Episodes
This month's guest on Cover Stories with Chess Life is... me.  John is the author of our May 2022 cover story on the 2022 Spring Classic. He also wrote about Jamie Foxx's games with Jude Acers in New Orleans, and he also contributed his semi-regular "In the News" column. John Hartmann is the editor of Chess Life and Chess Life Online. He was named the 2020 and 2021 Chess Journalist of the Year by the Chess Journalists of America. Away from the keyboard, John is a husband, a father, a coffee...
Published 05/12/22
Published 05/12/22
Today’s guest on "Cover Stories with Chess Life" is well known to American chess fans. He’s the man with the fancy hat: Grandmaster Elshan Moradiabadi.  Elshan is the author of our April cover story on the Tata Steel tournament earlier this year, won by Magnus Carlsen. Instead of a traditional, blow-by-blow account, Elshan’s analysis focused on the most interesting and instructive moments in the event... although one of the most instructive may be found in a future issue of Chess...
Published 04/05/22
Today’s guest on Cover Stories is a man in demand. By my count Harold Scott is making his third podcast recording today. He has been a guest on Evan Rabin’s Premier Chess Podcast along with GM Joel Benjamin, a feat that he repeated in a joint appearance with Ben Johnson and the Perpetual Chess Podcast. But today it’s just him. Harold is the author of our March cover story about eight year old Megan Paragua, who recently became a rated expert. Megan’s uncle is New York GM Mark Paragua,...
Published 03/01/22
Yes, it's January. And yes, this is the December edition of Cover Stories. (Look for the January EP soon!) GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is the author of our December cover story, “My American Tour,” which discusses his victory at the 2021 Sinquefield Cup and his second place finish at the 9LX (or 960) tournament directly afterwards. We’ve been trying to set up time for an interview for a few weeks, but Maxime’s packed schedule meant that today – January 2nd – was our first opportunity to...
Published 01/04/22
Today’s guest on Cover Stories with Chess Life is the author of our November 2021 cover story on the U.S. Open, which he won with a dominating performance and score of 8½/9. More recently, he finished in shared fourth through sixth place at the 2021 U.S. Championship, his +1 score leaving him just a half-point outside the playoff won by GM Wesley So. GM Alex Lenderman is one of America’s top grandmasters, and his story is one of long, hard work paying off with success. US Chess records have...
Published 11/04/21
Today’s guest on Cover Stories with Chess Life is the author of our September cover story on the Prague Chess Festival and, as of the September 2021 FIDE rating list, the 26th ranked player in the world. The winner of the 2018 U.S. Championship and a stalwart on American international teams, Grandmaster Sam Shankland has already, at age 29, done almost everything there is to do in chess. He has written books for Quality Chess and the Chessable platform. He has been a second for Grandmaster...
Published 09/07/21
Today’s guest on Cover Stories with Chess Life is the author of our July cover story, or, better, the package of cover stories. He is also, in many ways, its subject, as is reflected by his presence on our July cover in a magisterial photo by Ian Spanier. International Master John Donaldson has done almost everything there is to do in the world of chess. Becoming an International Master in 1983, Donaldson has been a successful player, author, and team captain, piloting American teams in...
Published 07/06/21
Today’s guest on Cover Stories with Chess Life is the co-author of our June cover story on the 2020-2021 Candidates Tournament. No, it’s not me. It’s Grandmaster Jacob Aagaard. Jacob Aagaard is one of the most lauded authors and trainers in the chess world today. The winner of the Boleslavsky medal from the FIDE Trainers Commission – a group for which he later served as director for a time – Aagaard has written twenty plus books under his own name, and more than a few under...
Published 06/04/21
Today’s guest on Cover Stories is Taylor Kingston, a well-known chess author and historian who I tapped to write our May cover story on the 1946 U.S. Championship match between Arnold Denker and Herman Steiner. I was looking for a historical cover story, and when I saw that it had been 75 years this May since the match in the 2021 International Chess Calendar (published by Russell Enterprises), I reached out to Taylor to ask if he’d be interested in writing it. Imagine my surprise when he...
Published 05/04/21
Today’s guest on Cover Stories with Chess Life is pulling double-duty: he is the author of the April 2021 cover story, and he is also its subject. GM Hans Niemann is, to my knowledge, America’s newest grandmaster, having crossed the 2500 barrier in December after earning his three GM norms. The title became official on January 22, 2021 after FIDE’s final approval. This final step was the culmination of a long road for Niemann, chronicled in his article “The Road to Grandmaster.” We hear...
Published 04/06/21
Good time of day to all of you, my friends on the Cover Stories with Chess Life podcast. There are some people who, simply by the effect of their personality or their voice, become larger than life figures in their field. Today’s guest, Grandmaster (and everyone’s favorite Uncle) Alex Yermolinsky, is one of those people. A St. Petersburg native, Alex emigrated to the United States in 1989 after nearly a decade working as a coach in the Soviet Union. Soon his rating skyrocketed, earning...
Published 02/02/21
If Jazz is America’s first great cultural export to the world, hip-hop is its second, and perhaps most important. From its earliest days, emerging from DJ and MC battles in the south-south Bronx, the rise and growth of hip hop music and culture has been exponential, and today there is no corner of the globe where hip hop has not taken root, often in surprising ways. Originally born from the grinding experience of 1970s urban American life, today’s hip hop is a true creolization of cultures,...
Published 01/05/21
Most editions of Cover Stories with Chess Life follow the same pattern: each month we talk to the author of our cover story. This month, however, is a little different. Dan Lucas, former editor of Chess Life and now our Senior Director of Strategic Communication, got back in the saddle for his December 2020 cover story on John D Rockefeller V and his $3 million gift to US Chess. Now, Dan’s employment with US Chess wouldn’t prevent him from appearing on this podcast, which he used to host....
Published 12/01/20
Grandmaster Maurice Ashley is a man who hardly needs an introduction to the readers of Chess Life or Chess Life Online. While he is famous today for his energetic style broadcasting events for the Saint Louis Chess Club, Ashley has been a giant of American chess for many years now. He is the first Grandmaster of African descent, has been a successful scholastic coach, and he organized some of the most lucrative and interesting large Swiss tournaments in American history. Because his career...
Published 11/13/20
Michael Tisserand has written a lovely profile of 88 year old Charlie Gabriel, a long-time member of the Preservation Hall Jazz Collective in New Orleans and one of the most well-traveled musicians alive today. As it turns out, Gabriel is obsessed with chess. His instagram account, @chess_with_charlie, chronicles both his musical exploits and his chess encounters, and we borrowed heavily from it (with permission, of course) for the art for our story. Tisserand is the author of three...
Published 11/13/20
A prominent streamer in his own right, International Master Eric Rosen is the author of the August 2020 Chess Life cover story, “The New Chess Boom.” The cover for the issue, created by Neil Jamison and directed by Frankie Butler, has gotten a lot of attention online – something we’ll surely talk about – but I believe that Rosen’s article will end up garnering just as much attention now that the issue is in mailboxes and online. At just 26 years of age, Eric Rosen has already carved himself...
Published 11/13/20
The July edition of “Cover Stories with Chess Life” is now live! This monthly podcast, now hosted by Chess Life and Chess Life Online Editor John Hartