of Bobby Fischer goes to War, Chris read the Paperback version. Audiobook link here.  9:00- What was going on in the chess world in 2005 when Bobby Goes to War was published.  Mentioned: GM Garry Kasparov, FIDE World Champion GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov, GM Vladimir Kramnik  14:00- What other writing should we be aware of regarding the Fischer Spassky match? Mentioned: Edward Winter post on Fischer-Spassky, Fischer gegn Spassky by Freysteinn Jóhannsson and Friðrik Ólafsson (Reykjavik, 1973),  and Fischer World Champion! by Max Euwe and Jan Timman  15:30- We give a few biographical details about the writers, David Winter and John Eidenow  16:30- For what level chess player is this book suited?  18:30- This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable, check out My Great Predecessors, Volume 4, on Chessable to see GM Garry Kasparov’s reflections and annotations on Bobby Fischer (among others).  19:30- We dive into the book, Chris reads the opening paragraphs and we discuss some key events surrounding the match and the structure of the book.  28:30- What were the major themes of the match/book?  Fischer-Spassky Game 1, Game 5, The Anand Files by Michiel Abeln  31:30- We read a few of our favorite quotes from the book.  Fischer-Spassky Game 13, GM Awonder Liang, Bobby Fischer Against the World, IM Anthony Saidy, Paul Marshall, GM Nikolai Krogius, Psychology in Chess by Nikolai Krogius, GM Larry Evans, GM Anatoly Karpov, GM Mark Taimanov  41:00- What were our favorite games that were mentioned in the match? Spassky - Petrosian Game 5 1969 , Spassky-Fischer Game 3, GM Evgeny Bareev, IM John Watson’s The Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy  44:50- What were our favorite anecdotes from the book?  GM Lothar Schmid, Chester Fox, Saemi Palsson, Jim Slater, Reykjavik Open 2020 , Victor Jackovich  53:20- Are there chess improvement lessons to be derived from this book? 57:00- What are our quibbles with this book?  Mentioned: George Steiner’s Field of Force, Paul Morphy, NY Times Review of Bobby Fischer Goes to War  1:02:00- Coming next month, recapturing Think Like a Grandmaster by Alexander Kotov,  with Christopher Chabris. 1:02:00-  Thanks to Chris Wainscott for helping out this month! He will be generously  donating his compensation for this project to US Chess Women.   Keep up with Chris via twitter, Facebook and his blog  1:04:00- Blindfold chess puzzles of the month, here they are: Puzzle #1- Black to move and win  White- Pawns on h2, g2, d5, a2, Rook on f1, King on h1, Queen on d7, Bishop on a3 Black- Pawns on h7, g7, f7, d6.  King on g8, Bishop on f8, Rook on e8, Queen on d4 Puzzle- Solution- Puzzle #2- Black to move and mate in 4, only the checkmating solution counts! White- pawns on h2, g3, f2, e3, king on e2, queen on f3 Black- pawns on g7, f7, king on g8, Queen on c3,Bishop on b3  Puzzle- Solution- Thanks for listening.  if you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here:       See for privacy information.
Jan 17, 2020
EP.160 - Antonio Radić (aka Agadmator)
This week it is my honor to be joined by Antonio Radić, the creator of the most popular Youtube Chess Channel in the world, Agadmator’s Chess Channel!  In about 3 years, Agadmator has taken his channel from 0 to an astounding 539,000 subscribers! In our conversation, Agadmator takes us from the channel’s modest beginnings to its current status. We spent a lot of time talking about his “secret sauce,” and discussing the past and future of Antonio’s content creation.  Antonio is also a strong chess player, with a peak ELO at over 2000, so we also discused his chess playing goals, chess improvement and chess books as well. Timestamps and links can be found below.  If you are not seeing embedded hyperlinks on your podcast feed you can find here: 0:00- To check out the World Championship chess mugs, go If you decide to buy a set of mugs, use the code “perpetualchess” at checkout to save 15%. 2:00- We begin by discussing the origins of Antonio’s chess channel. What were his goals and visions?  Mentioned:  IM Sagar Shah of Chessbase India’s Interview with Agadmator, Bobby Fischer Beats a Chess Grandmaster in 10 moves, Mikhail Tal vs. Alexei Suetin: Not Bad for a Dead Man Video, Chess Network’s Chess Channel, Here are Agadmator’s Videos sorted from oldest to newest, Ivanchuk vs. Shankland video, GM Eric Hansen 11:00- Did Antonio’s enthusiasm for video games inform the way he presents his chess videos?  14:30- When did Antonio first think of quitting his job to focus on his Youtube channel? 17:00- What is the origin of his deep love for chess history?  Mentioned: GM Mikhail Tal, GM Anatoly Karpov, GM Garry Kasparov, GM Judit Polgar, Paul Morphy, Blue Yeti microphone 20:00- Antonio gives some details on the podcast that he has hinted at starting.  Mentioned: Jose Raoul Capablanca  23:00- Antonio reflects on his trip to London for the last World Chess Championship match in London, and we discuss the 2020 World Chess Championship match a bit.  Mentioned: GM Ivan Saric  26:00- Antonio fields a couple of questions from Patreon supporters of the show on the subjects of how he learned English, and why he thinks his chess channel is so popular.  33:45- When the Agadmator channel began, what were the most popular chess channels? How does he build a community via his YouTube channel? Mato Jelic, KingsCrusher, The Chess Channel, John Bartholomew, A Song for Bobby Fischer, by GM Eugene Torre, Rashid Nezhmetdinov Chess Biography  This episodes is brought to you in part by Check out GM Alex Colovic's latest Chessable offering, Break-down Anti-Sicilian's here:   39:30- Does Antonio have a rooting interest in the Candidates Tournament that will determine who will face Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship?  Mentioned: GM Vassily Ivanchuk, GM Ding Liren, Fabiano Caruana, 41:00- What are a few of his favorite chess books?  Dimitrije Bjelica- My Friend Bobby Fischer (not available in English?) , Spassky Move by Move, Chess Fundamentals by Capablanca , Strategy and Tactics books by Georgy Lisitsyn, Olympiu Urcan, Video: Imagine if he Were a Najdorf Specialist 44:30- Antonio breaks down a recent tournament in which he played, how it went for him, and shares his  plans (or lack thereof) for future tournaments.  48:00- Another Patreon question- Can Antonio tell whether a GM game is a fast or slow game based on the quality of the moves?  Mentioned: GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Andrew Tang 49:30- We talk about Agadmator’s beloved dog Medo, who can often be seen in the background of his video. 52:30- What other projects is Antonio working on? In closing we discuss his channel a bit more, specifically how Antonio deals with haters and negative feedback.  58:30- Thanks to Antonio for coming on the show! Here is his info:  YouTube- Twitter- Instagram- If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here:   See for privacy information.
Jan 14, 2020
EP.159 - IM Greg Shahade Returns Again
With the Pro Chess League (of which he is the commissioner) set to resume on Monday, January 6,  it was a great time for my old friend, IM Greg Shahade to make another visit to Perpetual Chess. Greg broke down all of the changes that have taken place with the league’s format, and previewed some some of the interesting matches and players that we will see this season. We also had a lot of chess news to talk about, ranging from the World Championship Candidates selection process to some recent speed chess controversies involving prominent chess professionals. Greg also dispensed some great advice on chess improvement in our wide ranging conversation. Please read on for more details and timestamps!  If you are not seeing embedded hyperlinks in your podcast feed, you can find them here: 0:00- We start off by getting Greg’s perspective on some recent chess controversies, both “online” and offline. These include a controversial blitz game between Magnus Carlsen, and strong young GM Alireza Firouzja, and a not safe for work, viral clip of a blitz game by super GM Gata Kamsky. Mentioned: IM Lawrence Trent, Video of IM Shahade vs. IM Trent Grudge Match, FIDE World Rapid and Blitz, Zhigalko-Nakamura controversy, Chess24 “Famous Effing Legend”,  16:00- We follow up on another controversy, GM Kirill Alekseenko’s selection for the wildcard spot in the upcoming Candidates’ Tournament.  CORRECTION- I mentioned the wrong tournament in which Alekseenko excelled, he came in 3rd place in the FIDE Grande Swiss, not the FIDE World Cup.  Mentioned: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave’s Open Letter regarding qualification process, MVL interview with’s Peter Doggers, GM Anish Giri  26:00-  The Pro Chess League is coming back, with major changes to the format! Greg tells us  the reasons for the changes and discusses some of the teams to watch out for. The first match takes place on Monday, January 6 at 2pm EST.  Mentioned: St. Louis Arch Bishops, Fabiano Caruana, GM Leinier Dominguez, GM Wesley So,GM Le Quang Liem, GM Alexander Grischuk, GM Alireza Firouzja, GM Ivan Saric, GM Anish Giri, New York Marshalls, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Sam Sevian, Turkey Knights, Armenia Eagles,GM Gabriel Sargissian, Poland Hussars  36:30- We discuss the exciting changes that are taking place with faster time controls and Chess960 becoming more popular at the Elite level.   Mentioned: Puzzle Rush World Championship, Speed Chess Championship, New in Chess Magazine  44:00- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks, “How would Greg change tournament formats for the casual chess players?”  Mentioned: Bill Goichberg of the Continental Chess Association  53:30- Chess improvement talk! A couple of Patreon supporters submitted questions to Greg regarding improvement. Questions include: 1) Is there is a chess book that hasn’t been written, but should be?   Mentioned: GM Jan Gustafsson, A Grandmaster, actually tried the novelty Greg mentioned. 1:04- Greg submits his resume to join #TeamScandi! Mentioned: IM Lawrence Trent, GM Bryan Smith  1:08- A couple more Patreon mailbag questions- Who was the youngest IM Greg lost to in a serious game? And a listener asks for practical advice about how to think about the imbalances from Jeremy Silman’s Reassess Your Chess.  Mentioned: GM Alex Lenderman, Perpetual Chess Recaptured: Reassess Your Chess  1:17- Is chess a sport? Does it really burn one zillion calories? 🤔 Mentioned: The Grandmaster Diet: How to Lose Weight While Barely Moving 1:19- A Patreon supporter asks: “What does Greg do for a living anyway?” Mentioned: The 5 Best Chess Books I Read in 2019, IM Lawrence Trent, GM Simon Williams 1:26- Greg tells the story of a long-ago blitz match he played with a young GM Hikaru Nakamura  1:29- We discuss some nonsense relating to Greg’s television viewing habits.  Mentioned: Humans, Brooklyn Nine Nine  1:31- Has Greg read any chess books lately?  Mentioned: Tal-Botvinnik 1960, FM Mike Shahade,  Inside Chess Magazine, IM John Donaldson, GM Yasser Seirawan, IM Vivek Rao 1:36- Thanks to Greg for coming back on. Be sure to tune in to the Pro Chess League starting Monday, January 6 at 2pm EST.   If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Jan 05, 2020
EP.158 - GM Jan Gustafsson returns again!
It’s an annual tradition!  Popular Chess24 personality,  noted opening theoretician and friend of Perpetual Chess, GM Jan Gustafsson returns to the show! Jan has just released his first Chessable course, Lifetime Repertoires: Jan Gustafsson’s 1. e4 e5 , so it was a great time to catch up with him. In addition to discussing the details of his course, and a bit about the theoretical trends of double king pawn openings, we also discussed Jan’s near term plans with Chess24, past and future World Championship matches, plus much more. Please read on for more details and timestamps.    0:00- We kick off by discussing a few recent Bundesliga games of Jan, and Jan’s impressive new Chessable course,  Lifetime repertoires: 1. e4 e5 Mentioned: German Chess Bundesliga (aka Schachbundesliga), Fatih Baltic-Jan Gustafsson 2019, Gustafsson-Naumann 2019, LeelaZero, Rybka, Stockfish, IM Christof Sielecki, GM Larry Kaufman, IM David Vigorito   15:00- We transition to discussing a popular Chess Reddit thread, in which Jan dared to criticize the theoretical status of the King’s Gambit opening.  Mentioned: The End of the King’s Gambit by GM Ivan Salgado. The Petroff defense   21:00 - A couple of  our Patreon supporters ask  some questions relating to Jan’s current work plans and the business of Mentioned:  Essential Pawn Structures by GMs Jan Gustafsson and Laurent Fressinet, GM Magnus Carlsen    28:00- How much credit does Jan deserve for  GM Magnus Carlsen’s Fantasy Football (soccer) League dominance?  What are the latest trends in coffee consumption?  .  Mentioned: flat white coffee, cold brew coffee, Bulletproof coffee, GM Laurent Fressinet, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave   31:30- We revisit a topic we discussed in our very first Perpetual Chess interview.  How important is talent in chess?  Mentioned: Magnus documentary   34:30- Jan recently read The Anand Files by recent guest of Perpetual Chess, FM Michiel Abeln, so I was very excited to pick his brain about it, based on his experiences on World Championship prep teams.  Mentioned: GM Peter Heine Nielsen, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov, GM Radoslaw Wotjasek, GM Surya Ganguly, The Exchange Slav, IM Gary Lane, Facebook Chess Book Collectors Group, GM Cristian Chirilia, GM Alejandro Ramirez, GM Leineir Dominguez    47:00- What are Jan’s early thoughts on who will win the 2020 World Championship Candidates Tournament (for the right to face Magnus Carlsen in the next World Championship Match)? Mentioned: GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Ding Liren, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, GM Peter Svidler, GM Alexander Grischuk, GM Anish Giri, Wijk an Zee chess (aka Tata Steel Chess)   54:30- We discuss a few movies, TV shows and podcasts, with a tinge of chess improvement philosophizing at the end.   Mentioned: Barry, Succession, Bill Burr, Jeselnik and Rosenthal Vanity Project, How Neal Feel, Two Bears One Cave, Frozen 2, Parasite, FM Fatih Baltic , IM Yochanan Afek, The Lowe Post, The Bill Simmons Podcast, Hollinger and Duncan NBA Podcast, and US Chess Podcasts   Thanks to Jan for coming on the show! The best place to keep up with him is on    Catch Jan Gustaffson’s prior Perpetual Chess visits here: Episode 2- Episode 62- Episode 115-   If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: If you would like to help support the podcast via Patreon, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Dec 31, 2019
Episode 157- IM David Vigorito
IM David Vigorito is a Massachusetts-based chess player, author and trainer. As a player, David been the state champion of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Nevada. He has also competed in the U.S. Championship and has been among the top 50 player in the US. David and his publisher, Quality Chess, have just released his 9th book,  Playing the Najdorf. David also has been  a tremendously accomplished adult improver. As his USCF rating graph shows, he took his rating from the 2200s in his early 20s to a peak of 2565 in his 40s in 2013! In our conversation,  we dug into how David was able to improve so much at a phase when many others stall. Naturally, we also spent some time discussing the state of the Najdorf variation of the Sicilian. Please read on for timestamps and more details!    0:00- We begin by discussing David’s chess background, with an emphasis on how he gained so many rating points in his 20s.  Mentioned: FM Dennis Monokroussos,  Pawn Structure Chess by Soltis, Art of Defense, IM Mark Dvoretsky, GM Ulf Andersson, Inside Chess Magazine, New in Chess Magazine, Chess Informants  16:00- David answers a question from the Perpetual Chess Patreon mailbag about what advice he would give to other working parents who want to improve at chess.  20:30- One of David’s  old schoolmates writes in to ask for David’s thoughts about the nature of chess talent.  30:00- David traces the arc of his career as a chess writer, beginning with his decision to write his first Quality Chess book, Challenging the Nimzo-Indian.  Mentioned:  Gambit Chess Books, IM James Rizzitano, Everyman Chess, The Sicilian Dragon, GM Daniel King’s Winning with the Najdorf, GM Larry Kaufman, IM Christof Sielecki, Sozin, Nikolaos Ntirlis, The Sicilian Sozin by Golubev  46:00- Chess opening talk! How can a non-professional player handle the complexity of the Najdorf? What can attacking players play against 1.d4?  Mentioned: The King’s Indian Defense, The Grunfeld Defense 55:00- Another supporter of the show writes in to ask David to assess the past and present of the Boston, Massachusetts chess scene.  Mentioned: GM Alex Ivanov, 2020 Charlotte Open, North American Open, 2020 Foxwoods Open 1:02- Does David worry about giving away too many opening secrets?  GM Alex Khalifman, GM Hikaru Nakamura Thanks to David for a fun conversation! You can keep up with him via his website here: His book is available through Quality Chess and Forward Chess.  If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Dec 24, 2019
Book Recap: Talking Silman's Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman with Todd Kennedy [Chess Books Recaptured Series]
We are back with another Chess Books Recaptured Bonus Pod. This month, we recap the classic chess improvement manual, Reassess Your Chess (4th Edition), by Jeremy Silman. To help me discuss the book, I enlisted the help of Todd Kennedy. Todd is an adult improver, as well as being a dad, husband, actuary, chess player and chess fan. For lots more details of what we discussed, please keep reading. If you aren’t seeing hyperlinks in your podcast feed, you can find them here: 0:00- My guest go-host, Todd Kennedy, shares a bit about his life and his chess background, and discusses why Reassess Your Chess is a favorite book of his.  Mentioned:Robert Katende initiative , Chess Books Recapured Episode #1- Recapping The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal with NM Sam Copeland 12:00- I share a couple reflections and observations about the impact of Reassess Your Chess, from prior guests of the show, IM Sagar Shah , and IM Cyrus Lakdawala, and we discuss some biographical details about IM Silman.  Mentioned: Chess Historian Edward Winter’s post on Chess book sales, Amazon’s Best Selling Chess Books    22:50- To order or find out more about the Chess World Championship Mugs go to, if you decide to purchase them, you can save 15% if you use the discount code “perpetualchess”   23:40- We dive into the book, beginning with Todd’s reading the first sentence, and a discussion of the structure of the book and our favorite chapters. Here are the imbalances Silman covers in the book:  Superior minor piece, pawn structure, space, material, control of a key file, control of a weak square, lead in development, initiative, king safety, and statics vs. dynamics. 30:45- We take turns reading and discussing our 3 favorite quotes from the book.  40:00- We each pick some favorite games from the book.  Mentioned: Volokitin-Delchev 2004 (p. 292), Catig-Mills (p.266), Karpov-Yusopov 1993 (p.304) Read Silman’s follow up post about the Micky Mills game here: 45:00- We discuss our primary takeaways for chess improvement  from the book.  Mentioned: The Seven Deadly Chess Sins,, Adrien Demuth’s Chess24 London Course  53:00- How useful is this book for chess improvement?  56:00- Do we have any quibbles with the book? Mentioned: Forward Chess, The Anand Files, E-plus Chessbooks App, Chessify  1:02- Thanks to Todd for his great work recapping Reassess Your Chess. Keep up with Todd on here.  Puzzle #1- from Reassess Your Chess, page 45, 4th edition, guessing 1400 level  White: King on h1, Pawn on a4, Bishop on a2 Black: King on g7, knight on d8 White to move and win   Puzzle #2- guessing 2200 level?  From Pocket Training Chess Book #2 by GM Lev Alburt and Al Lawrence White- King on c1, Pawn on h6, Bishop on B8 Black- King on h4, Pawn on e5, Bishop on d4 White to move and win   Puzzle 1 diagram- Puzzle #1 solution-    Puzzle #2- diagram Puzzle 2 Solution-   If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Dec 20, 2019
EP.156 - FM Michiel Abeln
In addition to his day job, in which he maintains a senior leadership role at Shell Oil, FM Michiel Abeln is a chess trainer and a chess journalist. Late this year, he and Quality Chess Publishing released his book, The Anand Files: The World Championship Story 2008-2012. It is an incredible book, which goes deep into the ups and downs, games, opening theory, and most of all, the emotions of GM Viswanathan Anand’s team during the 2008, 2010 and 2012 world championship matches. In our conversation, Michiel takes us from the nervous beginnings of this project, through to many of the interesting details he learned and decisions he made in terms of how to structure the book. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  If you are not seeing embedded hyperlinks on your podcast feed, you can find them here: 0:00- We dive right into the Anand files, as Michiel discusses why he decided to donate the proceeds of The Anand Files to charity. Michiel also tells the fascinating story of how this project came into existence.  Mentioned: Eric Van Reem, Cathy Rogers, GM Vladimir Kramik, GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly, GM Peter Heine Nielsen, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov, GM Radoslaw Wojtasek 18:30- Why did Michiel decide to delve so deeply into opening analysis in his book? Mentioned: IM Sagar Shah’s interview with Michiel Abeln, GM Veselin Topalov    23:00- For more info on the strong chess robot Square Off! Order now and enter online coupon code SCHACH for 20 percent reduction! If you are in Cologne, you can visit the intercultural chess club: Satranç Club 2000 in Cologne ( , Mail: )   24:00- How did Michiel keep up with all of the opening theory shared in the book? Mentioned: GM Peter Heine Nielsen, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov, The Meran   29:30- Friend and Patreon supporter of the podcast John Hartmann wonders what sort of preparation work was done, aside from opening work, if any?  Mentioned: GM Anatoly Karpov, The Sicilian Dragon, To see IM Sagar Shah’s excellent “Anand quizzes” with various elite players, go here, The Slav, 2012 World Championship between Gm Boris Gelfand and Anand   44:00- I ask Michiel a question posed by IM Gary Lane in the Facebook Chess Book Collectors Group, “Do World Championship teams try to find out which GMs are helping the opposing teams?” Mentioned: GM Wojtasek, GM Ganguly, GM Laurent Fressinet, GM Sergei Rublevsky, GM Danil Dubov    53:00- Will there be a Forward Chess or Chessable version of The Anand Files?  Mentioned: Hugh Jordan, Michiel Abeln’s Philidor article in the 2006 New in Chess Yearbook  58:00- A Patreon supporter asks what lessons from Anand’s team can be applied away from the chessboard?  1:08- Nicolas Noel asks, what can club players learn from this book? Anand-Kramnik Game 6, 2008, Bonn  1:11- Where will Michiel donate the proceeds of the book sales?  Mentioned: Mark Crowther of The Week in Chess  1:15- In closing, we discuss the state of Michiel’s own chess game and have a brief discussion of chess books. Mentioned: Mig Greengard’s chess blog, Brian Karen, Mark Dvoretsky’s books, Bent Larsen’s Best Games, My Great Predecessors, Max Euwe’s books, From London to Elista  1:26- Thanks again to Michiel Abeln for the fantastic book and interview. You can email him here, or keep him with him via his Tumblr,  Twitter and Facebook If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do here:   See for privacy information.
Dec 16, 2019
EP.155 - Elizabeth Spiegel
Elizabeth Spiegel is a USCF expert who played in the US Championship in 2006 and the US Women’s Championship in 2007. Of course, her greatest accomplishments have come in the realm of coaching, as she is an award winning and renowned scholastic coach, as well as a New York Public City School teacher.  Elizabeth has been a guiding force for the incredibly successful Junior High School chess program at IS-318 in Brooklyn. The students at IS 318 have amassed 57 National Championship Titles (!!), and the program was featured in the award-winning, outstanding 2012 documentary, Brooklyn Castle.  Elizabeth was honored as the 2019 Chess Educator of the Year by University of Texas at Dallas, and her teaching was also memorably featured in the excellent book, How Children Succeed.  In our conversation, Elizabeth shared tons of insights from her experiences as a chess teacher, and parent. We also talked about ways to further popularize chess, and a bit of  US Chess politics, as Elizabeth voiced her frustration about some recent rule changes relating to age groupings at US Chess Scholastic Nationals. Please read on, as always for more details.  If you are not seeing any embedded hyperlinks in the episode description, you can find them here: 0:00- We begin by talking about the chess activity in Elizabeth’s own household. Wiith chess-obsessed 12 and 6 yr old’s living under her roof, she sees a lot of chess learning first hand.  Mentioned: FM Mike Klein of Chesskid (aka FunMasterMike), Chessable, The Steps Method 13:50- How much is it appropriate for typical scholastic players and club level players and study openings?  Mentioned: Elizabeth’s 2019 Chess Educator of the Year Acceptance Speech, FM Justus Williams, NM James Black, FM Donny Ariel  19:30- 2 Patreon supporter of Perpetual Chess submit questions for Elizabeth asking for some teach tips.1)  How to motivate students to do chess puzzles? 2) How to manage classes with disparate skill levels?  Mentioned: The great chess Books for kids by Jeff Coakley 25:00- How has Elizabeth’s teaching changed since Brooklyn Castle was released in 2012?IS 318 Web Site  Mentioned: IS 318 Vice-Principal John Galvin, Facebook Chess Teacher’s Forum, Katie Dellamaggiore (Director of Brooklyn Castle), John Hamm of Mad Men    32:00- To check out the World Championship chess mugs, go If you decide to buy a set of mugs, use the code “perpetualchess” at checkout to save 15%. 33:00- Elizabeth shares a few more book recommendations.  Mentioned: Mastering Chess Strategy, Positional Decision Making in Chess,  Chess School: The Manual of Chess Combinations. More of Elizabeth’s favorite books for teaching can be found here and here.  37:00-  How could chess be better marketed? Elizabeth thinks there should be more titles in scholastic chess, and that chess could be better marketed to autistic students.  Mentioned: IM Cyrus Lakdawala   45:00- As Elizabeth details on her blog, in 2019 the US Chess Scholastic Committee changed the rules regarding which grade levels are eligible for Junior High Nationals prizes. Despite the fact that most schools labeled “Junior High” in the U.S. go up to 8th grade, the US scholastic Nationals allows 9th graders to compete for Junior High prizes as well. As Elizabeth explains, this primarily benefits private schools and magnet schools, at the expense of more traditional junior highs, such as, IS 318. A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks for Elizabeth’s thoughts on this issue, as well as whether it may have effected her winning the 2019 Chess Educator of the Year prize from University of Texas at Dallas.   Mentioned: Elizabeth’s blog, FM Sunil Weerumantry, WIM Beatriz Marinello, J.J Lang’s Perpetual Chess Interview  1:03- We discuss Elizabeth’s developing thoughts on chess parenting.  Mentioned: GM Jonathan Rowson’s All the Moves that Matter , Elizabeth’s beginner curriculum is available for download here,   Elizabeth’s “pin and skewer puzzle” here- Solution here- 1:09- Thanks to Elizabeth for joining us! You can keep up with her via Facebook and her blog.  If you would like to help support the kids at IS 318, you can do so here: If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Dec 10, 2019
EP.154 - GM Larry Kaufman
Among his many chess distinctions, GM Larry Kaufman was the 2008 World Senior Chess Champion.  He is also quite accomplished as a chess author, and a developer of chess engines. He helped to develop many renowned chess engines over the years, and currently works on Komodo with its co-creator Mark Lefler. When he sits down to write a chess book, GM Kaufman puts his vast knowledge of chess engines to good use. His new work, Kaufman’s New Repertoire for Black and White is filled with fresh opening ideas and its moves have been vetted by multiple 3500+  elo engines.  In addition to discussing chess engines generally, and GM Kaufman’s new book in particular, we had some other fascinating topics to discuss. For one thing, GM Kaufman was the best non-Japanese born Shogi player in the world for many years. For another, his son, Raymond Kaufman has also ascended to the level of International Master. Please sit back and enjoy GM Kaufman talk about his illustrious career and share some great stories. As always,  more details and timestamps can be found below. (If you are not seeing embedded hyperlinks on your podcast app, you can find them at the podcast website here:) 0:00- We begin by discussing GM Larry Kaufman’s new/forthcoming book, New Repertoire for Black and White. Our conversation starts with GM Kaufman’s providing some details about which engines and computers he used for his research of openings for this book.  Mentioned: LcZero, Komodo MCTS, NM Jeremy Kane, FM Larry Gilden, Chessbase’s Fat Fritz, GM Fabiano Caruana, Keep it Simple 1. e4  16:30- We transition to discussing some of the broader conclusions from GM Kaufman’s engine work. Is White getting an advantage? If so, with which openings, and how big is the edge?  Mentioned: The Grunfeld, The Nimzo-Indian, The Spanish, The Ruy Lopez, The Tarrasch French  27:30- Larry fields a few questions from a Patreon supporter of the podcast, Han Schut,  relating to which modern engine is the strongest, and whether his new book will be published on Chessable?  Mentioned: Stockfish, New in Chess Publishing, Sabotage the Grunfeld by GM Larry Kaufman  33:30- Larry explains the nature of the partnership between Komodo and    36:00- To check out the World Championship chess mugs, go to If you decide to buy a set of mugs, use the code “perpetualchess” at checkout to save 15%.    37:30- As a 72 year old chess player who has remained active for decades, what advice does Larry have for other adult chess players? How should we be utilizing chess engines? How is Larry’s chess game aging? 47:30- Larry tells some fun stories about some well-known chess players of the past and present. .  Mentioned: Harold Phillips, Wilhelm Steinitz, GM John Fedorwicz, GM Bobby Fischer  57:30- We discuss GM Kaufman’s groundbreaking research on how to assign point values to chess pieces.  Mentioned: IM Erik Kislik, NM Dan Heisman, The Evolution of Material Imbalances (by GM Larry Kaufman). Here are Larry’s more accurate point values for chess pieces: Pawn= 1, Bishop = 3.5 Knight = 3.5, Bishop pair = 7.5, Rook = 5.25, Queen = 10 1:05- Supporter of the podcast Peter Newhall writes in to ask GM Kaufman some salient questions about the differences between shogi and chess.  Mentioned: Toshiyuki Moriuchi, IM Jack Peters, GM Jonathan Rowson’s The Seven Deadly Chess Sins, GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Peter Heine Nielsen, The Art of Shogi by Tony Hosking 1:19- Larry shares his experiences as a chess parent.   His son is IM Raymond Kaufman.  Mentioned: GM Arthur Bisguier  1:24- Thanks to Larry for sharing his wisdom and stories. Keep up with him via the Facebook Komodo group or his account.  Pre-order his book from Amazon here: or get it from Forward Chess (available now) here:'s-new-repertoire-for-black-and-white?sscid=91k3_fazxa If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: ttps:// See for privacy information.
Dec 03, 2019
EP.153 - IM Christof Sielecki returns
IM Christof Sielecki is a popular YouTube presenter and an award-winning chess author. He has published 9 courses for Chessable, and his book, Keep it Simple, 1. e4 won the 2018 Chesspub Book of the Year.  Christof talked with me a few days after releasing his latest Chessable course, Fight like Magnus: The Sicilian and a few years after his first visit to to Perpetual Chess. We talked in detail about Christof’s newest course, but also caught up on chess books, chess improvement and lots of other stuff. Please keep reading for timestamps,  more details and hyperlinks. (If you are not seeing hyperlinks on your podcast app, you can find them at the Perpetual Chess webpage here :  0:00- The next Perpetual Chess, Chess Books Recaptured will actually be released on December 20. Keep up with the project here: 3:00- We dive right into Christof’s great new Chessable course, Fight Like Magnus. Topics include Christof’s research methods, and how he went about sharing it with GM Magnus Carlsen and his trainer, GM Peter Heine Nielsen. Mentioned: Christof’s Chessable Course Keep it Simple 1.d4, The Wing Gambit, Leela Zero, Stockfish, The Najdorf Sicilian , IM Greg Shahade, The Sicilian Rossolimo Variation , Svidler-Carlsen Greinke 2019, AlphaZero 23:30- Fellow Chessable author (and recent guest on Perpetual Chess), Han Schut, writes in to ask Christof some questions relating to the Quickstarter Guide in his course, Short and Sweet: The Magnus Sicilian. 34:00- What kind of feedback did Christof get from GM Magnus Carlsen and his second, GM Peter Heine Nielsen on his Sicilian course? Check out Chessable’s free short and sweet Magnus course by clicking here: Check out Chessable’s ongoing Black Friday sale, here. 38:00- Another Patreon supporter of the podcast, writes in to ask what  IM Sielecki thinks of the future role of paper chess books, as opposed to digital chess books? In this segment, Christof also shares a few chess book recommendations.  Mentioned: Positional Decision Making in Chess, Grandmaster Repertoire 1. e4 , Playing 1.e4: French Defense and Sicilian Sidelines , Endgame Strategy by Mikhail Shereshevsky, Game Changer   59:45- What Perpetual Chess episodes has IM Sielecki most enjoyed?  Mentioned: Perpetual Chess Interviews:GM Vladimir Tukmakov, GM Gata Kamsky, Megan Chen  1:04-  In what way does Christof think chess books have improved in recent years? Mentioned: Ulf Andersson-Huebner 1981, From Amateur to IM, Botvinnik-Capablanca Avro 1938, Small Steps to Giant Improvement, Small Steps to Success (on Chessable) , Endgame Virtuoso: Magnus Carlsen, Karpov’s Strategic Wins 1:15- If you are focused on studying endgames, is it better to study the endgame greats, or to learn specific endgames like the Lucena position, etc.?  1:18- What was it like to announce a chess event with the legendary GM, Artur Yusopov?  Mentioned: Tarjei Svensen,  1:30- Goodbye! You can keep up with IM Sielecki via his webpage here: If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here:   See for privacy information.
Nov 26, 2019
EP.152 - GM Adrien Demuth
GM Adrien Demuth is a 28 year old chess trainer, author and competitor. Adrien has worked as a trainer for the French National Team at Olympiads, and due to his own performance over the board, he recently qualified to play in next year’s French Closed Championship. He has published two opening books with Thinkers Publishing, The Modernized Reti, and The Modernized Dutch and also created a course on the London System for Chess24. In our conversation, we discussed all of these openings, and also touched on Adrien’s career highlights and interests away from the board. Please read on for more details, timestamps and links. (If hyperlinks aren’t showing up in your podcast feed, go to the podcast webpage to see them: ) 0:00- We begin by discussing a recent tournament in which Adrien played. He tied for first in the “Accession”  section of the French championship, which qualifies him to play in next year’s closed French Championship.  Mentioned: 2019 French Chess Championship   9:30- Adrien discusses the current state of chess in France, as well as giving some historical perspective.  Mentioned: GM Boris Spassky, GM Anatoly Vaisser, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave,    13:00- We dive into Adrien’s recent publications on openings, these include The Modernized Reti, The Modernized Dutch and a Chess24 course on the London System.    16:00- We discuss one of Adrien’s career highlights, a victory over former World Champion Viswanathan Anand in 2016.  Mentioned: Anand-Demuth 2016, GM Richard Rapport, Rapport-Demuth 2016, Grande-Zuniga-Demuth 2014   26:00- We return to the topic of Adrien’s opening publications. Which is a better choice for club players- the Reti or the London?  Mentioned: GM Josif Dorfman, Gledura-Demuth 2019, GM Boris Gelfand, GM Fabiano Caruana, The Stonewall Dutch, The Leningrad Dutch, GM Gata Kamsky, GM Hikaru Nakamura    40:00 GM Demuth shares improvement advice that he often gives to his students.  Mentioned: Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual, Silman’s Endgame Course, Practical Endgame Play by Glenn Flear, Chess Calculation Training , Lichess Tactics Trainer , Greatest 460 Puzzles by Csaba Balogh    48:30- Adrien grew up partially in Tahiti, a tropical paradise. What’s it like to play chess there? Where else has he enjoyed playing chess?  Mentioned: Fahim: The Little Chess Prince    Thanks to GM Adrien DeMuth for coming on the show- you can keep up with him on Facebook.  Find his books here: Modernized Dutch from Thinker’s Publishing Modernized Reti from Thinker’s Publishing Modernized Dutch on Amazon Modernized Dutch on Forward Chess Modernized Reti on Amazon Modernized Reti on Forward Chess Chess 24 Course on the London System   If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Nov 19, 2019
Book Recap: The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal with NM Sam Copeland [Chess Books Recaptured Series]
It is my great pleasure to announce a new monthly podcast project, called Perpetual Chess: Chess Books Recaptured. This series will be on the same podcast feed as “regular” Perpetual Chess, and on the show, we will reflect upon and synthesize classic chess books! We will try to place the book in historical context, give a few favorite quotes from the book and and offer some chess improvement takeaways. We will even drop a couple of chess blindfold puzzles at the end!    This series will feature a rotating cast of guest co-hosts, and this month I am happy that USCF Master Sam Copeland of is hosting with me to discuss one of everyone’s favorite chess books, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal.  Please check it out and then let me know what you think, whether via email, The Perpetual Chess Facebook Group or Twitter. Show notes, timestamps and links below, as always. I hope you like it!  Note- if you are not seeing hyperlinks, you can find them at the podcast website:     0:00- My somewhat rambling introduction of the vision for Perpetual Chess: Chess Books Recaptured.  Mentioned: The Overdue Podcast, Animal Spirits: Re-Kindled, The Ringer: Rewatchables, Affiliate links:  If you buy a Forward Chess book using this link, or an amazon product using this link, it helps support the podcast without costing you any additional money. The same is true if you sign up for a premium account (as you should) using this link.   4:15- This month’s guest co-host, Sam Copeland joins the conversation  Mentioned: GM Murray Chandler, IM Jeremy Silman’s Review of The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal   7:30- About the authors, Mikhail Tal, Iakov Damsky  Mentioned: Kramnik: My Life and Games, The Art of Defense in Chess,   Chess Brilliancy, Ken Neat (translator), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Fire on Board   13:30- We jump into the meat of The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, commencing with Sam's reading the opening quote of the book and recalling a few other favorite quotes and games.  Mentioned: Alexander Koblencs 28:00- We add in a bit more color of lessons drawn from GM Genna Sosonko’s The World Champions I Knew and Tal-Botvinnik 1960.  32:30- We select a few favorite games from the book. Mentioned: Botvinnik Tal 1960, Game 6 , Tal’s Most Famous Quote, Donner-Tal 1961, Capablanca, Alekhine, Smyslov-Tal 1964, John Nunn,’s CAPS System, Dr. Kenneth Regan  41:30- Chess improvement takeaways: This book can increase your love of chess, which is ultimately indispensable if you want to improve. Chess is a game between humans- initiative in a game can be more important than objective truth  Play openings that suit your style and get you excited to play. Mentioned: The Benoni Defense  51:00- Quibbles. I mentioned the lack of quality e-book for this book-  I am happy to report that Everyman Chess has now informed that The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal is coming soon to Chessable and Forward Chess!  Mentioned: Sam’s excellent video recap of Tal vs. Flesch 1981, The Magic of Mikhail Tal, Checkmate: The Love Story of Mikhail Tal and Sally Landau  57:00- Thanks so much to Sam Copeland for all of his work on this project! Keep up with him blog, Twitter, YouTube, and Twitch.  Here is the home page for Perpetual Chess Chess Books Recaptured. To apply to be a co-host fill out this form. If you would like to help support this project, and Perpetual Chess generally, go here. Email Ben here.  1:01- Blindfold puzzles! To see the puzzles and answers click here (answers may be visible upon clicking): Puzzle #1: White K on f4, White R on c5, White pawn on b6. Black pawn on b2 Black K on a6. White to move and win. Puzzle 1 diagram (adapted from IM Kostya Kavutskiy's twitter feed) Puzzle #2: White to move and mate in two: White Q on b5, White N on f5, White K on c1. Black K on c3. Puzzle 2 diagram (adapted from Step Workbook 4 of the Steps Series)     Last chance to find out more and/or support the “Square Off Chess robot” Kickstarter project , check it out here.    See for privacy information.
Nov 15, 2019
EP.151 - JJ Lang (Adult Improver Series)
Jonathan “JJ” Lang is a Chicago-based 28 year old Philosophy grad student, chess player and chess teacher. In July 2018, JJ returned to tournament chess after a 7 year hiatus. In the following 17 months, he has taken his rating from 1798 to a high of 2106!! How has he done it? Can it be easily replicated? Tune in to hear all of JJ’s reflections on the keys to his rapid improvement. Timestamps, links and more details can be found below (or if the links aren't showing up, check for them at Enjoy!  0:00-  We dive right into JJ’s chess background. What brought him back from a 10 year hiatus from tournament chess? To which factors does he attribute his impressive success?  Mentioned: Marshall Chess Club,  JJ’s coach, WGM Adriana Nikolova, Charlotte Chess Center, FM Peter Giannatos   14:00- A few of the secrets of JJ’s success include: 1) Play in tournaments as frequently as possible 2) Address your biggest weaknesses (openings in his case). In this segment JJ expounds on these lessons.  19:00- JJ reveals a good rule of thumb for when to calculate in faster time control games, and we discuss JJ’s approach to different time controls generally.  Mentioned: Nathan Kelly, Chicago Chess Blitzers, National Blitz League, Stephen Jennings, Tom Murphy  33:45- Back to openings! How did JJ fix his opening repertoire?  Mentioned: Chess Structures by Mauricio Flores Rios, Listen to GM Flores' Perpetual Chess Interview here 40:00- How did JJ allocate his chess study time, and what would he recommend for others? JJ has a unique approach to studying openings that could be helpful for many.  Mentioned: GM Ding Liren, FM Kamil Plichta, Jay Bonin, Rubinstein-Janowski 1907 (30… Qb8!) 47:30- How does JJ recommend tweaking his approach to study for lower rated players? This includes some tactics books recommendations for the 1500-1800 level. Magnus Carlsen’s explanation for the move he missed vs. GM Matlakov can be found within this recap by Peter Doggers of Mentioned: ChessTempo, tactics trainer, Chess Tactics for Champions by Susan Polgar, Chess by Laszlo Polgar, LiChess, Chess Calculation Training by GM Romain Edouard, Grandmaster Preparation: Calculation by Jacob Aagard, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand,  Carlsen-Matlakov 2019, Tactics Time by Tim Brennan, Winning Chess Exercise for Kids by Jeff Coakley, The Steps Series, Can You be a Positional Chess Genius by Angus Dunnington, Practical Chess Exercises by Ray Zheng  1:05- We talk a bit how JJ’s approach to playing has changed since he moved to Chicago, and what tournaments he is planning. Mentioned: Chicago Class Tournament, Amateur Team Midwest, Adia Onyango  1:10- We go back to discussing JJ’s opinion on how to allocate one’s study time.  Mentioned: 100 Endgames You Must Know, NM William Aramil of Dynamic Chess, 100 Endgames You Must Know on Chessable, GM Jan Gustafsson, Christopher Chabris, Prior Adult Improver Interview with Jason Cigan, My Great Predecessors on Chessable  1:23- JJ gets philosophical (as is his wont) about why he quit chess and why he came back.  1:34- We wrap up with JJ’s contact info. Find him on Facebook, or contact him via email   If you would like to find out more and/or support the “Square Off Chess robot” Kickstarter project that I mentioned at the top of the show, check it out here.  If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Nov 12, 2019
EP.150 - GM Jonathan Rowson
GM Jonathan Rowson is a philosopher, a researcher, the 3-time British Chess Champion,  and an acclaimed chess author. Many chess fans will be familiar with his classic books, The Seven Deadly Chess Sins, and Chess for Zebras. Today GM Rowson joins me to discuss his eagerly anticipated new book, The Moves that Matter: A Chess Grandmaster on the Game of Life . In our conversation, GM Rowson shares some of the memories and life lessons that chess has provided him, and he helps us contextualize the contributions that chess can make to society at large. Please read on for timestamps and relevant links. 0:00- GM Rowson discusses the genesis of and themes of his new book, which has been 13 years in the making! As Jonathan tells us, his new book is primarily about what chess has taught him about life. 9:30- One of my favorite themes of Jonathan’s new book, is that chess is a pretext for concentration, which is a “precious experience.” In this segment Jonathan expounds on this idea.  15:30- Jonathan’s 10 year-old son has recently become interested in competitive chess. How does he approach chess parenting?  Mentioned: GM Viswanathan Anand  20:00- GM Rowson reflects on his experiences working on GM Anand’s team during the 2008 Anand-Kramnik World Championship match. Mentioned:  GM Peter Heine Nielsen, Bobby Knight  27:30- Now that he has stepped away from competitive chess, what is GM Rowson’s current relationship with the chess world? Mentioned: McShane-Caruana 2019, Peter Heine Nielsen, GM Alex Baburin, GM Lev Psakhis, GM Alexander Grischuk  34:00- Jonathan discusses his day to day work at the research institute that he co-founded, called Perspectiva. One of the primary issues that his institute tackles is the challenge posed by climate change. Mentioned:  Royal Society of the Arts, Tomas Björkman  43:00- What is GM Rowson’s view of the proper role of chess in schools and in education?  49:00- Good news, audio chess content fans! There will be an audiobook forthcoming for The Moves that Matter. GM Rowson talks about the experience of doing the voice work for his own book. The audiobook will be available on November 14. 55:00- A supporter of the podcast asks GM Rowson about whether or not there will ever be an update or electronic version of his classic opening book, Understanding the Grunfeld.  Mentioned: Han Schut 57:00- In closing, GM Rowson tells a story of a crucial realization that he had during a memorable game with GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov.  Mentioned: Kasimdzhanov-Rowson 2000, GM Vladimir Kramnik, GM Vishy Anand, GM Luke McShane, GM Levon Aronian, GM Nigel Short, GM Matthew Sadler, GM Mickey Adams, GM Magnus Carlsen Thanks to GM Rowson for coming on the show, you can order his book here, and keep up with him on twitter here. To hear more from GM Rowson, check out his interview with "On Being with Krista Tippett" podcast here. If you would like to find out more and/or support the “Square Off Chess robot” Kickstarter project that I mentioned at the top of the show, check it out here.  If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Nov 05, 2019
EP.149 - GM Robert Hungaski
GM Robert Hungaski is an Argentina-based, American chess player who has been making a name for himself as a trainer and presenter. In his work as a coach, he is a certified FIDE Senior trainer who often works with US Chess World Youth teams. Robert has been a resident GM at the Saint Louis Chess Club several times, and most importantly for our purposes, he is a down to earth and funny guy with lots of good chess advice and stories! Please read on for timestamps, details and relevant links.  0:00- Intro- We discuss what Robert’s day to day life is like. Robert also goes into some detail about he earned the FIDE Senior Trainer and FIDE arbiter titles. Mentioned: St. Louis Chess Club, FIDE Arbiter Title  9:00- What does Robert notice amongst the top World Youth players he works with? Mentioned: Aren Emrikian, GM Mesgen Amanov , Zurich 1953, My System, Small Steps to Giant Chess Improvement, The Woodpecker Method  18:00- We discuss the tendencies of the modern chess elite to violate what were once considered sturdy chess principles. This is illustrated in two recent Magnus Carlsen games. Mentioned: Carlsen-Caruana 2019, Carlsen-So 2019,  Botvinnik’s 100 Selected Games  22:30- With limited time to compete these days, how does Robert choose his chess tournaments? Does he play for both the US and Argentina?  Mentioned: American Continental Chess Championship, US Open Chess Tournament , FIDE World Cup 30:00- Why are a lot of primarily online American Chess Trainers relocating outside of the US?  Mentioned: GM Gata Kamsky, IM Bill Paschall 31:45- Mar del Plata, Argentina is a famous chess location due to a historic tournament and epononymous chess opening. What can Robert tell us from having played there?  Mentioned: King’s Indian Defense Mar del Plata Variation, Mar del Plata Chess Tournament  36:00 When and how did Robert meet legendary Danish GM Bent Larsen? Mentioned: GM Miguel Najdorf, GM Bent Larsen  37:30- Robert says he was a terrible scholastic player and many people urged him to quit. Is this true? What motivated him to work to become stronger?  41:30- When he lived in New York, Robert worked with legendary GM William Lombardy. What helpful advice did GM Lombardy give when Robert hit a lengthy rating plateau? In this segment Robert gives some great insight on how to take a big picture approach to analyzing one’s chess games.  Mentioned: IM Mark Dvoretsky, GM Rafael Leitao, Chess Steps Method 51:30- Book recommendations!The Books of IM Jeremy Silman, Chess Middlegames by Laszlo Polgar, The Anthology of Chess Combinations, Chess Strategy for Club Players, Dvoretsky Books, Positional Play, Winning Pawn Structures, The Middlegame- Book 1,GM Jonathan Rowson’s Books 57:00- Was Robert a good student in High School? What did he learn from chess? Mentioned: The Moves that Matter by GM Jonathan Rowson  1:05- In the 2000’s Robert played some blitz matches with IM Greg Shahade, some of which can still be found on Youtube.. How did those go? Mentioned: Jenn Shahade , IM Lawrence Trent vs. IM Greg Shahade grudge match, GM Hikaru Nakamura  1:11- Robert tells some stories about meeting former World Champion, GM Anatoly Karpov and playing him in a simul. Here are a few of Robert’s favorite Karpov games:Karpov-Yusopov 1988,  Karpov-Lautier 1992, Korchnoi-Karpov 1981 Game 9  1:15- One more hilarious GM Lombardy story that has nothing to with chess. :)  1:18- Goodbye! Contact Robert via his website. Follow him on Twitter. You can also purchase some lessons of his on Here a couple of my favorite of his YouTube lectures: The Resurgence of Romantic Chess, My Greatest Losses  If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here.  See for privacy information.
Oct 29, 2019
EP.148 - FM Kamil Plichta
FM Kamil Plichta is a popular Chessable author, a chess trainer, and something of a rapid and blitz specialist. His strength at fast time controls is borne out by the the fact that he recently finished 3rd at the Polish Rapid Championship, and that he has won online blitz games against the likes of Nakamura and Artemiev. In our wide ranging chess talk, we hit topics ranging from how to tailor your game for a specific opponent, to blitz and time trouble tips, to how much time one should spend studying openings. As always, please read on for more details, hyperlinks and timestamps.  0:00- Intro. We begin by discussing Kamil’s recent success at the Polish Rapid Championship, where he finished 3rd overall, ahead of notable Grandmasters like GM Michail Krasenkow and GM Kacper Piorun.  Mentioned: GM Bassem Amin 13:10- We transition to discussing how Kamil chooses his opening repertoire and designs his Chessable courses. Kamil also dispenses advice about how much time chess players should devote to studying openings at different ratings levels.  Mentioned: GM Simon Williams,  Break the Rules, Play the Trompowsky, Erwin’s Opening Lab, the Dubov Tarrasch, GM Danil Dubov 19:00- What makes Kamil so strong at blitz, and what blitz advice can he give to listeners? Mentioned: Hikaru Nakamura  27:00- We discuss some of Kamil’s other chess related work, including a business he is starting in Poland, and some other business plans of his.  32:00- Kamil delves into the background of how he was able to successfully pitch a course to Chessable  Mentioned: Video intro’s by Kamil for his courses on the King’s Indian Attack, and The Trompowsky 43:00- I ask Kamil some follow up questions based on his excellent interview with Vjekoslav Nemec of Chessentials. I was particularly interested in hearing Kamil’s thoughts about his psychological approach to each chess game.  Mentioned: IM Eric Rosen, IM Cyrus Lakdawala  59:00- How does Kamil approach coaching individual students? What mistakes does he often see?  Mentioned: Kamil’s LiChess Coaching Page 1:05- Is it better to work on improving your strengths or your weaknesses? How should you play against a time trouble addict?  1:12- We get another fresh book recommendation! Why does Kamil love the book, Your Opponent is Overrated by FM James Schuyler?   1:14- A question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast asks Kamil why chess players are often drawn to poker and vice versa? Kamil answers the question, and also delves into his years as a poker pro.  1:21- Switching back to chess, Kamil dispenses some important advice for those looking to improve at chess.  1:26- Uh oh, more poker talk.😉  What variant of poker did Kamil play?  Mentioned: Sit and Go Poker Tournaments, IM Greg Shahade  1:30- Kamil turns the tables and asks me about the origins of Perpetual Chess and who my dream guests would be.  Mentioned: GM Boris Spassky, GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Jan Timman, GM Genna Sosonko, Lessons of a Grandmaster with GM Boris Gulko  1:35- Goodbye and contact info! You can contact Kamil via LiChess or follow him on twitter here.  If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Oct 22, 2019
EP.147 - GM Rafael Leitão
GM Rafael Leitão is the highest rated Brazilian chess player and its 7 time National Champion. As a Scholastic Player, he won World Junior titles at two different ages, and he is also a Correspondence Chess GM! In addition, GM Leitão runs a successful online chess academy. As you may gather, we had much to talk about.😀 Our topics of conversation ranged across continents and generations of chess, with many great stories and recommendations for chess improvement. Please read on for more details, hyperlinks and timestamps. Enjoy!  0:00- We begin by discussing Rafael’s background a bit, how he got into chess and what the chess culture in Brazil is like. Mentioned: Fischer-Spassky 1972 , GM Peter Leko 10:30- We dive in to the first question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast. John Hartmann writes in to ask GM  Rafael Leitão to share some memories of his interactions with the legendary trainer, IM Mark Dvoretsky. Mentioned: The Legacy of Mark Dvoretsky,  GM Gilberto Milos, GM Jaime Sunye Neto, GM Peter Heine Neilsen  23:00- GM Leitão discusses the impact that legendary Brazilian GM Henrique Mecking has had in Brazil. Mentioned: GM Lev Polugaevsky, GM Viktor Korchnoi  28:30- Several supporters of the podcast write to ask GM Leitão about his popular article in which he discusses his choices for the Top 10 Chess Players of all time, and particularly about his choice of Bobby Fischer as the best ever. Mentioned: Magnus Carlsen’s comment on Kasparov vs. Fischer as the best ever, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Anish Giri, Paul Morphy, Russians vs. Fischer, GM Kasparov, GM Petrosian, GM Karpov, GM Mikail Tal, GM Vladimir Kramnik  44:30- We talk a bit of openings! A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks GM Leitão to compare the relative merits of the Sicilian Najdorf and the Sicilian Taimanov defenses. Mentioned: Ziska- Leitão 2018, Kulaots-Leitão 2018GM Evgeny Bareev on Perpetual Chess, GM Anatoly Karpov, GM Samuel Reshevsky  52:00- What have been some of Rafael’s most memorable encounters with chess greats? Mentioned: Karpov, Anand, Kasparov, GM Gionvanni Vescovi 57:30- GM Leitão answers another listener question about his experiences with playing Correspondence Chess, and what he thinks about the future prospects for this version of the game. Mentioned: World Champion at the Third Attempt  1:02- GM Leitão discusses his chess academy, at ,and shares some chess improvement advice. Mentioned: The Best Chess Books Ever Written, The 20 Chess Books That Helped Me Become a Grandmaster, Think Like a Grandmaster,Secrets of Grandmaster Chess, Lessons from a Grandmaster by Boris Gulko and Joel Sneed, Positional Decision Making in Chess , Capablaca-Yates, Capablanca-Janowski 1:15- Thanks to Rafael for joining the show! You can keep up with him and reach him via  If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.  See for privacy information.
Oct 15, 2019
EP.146 - GM Bassem Amin
GM Bassem Amin is a 31 year old Super GM, who was the first Egyptian, Arab and African chess player to reach the rating of the 2700. Among many other titles, he has been the champion of Africa 5 times. As if that weren’t enough, GM Amin is also a medical doctor, but as the #38 ranked player in the world he his professional focus has been on playing chess in recent years. In our interview we discuss topics ranging from the FIDE World Cup, to the chess scene in Egypt and Africa to his chess study habits and advice. Please read on for timestamps, details and relevant links.    Intro: A world cup trip report from GM Bassem Amin. He details the events that led to his unfortunate early exit, and discusses his opinions of the format and the nerves one may feel at such an important tournament.  Mentioned: GM Amin Tabatabaei, GM Mikhailo Oleksienko,  GM Nikita Vituigov Isle of Man International, Chess24 Interview with GM Vituigov, GM Laurent Fressinet, GM Vishy Anand, GM Ivanchuk,  21:00- Why did GM Amin choose to focus on chess as a profession? How popular is chess in Egypt? GM Vidit Gujrathi,  23:30- GM Amin discusses what it was like to experience and compete in the Grand Chess Tour in Africa at the 2019 Cote D’Ivoire Rapid and Blitz  Mentioned: GM Magnus Carlsen , GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Ding Liren, GM Wei Yi, GM Ian Nepomniatchtchi, GM Vesilin Topalov  30:00- What is GM Amin’s study routine like? What were his study methods like as a top scholastic player in Egypt? Mentioned: Karpov Cup in France , GM Edvins Kengis, GM Ahmed Adly, GM Sergey Grigoriants, GM Mikhailo Oleksienko 38:00- What does Bassem consider to be his biggest career milestone? 41:30- What advice does Bassem have for adult improvers?  44:30- Goodbye! You can follow GM Bassem Amin’s progress via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do here. See for privacy information.
Oct 08, 2019
EP.145 - WIM Beatriz Marinello
WIM Beatriz Marinello is a Chilean-American chess player, educator and organizer. Beatriz was recently named the Director of the Chess Program at the Dalton School in New York City, and in the past few decades, she has also worked and volunteered in countless other capacities in the chess world. Beatriz was the first woman to be elected as President of the US Chess Federation and was also the first woman to be elected Vice President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). She is also one of the founders of and the President of Checkmating Dementia. Beatriz was very forthright about the good and bad that she has seen during her years in the chess world. Her experiences highlight the growth that the chess world has seen in recent years, but also show that there is still much more that can be done to promote and grow chess. Please read on for timestamps, links and a few more details.  0:00- We begin by discussing Beatriz’s roles on the FIDE Social Action Committee and as the Director of the Chess Program at The Dalton School  Mentioned: David MacEnulty retires from his role as Director of the Dalton School, IM Josh Waitzkin,IM Kassa Korley, Charu Robinson,  GM Maxim Dlugy, USCF Master Gus Huston    6:45- What was it like to grow up playing chess during the Pinochet regime in Chile?  11:00- Beatriz transitions to discussing her chess work in the US, including living in Miami, Las Vegas, and ultimately New York.  Mentioned: Svetozar Jovanovic, PS 9, The Anderson School, Carmen Farina, Dr. Robert Ferguson, Castle Chess Camp,  US Chess Federation  25:00- As Beatriz retells, she became the first female president of the US Chess Federation, only to discover that the organization faced serious financial difficulties. How were she and others able to help US Chess recover?  Mentioned: Stan Booz, Sam Sloan  35:00- How did WIM Marinello end up becoming affiliated with FIDE? What was that experience like?  Mentioned: FIDE Social Action Commission, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, Former Fide President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov 47:00-A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks about Beatriz’ efforts to promote chess as a vehicle to fight dementia.  Mentioned: Checkmating Dementia, Michael Glassman  1:04- Beatriz tells a funny Bobby Fischer story that she heard from a reliable friend of hers.  Mentioned: Beatriz Marinello Interview with Chessbase, Dr. Leroy Dubeck,    GM Tigran Petrosian   1:12- We talk a bit of chess improvement and chess books, and some of Beatriz’ favorite chess players and chess games.   Mentioned: My Great Predecessors, GM Hou Yifan, Polgar-Berkes,Hou Yifan-David Navara 2016, GM Humpy Koneru, GM Antoaneta Stefanova, Jennifer Shahade, Kimberly Doo McVay  1:21- Goodbye! You can keep up with all of Beatriz’s initiatives via her Facebook page. If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Oct 01, 2019
EP.144 - GM R.B. Ramesh
Grandmaster R.B. Ramesh is the author of the highly regarded book, Fundamental Chess: Logical Decision Making,   and was the 2002 British Chess Champion, but these days he is best known as one of the top chess trainers in the world! He has served as the coach of the Indian National Team many times, and in recent years has been the trainer of the teenage super-talent, GM Praggnanandhaa, among many others. In our conversation we talk about topics ranging from  how Ramesh finds and keeps track of material for his students, to how to fight chess slumps, to a list of his many favorite chess books,plus lots more! Please tune in and read on for timestamps and relevant links.    0:00- We begin by discussing R.B. Ramesh’s current whereabouts. He is conducting a training camp for talented young Indian chess players with GM Vishal Sareen and IM Dejan Bojkov. Ramesh shares the sorts of material and themes he often emphasizes in these types of camps, including the advice he gives to students who get upset by losing games.  In this segment Ramesh answer a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast about how trainers organize their teaching materials.  Mentioned: Chessbase 15 21:30- Are there any traits GM Ramesh has noticed in his most accomplished students, such as GM Praggnanandhaa?  31:00- When GM Jacob Aagard was a guest on Perpetual Chess, he discussed an upcoming chess camp he would be teaching with GM Ramesh. GM Ramesh provides us with some details about the camp.  Mentioned: GM Sam Shankland, GM Ivan Salgado Lopez,  34:00- Another supporter of the podcast asks GM Ramesh for advice about how to think about and persevere during periods of stagnation in one’s chess development.  46:30- GM Ramesh talks about his own chess playing career, was he discouraged in the period when it took him 8 years to go from IM to GM? Mentioned: GM Anand, GM Sasrikan  Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of GM Ramesh’s insightful  3 part 2017 interview with Niklesh Jain on Chessbase India 50:30- Another supporter of the podcast asks GM Ramesh whether he thinks the competition amongst players in India is particularly fierce. From here we transition to a more general conversation about support for chess in India.  Mentioned: IM Sagar Shah, GM Vidit Gujrathi, GM Harikrishna, IM Tania Sachdev , GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Aravind Chithambaram, GM Nihal Sarin gets an endorsement with a milk company, GM Koneru Humpy  1:01- Chess books! Get ready! No surprise that a renowned trainer like GM Ramesh has a long list of recommended books. :)  Mentioned: My 60 Most Memorable Games, Zurich International, The Art of Attack, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, Judgement and Planning in Chess, Fire on Board, The Works of Mark Dvoretsky, The Works of GM Jacob Aagard, Secrets of Practical of Chess, Winning Pawn Structures (out of print), Think like  a Grandmaster, Endgame Strategy, The Works of Boris Gelfand, Dynamic Chess Strategy, Theory and Practice of Chess Endings, Imagination in Chess, Perfect Your Chess, Its Only Me by Tony Miles, The Yusopov Series, Fundamental Chess Endings, Timman On the Attack,Creative Chess by Amatzia Avni, Improve Your Chess Now by GM Jonathan Tisdall,  1:11- At his ChessGurukul Academy GM Ramesh sometimes teaches yoga and meditation to his students. How have they responded to it?  Mentioned: The Grandmaster Diet: How to lose Weight While Barely Moving , GM Praggnanandhaa 1:15- We conclude with a brief discussion of GM Ramesh’s excellent book, Fundamental Chess: Logical Decision Making,  and an exciting tease for another book project that GM Ramesh is planning. You can keep up with GM R.B. Ramesh via Facebook and Twitter.  If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Sep 24, 2019
EP.143 - IM John Donaldson Returns
More than 2.5 years after our first interview it is once again an honor to talk chess with renowned chess author and historian IM John Donaldson. As we discuss, John has remained extremely busy despite recently retiring as Director of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club in San Francisco. In addition to co-authoring acclaimed books about Bobby Fischer and Akiva Rubinstein, John is a member of the Samford Fellowship Committee and has served as the Captain of many U.S. Olympiad Teams. So as always, we had much to discuss! Please read on for many relevant links and timestamps.  0:00- Intro- We begin by discussing what is new with John's ongoing research related to his series of books about GM Bobby Fischer, written with IM Eric Tangborn. Mentioned: Bobby Fischer’s Final Years: A Memoir, GM William Lombardy, IM Anthony Saidy  11:30- When he retired from the Mechanics' Institute one of John’s goals was to play chess competitively more often. Has he been able to achieve this goal? Which older players inspire him?  NM Han Schut, IM Anthony Saidy, USCF Master Viktors Pupols 20:00- John has been the captain of the U.S. Olympiad team many times, He explains the selection process for determining the next team for the U.S. Olympiad.  Mentioned: Khanty-Mansiysk, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Sam Shankland, Jeffrey Xiong, Hikaru Nakamura  24:30- What is Samford Fellowship, and how do its recipients get selected? Mentioned: Allen Kaufman, Sam Sevian, Hikaru Nakamura, Awonder Liang, Joel Benjamin Wesley So, IM Christopher Yoo,  32:00- More Olympiad talk! Who will be the strongest teams in the next Open Chess Olympiad? What are John’s favorite Olympiad memories?  Mentioned: 38th Chess Olympiad (2008), GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Pentala Harikrishna, GM Vidit Gujrathi, GM Gata Kamsy, GM Vassily Ivanchuk  44:00- Is drug testing necessary in chess? How thorough is the monitoring for computer assistance at the Olympiads?  Mentioned: IM Kenneth Regan  49:00- We discuss John’s 2 volume work on legendary GM Akiva Rubinstein (co-written with IM Niklay Minev) , which is available on Forward Chess and Amazon. A Patreon supporter of Perpetual Chess wonders if there is hope for a 3rd edition of the book and also asks John’s opinion on whether Peak Rubinstein could have beaten GM Emanuel Lasker for the World Championship. John did not dodge the question!  Mentioned: Michael Negele, Positional Decision-Making in Chess, Dynamic Decision-Making in Chess  1:00:00- John shares some memories about notable recent passings in the chess world. This includes Fischer-era chess commentator Shelby Lyman, Chess Historian Dale Brandreth, and GM Pal Benko  Mentioned: Steve Brandwein , Henry Kissinger, Karl Burger, IM Jack Peters, GM Michael Wilder, Albrecht Buschke, John Rather, Oscar Shapiro, USCF Master Fred Wilson  1:19:00- Has John read any standout chess books lately? Mentioned: Quality Chess, Chess Evolution, Thinkers Publisher, McFarland, Mongoose Press, New in Chess, Russell Enterprises, Everyman Press, Andy Soltis, 300 Most Important Chess Positions, The Survival Guide to Rook Endings, The Woodpecker Method , The King’s Indian According to Tigran Petrosian , Opening Simulator - King's Indian Defence, Perfect Your Chess , Learn From the Legends  1:36:00- John reviews the performance of the U.S. Teams at the 2019 World Team Championship. Mentioned: GM Darius Swiercz, GM Sam Sevian, GM Alex Onischuk, GM Alex Lenderman, GM Elshan Moriadiabadi, GM Melik Khachiyan, GM Alejandro Ramirez, Carissa Yip, Rochelle Wu, GM Zviad Izoria 1:41:00- Thanks to John for coming on! You can email him here.  If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Sep 17, 2019
EP.142 - USCF Master Han Schut (Adult Improver series)
This week the Adult Improver series returns with another great guest. Fifty-five year-old USCF Master Han Schut is a Certified Chess Steps Trainer, a blogger, and a chess parent. His daughters Donna and Lisa were both top Dutch scholastic players, and Lisa is the youngest ever Dutch Women’s Champion. She won it at the age of 19.  Han returned to competitive chess in 2013 and has since seen his rating steadily climb from 2120 to a recent high of 2270.  Given the age and relatively high rating from which Han started, this is quite an accomplishment! How did he do it? What resources did he use?  How does he combat Father Time? What do we need to know about the Steps Method? Tune in to find out. Timestamps and relevant links below: 0:00- Intro and discussion of the Steps Method. The Steps is a Dutch chess curriculum which is designed to take you from the Novice to the Master Level. You can order Steps books here. Han also asks some questions from Patreon supporters of the podcast relating to the qualifications for becoming a Certified Steps Trainer and how to “mine the data” of the LiChess Online database .  Mentioned: Perpetual Chess Patreon Page, Rob Brunia, IM Cor van Wijgerden, GM Loek Van Wely, GM Erwin L’ami, Chess Tutor discs, LiChess Opening Explorer, Hiarcs Opening Book Subscription  30:00- We transition to talking about Han’s chess playing and chess improvement more generally.  Han shares how he has managed to continue to improve into his 50s, and answers a few questions from supporters of the podcast about how to budget one’s chess study time.  Mentioned: Chess Steps, Step 3 Books, 100 Endgames You Must Know (Chessable version), Perfect Your Chess, Chess Structures, Keep it Simple 1. D4 (Chessable Course) . Grandmaster Repetoire 1. e4 , 1. d4 : Dynamic Systems, Game Changer, Chess for Life, Vladimir Chuchelov, Alex King, IM Ali Mortazavi, Fred Wilson  1:04- Han retells a great story from his blog relating to former World Champion, GM Boris Spassky.  Mentioned: Daniel Yarur Elsaca 1:15- Han shares some advice for other parents based on his experiences as a chess parent.  Mentioned: GM Robin Van Kampen  1:18- Goodbye. Keep up with or contact Han via his account If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here.   See for privacy information.
Sep 10, 2019
EP.141 - Isaac Steincamp
Isaac Steincamp is only 22, but has already been quite busy making a name for himself in the chess world. He is an expert level chess player, and after recently graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, he has begun working at as The Lead Solutions Architect. In  the past he has been a chess streamer, has made videos for, and he founded Chess Summit. In our conversation, we talk about how Isaac got his new gig, what is going on at, and Isaac’s chess improvement recommendations, both for his own game and for other players. Please read on for timestamps, links and more details.  0:00- Intro. We begin by discussing how Isaac ended up with the position of Lead Solutions Architect at  Referenced NM Sam Copeland, Aran S, Nick Barton  9:00- As the Deputy Commissioner of the Pro Chess League, Isaac gives us a rundown of all that is going on with the Pro Chess League, including the Summer Series, which is winding down.  Referenced The Pittsburgh Pawnsgrabbers, IM Greg Shahade, Reykjavik Puffins, IM John Bartholomew, Chessbrahs  24:00- We dive deeper into the Fischer Random World Championship, which is a year long competition which begins on and culminates in a live championship in Norway in October.  27:00- We digress into a discussion of the 2019 FIDE World Cup, my favorite event on the 2019 Chess Calendar. Email me if you would like to run a World Cup Pool and I will help promote it. :)  31:20- Chess improvement! A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks about the status of Isaac’s quest for the US Chess National Master Title. Why does he think he has plateaued of late? Mentioned: GM Eugene Perelyshteyn, FM Gabe Petesch  42:00- What has helped Isaac improve the most? Referenced Endgame Essentials, 100 Chess Master Trade Secrets, Chess Structures, Survival Mode, IM Hans Niemann, IM Casper Schoppen  49:00- Another supporter of the podcast asks Isaac to share his views on the importance of “storyboarding” each game of chess.  54:00- Goodbye! You can keep up with and contact Isaac via Twitter and His account If you would like to help support and grow the podcast, you can do so here.   See for privacy information.
Sep 03, 2019
EP.140 - GM Aman Hambleton
26 year old Grandmaster Aman Hambleton is one of Canada’s top 10 players and,  among other distinctions, he has represented his country in the Chess Olympiad multiple times.  Of course, he is best known as one of the founding members (along with GM Eric Hansen) of the extremely popular chess streaming team known as the Chessbrahs. In our lengthy and entertaining conversation we discuss topics ranging from Chessbrah origins, to the business of being a chess streamer to the struggles Aman endured to earn the Grandmaster title. This was a fun one! Please read on for timestamps and relevant links.  0:00- Intro! We kick things off by discussing all that goes into creating a vlog, like this awesome Reykjavik Open Tournament Recap Vlog  that Aman and the Chessbrahs recently released.  8:00- We transition to discussing the business of Chessbrah. How many employees does Chessbrah have? What project are they working on outside of chess? This includes a discussion of the origins of GM Eric Hansen and Aman forming Chessbrahs.  Mentioned: Aman Hambleton’s old blog  14:00- Aman tackles the first of many questions (thanks guys!)  from a Patreon Supporter of Perpetual Chess. This question relates to how much income Twitch streamers can expect to make. Other questions relate to advice for getting into chess streaming. 29:30- GM Hambleton fields some listener questions about how GM Yasser Seirawan joined team Chessbrah, what his favorite Yasser story is, and Aman even does an impromptu Yasser impersonation!  Mentioned: Trailer Park Boys. Chess World Cup 2019 (which the Chessbrahs will be covering), Second City Improv , GM Vidit Gujrathi  45:00- Another listener asks about how many mice the Chessbrah’s have broken due to chess rage, and whether people complain that the Chessbrah’s sometimes suggest moves to each other.  Mentioned: GM Robin van Kampen, FM Lefong Hua  51:45-  Chess improvement!  How much has Aman trained his blndfold chess abilities?   Mentioned: Jeff Coakley 58:00- Aman talks about the immense challenge it was for him to get the GM title, and about what motivated him and enabled him to get it.   Mentioned: The Taimanov Bible: A Complete Manual for the Sicilain Player, Aman explain his win vs GM Shirov to Fiona Steil-Antoni, or play through Hambleton-Shirov 2017 here  1:08- Another listener asks about the history of the opening containing a queen sacrifice that Aman has dubbed  “the undefeated opening”.  Mentioned: Check out one of Aman’s blitz games with the Undefeated Opening with it here. Englund Gambit game from Reykjavik Open vs. Lars Laustsen here 1:12- A listener asks, has blitz helped Aman’s chess, can it help ours? Does Aman play better or worse chess while streaming?  1:24- Who have been Aman’s toughest online blitz opponent? Mentioned: GM Alireza Firouzja, GM Sergei Karjakin, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen-Hambleton 2017  1:28- Spurred by another listener question, Aman assesses the current health of the Canadian Chess Scene  Mentioned: GM Pentala Harikrishna, GM Vassily Ivanchuk, GM Sam Shankland, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly, GM Wang Hao, GM Wesley So, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Leinier Dominguez  1:38- How can one become a Chessbrah?  Mentioned: GM Yasser Seirawan, John Urschel, Chessbrah Norway Chess 2019 Coverage  1:44- One last listener question- How does being a chess professional/well known personality help or hurts Aman’s dating life? 1:48- Goodbye! Here is how you can keep up with Aman and the Chessbrahs: Aman’sTwitter, Aman’s Instagram, Chessbrah Twitch, Chessbrah Youtube Channel,Chessbrah TV Twitter If you would like to help support the podcast, go here. See for privacy information.
Aug 20, 2019
EP.139 - Author Sasha Chapin
Sasha Chapin is a writer who has just published his first book, All the Wrong Moves, a Memoir about Chess, Love, and Ruining Everything. Sasha’s book tackles themes quite familiar to many chess enthusiasts: Chess love, chess addiction, chess improvement, the inevitable intersection of chess and real life, and how to grapple with one’s own chess limitations. Sasha’s book is a fun read which resonated with me, and features mentions of many prominent chess players and personalities.  For another perspective on Sasha’s book, you can read the Washington Post’s review of his book here. For more details, timestamps, and relevant links please continue reading.  0:00- We begin by discussing how Sasha was able to get a book deal with Doubleday to write a “chess memoir,” and how he approached writing the book once the project was a reality.  Mentioned: GM Vassily Ivanchuk, Gm Alexander Morozevich, IM John Bartholomew, GM Ben Finegold, GM Eric Hansen, GM Var Akobian, IM Eric Rosen, GM Peter Svidler, Video of GM Magnus Carlsen and Peter Svidler doing post-mortem analysis  17:33- We transition from talking about chess streamers and announcers to Sasha’s favorite chess books. Mentioned: My System by Aron Nimzowhich, Chess for Zebras by Jonathan Rowson  21:00- A Patreon supporter of Perpetual Chess asks what helped Sasha the most in terms of chess improvement. As Sasha tells it, his greatest improvements came from some key insights that GM Ben Finegold provided during their lessons. .  32:00- Another Patreon supporter asks how to prevent one’s ego from ruining one’s chess mood, and also asks for Sasha’s input about the pros and cons of playing live vs. online.  39:00- Does Sasha think that chess is inherently addictive?  43:00- We circle back to what Sasha’s chess routine was like during the time that this book takes place. Was he working at the time? What did he study? How many hours per day did study? Mentioned: Chess Tempo Tactics Trainer  48:00- Sasha discusses a bit of his impressions of some of the places that he visited while writing this book, including St. Louis, and Hyderabad, India.  54:00- We wrap by talking a bit about Sasha’s future plans. You can keep up with Sasha via Twitter,Instagram, or his email list All the Wrong Moves is now available from Amazon and many other book sellers. If you are in the Los Angeles area you can go see Sasha Chapin discuss his book on August 20. Details here.  If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Aug 13, 2019
EP.138 - USCF Master Dan Heisman
This week the popular Chess Author, Presenter, and USCF Master,  Dan Heisman joins me. As someone who has been teaching adults (and kids) chess for decades, Dan has special insight into the way that amateurs should think about chess and also knows the ways that they actually do think about chess. It was a pleasure to pick Dan’s brain and to hear some of his stories! Please read on for many more details, relevant links, and timestamps.  0:00- Intro and we begin by discussing of why Dan recently decided to launch his instructive new Youtube Channel.  Mentioned: Kurt Schneider (chess master and creator of College Musical) , GM Daniel King’s Youtube Channel, John Bartholomew’s Youtube Channel, Christof Sielecki’s Youtube Channel, Back to Basics Tactics, John Nunn’s Learn Chess Tactics, The Evaluation of Material Imbalances by GM Larry Kaufman  19:00- Dan talks about how he transitioned from working as an engineer to teaching chess full time in the 1990’s.  Mentioned: Bobby Dudley, NM Daniel Benjamin, Arthur and Matthew Traldi, Everyone’s Second Chess Book by Dan Heisman  27:20- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks for tips for how a 1700 rated player should approach teaching a 1300 rated player. Mentioned: Chess for Zebras by GM Jonathan Rowson, Thought and Choice in Chess by Adriaan DeGroot, FM Charles Hertan  44:40- Another Patreon supporter writes to ask whether it is important to use an actual chess board rather than screen when solving tactics.  Mentioned: Grandmaster Preparation: Calculation by GM Jacob Aagard,  52:30- Another Patreon supporter asks a question relating to how much time to spend studying the opening versus other aspects of chess.  Mentioned: WGM Jennifer Shahade, NM Mike Shahade, Ruy Lopez Riga Variation, GM Andy Soltis, Howard Stern, The World’s Most Instructive Amateur Games by Dan Heisman  1:13- Chess books! Here is the link to Dan’s excellent recommended chess books page. Mentioned: John Bain’s Chess Tactics for Students, Logical Chess Move by Move , The World’s Most Instructive Amateur Games, The Art of Logical Thinking by GM Neil McDonald, Tim Krabbe’s Chess Curiosities, The Joys of Chess by Christian Hesse , Pawn Power by Hans Kmoch, Alekhine’s My Best Games of Chess  1:22- Dan breaks down what you can find in some of his own books. Mentioned: Is Your Move Safe, The Improving Chess Thinker, The World’s Most Instructive Amateur Games, Everyone’s Second Chess Book , A Guide to Chess Improvement: The Best of Novice Nook, GM James Tarjan  1:31- Dan tells stories from the time that he spent teaching chess to the famous radio host Howard Stern, and from his encounters with former World Champion GM Garry Kasparov  1:39- Goodbye and final plugs! Links: Dan’s Youtube Channel, Dan’s Website , Dan’s Twitter Chess Tip of the Day See for privacy information.
Aug 06, 2019
EP.137 - 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 Practice.  Chess 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.  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. See for privacy information.
Jul 30, 2019
EP.136 - IM Kenneth Regan
Dr. Kenneth Regan is an International Master, an associate professor of Computer Science at the University of Buffalo, and is one of the world’s foremost experts on using predictive analytics to help detect computer-assisted cheating in chess tournaments. With the chess world abuzz about the alleged cheating of GM Igors Rausis, I thought it would be the perfect time to invite Dr. Regan to join me to discuss all of the challenges faced by those who work to stop chess cheaters from undermining the integrity of our beloved game. Naturally we also discuss IM Regan’s other research and hear stories and reflections on his background as a strong chess player. (Dr. Regan was the 1977 US Junior co-champion and broke the record of Bobby Fischer as the youngest USCF Master!)  Please continue reading for more details, links and timestamps.    0:00- Intro. We begin by discussing some background about the Igors Rausis cheating scandal and the issue of engine-assisted chess in tournaments more generally. As Kenneth explains, his work involves using predictive analytics to assess the probability that a person received engine assistance in a chess game or series of chess games.  Mentioned: 2006 Kramnik-Topalov World Championship Match (aka “ToiletGate”) ,  Frederic Friedel, Alekhine-Capablanca 1927 , Tamal Biswas  21:00- According to Dr. Regan’s metrics, what was the best played chess match in history prior to Fischer-Spassky 1972?  Mentioned: So-Karjakin 2019  26:00- Dr. Regan’s discusses some of the inherent challenges of his work detecting possible cheating in live chess tournaments, including the issue of the risk of “false positive” results in his algorithm.  Mentioned: Howard Goldowsky’s 2014 Chess Life Feature of Kenneth Regan 39:00- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks Dr. Regan what club players can do to detect and deter potential cheaters.  44:00- How does online cheating differ from live tournament cheating?  Mentioned: Daniel Sleator of the Internet Chess Club, Danny Rensch and Mike Klein of (the February 2019 Chess Life article by Danny Rensch that Dr. Regan mentions is behind the USCF paywalll.) 46:45- Another supporter of the show submits a list of questions for Dr. Regan touching on topics ranging to his own experiences with cheating to his background as a strong chess player, to where he sees the next battle being fought in the realm of chess cheating.  Mentioned: Dennis Monokroussos’ The Chess Mind Blog , Dr. Regan’s Ted Talk ., IM Regan’s blog post,  London Calling , Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O Neil  1:05- How surprised was Dr. Regan by the rise of neural networks like AlphaZero and Leela? 1:09- We talk a bit about Dr. Regan’s own chess career. How did he improve? What were his favorite chess books?   Mentioned: Sam Copeland’s interview with Kenneth Regan  Pawn Power in Chess, My System,Capablanca’s Hundred Best Games of Chess, Laszlo Szabo, Jaan Ehlvest, Rafael Vaganian, John Fedorowicz,  Tarjei Svenson article summarizing Magnus Carlsen’s dispute with Norwegian Chess Federation  1:19- Goodbye! Keep up with IM Regan via his blog and his professional page. If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Jul 23, 2019
EP.135 - GM Vladimir Tukmakov
This week it was my honor to interview renowned player, author, and trainer, GM Vladimir Tukmakov. GM Tukmakov was once one of the world's top 20 players and was the 1970 Ukrainian national champion. More recently, he has switched his focus to coaching and writing about chess. He has had 4 chess books published in English, including the excellent new book Coaching the Chess Stars, which we discuss in great detail. This book shares his memories and annotates some key games from his time coaching teams such as the Ukraininian, Dutch and BeloRussian national teams, and from working with individuals like GMs Wesley So and Anish Giri, who currently sit #4 and #5 in the world, respectively.  Please read on for timestamps and relevant links. Enjoy!  0:00- Intro 2:30- We launch right into discussing Coaching the Chess Stars . GM Tukmakov tells us how he had the idea for this book, and he retraces the arc of his career as a chess trainer.  11:00- GM Tukmakov reflects on his experiences working with the legendary former World Champion Finalist Viktor Korchnoi.  Mentioned: GM Gyula Sax. GM Dmitri Gurevich GM Jan Timman  21:30- What was it like to work on the team of former World Champion GM Anatoly Karpov during his 1998 FIDE World Championship Match with GM Viswanathan Anand?  Mentioned: IM Mikhail Podgaets, GM Alexander Onischuk, and GM Ivan Morovic 34:15- GM Tukmakov discusses some details of working with Super GM Anish Giri Mentioned: Chess24 Jan Gustafsson interview with Magnus Carlsen,  This Anish Giri tweet  42:00- After working with Anish Giri for a few years, the next player with whom GM Tukmakov worked was GM Wesley So. GM Tukmakov discusses what it was like to work with this “pure chess talent.” Mentioned: GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Ding Liren, David Cox’ interview with Wesley So  55:30- GM Tukmakov coached GM Vugar Gashimov, (who died tragically young) when he was a member of the Azerbijani National Team. You can read more about Vladimir’s interactions with GM Gashimov in Coaching the Chess Stars 58:30- We talk a bit of chess books and chess improvement. Mentioned: Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953, Paul Keres Best Games of Chess  1:04- Thanks and good bye, GM Tukmakov can be reached via email here If you would like to help support the podcast go here. See for privacy information.
Jul 16, 2019
EP.134 - Megan Chen (Adult Improver Series)
This week the always popular Adult Improver Series returns with another rapidly rising adult guest. Megan Chen is a 24 year old software engineer and enthusiastic chess player. Since resuming tournament play in 2015 Megan’s USCF rating has ascended from 961 in 2015 to a peak rating of 1909! How did she do it? We discuss that in great detail, and as usual, you can find the links and timestamps below. The short answer, of course, is that she did lots of hard work on her chess and played in tons of tournaments.  0:00- Intro. Megan talks about how she rediscovered a passion for chess in college at Carnegie Mellon after many years away. Mentioned in this segment: USCF Masters Beilin Li and Grant Xu  8:00- Once Megan recommitted to chess as a serious hobby, what did she do to help improve her game? She found stronger players to review her games, and found her coaches, Ryan Murphy and WGM Nazi Paikidze.  Mentioned: Chicago Chess Meetup , Combinative Motifs by Maxim Blokh , Illinois Chess Association article about Megan Chen  18:00- Megan answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast about how she structures her lessons and study time. 29:00- What change in Megan’s lifestyle helped her game of chess the most? What are Megan’s current goals in chess? How is she approaching a current slump in her results?   40:00- Megan answers some more questions from Patreon supporters of the show. They relate to the best way to spend one’s chess study time, choosing coaches, seeking book recommendations for a new player rated around 900, and her biggest challenge as an adult improver is. .  Mentioned: Chess: 5334 Problems Combinations and Games, and  Bobby Fischer Teaches ChessTwitlonger post from IM Alexander Katz LiChess Coaches Page, coaches page 56:00- What are Megan’s favorite chess books? Mentioned: Combinative Motifs by Maxim Blokh , Active Pieces by Jay Bonin, Imagination in Chess, Attacking Manual Volume 1 and Volume 2 by GM Jacob Aagard  58:00- As is becoming a tradition in the Adult Improver Series, Megan gives her opinion of the importance of various study methods in the quest for improvement. These methods include: Studying Openings, playing blitz, having a coach, studying endgames, doing tactics, exercising, and watching chess broadcasts and videos.  Mentioned: 100 Endgames You Must Know,SIlman’s Endgame Course, Endgame Practice, Nazi Paikidze’s Endgame Renaissance Video  1:12- Does Megan have any longer term chess goals?  1:14- Goodbye! Keep up with Megan via her LiChess and Chess,com accounts, or join her in the club Play Like the Masters If you would like to help support the podcast you can go here: See for privacy information.
Jul 11, 2019
EP.133 - GM Pentala Harikrishna
GM Pentala Harikrishna has been World Junior Champion, Asian Individual Champion, and he has been ranked as high as #10 in the world! In between tournaments, while home in Prague, GM Harikrishna joined me to assess his most recent tournaments, reflect on his career, and to talk about his recently released Chessable course, which provides a complete repertoire against the French Defense. Please read on for many more details, notes and timestamps. ..  0:00- GM Harikrishna has been quite busy of late, so he begins our conversation by discussing his two recent most GM tournaments, The Shenzen Masters, and The TePe Sigeman Chess Tournament. GM Harikrishna finished in second place in both tournaments.  Players mentioned: Anish Giri, Nihal Sarin, Gawain Jones  Games Mentioned: Harikrishna-Giri 2019, Harikrishna-Sarin 2019 8:35- Does GM Harikrishna have a special knack for endgames? How does he prepare for an invitational GM tournament 11:45- Why did GM Harikrishna recently move from Belgrade to Prague?  Mentioned: Nový Bor Chess Club, GM David Navara  15:00- We talk about chess in India, includiing whether living away from India affects GM Harikrishna’s sponsorship with Bharat Petroluem Corporation Limited? We also briefly discuss some of India’s young phenoms including Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa and Nihail Sarin  19:00- As a former top junior player and World Junior Champion, what advice would GM Harikrishna give to other strong young players?  25:30- We talk about GM Harikrishna’s new Chessable Course, called French Toast: How Harikrishna Fries 1… e6  . This includes a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast about the challenges GM Harikrishna faced in trying to tailor an opening course for players of a wide range of experience levels.  Mentioned: GM Magesh Panchanathan, IM Dmitri Schneider,  Harikrishna-Rapport 2019 (Watch GM Hari analyze his the game here),  Adams-Gupta 2018  36:30- We talk chess improvement. GM Harikrishna weights the importance of solving studies, and answers a question from friend of the podcast, Moonmaster 9000 about whether it is important to memorize games.  Mentioned: Domination in 2,545 Studies  44:00- What is GM Harikrishna’s favorite game of his? Mentioned: Mamedyarov-Harikrisha 2016, Bobby Fischer  48:00- We say our goodbyes. You can check out GM Harikrishna’s Chessable course here, and can keep up with him by following him on twitter here. To help support the podcast, go here. See for privacy information.
Jul 02, 2019
EP.132 - FM Alex Dunne
FM Alex Dunne is the author of over 12 books,  including the recently released, Fred Reinfeld, The Man Who Taught America Chess. Alex is also an ICCF Correspondence Chess Master, and is well known for  his popular column about correspondence chess in Chess Life magazine, called The Check is in the Mail. In our interview we discuss Fred Reinfeld, correspondence chess, chess improvement, Bobby Fischer and more. Please read on for more details.  0:00- We kick off by discussing Alex’s latest book,  Fred Reinfeld, The Man Who Taught America Chess. We discuss the life and legacy of Fred Reinfeld. Reinfeld was a top 10 player in the US, and is probably the best selling chess author of all time. He was also one of the first Americans to make a living from chess, and managed to do so despite coming of age during The Great Depression.  Mentioned: Israel “Al” Horowitz, Irving Chernev, Fred Reinfeld Whales and Whaling . 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate . Keres Best Games of Chess. 1931-1940  18:00- Alex discusses how correspondence chess has changed at its highest levels, and assesses the future of correspondence chess. We also discuss the nuts and bolts of how correspondence games are transmitted,  and the rules regarding when book/engine assistance is and is not allowed in correspondence chess.  27:45- Alex has written a book about chess books, and has over 2,000 chess books titles in his library, so naturally I had to ask him about chess books.  Mentioned: My Great Predecessors, Vassily Ivanchuk: 100 Selected Games, Mato Jelic’s YouTube Channel , The Complete Chess Course by Fred Reinfeld  36:00- It took Alex about 20 years to go from the expert level to the master level, and then he continued to ascend up to a peak rating over 2400 USCF. How did he improve so much as an adult?  Mentioned. Interview with Bob Ferguson and Alex Dunne  42:00- Alex reminisces about playing ping pong with Bobby Fischer as a teenager. Also mentioned GM Arthur Bisguier, GM Larry Evans  47:00- How did Alex get into chess writing?  49:30- Goodbye! You can email FM Alex Dunne here. If you would like to help support the podcast, go here. See for privacy information.
Jun 25, 2019
EP.131 - GM Nico Checa
17 year old GM Nicolas "Nico" Checa is one of the young stars of the American chess scene. He recently tied for first place in the 2019 National High School Chess Championship. With a 2617 USCF rating, he is #7 on the US Chess top 100 Under Age 21 List, and has beaten Fabiano Caruana in the Pro Chess League. On top of that, Nico is a regular 17 yr old, with other interests and activities competing for his time. In our interview Nico talks about how he finds time for everything, and shares a lot about his approach to chess and chess improvement. Read on for links and timestamps. 0:00- Intro. We launch right into a discussion of how getting the GM title has changed Nico’s tournament selection and preparation. Mentioned in this segment: GM Ruifeng Li, GM John Michael Burke, IM Advait Patel, IM  Praveen Balakrishnan 8:00- As Nico finishes his junior year at Dobbs Ferry High School, he touches on his after-high school plans, and discusses the reasons that he and his family never felt that home schooling was the right choice for him. 15:30- What “gaps in his play” did Nico need to plug in order to reach the strength to get the GM title? Mentioned in this segment: IM Alexander Katz, GM Jacob Aagard Game: Checa-Katz 2018, 2019 Philadelphia International , 2019 US Junior Championship 23:55- How did Nico discover and get so good at chess anyway? Mentioned: Marshall Chess Club  Books: Chess Secrets: Giants of Power Play by Neil McDonald,  Learn from the Legends, Chess Champions at Their Best by GM Mikahil Marin, The books of GM Jacob Aagard,Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games Games: Checa-Smirin 2016, Fischer-Byrne 1956 40:30- Who are Nico’s favorite chess players? Mentioned: Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Bobby Fischer, Botvinnk, 44:30- Fast chess vs. slow chess we settle the debate once and for all!! Just kidding, but Nico weighs in and shares his ideas about the roles of classical chess and rapid chess in the chess world. Mentioned: IM Greg Shahade 47:00- We discuss Nico’s interests outside of chess, including soccer and political science.  Mentioned in this segment: GM Parham Maghsoodloo 56:00- Goodbye! Keep up with Nico via If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here: See for privacy information.
Jun 18, 2019
EP.130 - IM Eric Rosen returns
Nearly two years after our first interview popular Chess YouTuber, Twitch streamer, Photographer, Author, and yes, chess player, IM Eric Rosen returns to Perpetual Chess. As we discuss, a lot has changed for Eric in the past two years, including his place of residence and many of his professional responsibilities, but he remains a great person with whom to talk all things chess. Read on for more details, timestamps and links. 0:00- Intro. Eric discusses why he has set up residence in St. Louis and gives some details on his most recent tournament, The St. Louis Norm Congress. This includes a discussion of a new video approach Eric recently tried, where he recorded his opening preparation for specific opponent’s and subsequently posted it to YouTubet. Check out one of these YouTube prep videos here. You can see the list of Eric’s most popular YouTube videos here (as we discuss) here. 12:00- Why has Eric decided to deemphasize competing in tournaments as compared to all of his other chess work? Mentioned in this segment: Chessbrahs,  FM LeFong Hua 16:30- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks for advice in filtering YouTube videos for players in the 1300-1500 rating range. Mentioned in this segment: St. Louis Chess Club’s YouTube Channel, John Bartholomew’s Climbing the Rating Ladder Series 19:30- Another listener question leads to Ben and Eric discussing their favorite drinks to consume while playing chess. Mentioned in this segment: The Queen Side Cafe in Sydney, Australia 23:45- Since Eric is a popular Twitch streamer and I am a Twitch noob, he patiently answered some questions for me about how it works. Mentioned in this segment: Hikaru Nakamura 31:30- Eric reflects a bit on what has changed in his professional life since our first interview, which occured in August of 2017. Mentioned in this segment: Marc Maron interviewing David Letterman 37:00- We talk some chess improvement. Mentioned in this segment: Imagination in Chess , Recognizing Your Opponent’s Resources by Mark Dvoretsky 43:00- Eric answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast regarding whether it is better to study at a fast or a slow pace. Mentioned in this segment: The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin , Searching for Bobby Fischer (the book) and the movie   48:00- One more listener question for Eric relates to how Eric balances all of his differing professional roles. Mentioned in this segment: 54:00- Eric tells the stories of the two different times he has managed to beat World Champion Magnus Carlsen in online chess tournaments. Mentioned in this segment: The Reddit Post about Eric beating ManWithAVan, Unknowingly Beating the World Champion , Playing the World Champion in Chess960, Game Show Network’s New Master Trivia Game (featuring former Perpetual Chess guest Jonathan Corbblah) 1:02- Eric asks me who my current dream guests for Perpetual Chess are. Mentioned in this segment: Timman’s Titans , Yasser Seirawan, Boris Spassky, Maurice Ashley, Perpetual Chess World Championship Report with IMs Eric Rosen and Kostya Kavutskiy 1:05- Goodbye! Follow Eric on YouTube, Twitch, Instagram  and Twitter   To help support the podcast, go here.  See for privacy information.
Jun 11, 2019
EP.129 - IM Cyrus Lakdawala
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. 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 via Facebook. To help support the podcast, go here. See for privacy information.
Jun 04, 2019
EP.128 - Doug Griffin (Chess writer/translator/blogger)
Douglas Griffin is a chess author/blogger, translator, and an indispensable source of historical chess perspective  on “chess twitter”. He is particularly interested and knowledgeable about chess in the Soviet Union. Doug is also a strong player. As a teen, he was one of Scotland’s stronger junior players. His FIDE rating reached about 2270, before his family, his work and his strong interest in chess history overtook his interest in tournament participation. While Doug may not be as well-known as some of the Grandmasters and personalities that have been on the show, our talk was one I looked forward to, and sure enough, it was highly informative and inspiring.. For more information about Doug, you can check out his blog, and his twitter page. Please keep reading for timestamps and many fun links and resources.  0:00- Intro and discussion of Doug’s intro to the chess world. Mentioned in this segment, GMs Anatoly Karpov, Tony Miles, VIktor Korchnoi. The BBC show, The Master Game 6:00-How did Doug improve in chess and develop an interest in Soviet-era chess and the Russian language? He owes a debt of gratitude to his former teacher IM Danny Kopec, among others. 9:00- Doug transitions to telling some stories about some of the chess greats he encountered early in their careers. Players mentioned are those he saw at the Lloyds Bank London 1984- GM Vishy Anand, Ivanchuk, Spassky, Nigel Short. You can read a bit more about the Lloyds Bank tournament in this Chessbase article by Priyadarshan Banjan Read Doug’s blog post about the Troon 1984 tournament he mentions and about GM Lev Psakhis in his blog post here.   14:30- How did Doug learn Russian, and where does he get all of the original sources for his blog? Magazines mentioned:  Shakhmatny Bulletin , Chess in the U.S.S.R. and “64”  Doug bought a lot of his Soviet chess magazine’s from Kimmo Välkesalmi's website. Translator named in this segment: Ken Neat 25:00- Friend/supporter of the podcast, John Hartmann of Chess Life Online (and author of CLO’s Throwback Thursday)  writes in to ask whether Doug has any plans of turning his material into a book and/or launching a Patreon page.  Mentioned in this segment; Ilan Rubin of Elk and Ruby. . 31:45- We discuss an excerpt of  Doug’s most recent blog post, which unearthed a great and prescient quote from former World Champion GM Mikhail Botvinnik regarding an ascendant Bobby Fischer. Read Doug’s blog post here. 38:00- Are there any Soviet periodicals or books that Doug is especially excited to translate? Mentioned in this segment:, IM John Donaldson and  IM Nikolay Minev’s books about The Life and Games of Akiba Rubinstein, GM Razuvaev and Murahveri’s Russian language Rubinstein biography.   Nikolai Krylenko is also mentioned 43:00- Chris Wainscott writes in to ask if Doug has favorite lesser-known Soviet chess players. Doug mentions Andor Lilienthal, Isaac Boleslavsky, Semyon Furman, Ratmir Kholmov, Grigory Levenfish (about whom Doug is writing a book) Books mentioned by GM Genna Sosonko: Russian Silhoettes, The Reliable Past, Smart Chip from St. Petersburg and other tales of a bygone chess era Also mentioned GMs John Shaw and Jacob Aagard, co-founders of Quality Chess 53:00- Doug and I wax nostalgic about The Chess Informant and he discusses some exciting upcoming projects on which he will work with their publishers. 56:30- Doug names of a few of his favorite chess books amongst those that have been published in the English language. They are: Botvinnik’s Best Games, Smyslov’s Best Games, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal , Anatoly Karpov: My 300 Best Games , Kasparov on Kasparov, Leonid Stein: Master of RIsk Strategy 1:00- Doug reflects a bit on what helped him become a strong chess player. He credits reading voraciously and being blessed with a good memory. 1:05- On the heels of GM Neil McDonald’s story of meeting legendary GM David Bronstein, Doug shares his own story . Also mentioned in this segment: Jon Speelman, Julian Hodgson, Paul Motwani, Colin McNab, Jonath Rowson, Bojan Kurajica 1:09-  Reluctantly, we discuss non-chess related stuff. Doug discusses his day job and his affinity for hiking and photography. Check out his landscape photography site here. The Dutch online photo archive Doug mentions is here. 1:13- Goodbye! A friendly reminder to read Doug’s blog here, follow him on twitter here, You can email him here. See for privacy information.
May 28, 2019
EP.127 - GM Neil McDonald
Neil McDonald is a Grandmaster, a trainer for the British Chess Federation and  a prolific and accomplished author of 37 chess books! As you will hear, he has gathered some great stories to share in his decades in the chess world. His most recent book, Coach Yourself: A Complete Guide to Improvement at Chess is now available from Amazon and many other sellers. Read on for more details, links and timestamps. 0:00- Intro. Neil kicks off with a few great stories relating to chess history. The first connects his mom with a radio interview of former World Champion Alexander Alekhine. You can hear the interview in question here on YouTube. The second story describes an opportunity Neil had to travel to the Soviet Union in 1986 and play legends of the game like former World Champion Mikhail Tal, Oleg Romanishin and many others. Others mentioned in this segment include: GMs Polugaevsky, Vaganian, Portisch, and Spassky, . Ovidiu-Doru Foisor and Sabina Foisor. 22:00- Neil shares a few more stories from his travels, including tales of chess trips to Serbia, Hungary and the Ukraine, interweaving chess and world history. 28:30- Neil tells the story of meeting legendary GM David Bronstein in the mid 1990s. Find out the chess improvement advice Neil got from one the strongest non World chess champions in history. Books mentioned  in this segment: GM Genna Sosonko’s  The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein, and Irving Chernev’s The Golden Dozen. 35:30- Neil fields some questions regarding chess improvement from some of the podcast's Patreon supporters. They touch on selecting opening repertoires, the importance of doing “post-mortems” after a game, . Player mentioned include: GMs Kasparov, Karpov, Korchnoi, Botvinnik, Baskaran Adhiban, Richard Rapport, Chris Ward, John Nunn, Boris Spassky. Books mentioned:The Giants of Chess Strategy by Neil McDonald   Perpetual Chess Episodes mentioned:  Stacia Pugh 1:07- Another listener asks about which of the older authors like Reinfeld and Horowitz are the most instructive to read these days. Authors mentioned: Irving Chernev, Fred Reinfeld, Al Horowitz, Lev Alburt, Raymond Keene. Books mentioned: From Morphy to FischerThe Chess Training Pocket Book 1:17- We plug Neil’s books! Coach Yourself has a wealth of material for players of many levels. Other books mentioned: Chess Fundamentals by Capablanca  Chess Secrets: The Giants of Chess Strategy by Neil McDonald 1:24- Goodbye! Keep up with Neil’s works by following his publisher, Everyman Chess’s webpage or twitter account. If you would like to help support and sustain the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
May 21, 2019
EP.126 - GM Evgeny Bareev
This week the esteemed Grandmaster Evgeny Bareev joined me on the podcast. GM Bareev has been ranked as high as #4 in the world.  He has been the trainer of the Russian National Team, and was a vital member of the team that assisted former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik in the early 2000s. Evgeny is also an acclaimed chess author. His prior book, From London to Elista, (co-authored with Ilya Levitov), won the 2007 Book of the Year, from the British Chess Federation. This year, Thinker’s Publishing  has recently released his new work, Say No to Chess Principles . This fun and informative book contains some great stories and explores the topic of when one should “break the rules” in chess, as shown in Evgeny’s and some other top level games.  In our interview, Evgeny discussed both of his books, shared some stories, and offered some chess improvement advice. Read on for details, links and timestamps. 0:00- Intro and discussion of Say No to Chess Principles . GM Bareev tells the story of  the idea behind the book and of how the project came to fruition.   He also shares some memorable stories from growing up in the Soviet Chess School which are touched on in his book. People and books mentioned include Boris Postovsky, who headed the Vasily Smyslov School of chess, and the book Devoted to Chess: The Creative Heritage of Yuri Razuvaev . This includes a discussion of whether or not it's important to have a good memory (14:00)  to be a top chess player. According to GM Bareev, former World Champion Anatoly Karpov had a notoriously faulty memory in his prime. Evgeny gives some helpful tips for how to approach chess if you have a bad memory. 23:00- How do we know when to “say no to chess principles” anyway? 28:00- As a former member of his “Team Kramnik,” was  GM Bareev surprised by the retirement of former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik? Evgeny also reflects on some of the stories and perspectives from the classic book From London to Elista. His current take on the some of the stories shared in this book might surprise you. We also touch on Carsten Hensel’s recent book  about his time as the manager of GM Kramnik. You can hear my interview with Carsten Hensel here. 37:00- GM Bareev shares some stories dealing with getting sick at a chess tournament and about how to deal with tough losses. This includes some discussion of Peter Leko, who lost to GM Kramnik for the 2004 World Championship in a very close match. 45:00- Who were GM Bareev’s toughest opponents? Players mentioned include Garry Kasparov, Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexey Dreev and Alexei Shirov. 49:00- Chess books! Since GMs Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri have been tradingbarbs about Vladimir Tukmakov’s new book, I asked Evgeny if he had read it. Evgeny does not read all of the chess literature, but has enjoyed the books of Boris Gelfand, Matthew Sadler and Yasser Seirawan. 54:00- A Patreon supporter of Perpetual Chess asks if GM Bareev uses a particular method as a trainer. 58:00- We talk a bit about how GM Bareev ended up emigrating to Toronto, Canada, and he answers a question from a Patreon supporter comparing chess and literature. See for privacy information.
May 14, 2019
EP.125 - USCF Master Jason Cigan (Adult Improver Series)
Jason Cigan is a 29 year old US Chess Master who recently won the Oregon State Championship. As Jason tells us, he did not begin seriously playing chess until he was 18, but in the past 11 years, he has managed to slowly and steadily gain over 1,000 rating points while working full time as a software engineer . (You can see his US Chess rating graph here.) How has he done it? Listen to the show and you will find out. For relevant links, timestamps, and many book recommendations, please keep reading. :) 0:00-  Intro and Jason tells his chess story, including how he got into chess, and why it took a while for his passion for the game to fully manifest. 10:25-  So how did Jason improve so much, anyway?  In his opinion, having master level mentors played a big role in his improvement. Jason credits FM Charles Schulien, NM Corbin Yu and NM Jeremy Kane with helping him immeasurably along the way. The video from GM Vidit Gujrath regarding chess improvement can be seen here. Jason is a fan of the books of GMs Mikhail Marin and Boris Gelfand, and also Seven Deadly Chess Sins by GM Jonathan Rowson 18:00-  A listener, new to chess, who is 62 year old and recently retired, is eager to devote 20 hours a week to chess books and chess improvement. How should he spend his time, what resources should he utilize? How good can he become? In Jason's response, he mentions that he is a strong proponent of John Nunn’s chess books. I chimed in and mentioned that the listener might want to pursue something more systematic to improve, like the acclaimed series from GM Arthur Yusopov , The Steps Series, or the Susan Polgar series for those brand new to chess. 29:00- As is a regular feature on the Adult Improver Series, we launch into a discussion of how useful various attempts at improving one’s chess games are. Jason gives his opinion on the importance of having a coach, as well as the relative merits of analyzing one’s games, solving tactics, studying endgames, playing speed chess, learning openings,  exercising, and more. Jason benefited from taking lessons with GMs Melik Khachiyan and Sabino Brunello and from playing training games with IM Craig Hilby. One can always look for coaches on the LiChess coaches page 39:00-  Jason answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast,  about whether its important to set up a board when solving tactics. The US Championship summary by Jennifer Yu that I mentioned can be read here. 46:00- How should one approach openings when you live in a community where you play the same players repeatedly? 51:00- Jason tells a fun story related to opening preparation, of a game between GM  James Tarjan and recent Perpetual Chess guest GM Alex Ipatov. Check out the game here. Mr. Moonmaster 9000 asks for some clarification about something Jason wrote: Does Jason believe it's impossible for him to become a super GM? 1:02- A 3 minute digression into the intersection of  the NBA and professional chess. Sorry NBA haters! 1:06- Back on track, Jason talks about the importance of endgame studies in helping your chess game. Jason is a big fan of the book 100 Endgames You Must Know He also mentions enjoying the Yusupov and Dvoretsky features on 1:10- Jason discusses his coaching philosophy, and shares some methods that he has used to help his student, Gavin Zhang. He emphasizes the importance of studying the classics, and identifying and working on one’s strongest point and one’s weakest points in chess. 1:19- We discuss books on endgames and endgame studies. Jason mentions: Capablanca’s Best Chess Endings by Irving Chernev Endgame Training by Bernd Rosen Endgame challenge by John Nunn Studies for the Practical Player by Mark Dvoretsky One Pawn Saves the Day by Sergei Tkachenko Under the Surface by Jan Markos Chess Structures by Mauricio Flores Rios Grandmaster Repetoire: 1. E4 by Parimarjan Negi                                                                    1:30- Keep up with Jason’s progress via his account here. If you would like to help support the podcast you can do here. See for privacy information.
May 07, 2019
EP.124 - GM Alex Ipatov
This week I am joined by 25 year old  GM Alex Ipatov. Alex is quite an accomplished chess player who is well known for winning the 2012 World Junior Chess Championship, among many other distinctions. These days, Alex  is graduate student at St. Louis University, and he has recently published an original chess book called Unconventional Approaches to Modern Chess Volume 1: Rare Ideas for Black. His book is available from Thinker’s Publishing, Amazon and Forward Chess. Please keep reading to see more details of what we discussed, as well as relevant links and contact information. 0:00-Intro and discussion of Alex’s new book. It is based on the thesis that the trend of memorizing too many opening lines  has become unhealthy. Alex believes that we can learn from the very strong GMs who utilize offbeat lines, such as GMs Baadur Jobava and Richard Rapport. Naturally, GM Ipatov also relies heavily on his own chess repertoire to find lines to recommend, but he wishes to stress that adopting an original and practical approach to chess openings is more important than buying his book and copying his lines. 7:30- We discuss Alex’s life away from the board for a bit. He discusses his academic pursuits, his enthusiasm for soccer and how he enjoys life in St. Louis. 11:00-We return to the topic of how the club level player should approach studying openings. A couple supporters of the podcast wrote to ask about how to balance avoiding getting bogged down in theory, while also making sure that they know a bit about classical structures. 21:00- What did Alex think of the news that FIDE is sponsoring a Fischer Random World Championship tournament? 25:00- We delve a bit into Alex’s background. He spent his early years in Lviv, Ukraine. We briiefly discuss the past and future of chess in his native Ukraine. As Alex tells, chess standouts like GMs Vassily Ivanchuk and Yuriu Kryvoruchko,Oleg Romanishin, Alexander Beliavsky, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Martyn Kravtsiv  Yaroslav Zherebukh  and Ilya Nizhnik are only a few of the Ukrainian chess standouts who have made names for themselves, but many have relocated to different countries.   29:00- Chess improvement! Why should we study the classics? Which classics should we study? Alex is a big fan of Alexander Alekhine’s Best Games and recommends that stronger players study Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual. One of Alex's own most memorable games is Grandelius-Ipatov, and one of his favorite of all time is Rotlewi-Rubenstein (1907) 39:00- Who does Alex think we might see in the next World Championship? Who are the strongest players he has ever played? What lesson did he learn from GM Vladimir Kramnik when he played him at the 2013 Olympiad? 47:00- How did Alex end up representing Turkey in international chess competitions? Has he lived in Turkey? 50:00- Before we say our goodbyes, we briefly discuss an interesting game Alex annotated in his book with online bullet star, GM Andrew Tang. You can see Alex’ annotation  in his book, but can also see notes to the game here. You can follow Alex on twitter here, or reach him via email here. See for privacy information.
Apr 30, 2019
EP.123 - Charity Chess Championship + Philadelphia Chess Society (Double Episode!)
This week on Perpetual Chess, I would like to spotlight some of the ways that people are using chess as a vehicle to make a difference in the world. I am happy to say that there are countless qualified guests to choose from in this regard, and it was hard to limit myself to only 2 segments. As you will hear, the guests in both segments have great stories to tell. My first interview this week is with Scott and Norma Mero, the founders of the Charity Chess Championship, while Part 2 (26:30) features Gabrielle Moshier and Jason Bui, who are Philadelphia school teachers and board members of The Philadelphia Chess Society,  Please read on for relevant links and more detailed timestamps. 0:00- Part 1-  Scott and Norma Mero are the founders of the Charity Chess Championship which will take place this year on June 2, 2019. It will feature more titled players than I can list here, but a few who may be familiar to listeners are GM Joel Benjamin, GM Robert Hess and GM Irina Krush. This year the money that the event raises will go to the help the early detection and prevention of pancreatic cancer. You can read GM Robert Hess’ write-up of last year’s event here, as well as Jenn Shahade’s interview with Kimberly Doo previewing last year’s event  here. 9:30- Scott and Norma talk about how this annual event originated. They started the event in 2017 with their son, Daniel Mero who is a very active scholastic player. Daniel (who is 12 years old and rated about 1800) draws inspiration from his coach, GM John Fedorowicz, and the YouTube videos of GM Ben Finegold. We also talk about their son’s approach to chess improvement. 18:00- We get into the nuts and bolts of the Charity Chess Championship by answering the following questions: How do they line up so many titled players to attend the Charity Chess Championship? Is is mandatory to spend money to attend the event? Does one need to sign up in advance to attend?   26:00- Goodbye and contact info.You can email Scott and Norma Mero here, or drop them a line if you will be attending the 2019 National Elementary School Chess Championships in Nashville, Tennessee. Of course, you can also see them (and me) at the Charity Chess Championships on June 2 in New York city. 26:30- Part 2  I am now joined by Philadelphia teachers, and board members of the Philadelphia Chess Society, Gabrielle Moshier and Jason Bui. In addition to their work as chess coaches, Gabrielle is an English teacher at the Esperanza Academy Charter Middle School, while Jason teaches science and math at the  S. Weir Mitchell Elementary School. 29:00-  Gabrielle and Jason begin by telling the stories of how they got into chess and discussing how chess can change the kids that they teach. 36:00- Gabrielle and Jason share their experiences from the 2019 All Girls Nationals in Chicago, IL, from whence they had just returned. What sort of obstacles do girls encounter that boys do not in chess? They also discuss the remaining major events on their chess calendar. 44:00- How does the Philadelphia Chess Society go about trying to raise money? One small but easy way to support the program is to shop on Amazon using this Amazon Smile link. We briefly discuss the movie Brooklyn Castle, and Jason and Gabrielle share a few stories in the spirit of that great movie. 53:00- What are Jason and Gabrielleftitl’s favorite chess books and resources as teachers and players?  Gabrielle is a big fan of Jenn Shahade’s Play Like a GIrl. Jason is a big fan of Silman’s Complete Endgame Chess as well How to Beat Your Dad at Chess, and Winning Chess Tactics for Kids . 56:00- Patreon supporter of the podcast, Mr. Moonmaster 9000 is back in the house! The Moonmaster asks whether Jason and Gabrielle feel like they have to overcome a negative image of chess when presenting it to students and parents. Gabrielle’s answer might surprise you! 1:01- Here is how you can keep up with the Philadelphia Chess Society: Follow on Twitter here, Facebook here. Email Jason here. You can donate to the organization through the Facebook page, or mail checks (payable to Philadelphia Chess Society) to: Philadelphia Chess Society. 4916 Paschall Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19143 See for privacy information.
Apr 23, 2019
EP.122 - GM Gata Kamsky
This week it is my great honor to talk with the five-time US Champion and 1996 FIDE World Championship Challenger, GM Gata Kamsky! Gata has just released Volume 1 of his highly anticipated games collection, Gata Kamsky - Chess Gamer, Volume 1: The Awakening 1989-1996. The recent release of this book gives us a rare opportunity to listen in as Gata Kamsky reflects on his illustrious chess career and discusses the past and future of chess. As usual, read on for timestamps of our discussion topics and relevant links. Enjoy! 0:00- Intro and discussion of GM Kamsky’s new book, Gata Kamsky - Chess Gamer. Gata discusses the following details: How the project came into existence and why he gives credit to the indispensable roles played by his wife, WGM Vera Nebolsina, and the team at Thinkers Publishing for helping him push forward with the book.   How he decided on the structure of the book, which begins with the games he played when he emigrated from Russia in 1989.12:00- Gata answers a listener's question regarding his intended audience for the book, and he reveals the classic chess book from which he drew inspiration.17:30- What lessons about the role of psychology in chess did Gata Kamsky learn from studying Emanuel Lasker ?20:45- What did it feel like to immigrate to the US and play former World Champion Mikhail Tal in his first tournament after arrival in the United States? Gata annotates the game in detail in his book, but you can take a look at the game here.25:45- Gata reflects on playing Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov as a teenager and in the ensuing years. This includes a discussion of his reflections on the FIDE and Professional Chess Association World Championship Cycles in the early to mid-1990’s.36:30- A Patreon supporter of Perpetual Chess asks about Gata’s future plans with regarding to writing books.41:00- The mysterious Moonmaster 9000 asks what chess improvement methods Gata has found to be most effective. His recommendations: 1. Study your games 2. Play frequent tournaments 3. Work on endgames. As a youth, Gata found it particularly helpful to solve the chess compositions of Sergey Kasparyan and Leonid Kubbel 54:00- Gata answers another question from a supporter of the podcast relating to why some players are able to reach their maximum potential while others are not. This segment touches on top chess players including Anish Giri, Garry Kasparov, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So and Boris Spassky. Gata also tells the story of some encounters with a young Magnus Carlsen.1:07- Are we likely to see Gata Kamsky in another US Chess Championship?1:11- Gata discusses his recent forays into streaming chess on Twitch, and the possibilities for chess as an e-sport. In this segment he also touches on the issues of cheating in chess and the promise of Chess960 aka Fischer Random Chess.1:18:00- Goodbye and thank you to GM Kamsky! You can keep up with Gata via Facebook and Twitter. You can buy Gata's book from Thinkers Publishing, (where a free excerpt of the book is available), Gata Kamsky-Chess Gamer is also available from US Chess Sales, and it is coming soon to Amazon. If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here.  See for privacy information.
Apr 16, 2019
EP.121 - WIM Alexey Root
WIM Alexey Root is a former US Women’s Chess Champion among many other distinctions. She has a Ph. D. from UCLA in Education,and is a lecturer at The University of Texas at Dallas. Alexey has written 7 books about chess and education, and is also a frequent writer for US Chess and other publications. In our interview we discussed collegiate chess in the U.S, how opportunities for female chess players have changed, plus the important topic of what chess parents can do to help safeguard their children. Please read on for all of the details, links, and timestamps: 0:00- Intro and discussion of college chess in the United States in general, and at University of Texas at Dallas (UTD)  in particular. The Final Four of College Chess just concluded, with The University of Texas-Rio-Grande Valley emerging as the winner for the second consecutive year. The other participants were Webster University, UTD, and Harvard University. 11:00- How did Alexey decide to pursue a PhD in Education? 18:00- We segue into a discussion of approaches to teaching chess to very young students. Elizabeth Spiegel’s Chess Educator of the Year speech can be seen here, and Jeff Bulington’s here. 21:45- Alexey will be a featured guest in the Girls Club Room at the US Chess National Junior High Championship- go say hi to her-if you are there. How has the world of Women’s chess changed during Alexey's career? Will strong female players like Hou Yifan and newly crowned US Women’s Champion Jennifer Yu pursue chess professionally? 33:00- Chess books! What are Alexey’s favorites (other than her own books)?  Alexey was nice enough to provide a list of her favorite books- you can find it at the bottom of this description. 44:00- What advice does Alexey give to chess parents? Alexey stresses that the #1 priority should be child safety! Alexey has written movingly in the past about how being a victim of sexual abuse framed her experiences as a parent and teacher, and I really appreciate her willingness to talk about this important subject. 56:00- How did Alexey get her first chess book published? Piggybacking off of John Hartmann’s advice, Alexey also gives advice on how to (eventually) find paid work as a chess writer. Alexey is also quite forthcoming about the compensation one can expect as a chess writer. 1:06:00- Why are the supporters of the podcast slacking when it comes to sending in questions? 😉 1:07:00- Goodbye and contact info! Keep up with Alexey’s writing here, email her here. Follow her on Facebook here. Alexey’s Book Recommendations include the following: Free: A Guide to Scholastic Chess by Dewain Barber (11th edition) --- Instructional books: Ashley, M. (2005). Chess for success: Using an old game to build new strengths in children and teens. New York, NY: Broadway Books. Bain, J. (1994). Chess rules for students. Corvallis, OR: Learning Plus. Bain, J. (2002). Checkmate! Ideas for students. Corvallis, OR: Learning Plus. Bosch, J., & Giddins, S. (Eds.). (2008). The chess instructor 2009. Alkmaar, The Netherlands: New in Chess. Garrow, S. (1983). The amazing adventure of Dan the pawn. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Kidder, H. (1990). The kids’ book of chess. New York, NY: Workman. Pandolfini, B. (1993). Beginning chess: Over 300 elementary problems for players new to the game. New York, NY: Fireside. Shulman, Y., & Sethi, R. (2007). Chess! Lessons from a grandmaster. Rapid City, SD: Spizzirri.   Adult books: Benjamin, J. (2007). American grandmaster: Four decades of chess adventures . London: Everyman Chess. Eade, J. (2016). Chess for dummies (4th ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley. Nimzowitsch, A : My System Polgar, J. (2012). How I beat Fischer's record. Glasgow: Quality Chess. Sadler, M., & Regan, N. (2016). Chess for life. London: Gambit Publications. Wolff, P. (2005). The complete idiot’s guide to chess (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Alpha Books. See for privacy information.
Apr 09, 2019
EP.120 - John Hartmann Returns
This week features another return guest, as John Hartmann joins me from the US Chess Championships in St. Louis. As listeners who heard  our popular first interview will recall, John is the book reviewer for Chess Life Magazine, but they may not know that he was also recently named digital editor for Chess Life Online. Some of the highlights of this conversation include:  a discussion of the 2019 US Championship, a rundown of some recent standout chess books, details on John’s new job, and his reflections on how to find work in the chess world. For timestamps, links and more details, please continue reading: 0:00- Intro and John’s report from the US championship in St. Louis. He recorded the first half of this interview at the St Louis Chess Club following the first half of the tournament’s completion. The games we referenced were Xiong-Shankland, as annotated by IM Kostya Kavutskiy at US Chess online here. The Sevian-Garyev swindle we reference can be found here. 11:00- What are John’s duties in his new gig as digital editor of US Chess? As John tells, the planned schedule for US Chess podcasts will be: Cover Stories with Chess Life, hosted by Dan Lucas (1st Tuesday of each month) One Move at a Time, hosted by Dan Lucas  (2nd Tuesday of each month) Ladies Knight hosted by Jenn Shahade  (3rd Tuesday of each month) Chess Underground with Pete Karagianis  (4th Tuesday of each month, coming soon) You can keep with all of US Chess’ podcasts here. 18:00- John’s first Perpetual Chess appearance can be heard here. (If you haven’t heard that one yet, you are in for a lot of great background and book recommendations. :) In this segment, John discusses some of his favorite newer chess books, including Game Changer (John’s review here), Better Thinking, Better Chess and Understanding Minor Piece Endings. As John mentions the analysis from the Karsten Müller & Yakov Konoval book can be downloaded here, courtesy of Russell Enterprise. 25:20- Our discussion of chess books and Alphazero segues into the topic of Leela, the open-sourced neural network chess engine, which has quickly become a world class chess engine. 33:00- We discuss John’s excellent nascent Youtube series, First Look Chess, which gets into the nuts and bolts of how to use Chessbase. 37:00- What is the state of John’s own chess game, what tournaments does he plan to play?   39:30- Back to books! What did John like about Joel Benjamin’s latest book? Other books that John mentions enjoying include My Magical Years with Topalov by Romain Eduoard, Gata Kamsky: Chess Gamer by Gata Kamsky, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy by John Watson. Chess Coaching for Kids.  The Longest Game by Jan Timman, and  Practical Chess Beauty by Yochanan Afek. He also gives a glowing review of the book, Andy Soltis teased on Perpetual Chess, Tal-Petrosian-Spassky-Korchnoi, a Chess Multibiography with 207 games. 53:00- Why should we watch the Chess24 series,  “Inside the 2018 World Championship Match”? 57:00- What advice would John would give to someone who wants to write about chess or work in the chess world? John felt this was an important topic to get right, so we re-recorded this part of the conversation. This also includes a discussion of how John deals with negative feedback on his reviews. His reviews have ruffled some feathers even when they aren’t uniformly negative. The books mentioned include The Shereshevsky Method to Improve in Chess: From Club Player to Master by Mikahil Shereshevsky, Active Pieces: Practical Advice from America's Most Relentless Tournament Player  by Jay Bonin, and Applying Logic in Chess by Eric Kislik. Read John's reviews of the three books here (Bonin), here (Shereshevsky) and here (Kislik). The game John mentions from the 2019 US Women’s Championship is Foisor-Krush, available here. 1:28- Goodbye! Here is how you can keep up with John Hartmann: Chess Life Online Twitter YouTube Channel John’s Book Review Archive Email If you would like to help support the podcast, and you can so here. See for privacy information.
Apr 02, 2019
EP.119 - GM Alex Colovic
This week GM Alex Colovic joins me from his native Skopje, Macedonia, speaking to me on the "rest day" of the European Chess Championship, in which he is competing. Alex Colovic is a Grandmaster, blogger, author and newly elected President of the Association of Chess Professionals. Alex catches us up on the status of the tournament at the midway point, and from there we have a wide-ranging conversation which covers topics which range from his latest Chessable course, The Najdorf Sicilian Simplified, to why he loves studying the games of Jose Raoul Capablanca. I think that Alex’s love for and knowledge of chess and chess history is evident in our conversation. Read on for timestamps, links and GM Colovic’s contact info: 0:00- Intro and Alex’s breakdown of the ongoing  European Chess Championship.  On the day that we talked Alex was enjoying a break from the tournament  10:20- We discuss Alex’s brand new Chessable course, The Najdorf Sicilian Simplified. This includes the story of how he began to collaborate with Chessable, and why now is a good time to learn more about the storied Najdorf defense. In our conversation, Alex gives some updates on the theory of particular lines of the Najdorf, including the contributions that GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave  made to the Poison Pawn Variation. The Karpov-Kasparov game that GM Colovic mentions can be seen here. 26:30- Alex’s chess improvement advice for club players. If you want instant results, Alex says, the first thing you should do is improve your calculation. He says that the fact that you are doing the work is more important than the tools that you use to do it. The viral Quora post that Alex wrote and that we reference can be read here. (In the interview, I erroneously said that Alex’s post got 67,000 views, but actually that particular post got 18,000 views.  it is Alex’s Quora posts in total that got 67,000 views.) The study composer that Alex mentions who helped him finally achieve the GM title is Genrikh M. Kasparyan. For all of Alex’s book recommendations check out his blog posts here, here and here. The more beginner-oriented tactics books/courses that Alex mentions in our interview are Mastering Mates 1: 1,111 One-Move Mates by Jon Edwards, and Chess - 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games by Lazlo Polgar. For his own chess, Alex greatly enjoyed the Jonathan Rowson books, Understanding the Grunfeld, Seven Deadly Chess Sins, and Chess for Zebras 42:30- Why is Jose Raul Capablanca Alex’s favorite player? What is his favorite book about Capablanca? The game that Alex is referring to is this one. The footage of Fischer playing over a game can be seen here. 50:30- How and why did Alex just become President of the Association of Chess Professionals?   How did he become involved with the FIDE Fair play commission? 58:30- Goodbye and contact info. Read Alex’s blog here, follow him on Twitter here and Facebook here. If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Mar 26, 2019
EP.118 - IM Herman Grooten
This week it my pleasure to talk with the well known Dutch trainer, and award-winning author,  IM Herman Grooten. Herman has been active as a chess trainer for more than 45 years and has worked with countless players, including well known players such as GM Loek Van Wely, GM Jan Werle and GM Benjamin Bok. Read on for more details and timestamps.   0:00- Intro and discussion of Herman’s life as a football/soccer coach and “chess dad.” Herman’s son, Tommy is a scholastic chess champion. What are the secrets of Tommy’s success? How much credit do Dad and Mom, FM Petra Schuurman, deserve for it? 18:00- Herman tackles the age old question of how important talent is for chess achievement. He looks at the question through the lens of having coached elite players such as GM Loek Van Wely. What lessons has he learned that have helped him become a better trainer over the years? 28:30- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks Herman, "How should we select a coach and assess their work?" The game referenced from IM Grooten’s book  is Petrosian-Planinc 1972 (I have uploaded the game from my database for listeners to see, but they are encouraged to buy Chess Strategy for Club Players: The Road to Positional Advantage in order to see IM Grooten’s analysis of this and countless other instructive games. 😃 ) 37:40- Another question comes from a listener/supporter of the show, "How can one go from 1700 to GM in 10 years?" The famed Dutch chess players that Herman mentions are are the co-founders of the Steps Method., IM Cor van Wijgerden, and Rob Brunia and Adrian de Groot. 49:00- We discuss IM Grooten’s acclaimed book, Chess Strategy for Club Players: The Road to Positional Advantage, as well as Attacking Chess for Club Players: Improve Your Skills to Overpower Your Opponent. IM Grooten's book Understanding Before Moving 2: Queen's Gambit Structureshas just been released on Chessable. 55:00- Goodbye and contact info. You can email IM Grooten here. If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Mar 19, 2019
EP.117 - Stjepan Tomić (Adult Improver Series)
This week the Adult Improver Series continues with another inspiring guest. Twenty eight year-old Stjepan Tomić (creator of the Hanging Pawns Channel on Youtube)  learned the rules of and fell in love with chess only a few years ago.  Since that time he has not let a full-time job or a girlfriend (his life currently includes both) interfere with his drive to improve at the royal game.  Stjepan details for us how he created a nine-year plan to become a Grandmaster, and three years into the plan, he has made steady progress, with an ELO peak nearing 1900.  In our conversation Stjepan shares what he has learned about how to manage one’s time, deal with defeat, create a Youtube channel, and of course, improve at chess. Read on for many more details and timestamps:  0- Stjepan tells the story of how he discovered chess by happenstance in Poland, and breaks down the chess scene in Zagreb, Croatia, where he lives. He also recounts the first steps he took in his study of chess, before he became systematic and serious about this pursuit. 11:45- Stjepan details the nine-year plan he made to become a grandmaster after he decided to commit himself to chess. The video we mention of Stjepan’s, discussing how to deal with defeat, can be viewed here. 16:45- Stjepan answers a question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast- What challenges are unique to the efforts of adults to improve at chess, as opposed to those of kids? 19:00- We dive into a regular feature of the Adult Improver Series, in which Stjepan gives his opinion about the relative merits of some different ways to study chess, including solving tactics, watching videos, playing blitz and analyzing one’s own games. An excellent YouTube video of Stjepan’s discussing his recommended study methods  can be viewed here.   36:00- Stjepan answers a question from another Perpetual Chess supporter regarding his favorite tactics books, and also rattles off some other chess books which have really helped him. They include: Think Like a Grandmaster. My System. Tal-Botvinnik 1960. The Meran and Anti-Meran and The Moscow and Anti-Moscow  by Alexei Dreev. The Rules of WInning Chess by GM Nigel Davies. Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual. John Nunn’s Understanding Middlegames. Winning Chess Strategies- by GM Yasser Seirawan. Attack like Mikhail Tal. GM Ivan Sokolov’s Winning Chess Middlegames. Concise Chess Middlegames. My Great Predecessors. My 60 Most Memorable Games. The Complete Book of Chess Strategy. Grandmaster Preparation: Strategic Play. 43:00- Stjepan discusses the vision behind his Youtube Channel, Hanging Pawns, and its rapid growth. He also gives some helpful tips for other content creators and aspiring content creators. The Youtube Channel that helped Stjepan with his own channel is called Video Creators 56:00 Goodbye and contact info. Here is Stjepan’s Youtube Channel, Email address, Twitter and Instagram   If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here. See for privacy information.
Mar 12, 2019
EP.116 - GM Michal Krasenkow
GM Michal Krasenkow has battled many legends of the chessboard during the course of his life, and he has been one of the top 10 chess players in the world. He is also a respected chess trainer and author. His recently released and excellent new book, Learn from Michal Krasenkow shares many of his memories and favorite games. In our conversation, we discuss GM Krasenkow’s book in great detail, along with the usual assortment of improvement advice, recommendations, and favorite stories. Please read onward for many more details of this week's podcast.  0:00- Introduction. Then GM Krasenkow discusses the legacy of chess in the Soviet Union and shares with listeners details from his experience of falling in love with chess in Moscow in the 1970’s. Details include which future grandmasters he studied with, which trainers he worked with, and how classes and tournaments were structured at the fabled Pioneers Palaces that Michal attended.15:30- GM Krasenkow describes his late teenage years, where he studied Applied Mathematics at University, and shares how he ended up pursuing a career as a chess professional rather than another field. His time in the Soviet Army was one of the factors that pushed him toward chess because he was able to pursue chess while serving in Armenia and Azerbaijan.28:00- GM Krasenkow describes the impact that the collapse of the Soviet Union had on his chess career in the early 1990’s. He ultimately emigrated to Poland with the help of some local chess players there. He has lived in Poland ever since.34:00- We transition to discussing GM Krasenkow’s chess career. What does he consider the greatest achievement of his storied career? GM Krasenkow also describes what it was like to make a big push to reach the top 10 of the world only to enter a slump, during which he lost more than 100 ELO points in subsequent tournaments.41:00- We discuss a few of GM Krasenkow’s most memorable games. Michal mentions, Krasenkow-Nakamura 2007 where he was victim to a striking sacrifice by GM Nakamura.  Some of the most memorable victories include Krasenkow-Defirmian 1995, and the elegant Lagunov-Krasenkow 1985 (included in the book, but not online).47:00- What was it like to attend the lectures of legendary trainer Yuri Razuvaev? What was GM Razuvaev’s teaching style?48:00- What is GM Krasenkow’s advice for chess improvement? His primary advice is to play in lots of tournaments against stronger opponents.53:00- Book recommendations! GM Krasenkow recommends IM Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual, along with his other classics, and describes what it was like to train with IM Dvoretsky.59:00- How have computers changed chess in the past few decades?1:02- GM Krasenkow answers a question from one of the podcast's Patreon supporters about what life lessons chess has given him.1:07- Story time! GM Krasenkow tells a couple of his favorite stories from time he spent with former World Champion GM Vasily Smyslov in 1995. 1:12- Goodbye and contact information. GM Krasenkow can be reached  here.His book is available from Thinker’s Publishing, on the Forward Chess app, and you can order it in the U.S. from Chess4Less and some other retailers. If you would like to help support the podcast, go here. See for privacy information.
Mar 05, 2019
EP.115 - GM Jan Gustafsson returns again
This week, the always popular and entertaining GM Jan Gustafsson makes his third appearance on Perpetual Chess. In addition to the broadcasting, streaming and video creation that Jan does for, he also was a part of "Team Magnus" for the 2016 and 2018 World Chess Championships. Naturally we discussed the most recent World Championships in great detail, as well as catching up on what else Jan has been up to since his Perpetual Chess interviews #1 and #2. As always you can keep up with Jan on twitter or by subscribing to and monitoring the calendar on Read on for details and timestamps about all that we discussed: 0:00- Glowing intro and discussion of Jan’s work as a member of Magnus Carlsen’s team for the 2018 World Championship Match. Jan reflects on his overall thoughts on the match and answers some follow up questions I had based on the excellent Chess24 series “Inside the 2018 World Championship Match”  featuring Jan and GMs Peter Heine Nielsen and Laurent Fressinet. 31:30- More World Championship talk, but now with a focus on the openings that were played. 36:00- Is it really true that a Queen and Knight is better than a Queen and a Bishop? 38:00 What should one do to get back into playing shape after a layoff from competitive chess? (a discussion prompted because Jan will be playing in the Bangkok Chess Club Open in April) 39:00- Coaching Netherlands at Olympiad. What mystery book was Jan pictured reading while the games went on? The Patrick Melrose books 44:00- What is Jan’s favorite Jan Gustafsson game? What about his favorite other people games? Jan mentions his opening prep paying off in the following games:  Naiditsch-Gustafsson 2007 and Gustafsson-Rodshtein 2007  Jan also highlights the modern classic, Wei Yi-Lazaro Bruzon Batista 2015 and Jinishi Bai vs. Ding Liren 2017 49:00- Some idle chit-chat and Jan’s latest pop culture  recommendations. Jan gives a lukewarm recommendation for True Detective Season 3 and did not share Ben’s level of enthusiasm for Atlanta, but is a big fan of the movie Burning. 53:00- Goodbye and what to watch for coming from Chess24. Jan recommends GM Laurent Fressinet’s recent series  Playing the Berlin and teased a blitz match between Magnus Carlsen and Peter Svidler, which you can now watch on Chess24. If you would like to help support the podcast go here.   See for privacy information.
Feb 26, 2019
EP.114 - GM Romain Edouard
28 year old Grandmaster Romain Edouard has been a top 50 chess player in the world, with a peak rating over 2700, but in recent years, he has been quite busy with other chess related work. He is the author of the highly regarded, Chess Calculation series, and this year, has published,  My Magical Years with Topalov.a book about his time working as the second to one of the strongest players in the world. GM Edouard is also the Editor-in-Chief at Thinker’s Publishing, the publisher of his acclaimed works. For more detail about all that we discussed, plus recommendations and contact information, please read on:   0:00- Intro and discussion of GM Edouard’s new book, My Magical Years with Topalov. This book annotates games and shares stories and reflections from GM Edouard’s time working as a second to GM Veselin Topalov, between the years of 2010-2014. Romain shares how the relationship began and how it evolved in the ensuing years. 17:00- What differentiates GM Topalov’s chess style from other top-level players? 20:00- Romain discusses his most recent chess tournament. He recently played in the super strong 2019 Gibraltar International, and finished with 7 points, as part of a big tie for 6th-22nd place. 25:30- GM Edouard retells how he became the Editor-in-Chief with Thinker’s Publishing, and what that works entails. The two new books that we mention are: Gata Kamsky - Chess Gamer, Volume 1: The Awakening 1989-1996, and Michal Krasenkow - Learn from Michal Krasenkow 32:00- Romain’s gives his chess improvement advice for those with a limited amount of time. 1) Play lots of games 2) Find openings you like and know well   3) Learn Endgames from Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual 4) Practice Calculation 37:30- Discussion of the London Lions of the Pro Chess League, who have had a disappointing season, but just had a strong showing in defeating the Montreal Chessbrahs. 39:00- Discussion of GM Edouard’s favorite game of his own (Edouard-Tkachiev 2010) , as well as his favorite game of all time (Kasparov-Topalov 1999) 43:30- Goodbye and contact info, you can follow Thinkers Publishing on Facebook and their website, and GM Edouard on Facebook and Twitter. See for privacy information.
Feb 19, 2019
EP.113 - GM-Elect Michael Brown
My guest this week is 21 year old GM-elect Michael Brown. Michael just earned his final GM norm in January 2019, but the path to earning the highest chess title has come with many challenges. In our conversation, Michael walks us through how he overcame those challenges, and gives advice for how others can do the same in their own chess journeys. For many more details about our conversation, check out the timestamps below. Michael can be reached via email here.   0:00- Intro and recap of the tournament at the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy  where GM-elect Michael Brown got that elusive and coveted 3rd GM Norm. The dramatic GM Norm clinching-game vs. FM Gauri Shankar that Michael discusses can be found here. 10:00- How did Michael stay sharp as his time became more scarce after enrolling in college? Michael mostly credits study partnering with other strong players, such as IM Keaton Kiewra,and IM Shiyam Thavandiran. 16:30- After graduating from BYU in December 2018 what is Michael’s next professional step? 19:30- We discuss Michael’s memorable experience beating world class GM Yu Yangyi in 2016.  Michael annotates this game in this very instructive Youtube video, and you can also play through the moves here. We then discuss some of the “super GMs” Michael has played in addition to Yu Yangyi. 32:00- Michael tells a couple fun stories of playing at the notoriously strong Isle of Man International tournament in 2017 and getting to see and meet the likes of GM Vishy Anand and GM Magnus Carlsen. 39:00- What have been the most challenging periods during Michael’s chess career? How did he get through them? What advice did his trainer at the time, IM Armen Ambartsoumian, give him? 44:00- What are Michael’s favorite chess books? As a young, improving player, he learned a ton from Winning Chess Brilliancies by GM Yasser Seirawan and later used CT-ART to sharpen his tactics. 51:00- What was the connection between his choice of college, Brigham Young University, and his desire to remain dedicated to chess? What other factors went into Michael’s decision as to which college to attend?  59:00- What is going on with the San Diego Surfers of the Pro Chess League? 1:04- Goodbye and contact info See for privacy information.
Feb 12, 2019
EP.112 - GM Matthew Sadler and WIM Natasha Regan
This week I am joined by the authors by one of the most anticipated chess books in recent memory,  Gamechanger: AlphaZero's Groundbreaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI.GM Matthew Sadler and WIM Natasha Regan have written a fascinating and revelatory book, so I was very excited to chat with them about the background to the book and discuss some highlights from it. In our conversation, we also touch on other aspects of Matthew and Natasha’s accomplished careers, particularly, how adults can continue to make strides in chess, as discussed in their prior collaboration, Chess for Life.. You can find many more details about our conversation with timestamps below. Gamechanger is now available from New in Chess, Chessable, and  Forward Chess, and will be released on Amazon in the US on February 15.   0:00 Intro, discussion of the genesis of the GameChanger project and how its seeds were sown at the London Chess Classic 5:00- Natasha and Matthew talk about how they approached the project once Demis Hassabis of DeepMind gave them permission to write about AlphaZero 10:00- We get into the meat of the GameChanger book, beginning with a discussion of which players in history Alphazero’s chess style is reminiscent of. Kasparov, Carlsen and Botvinnik are mentioned. 22:00- A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks a question about how Alphazero learned chess. In Gamechanger Matthew and Natasha lay out 4 principles in Alphazero’s approach to learning chess (as well as how other DeepMind programs have learned other games, such as Go): : Learning rather than being programmed General rather than specific Grounded rather than logic based Active rather than passive 24:00- What openings did AlphaZero gravitate toward, and we can we learn from those choices? Among other openings, Matthew mentions that Alphazero plays the Botvinnik System and the Anti Moscow Gambit against the Semi-Slav, and double king pawn and the Berlin Defense against e4.   29:00- How will these opening choices and this playing style filter through to the professional and amateur chess circuits? 34:00- Have the authors heard anything about whether Deepmind will continue to improve and deploy Alphazero in chess competitions? 35:00- We discuss Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan’s previous collaboration, Chess for Life. This is a book of interviews and games based specifically on how adults can maintain and/or improve their level of chess play. What was some of the advice for adults that the authors gleaned from their interviews? They mention insights from the games and repertoires of GM Keith Arkell, FM Terry Chapman, GM Pia Cramling and GM Sergei Tiviakov, as discussed in the book. Both Gamechanger and Chess for Life have instructive chapters on The Carlsbad Structure. 43:00- What did the legendary trainer, IM Mark Dvoretsky tell GM Matthew Sadler in what he called “the most instructive 5 minutes of my life?” What else did he learn from a memorable couple of weeks working with Mark Dvoretsky? 48:00- How has Matthew managed to reach his peak rating despite being 44 years old and employed full time? 54:00- Book recommendations! Natasha enjoyed My 60 Most Memorable Games and Chess Bitch. Matthew recommends Small Steps to Giant Improvement,Positional Decision Making in Chess, The Chess Toolbox, and Emmanuel Lasker, Volume 1 56:00- How can we keep up with Matthew and Natasha’s chess work? They have a Facebook page for Gamechanger here, and a Youtube Channel with bonus material related to the book here. They also have a Youtube channel for Chess for Life here. If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, go here.   See for privacy information.
Feb 05, 2019
EP.111 - GM Jacob Aagaard
This week it was my great honor to get to chat with the acclaimed author, trainer and co-founder of Quality Chess, GM Jacob Aagaard. GM Aagaard is chairing the FIDE trainer’s commission and has worked with elite chess players like GM Sam Shankland and GM Boris Gelfand. Jacob was very generous with his time and wisdom in our conversation.  You can keep up with Quality Chess on their blog, and you can email GM Aagaard here. You can find out more about the Quality Chess Academy here. For timestamps and details about all that we discussed, read on.   0:00- Intro and discussion of the vision behind Quality Chess Publishing, co-founded by GM Aagaard in 2004 (along with GM John Shaw and IM Ari Ziegler). 12:40- A brief digression into some Science Fiction shows Jacob has been watching in his scant free-time. He recommends Altered Carbon on Netflix and a German series called Dark.   15:30- We segue into a detailed discussion of Jacob’s most recent highly acclaimed book, Thinking Inside the Box. As GM Aagaard discusses in the book, each move in chess can roughly be categorized into one of 4 decision types: Automatic Decisions (This includes a discussion of this game between GM Sam Shankland and GM Richard Rapport. ) SImple Decisions (This is where Aagaard’s famed 3 questions come into play- 1. Where are the weaknesses?  2. What is the opponent’s idea? 3. Which is my worst placed piece?) Critical Moments (positions where there is a large difference between the best move and the next best move) Strategic Decisions (complicated positions with no clear-cut way to approach them) 34:00- Jacob answers a question from a supporter of the podcast relating to how to use diagrams in chess books.  While answering, Jacob rattles off a few of his favorite chess books. They include GM Romain Edouard’s calculation books,  Imagination in Chess (out of print), Perfect Your Chess, and the Arthur Yusopov series. As a scholastic player, Jacob was a big fan of legendary Danish player Bent Larsen’s books. 42:30- GM Aagaard tells the story of how he became a trainer of other high level players. For any listener looking for a coach, GM Aagaard recommends his former student, Italian GM Sabino Brunello. Jacob also tells the story of how he became one of the trainers of former World Championship Challenger, GM Boris Gelfand and of US Champion Sam Shankland. 52:00- What feat did GM Sam Shankland accomplish that has gone a but under the radar? What does he think of GM Shankland’s prospects for a continued ascent in the world rankings? 1:02- GM Aagaard answers another question from a Patreon supporter about how to work on your chess when you do not have a coach. Jacob stressed the importance of analyzing one’s own games. 1:08- Jacob discusses his upcoming chess camp, The Quality Chess Academy,  which will be co-taught along with renowned trainer R.B. Ramesh.  You guys should sign up for the camp, then after attending you should email me to tell me about the camp. :) 1:15- Jacob discusses another new project of his, chairing the FIDE trainer’s commission. 1:26- Jacob gives his opinion on how big a role rapid chess should play in the World Championship Cycle. 1:35- What will be the next phase of chess, following what Jacob calls, “the digital period"?  Jacob mentions a couple of alternatives to Chess960 that he finds interesting. 1:42- Jacob’s contact info and goodbyes 👋      See for privacy information.
Jan 29, 2019
EP.110 - USCF Master Michael "F-pawn" Aigner
USCF Master Michael Aigner is a player and coach who is well-known in the Bay Area of California. He has coached many future titled players, and also holds a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.  Thanks to Michael for an informative and inspiring conversation. Read on for details of all that we discussed.0:00- Intro and quick discussion of how the Bay Area teams are doing in the Pro Chess League. What distinguishes Michael’s coaching style? Amongst his favorite games to share are those of Mikhail Tal, and any game between Carlsen and Aronian.8:00- How did Michael get into chess as a teen in the early 1990s? How did he get better quickly in the pre-computer age? (There were a lot of early losses involved.) Michael was not a big chess book aficionado but he learned openings from an encyclopedia called Modern Chess Openings and was a big fan of the book  Mikhail Tal’s Life and Games. 18:50- Michael shares some of the advice he generally gives his students. For example, he thinks 15 minute chess is a good time control to practice online, as it is fast enough to be able to play multiple games, but slow enough to have educational value for the player.What was it like for Michael to coach future GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Steven Zierk? Michael tells some great stories to illustrate the tenacity and enthusiasm that these top players showed at a young age.27:30- A brief discussion of what scholastic chess  teachers and US Chess can do to help chess players retain interest in chess past their teen years.31:00- Michael discusses the special role that chess plays in his life due to his physical condition, called quadrilateral phocomelia. As Michael discusses, this condition means that he gets around in a wheelchair, but this definitely does not deter him from competing over the board.37:30- Michael answers a question from a listener about how he handles wheelchair accessibility issues in his tournaments.44:30- Michael answers another question from a Patreon supporter of the podcast, about whether he would recommend chess as a hobby to others with physical disabilities.48:00- Michael tackles a list of questions sent in from Michael’s friend and sometime opponent, Stewart Katz, relating to chess teaching and competing.1:00- Michael discusses how he follows top level chess and names a couple of his favorite chess announcers, plus he gives his take on whether the World Championship format should be changed.1:06- Wrap up and contact info for Michael Aigner- You can keep up with Michael on his website,Facebook, Twitter and his blog. This episode is brought to you in part by Check it out if you haven't already!     See for privacy information.
Jan 22, 2019
EP.109 - GM Mauricio Flores
This week’s guest on Perpetual Chess is Chilean Grandmaster, acclaimed chess author and newly minted Applied Mathematics Ph. D., Mauricio Flores. Mauricio and I covered a wide variety of chess related topics. Check them out below: 0:00- Introduction and we discuss Mauricio’s outstanding book Chess Structures. Mauricio explains how the idea for the book occurred to him and how he went about writing it. This includes a discussion of how Mauricio managed to become a GM despite a relative lack of resources in Chile, and the changes he made in his playing style as his study time became more scarce. How did he get great at tactics? Mauricio recommended CT-Art. He completed the entire tactics course 4 times! 16:00- How did Mauricio find out about the possibility of getting a chess scholarship in the United States, how did chess change his life? How did he find life in the US when he enrolled at  University of Texas at Brownsville as an 18 yr. Old? What is next for Mauricio on the heels of finishing his math Ph. D? 25:00- Mauricio answers a question about his thoughts on other chess “structure books”, and reveals what he believes to be the most important aspect of writing a chess book. 34:00- Mauricio discusses his playing career and talks about why he is unable to compete much these days. We also discuss the Pro Chess League- Mauricio will be playing for his hometown Minnesota Blizzard along with IM John Bartholomew, GM Andrew Tang and others. 39:00- Book recommendations. Mauricio is a big fan of Quality Chess books such as  Grandmaster Repetoire: 1.e4  , Learn from the Legends, and also of 100 Endgames You Must Know. 43:00- Mauricio gives his perspective on what the implications for chess could be of AlphaZero’s ascent. 50:00- What is the difference between 2500 level GMs and Super GMs? What steps would Mauricio take if he were to focus only on improving his chess even more? Mauricio can be reached via email here. See for privacy information.
Jan 15, 2019
EP.108 - IM Tania Sachdev
This week’s guest is well known chess competitor, presenter and Red Bull Athlete, IM Tania Sachdev.  Check the timestamps below for discussion topics. 👇👇 0:00- Introduction and discussion of what to watch for and who is playing at the upcoming Gibraltar Chess Festival where Tania, along with GM Simon Williams and IM Jovanka Houska, will be a part of the announcing team.  We also talk about the 2017 controversy at Gibraltar involving former Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan. 14:45- We segue into the schedule of upcoming tournaments in which Tania plans to compete These include the India Team Championship, and the Reykjavik Open The interview Tania mentions, which she conducted with GM Boris Gelfand at the 2018 Gibraltar Chess Festival, can be viewed here. Tania mentions that she always studies Mark Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual before a tournament. She also recommends the books Positional Play, and Thinking Inside the Box, both of which are part of the Grandmaster Preparation Series by GM Jacob Aagaard. 23:26- What was it like to train with renowned trainer GM Jacob Aagaard? Tania tells a great story regarding the memorable advice GM Aagard gave her as she struggled to keep up with stronger players at a training camp. 30:33- Actionable advice for chess players looking to improve. Tania emphasizes that remembering GM Aagaard’s fabled 3 questions when playing helped her game immeasurably. (The 3 questions are:  What is your worst placed piece? What is my opponent intending? What is your opponent’s weakness?) 33:50- How did Tania became a representative of Red Bull India, and what is the nature of her role as a Red Bull athlete? 37:50- How are things changing for women in Chess within her native India? 41:00- Tania discusses how she spends her time away from the board when at home in Delhi. You can keep up with Tania on: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here.  See for privacy information.
Jan 08, 2019
EP.107 - IM Greg Shahade Returns (again)
This week on Perpetual Chess, Pro Chess League and US Chess School founder IM Greg Shahade makes his annual return to the podcast. Instead of giving a detailed description of all that we discussed, my New Years Resolution for the podcast is to endeavor to provide timestamps of the major topics that each guest addresses. Below, you can find this week's timestamps, including any relevant links. As always, you can keep up with Greg on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.   0-20:50- Greg previews the upcoming Pro Chess League season. It returns on January 8 on  20:50- Greg discusses his ideas for improving the format of the World Chess Championship. The blog posts with Greg's suggestions that we referenced are here and here. 32:10- We discuss Greg’s love for Puzzle Rush on 37:45- How necessary are chess books for improvement in the modern chess era?  The game we were discussing between FM Christopher Yoo and GM Le Quang Liem can be seen  here. 44:00- A listener inquires, whatever happened to the book that Greg discussed writing in his first appearance on Perpetual Chess? 49:10- Greg ranks his top 5 chess players of all time! 53:15- Greg’s advice for improving at blitz and action chess, including a fun story about a high stakes blitz match between Greg and GM Jan Gustafsson. 1:03:45- We devolve into non-chess related talk from this point forward- this includes a discussion of Greg’s Crossfit strategies and peccadillos, plus Greg tells the story of when he tried out for American Idol, and reveals some of his favorite songs.   This episode is brought to you in part by  If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here.      See for privacy information.
Jan 04, 2019
EP.106 USCF Master Vinesh Ravuri (Adult Improver Series)
This week the popular, chess improvement-focused, "adult improver" edition of Perpetual Chess returns, but with a twist. This week's improver, USCF Master Vinesh Ravuri of California, is just 17 years old. Nonetheless, I felt that motivated chess players of all ages could learn from the meteoric rating gain that Vinesh has shown in the past few years (over 1000 USCF points since 2014). Check out his US rating graph here. Here is a bit more detail about what Vinesh and I discussed: Vinesh told the story of how he got into chess, and shared why he thinks it took multiple exposures to the game, in both the U.S. and India, for a passion for it to take hold.  Vinesh and I discussed the many ways to try to improve at chess, and discussed which methods have been most effective for him. Spoiler: he has done a ton of tactics puzzles.  Vinesh shared a few book recommendations for different levels, and talked about the challenges he has faced as his rating has climbed and his free time has become more scarce.  Thanks to Vinesh for joining me, you can root on his San Jose Hackers in the upcoming Pro Chess League, and track his games or contact him about chess lessons here. This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable. If you would like to help support the podcast, go here.  See for privacy information.
Dec 24, 2018
EP.105 - GM Alexandra Kosteniuk
This week’s guest, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, has won countless chess titles but is probably best known as The 12th Women’s World Champion and a perennial threat to retake that crown.  GM Kosteniuk stays extremely busy, as in addition to being playing frequent top-level chess, she streams chess on twitch for, has been announcing high-level events and also somehow finds the time to work on her chess, spend time with her family, and even run marathons. In our conversation, Alexandra and touched on all of these facets of her life, and she tackled the following questions: What does she think of the format of the Men's World Championship? What about the announced changes in the Women's World Championship Candidates Cycle? What does she advise to study when one feels like they have hit a plateau? How can one maintain perspective when struggling at the chessboard? What advice would she give to young female chess players who may feel daunted by the preponderance of men playing chess?For someone who has had so much success, Alexandra clearly has a grounded perspective on chess and on life. When she is not battling at the board, you can follow her on twitter here. This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable See for privacy information.
Dec 18, 2018
EP.104 - GM Joel Benjamin
A giant of US Chess, GM Joel Benjamin, joins me this week. In addition to being a 3 time US champion, and hosting a weekly chess show on the Internet Chess Club, Joel has just published his fourth book, Better Thinking, Better Chess.  Naturally, Joel and I began our conversation by discussing some topics covered in the book such as: What are the causes of and potential solutions to typical mistakes that Joel sees in his students, such as a failure to generate candidate moves, and a hesitance about sacrificing the exchange? Joel and I also discussed the following:  What was GM Benjamin's impression of the World Championship? Should the match format be changed? What are Joel's favorite chess games, stories and books? Joel has some great stories!  Joel Benjamin has had a long and storied career, so needless to say, this was an entertaining conversation. Thanks to Joel for joining me. In addition to his excellent new book, Liquidation on the Chessboard, and American Grandmaster, also come highly recommended. The chess games Joel mentions are:Seirawan-Benjamin 1979Portisch-Benjamin 1987Abramovich-Benjamin 1984 game not online, but an excerpt can be found in his new book :) This episode is brought to you in part by To support the podcast, go here.  See for privacy information.
Dec 11, 2018
EP.103 - GM Jóhann Hjartarson
GM Jóhann Hjartarson is a legend of Icelandic Chess and has a firm place in the chess history books. He is best known for defeating GM Viktor Korchnoi in a match during the 1988 Candidates Cycle (before succumbing to Anatoly Karpov), but he is also the 6 time champion of Iceland, and the 2 time Nordic Champion.  Jóhann took some time out from his duties at the World Championship in London, and we discussed the following: His impressions of the World Championship, and what his responsibilities were as a member of the Appeals Committee for the match.  Perspective and stories from the height of his chess career, when he was among the top players in the world and crossed swords with all time greats like Kasparov, Karpov and Korchnoi.   What led him to decide, at a time when he was  near the peak of his chess powers, to  transition from playing chess full time to working as a lawyer? Does he regret this decision? Has he kept up with the changes in study habits among world elites? What are his favorite chess books?  This interview was quite a treat for me as a fan of chess history, and I think that you will enjoy it too.  Thanks so much to Johann for sharing his experiences!  This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable.comGM Hjartarson's favorite game of his own, Game 1 of his match vs. Korchnoi is here. His favorite game by any player, Spassky vs. Fischer, Game 13, is here. If you would like to donate to support the podcast, go here.      See for privacy information.
Dec 04, 2018
Bonus Episode - IM Mark Dvoretsky (2004 Interview with Fred Wilson)
I am off this week, but I have some awesome bonus content for you. Have a listen to the January 7, 2004 interview that Fred Wilson conducted with the now-deceased, legendary chess trainer, author, and player IM Mark Dvoretsky. This is one of the many great historical chess interviews that I am posting on the Perpetual Chess Patreon page for those who donate $3.50 per month or more.  Fred WIlson's archive will also feature old interviews with GMs Andy Soltis, Arthur Bisguier, Maurice Ashley, Lubomir Kavalek and many more.  Here are a few of the questions that Fred asked of IM Dvoretsky in their conversation: Did Mark agree with GM Lev Alburt's suggestion that Boris Spassky had more chess talent than Bobby Fischer as a youth? How many positions did IM Dvoretsky have in his legendary file of positions for titled students to study? What were some of his favorite chess books of all time (besides his own)? What did he think of Peter Svidler's prospects of becoming World Champion in 2004? Was there any other young talent he thought might ascend to the highest title?  So much chess history is shared within this 90 minute conversation that it is difficult for me to do it justice in a summary.  Just listen and enjoy! The Perpetual chess t-shirt and hoodie sale ends on December 4- get one here while you can.   See for privacy information.
Nov 27, 2018
EP.102 - World Championship report with IM Eric Rosen and IM Kostya Kavutskiy
On a rest day (after Game 8) for the World Championship in London, friends of the podcast (and previous guests)  IMs Eric Rosen and Kostya Kavutskiy were nice enough to take some time and give Perpetual listeners a taste of what its like to be attending, reporting, and photographing the dramatic, ongoing World Chess Championship between GMs Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana. This episode is meant to have more of a "breaking news" feeling than your typical Perpetual Chess interview, so it's a shorter interview, but we covered a lot of ground.  To wit: What was the mood like at the venue in Game 8 as Fabiano Caruana missed his best chance for a win over Magnus Carlsen? What openings might we see in the remaining games?  Is there a clear rooting interest among the people attending the match? Does either player have more vocal fans? What are the conditions like for spectators? What about for photographers like Eric Rosen and his colleagues?  IM Kostya Kavutskiy has done some great write-ups and game analysis for US Chess for the games that he has attended, while Eric Rosen has taken over the US Chess twitter account in addition to taking great photos like this one,.  You can keep up with their great content in the following places:  Kostya Kavutskiy's twitter account, Kostya's Youtube Channel Eric Rosen's twitter account and Eric's Youtube Channel To support the podcast or purchase a limited edition Perpetual Chess t-shirt or hoodie, go here and/or here, respectively.   See for privacy information.
Nov 20, 2018
EP.101 - GM Pontus Carlsson Returns
Almost 17 months after his first visit to Perpetual Chess, GM Pontus Carlsson returns to discuss his latest projects and the recent developments in the chess world (including the World Championship). Among the topics we talked about are: Pontus' recent trip to New Orleans for a philanthropic initiative.  He has helped launch Business meets Chess and Kids, an organization that pairs business leaders with underprivileged kids in tandem chess, with the goal of using chess as a form for networking and mentorship for the younger generation. Pontus told stories from his trip and talked about future plans for this inspiring effort.  Pontus gave a couple of great book recommendations and gave some advice for infrequent tournament competitors who are trying to shake off some rust (for example, say, the host of this podcast).  We talked about a couple of the themes emerging from the ongoing World Championship match, and Pontus shared some stories and perspectives from past experiences having met and talked with the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Veselin Topalov and Anish Giri.  This guest is always entertaining, with plenty of wisdom to share, so there is lots more to enjoy from our conversation. You can reach Pontus via his website here. If you would like to buy a limited edition Perpetual Chess t-shirt or hoodie, you can do so here. (A portion of the proceeds will go to  Business meets Chess and Kids )  To support the podcast via Patreon, click here.  See for privacy information.
Nov 20, 2018
EP.100 - Carsten Hensel (Author, Former Manager of GM Vladimir Kramnik)
My guest this week is Carsten Hensel.  He is a chess organizer and author who  has also spent time as the manager for two elite players- GMs Vladimir Kramnik and GM Peter Leko. Much to the benefit of chess fans, he has written a book about his experiences managing GM Kramnik, called Vladimir Kramnik - The Inside Story of a Chess Genius. The English version of this book will be published by Quality Chess later in November. The published excerpts and this interview suggest that this book will be a must read for those interested in GM Kramnik and/or modern chess history. Here are a few of the highlights of what Carsten Hensel and I discussed:  How did he first encounter GM Kramnik, and how did they come to develop a working relationship?  Carsten reflects on some of Kramnik's most famous matches- a disappointing Candidates loss to GM Alexei Shirov in 1998,  followed by a thrilling World Championship victory over Garry Kasparov in 2000.  What was it like to be the manager of both World Championship participants in the 2004 Leko-Kramnik World Championship match? As a high-level chess organizer and promoter, what are his thoughts on how to pitch corporations on sponsoring chess players and events? This was a fascinating conversation, as Carsten has had a ring side seat to much of modern chess history. Thanks to Carsten for chatting- you can email him here.  If you are interested in learning more about hearing Fred WIlson's old interviews (as mentioned in the introduction)  go to the Perpetual Chess Patreon here.  See for privacy information.
Nov 13, 2018
EP.99 - Chessable CEO and Co-Founder David Kramaley
This week I talked to 31 year old programmer, chess player, and entrepreneur David Kramaley, who is the co-founder and CEO of Chessable, a fast growing chess-educational start up.  During our conversation,David and I discuss How he caught the "chess bug" in his early 20's. and how that enthusiasm ultimately led to the launch of Chessable. With its co-founder, IM John Bartholomew David launched Chessable in February of 2016.  What lessons did David learn from his prior startup, Sharkius? What is he doing to make sure he strikes the right balance between product development and marketing?  What new features are forthcoming from Chessable? How does David decide which improvements to prioritize? Of course we also get chess and business book recommendations which can be found here. You can email David here. Some other events/opportunities that came up during our conversation are linked below.    To celebrate the release of Christof Sielecki's Chessable book in print form, Chessable is having a giveaway/contest. Enter here.  Chessable meet-up in London on November 20, during the World Championship Geert van der Velde's free courses include Carlsen-Caruana move by move, and the Olympiad Tactics Trainer.  IM Christof Sielecki's. aka ChessExplained 's repetorire against 1. e4, featuring Fabi’s Petroff, wil be released next week, and can be found here.  See for privacy information.
Nov 06, 2018
EP.98 - GM Michael Rohde
Venerable American GM Michael Rohde has been one of the top 100 players in the world, and he still competes actively on the American chess circuit.   Mike writes frequently for US Chess Online, and American Chess Magazine and is also a practicing lawyer, and chess teacher. Here is what Mike and I discussed:- What psychological dynamics come into play when he plays another strong chess grinder, such as IM Jay Bonin, whom he has played hundreds of times in tournament games? - Are there any talented young players he has noticed recently while competing in and reporting on tournaments?- What are his memories of playing GM Spassky and seeing the young Polgar sisters at the 1987 New York Open Tournament (which was one of the largest and strongest  open tournaments in the world for many years)? We covered all of this and much more, so listen up!  Thanks to GM Rohde for sharing his knowledge and experiences. If you'd like to help support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Oct 30, 2018
EP.97 - USCF Master Alex King
Alex King is a 29 year old Memphis,Tennessee based USCF Master. He is also a full time chess teacher, an adult improver, and a talented musician. We covered many topics on this week's podcast such as: Alex's recent return to the U.S. after traveling to Prague in order to board the fabled "Chess Train," through Central Europe.  Alex told us a bit about the history of this unique chess vacation, shared the highlights of his trip and gave us the recap of  his 11 round tournament on the train.  Alex gave detailed practical advice on how to improve one's calculation and blindfold abilities. He also shared many of the adjustments he made to his game after completing college, just before he made a 170 point rating jump to 2350 USCF (26:00).  We discussed the similarities between chess and music, and whether or not Alex likes to listen to music when he's playing and studying chess.  We touched on assorted other topics such as Alex's unique approach to studying his blitz games, his book recommendations, his thoughts on the world championship, and lots more. Thanks to Alex for a fascinating conversation. You can follow/friend him on Facebook here  or here. If you'd like to help support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Oct 23, 2018
EP.96 - Cristobal Cervino (Adult Improver series)
The Perpetual Chess Adult Improver Series charges onward this week with another inspiring tale of chess improvement. This week's guest, Candidate Master and economist Cristobal Cervino, wrote some popular blog posts detailing how he made a 170 ELO point jump (from 1935 to 2102) in a fifteen-month span a few years back. For background, you can read the posts that Cristobal wrote about his approach here, here and here. Cristobal and I discussed: Why is calculation the most important thing to work on for club-level players? What resources did he utilize to improve at it? How should one go about analyzing one's own chess games? How soon after playing should one analyze them?  Why has he plateaued at around the 2100 level in the past few years? Does he have current aspirations of making another push forward?  Cristobal was glad to share some of his favorite chess books and resources, both for chess improvement and for appreciation of chess history. Thanks so much to Cristobal for joining me. You can find him as "Kingzilla" on or chesstempo.  See for privacy information.
Oct 16, 2018
EP.95 - USCF Master and Cognitive Scientist Christopher Chabris
This week Perpetual Chess features an interview with USCF Master and renowned Cognitive Scientist Christopher Chabris. In the world of psychology, Christopher is best known for his collaboration with Daniel Simons regarding "inattentional blindness". This was most famously demonstrated in the viral Youtube video called  "Invisible Gorilla." Professors Chabris and Simons later published a book expanding on their research and Christopher has published many more interesting studies related to human biases and cognition. But of course, we mostly talked about chess and how Christopher's research relates to chess!  Are there examples of  "inattentional blindness" or other cognitive biases in chess competitions? If so how can we combat them? Detailed advice on how to assimilate chess patterns and improve quickly at the game based on Christopher's experiences and his knowledge of how the brain works.  Stories from Professor Chabris' time in the chess world. He has been in involved in publishing chess books and periodicals (see here), and has rubbed shoulders with Kasparov, Caruana and other chess luminaries.  A discussion of the state of Christopher's own chess game, and some prominent and some lesser known chess book recommendations.  Thanks to Christopher Chabris for a fascinating discussion!  You can follow him on twitter here, or visit his website here.  To support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Oct 09, 2018
Ep. 94- USCF Master and Author Elliott Neff
Elliott Neff, my guest this week on Perpetual Chess comes to us direct from the Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.   Elliott is a USCF Master who founded the thriving Chess4Life chess education organization. He is also a chess trainer who will be releasing his first book, A Pawn's Journey: Transforming Lives one Move at a Time, on October 9.  Elliott and I discussed: Elliott's perspective on the Olympiad. This is his first time attending, so he told us what has surprised him about the event.  He reported on a couple of the teams, including the Ugandan women's team, which he is helping to coach.  How Elliott became a friend and coach of Phiona Mutesi of Queen of Katwe fame. Plus, Elliott gives an update on Phiona's life and chess career since the release of the movie telling her story.  Elliott's recommendations for chess improvement, plus some awesome advice on how to get better at blindfold chess and visualization.  What inspired Elliott to write a book? What impact can chess have away from the chessboard? Thanks to Elliott for joining me. You can reach him via Chess4life here, or at his website here. If you would like to help support the podcast go here.     See for privacy information.
Oct 02, 2018
EP.93 - Tarjei Svensen
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,, 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. If you are interested in supporting Perpetual Chess go here.  See for privacy information.
Sep 25, 2018
EP.92 - Grandmaster Lev Alburt
Editor’s Note- The audio quality on this interview is somewhat lackluster, 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.      See for privacy information.
Sep 18, 2018
EP.91 - Grandmaster Andy 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: His most recent book,  365 Chess Master Lessons: Take One a Day to Be a Better Chess Player, and his upcoming work,  Tal, Petrosian, Spassky and Korchnoi: A Chess Multibiography with 206 Games.  We discussed how GM Soltis got the ideas for these books, and how he comes up with writing subjects generally. Andy also shared lots of details about what goes into researching, writing and naming his books.  His two longstanding chess columns in the New York Post (since 1972), and in Chess Life magazine (since 1079), Andy discusses how these columns came into being, and how he has managed to keep them going all those years.  Andy shares his thoughts on the upcoming World Championships and the modern chess scene more generally.  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.  See for privacy information.
Sep 11, 2018
EP.90 - International Master 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 covered.  Stories and impressions of Super GM Viswanathan Anand who 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 here To support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Sep 04, 2018
EP.89 - International Master Kostya Kavutskiy Returns
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. Tu support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Aug 28, 2018
EP.88 - Grandmaster Yannick Pelletier (hosted by Macauley Peterson)
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 he 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! See for privacy information.
Aug 21, 2018
EP.87 - Stacia Pugh (Adult Improver Series)
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. Please read on for more details and timestamps.  0:00- Stacia tells a bit about her background and how she got into chess, and what the chess scene is like in the Cleveland, Ohio chess club.  Mentioned: Progress with Chess   7:00- Has Stacia experienced much sexism in the chess world?  Mentioned: Cornhole  9:30- With a full time job outside of chess, how has Stacia managed to work hard on her game?  13:20-A Patreon supporter of the podcast asks what chess study habit gives Stacia gives her the best ROI? Spoiler: One of Stacia’s secret weapons is flashcards.  Mentioned: IM John Bartholomew, Andrezj Kryzdwa  22:00- Stacia goes into more detail  on her daily study routine Mentioned: GM Ben Finegold, IM John Bartholomew, GM Simon Williams   - Stacia retells how she got into chess, and shares how the male and youth dominated chess world has treated an adult woman. She also discusses 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. To see her recommendations and those of all the other Perpetual Chess guests, go here. (and scroll way down)  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.  24:30- Stacia evaluates the efficacy of various chess practice methods ranging from Online Blitz, to watching videos to analyzing games.  34:00- Stacia shares her top 10 study tips that she has embraced!  Maintain balance between hard work and passion Game Analysis - always learn from your mistakes Work with a coach or stronger player Tactics book with themes Teach or explain what you learn (helps solidify) It's not about rating; it's about learning Patterns make you better OTB and community will inspire you and keep your interest Don't forget end game Openings choices should be chosen by someone else!  (that knows what they're doing) 40:30- Stacia shares her favorite books and improvement resources Mentioned: Build Up Your Chess (Available on Chessable), Chess Tactics from Scratch, Chess Tactics by Paul Littlewood   43:00- Stacia discusser her change to working full time in chess, working with Progress with Chess, as well as giving a bit more info about playing cornhold professional.  Mentioned: Judit Sztray of Bay Area Chess    54:45- Thanks so much to Stacia for sharing her improvement secrets! Here is how you can keep up with her:  Twitter: Blog-   You can help support Perpetual Chess here: See for privacy information.
Aug 14, 2018
EP.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.  See for privacy information.
Aug 07, 2018
EP.85 - FIDE Master Mike Klein
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 and (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 here. Subscribe to his podcast here.  See for privacy information.
Jul 31, 2018
EP.84 - FIDE Master 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 go here.  See for privacy information.
Jul 24, 2018
EP.83 - Grandmaster 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.  See for privacy information.
Jul 17, 2018
EP.82 - Frederic Friedel (Co-Founder of Chessbase, hosted by Macauley Peterson)
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. See for privacy information.
Jul 10, 2018
EP.81 - Judit Sztaray (Executive Director of Bay Area Chess)
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.  See for privacy information.
Jul 03, 2018
EP.80 - Grandmaster Genna Sosonko
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 KorchnoiThe Rise and Fall of David Bronstein  See for privacy information.
Jun 27, 2018
EP.79 - International Master Malcolm Pein (guest host Macauley Peterson)
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. See for privacy information.
Jun 25, 2018
EP.78 - Grandmaster Nigel Short (Guest Host Macauley Peterson)
Perpetual Chess makes a "zwischenzug" over to Europe where Macauley Peterson, Editor-in-Chief of, 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 Ilyumzhinov 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. See for privacy information.
Jun 19, 2018
EP.77 - Grandmaster 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. To support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Jun 12, 2018
EP.76 - Andrzej Krzywda (Adult Improver Series)
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? Tune in to find out. You can find more details and timestamps below:   0:00- We begin by discussing Andrzej’s background and how he got into chess.    5:00- Andrzej discusses his study schedule.  Mentioned: Reddit thread here- 10:00- Does online blitz count as studying chess?  Mentioned: Chessable, Quality Chess Books, Chess Publishing    14:00- How does Andrzej  divide his study time? He does divides his serious study time between endgame studies and game review, then sneaks in some openings and tactics throughout the day.  Mentioned: Domination in 2,545 Studies by Kasperian, Kasparov on Kasparov, Zurich 1953, Chess Tempo,    21:30- What has Andrzej learned from his coach GM Bartosz Socko? How is the chess scene in Poland?  Mentioned: Monika Socko, GM Jan-Krzystof Duda, Alexander Prokhorov   28:00- A Patreon supporter of the podcast writes in to have Andrzej  give more detailed advice about how one should approach solving chess studies.  Mentioned: GM Mesgen Amanov, GM Melih Khachiyan, Pump Up Your Rating by GM Alex Smith    34:00- Lightning round!  Andrzej  evaluates the efficacy of various chess study methods. These include watching chess tournament commentary, studying endgames, online blitz, studying openings, studying games collection books, exercise,  Mentioned: IM Kostya Kavutskiiy, GM Peter Leko    41:30- Andrzej shares some time management tips that he has learned.   47:00- What were the factors that contributed to  Andrzej’s outstanding result that got him an IM norm recently?    58:00- How does Andrzej approach analyzing his own games?    1:00- What chess books would Andrzej  recommend?  Mentioned: My System, My Great Predecessors, Kasparov on Kasparov,Move First Think Later, From Amateur to IM, A Year Inside the Chess World, Reality Check, The Complete Hedgehog    1:06:30- How does Andrzej  prepare for opponent’s within a tournament?    1:08:00- Andrzej discusses his upcoming tournament schedule. Mentioned: Najdorf Memorial Tournament    1:12:00- In closing Andrzej gives his 3 biggest things to emphasize to improve at chess. They are 1) Work on calculation 2) Work on fitness 3) Have a chessplayer circle of friends to motivate you   Thanks to Andrzej for joining the show! You can keep up with his progress via his Facebook group here: Or via Twitter here: If you would like to help support the podcast, you can do so here:   See for privacy information.
Jun 05, 2018
EP.75 - Grandmaster 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. See for privacy information.
May 29, 2018
EP.74 - Grandmaster Irina Krush
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.  To support the podcast go here.  This is the last "Friday bonus" podcast, Perpetual returns to weekly Tuesday releases next week.  See for privacy information.
May 25, 2018
EP.73 - Fide Master Sunil Weeramantry
Today's guest on Perpetual Chess is renowned chess teacher and author, FM Sunil Weerumantry. 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, who also broke many US Scholastic records as a child. 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. To support the podcast, go here.  See for privacy information.
May 22, 2018
EP.72 - Coach Jay Stallings returns
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. To support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
May 18, 2018
Ep. 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 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.   See for privacy information.
May 15, 2018
EP.70 - Grandmaster Akshat Chandra
This week’s guest is talented 18 year old GM Akshat Chandra. The former US Junior Champion 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 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. To support the podcast, go here.  See for privacy information.
May 08, 2018
EP.69 - International Master 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. This episode is brought to you by Silver Knights Enrichment, if you are interested in working for them, check out their current opportunities here.  See for privacy information.
May 01, 2018
EP.68 - US Chess Federation Director of Publications 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 which 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. - To support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Apr 24, 2018
EP.67 - Grandmaster Vidit Gujarathi
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.  To support Perpetual Chess, go here.  See for privacy information.
Apr 17, 2018
EP.66 - Silver Knights Chess Founder 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 providers 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. Spoiler alert- there was a TON of hard work and hustle involved.  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.   See for privacy information.
Apr 10, 2018
EP.65 - Grandmaster Yaroslav Zherebukh
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 here. To support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Apr 03, 2018
EP.64 - Grandmaster Melikset Khachiyan
This week's conversation is with renowned chess trainer, Grandmaster Melikset Khachiyan. Melikset has had many incredibly accomplished chess students, but his most accomplished of all is undoubtedly GM Levon Aronian. Because Melikset knows Aronian well, he talked about the special qualities of Levon's talent, and what has gone wrong for him at the 2018 FIDE Candidates tournament.  After that we delved into GM Khachiyan's own approach to chess improvement.  He told me how he managed to climb out of a slump, revealed  the name of a favorite endgame composer is, and he recommended a handful of chess books. Along the way, Melikset told some amazing stories. What was it like to study under former World Champion Tigran Petrosian? How did he end up in a hotel room drinking whiskey with Boris Spassky? How did he make his way from Armenia to the US? You will hear the answers to these questions and much more in this interview- I think you will enjoy it! GM Khachiyan can be reached via email here.  To support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Mar 27, 2018
EP.63 - International Master Asaf Givon
My guest this week is 23 year old Israeli IM Asaf Givon. In addition to being a 2480 FIDE rated player, Asaf is a YouTube streamer and highly regarded chess instructor. In our conversation, Asaf gave a lot of advice on how listeners can improve their own chess games. We also touched on the ongoing FIDE Candidates tournament, talked about the storylines emerging from it, and the likely opponents of Magnus Carlsen in the next World Championship match. Asaf also gave some perspective on chess in Israel and assessed the opportunities for a chess professional there. Lastly, Asaf told a great story about the experience of playing and analyzing with GM Michael Adams.  Asaf can be reached via his Youtube channel as well as through lichess and  To support the podcast go here.   .  See for privacy information.
Mar 22, 2018
EP.62 - Grandmaster Jan Gustafsson Returns
This week marked the triumphant return of the hilarious and informative GM Jan Gustaffson to Perpetual Chess. Jan was one of my first guests on this podcast, and it was fun to have him back. He and his buddy, GM Peter Svidler, are gearing up to cover the FIDE Candidates tournament for beginning March 10. Jan revealed his own favorite to win the tournament and gave detailed information about the playing style of every player in the field. We also talked about a variety of other topics, including his chess book and podcast recommendations, what it was like to work on Magnus Carlsen’s team, and whether or not we should be jealous of his life as a chess announcer. Be sure to watch the Fide Candidates on Chess24 Follow Jan on twitter here. To support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Mar 06, 2018
EP.61 - Grandmaster Denes Boros
My guest this week is St. Louis based, Hungarian born GM Denes Boros.Denes is a strong and active chess player, a chess reporter, and his frequent lectures at the St. Louis Chess Club are popular events.   Denes is also a student of psychology, so we talked a lot about the intersection of psychology and chess.   He offered suggestions for some common issues that plague tournament players, such as time-management and nervousness/anxiety issues.  We also talked about the history of chess in Denes's  native Hungary, about the upcoming FIDE candidates tournament), and lots more. Thanks to Denes for joining me. You can follow him on twitter here You can email Denes here.  To support the podcast go here.  .  See for privacy information.
Feb 27, 2018
EP.60 - John Hartmann, Book Reviewer for Chess Life Magazine
Chess writer, teacher and book reviewer John Hartmann is not a titled chess player, but man, does he know his chess books!  In our conversation, John reveals his list of "desert island" chess books and gives chess book recommendations of all shapes and sizes. We talk of chess memoirs/game collections, books about chess tactics, endgame books,  and even about chess software.  John also tells the unique story of how he got into chess as a somewhat troubled teen and how he became a book reviewer for the USCF's venerable Chess Life magazine. Lastly, John gives an overview of the increasingly popular Chess Steps curriculum and all of the details about why he finds it so helpful for his students and his chess study.  You can check out John's reviews here and contact him here .  You can view his full list of recommendatons here.  To support the podcast go here.  See for privacy information.
Feb 20, 2018
EP.59 - Mark Crowther, founder of The Week in Chess
Mark Crowther is the founder, editor, and writer behind the indispensable online periodical The Week In Chess (TWIC).  In our conversation, we talked about Mark’s origins, TWIC’s humble beginnings, and how he manages the workflow of writing about and publishing a relentless torrent of chess games played by top players. Mark and I also talked about the chess world more broadly. He shared a rumor he recently heard about the next FIDE election and discussed his own chess playing, plus shared book recommendations. Thanks to Mark for joining me in a great conversation. You can follow him on twitter here, or read and support The Week in Chesshere.  See for privacy information.
Feb 13, 2018
EP.58 - Grandmaster Elshan Moradiabadi
This week  GM Elshan Moradiabadi joined me. In addition to being a former champion in Iran, Elshan is a chess trainer and author. During our interview, Elshan explained why he and his fiance, WGM Sabina Foisor, have relocated to North Carolina and how they are enjoying life there. We also discussed Iran's unique chess history- chess was banned there from 1980 to 1999.  Elshan shared the prevailing theories on the reasons for Iran's chess ban.  He also explained how he was able to ascend to the GM level, despite his native country's checkered chess history. Before I let him go, we  touched on some perennial Perpetual topics, such as his experiences at chess Olympiads, the role of luck vs talent in chess, book recommendations, and his favorites in the upcoming Candidates tournament. Thanks to Elshan for a great talk. You can email him here. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it here.  To take the Perpetual listener survey, go here.  See for privacy information.
Feb 06, 2018
EP.57 - Grandmaster Pascal Charbonneau
This week’s guest on Perpetual Chess is two-  time Canadian Chess Champion turned hedge fund analyst, GM Pascal Charbonneau. In our conversation, Pascal tells us how chess helped him break into the finance industry, and he gives advice for anyone contemplating such a transition. He also looked back fondly to a time when he was more active in chess, and talked about what he misses most.  Pascal has so many chess stories and accomplishments to share.   He has beaten Vishy Anand in a classical game and has spent time with legends like GMs Karpov and Aronian. He also talked about how he finds time to play in The Pro Chess League as a working dad. Thanks to Pascal for a great talk, you can email him here. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it here.  To take the Perpetual listener survey, go here.    See for privacy information.
Jan 30, 2018
EP.56 - Grandmaster Pepe Cuenca
My guest this week is Spanish Grandmaster/chess24 streamer/civil engineer  Pepe Cuenca. As a chess streamer, Pepe has an inimitable and energetic style. Pepe talked about how he cultivated that style and what his not-so-secret ingredient is (Red Bull). He also recapped a recent tournament he competed in in Argentina and gave the rundown on the Spanish chess scene. Lastly, Pepe gave us some helpful recommendations.  He told us which International tournaments we should attend, which chess books to read, and he helped us handicap the Candidates tournament. Follow Pepe on twitter here, or Facebook here. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it here.   See for privacy information.
Jan 23, 2018
EP.55 - International Master Greg Shahade Returns
This week marks the return of the very first Perpetual Chess guest,  IM Greg Shahade. With the Pro Chess League set to resume Thursday, January 18, Greg told us about the changes that he and the team have cooked up with the goal of improving the viewer experience.  He also reeled off the names of some of the top players slated to play this year (Carlsen, Anand, MVL, Caruana, among others). Greg talked about the rules that are in place to incentivize teams to recruit top players, including strong female players.  Greg also named a few favorite chess books and relayed advice that he absorbed in his younger days when he took a few lessons with the legendary trainer, IM Mark Dvoretsky.  Lastly,  Greg and Ben reminisced about the time Greg had a chance to play Garry Kasparov in a simul in 1997.  Be sure to tune in to watch the Pro Chess League starting Thursday, January 18 on  See for privacy information.
Jan 15, 2018
EP.54 - International Master John Donaldson
My guest this week is renowned chess author, International Master John Donaldson. Along with his co-author, IM Eric Tangborn, IM Donaldson recently completed and released a 5 volume biography of Bobby Fischer. So naturally, John and I did a deep dive on the life and legacy of chess legend Bobby Fischer. John tackled several unanswered questions about Fischer's life that drove him to undertake this project. He also shared some memories about the recently deceased grandmaster Bill Lombardy, with whom John spent some time shortly before he died. Following that, we discussed the venerable Mechanic's institute Chess Club in San Francisco, where John is the Director of the Chess Room. Along the way John gave some detailed and practical chess improvement advice and book recommendations. Thanks to John for joining me.  You can buy his books here, and he can be emailed here.    See for privacy information.
Jan 09, 2018
EP.53 - Grandmaster Nils Grandelius
This week I enjoyed talking with Sweden's highest rated chess player, the impressive young Grandmaster Nils Grandelius. Despite his being only 24 years old, Nils has had a wealth of experience in the chess world, including having played and held his own against such titans as Carlsen, Caruana, Kramnik, and Anand. Nils discussed those experiences with us and talked about what he thinks he needs to improve to ascend toward that level.  He also shared some behind-the-scenes details about what it was like to work as part of Magnus Carlsen's team in the last World Championship match.  Before we ended our conversation, Nils touched on his affinity for playing bughouse and named some of the world's best bughouse players, and shared his upcoming tournament schedule.  Thanks to Nils for a great interview.  Follow him on twitter here. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it at Patreon or by buying chess improvement videos at using the promo code "PERPETUAL."  See for privacy information.
Dec 26, 2017
EP.52 - GM Ben Finegold Returns
To mark the one year anniversary of Perpetual Chess, Ben Finegold returned as our first repeat guest. When Ben first talked with us in January 2017, he talked about plans for The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta, and in the past year GM Finegold and his wife, Karen Boyd, have seen the club go from dream to reality.   Ben shared the surprises and successes that they have encountered during the club's first year. We also talked about the chess world more broadly, as Ben discussed the FIDE Candidates' Cycle (and why he picks Wesley So to win every event), and his plans for the upcoming Pro Chess League.   He also told some great stories, old and new, from his chess travels.  Follow Ben on twitter here, watch his YouTube lectures here. If you would like to donate to Perpetual Chess you can do so here.    See for privacy information.
Dec 19, 2017
EP.51 - IM Andrey Ostrovskiy
 IM Andrey Ostrovskiy joined me this week for an insightful conversation.  We started off discussing the biggest news in the chess world, as Andrei gave his perspective on what Alphazero’s landmark success means, and doesn't mean. We then dug into Andrey's background.  Andrey talked about why he made the move from his native Ukraine to Germany a few years ago and transitioned from his family business to working as a chess professional. Andrey was also happy to share some ideas about  improving one's calculation and chess-playing skills.  Lastly, Andrey answered a long-festering question of mine about how players of his caliber can tell when an opening line has become obsolete. Thanks to Andrey for joining me. Check out his YouTube channel here,and follow him here on Twitter.  If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it at Patreon or by buying chess improvement videos at using the promo code "PERPETUAL."  The game analysis video we discuss in our interview is here.  See for privacy information.
Dec 12, 2017
EP.50 - Jennifer Shahade
It was my pleasure to interview my longtime friend, two-time US Women's Champion Jennifer Shahade this week.  Jenn is a well-known chess player and announcer, but she stays busy with many other roles as well. Her popular books,  Play Like a Girl and Chess Bitch aim to attract more women to chess.  She is also the Mind Sports ambassador for PokerStars, editor of the US Chess Federation website, and a board member of the World Chess Hall of Fame. We had a fun, wide-ranging talk about how Jenn juggles her many roles, as well as her most important role of all- the mother of almost -1 -year-old Fabian. Jenn and I traded stories about her growing up in a game-centric household, and about her ascendance in chess and poker.  When I asked Jenn whether she'd be writing another book, she did not dodge the question. Tune in to hear what she said. You can find Jenn on Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to tune it in to watch Jenn and GM Yasser Seirawan and the rest of the team announce the  The London Chess Classic. If you enjoy this podcast, you can support it at Patreon or by buying chess improvement videos at  using the promo code "PERPETUAL."    See for privacy information.
Dec 05, 2017
EP.49 - Woman Grandmaster Tatev Abrahamyan
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 reports on 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.   See for privacy information.
Nov 21, 2017
EP.48 - 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  See for privacy information.
Nov 14, 2017
EP.47 - Grandmaster Cristian Chirila
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.  See for privacy information.
Nov 07, 2017
EP.46 - International Master John Watson
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. See for privacy information.
Oct 31, 2017
EP.45 - International Master 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 watches the world elites up close, and in our talk, he shares some observations from this unique perspective. Additionally, Sagar has his ear to the ground in the Indian chess world, so he tells us which Indian talents to watch for, and tells 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.  See for privacy information.
Oct 24, 2017
EP.44 - Grandmaster Jesse Kraai
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.  See for privacy information.
Oct 17, 2017
EP.43 - Grandmaster 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. See for privacy information.
Oct 10, 2017
EP.42 - James Altucher
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 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.   See for privacy information.
Oct 03, 2017
EP.41 - Grandmaster Judit Polgar
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.  See for privacy information.
Sep 26, 2017
EP.40 - Grandmaster 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.comhere. See for privacy information.
Sep 19, 2017
EP.39 - Coach 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. See for privacy information.
Sep 12, 2017
EP.38 - Grandmaster Danny Gormally
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. Lastly, due to popular demand from you, I have started a patreon page which will allow those of you interested in supporting the show monetarily to do so.  As a bonus, anyone who signs up for the $2 a month plan, will be part of an exclusive email list where I’ll let you know the guest ahead of time, and you’ll be able to submit questions that I'll include in the episode.  If you’re interested, please head to See for privacy information.
Sep 05, 2017
EP.37 - Fide Master Alisa Melekhina
Alisa Melekhina 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.  See for privacy information.
Aug 29, 2017
EP.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.  See for privacy information.
Aug 15, 2017
EP.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. Follow Sean on Twitter here. Read his Aronian profile here.  See for privacy information.
Aug 08, 2017
EP.34 - Woman International Master Fiona Steil-Antoni
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.  See for privacy information.
Aug 01, 2017
EP.33 - Rex Sinquefield
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. See for privacy information.
Jul 25, 2017
EP.32 - Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura
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.  See for privacy information.
Jul 18, 2017
EP.31 - Grandmaster Eugene Perelshteyn
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   See for privacy information.
Jul 11, 2017
EP.30 - Grandmaster David Smerdon
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. See for privacy information.
Jul 04, 2017
EP.29 - Grandmaster Pontus Carlsson
GM Pontus Carlsson speaks several languages, has lived many places, and is, of course, excellent at chess. In our interview, Carlsson discusses his ascent as a young chess talent in Sweden, race relations inside and outside of the world of chess, plus he reveals a grandmaster's secret for how to play while in time trouble.  We also talk abut how GM Carlsson manages to balance a successful career outside of chess while continuing to teach and play chess. Pontus is a fascinating guy.  Enjoy the conversation, then visit his webpage. He can be reached on Twitter, Facebook or by e-mail. See for privacy information.
Jun 27, 2017
EP.28 - International Master David Pruess
IM David Pruess has been a fixture on the US Chess Scene throughout the 2000s. In our interview, we talk about David's early chess days in the Bay Area, his ideas for improving your tactics, and his complicated history as an early employee with   David also tells us about his new job, and why he chooses to pursue a career outside of the chess world in addition to teaching chess and chess announcing. Thanks to David for the thoughtful and candid interview, ping him on here and follow him on Twitter here.  See for privacy information.
Jun 20, 2017
EP.27 - Grandmaster Sandro Mareco
Grandmaster Sandro Mareco is the highest rated chess player in Argentina and is currently #89 in the world. GM Mareco gives the unique perspective of a top Grandmaster who brought his rating from 2200 FIDE at age 18 to its current standing at 2659 at age 30.   Sandro also tells us which up and coming South American players to watch, discusses his work as a chess trainer, and reveals why he should be nicknamed "the Argentinian Turtle."  To reach Sandro you can e-mail him here. See for privacy information.
Jun 13, 2017
EP.26 - International Master John Bartholomew
Just 2.5 years after posting his first Youtube video, IM John Bartholomew has become one of the most popular chess YouTubers in the world. John reveals his original motivation for starting his channel and talks about its phenomenal growth to over 38,000 subscribers. He also analyzes the impact his popularity has had on his chess teaching business. We also discuss chessable, the chess training website that he co-founded. Other topics convered include John's influences, his chess playing career, and why he decided to drop out of law school after a semester. Subscribe to John's youtube channel here,follow him on twitter here.   See for privacy information.
Jun 06, 2017
EP.25 - Thibault Duplessis (founder of
Thibault Duplessis is a 31-year-old computer programmer, world traveler, and the creator of one of the world's most popular chess servers,  Thibault tells us of the origins of LiChess, the driving philosophy that led him to create it and about his background in both programming and chess.  We also discuss the issue of cheating in online chess and Thibault's vision for the future of  See for privacy information.
May 24, 2017
EP.24 - International Master Luke Harmon-Vellotti
For an 18-year old, IM Luke Harmon-Vellotti is rather ridiculously accomplished.. In addition to countless chess achievements, he will graduate from UCLA with a double major and was recently hired by Google for a highly coveted job as a programmer. During our interview, Luke talks about the rigorous interview process at Google, discusses the similarities between chess and computer programming and, of course, reflects on his chess career and how his new job will impact his pursuit of the Grandmaster title, Read all about Luke's new gig here, and reach him on his website here.  See for privacy information.
May 16, 2017
EP.23 - Grandmaster Mesgen Amanov
Although just 30 years old, GM Mesgen Amanov has many great stories to tell. In our interview, Mesgen tells the remarkable story of his emigration to the US after growing up in Turkmenistan. He also recounts how he got the idea for his successful chess education site, In addition, GM Amanov reveals his unique college major, tells some GM drinking stories, and gives some helpful chess improvement tips. To reach GM Amanov go to See for privacy information.
May 09, 2017
EP.22 - Woman Grandmaster Sabina Foisor
Fresh from an emotional victory at the US Women's Championship, WGM Sabina Foisor joined me to discuss her impressive victory. Sabina's mother, WGM Cristina Foisor, passed away at the beginning of the year, so it has been a trying year for Sabina. Sabina talked openly about her mother's legacy and the loss that Sabina and her loved ones have endured. She also discussed how her mother's passing affected her tournament preparation and gave her perspective while she competed for the title. We also talked about the 2017 Women's World Championship in Iran, cooking, growing up in a chess family in Romania, and Sabina gave a few chess book recommendations. Follow Sabina on twitter here. See for privacy information.
May 02, 2017
EP.21 - International Master-Elect David Brodsky
14-year-old David Brodsky has been piling up the norms lately and has recently achieved the final norm necessary to earn the International Master title (pending 20 more FIDE rating points and FIDE approval). We talk about the secrets of his chess success, how he developed his ability to write about chess, how math competitions compare to chess tournaments, and the differences between the FIDE and the US Chess rating scales. Read all of David's excellent tournament recaps and chess advice on Chess Summit.  See for privacy information.
Apr 25, 2017
EP.20 - Grandmaster Timur Gareyev
This week GM Timur Gareyev, aka The Blindfold King, joined me. Timur has rightfully been getting a lot of media attention due to his mind-boggling feats in blindfold chess, but he has a lot of other interests as well.  Timur's hobbies range from skydiving to yoga to traveling to poker. Naturally, we talked a bit about his incredible, record-breaking 48 board blindfold simul, but we also talked about his many travel plans, his business ideas, his chess beginnings in Uzbekistan, and many other topics. Timur is a fascinating guy and I can't wait to see what projects he undertakes in future years. Follow his exploits and contact Timur on  See for privacy information.
Apr 18, 2017
EP.19 - Macauley Peterson and IM Lawrence Trent, Hosts of The Full English Breakfast
In addition to hosting the excellent chess podcast The Full English Breakfast, both Macauley Peterson and IM Lawrence Trent have had eclectic and interesting careers in chess.  Macauley Peterson has been writing about, and reporting on chess for a long time and most recently has been the Content Director of Chess24. We talk about his various adventures in the world of chess media, as well as his recent profile of Fabiano Caruana in Chess Life. Mr. Trent shares what he learned from being the manager of an elite player, and reveals the "real job" that prepared him for his roles as a chess announcer and chess manager. Follow Lawrence on twitter here, follow Macauley here. Listen to and support The Full English Breakfast via Itunes or here. Watch Lawrence's chess videos on See for privacy information.
Apr 11, 2017
EP.18 - International Master Danny Rensch, Vice President
Danny Rensch, International Master, and VP stopped by to talk all things We previewed the upcoming Speed Chess Championship, and reviewed the good and bad of the Pro Chess League's successful first season. We also talked about Danny's dormant chess playing career, shark tank, and how a high school dropout learned to navigate the business world. This was a fun and inspiring glimpse into the future of chess. Follow Danny on twitter here.  See for privacy information.
Apr 04, 2017
EP.17 - International Master Michael Rahal
International Master Michael Rahal has been teaching chess in Barcelona for 25 years and competing in chess since his childhood in England. Rahal breaks down the chess scene in Spain and tells stories of crossing paths with chess elites like Kramnik, Anand, and Svidler. Michael also reveals his persuasive theories on why chess is flourishing in China and India, and why watching television series are so popular with upper echelon chess players. You can watch IM Rahal's videos on ICC and follow him on twitter here.  See for privacy information.
Mar 28, 2017
EP.16 - IM Greg Shahade Returns for a Pro Chess League update
With's  Pro Chess League headed into its Final Four this weekend, Greg fought through sickness to give us a quick rundown of the teams and players that will be playing this weekend, including Carlsen,  So and Caruana. Greg also reflected a bit on the first season of the Pro Chess League and touched on his forthcoming chess book and on the upcoming US Championships. For more coverage of the Pro Chess League final 4 head over to and enjoy the extravaganza.  See for privacy information.
Mar 23, 2017
EP.15 - Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky
GM Alex Yermolinksky takes us through his storied chess career which has spanned decades and has taken him from Leningrad to Rome to several different cities in the US. Yermo has crossed swords with legends like Kasparov and Kramnik, and also enjoyed a time as a dominant force on the US Chess tournament circuit. These days, he lives in  Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and focuses on family, and chess teaching. Alex is an entertaining and outspoken storyteller, so please sit back and enjoy this interview.  See for privacy information.
Mar 14, 2017
EP.14 - International Master Anna Rudolf
International Master and Woman Grandmaster Anna Rudolf is an engaging and informative chess announcer and presenter. In our talk Anna candidly discusses her nervous beginnings in front of the camera and what she did to make herself a better presenter. We also discuss the chess culture in her native Hungary, her transition from primarily playing chess to promoting it, and what it's like to work with Judit Polgar.   This was an inspiring and fun talk. Please have a listen. You can reach Anna on Facebook or twitter here, and watch her videos on chess24.  See for privacy information.
Mar 07, 2017
EP.13 -Grandmaster Peter Svidler
It was an honor to talk to GM Peter Svidler about some of his many interests. Naturally, we talk about his illustrious chess career and his near-term tournament plans. Other topics of interest include poker, hearthstone, Norm Macdonald, Radio Jan and Russian chess. This interview was a treat for me so I hope listeners enjoy it as much as I did. Watch Peter’s videos and broadcasts on and follow him on twitter here.  See for privacy information.
Feb 28, 2017
EP.12 - US National Master Christopher Yoo and his dad, Young-Kyu Yoo
10-year-old Christopher Yoo has been making lots of headlines lately in the chess world. He recently became the youngest USCF master in history and has also been entertaining the chess masses with his enthusiastic Pro Chess League Commentary. Christopher and his father, Young-Kyu, joined me to tell us the secrets of Christopher's early successes and his plans for upcoming tournaments. You'll want to stay tuned until the end when Christopher unveils his singing talents.  See for privacy information.
Feb 21, 2017
EP.11 - Grandmaster Aleksandr Lenderman
27-year-old GM Alex Lenderman has won prestigious tournaments ranging from the World Open to the World Youth Championship, but he still feels like his chess has room to improve. We talk about why that is the case, his plans for 2017, and of course, we dig deep on his unforgettable experience coaching the gold medal winning US Olympiad Team.  We also talk intuition vs. calculation in chess, as it relates to his interesting game in London vs GM Simon Williams. The Topalov Master Class that Alex references is here.  See for privacy information.
Feb 14, 2017
EP.10 - Kevin Bordi
Kevin Bordi, (Blitzstream on YouTube) has quickly become the most popular chess YouTuber in France thanks to his entertaining and informative videos. In this podcast, we talk about how he built his following. Bordi lived in Moscow for 10 years, and he shares some of his observations about chess in Russia. Other topics include the Cannes team of the Pro Chess League, poker. the NFL and what he teaches his chess students.  See for privacy information.
Feb 07, 2017
EP.09 - Grandmaster Ben Finegold
GM Finegold has been a fixture on the American chess scene for decades. In this entertaining interview, Ben reflects on his time as resident Grandmaster at the St. Louis chess club and opines on America's young chess talents. Ben also discusses his recent move to Atlanta and reveals his plan to open a chess center in his new hometown.  See for privacy information.
Jan 31, 2017
EP.08 - Grandmaster Sam Shankland
25-year-old GM Sam Shankland is already one of United States' best chess players and he hopes to achieve even greater heights in the chess world. In this interview, we discuss his Chess Olympiad successes, his study habits, his plans for 2017 and his interests away from the board. It was an honor to talk to Sam, so I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.  See for privacy information.
Jan 24, 2017
EP.07 - Grandmaster Jon Ludvig Hammer
GM Jon Ludvig Hammer shares what it's like to be a top-level player in chess-crazed Norway. We also discuss the highs and lows of his playing career, and we're privileged to hear his first-hand perspective on what separates Magnus Carlsen from other grandmasters.   See for privacy information.
Jan 17, 2017
EP.06 - International Master Christof Sielecki
IM Sielecki (Chess Explained on youtube) started competing in chess at the relatively late age of 13 and only recently turned chess teaching into a career. In this interview, Sielecki shares freely about the beginnings of his chess playing life in central Germany and traces the growth of his hugely popular and informative Youtube channel, which is nearing 25,000 subscribers.  Christof also discusses his chess philosophy and shares practical ideas of how to improve one's results. Follow him on twitter @chessexplained   See for privacy information.
Jan 11, 2017
EP.05 - Grandmaster Simon Williams
Simon Williams (aka the Ginger GM) is an entertaining and original chess player, educator and personality. In this fun interview we discuss his background, the chess culture in England, and detail his transition from primarily playing chess to teaching chess online. We also talk about his travels, both to international chess tournaments and to local British pubs. To find more about him go to See for privacy information.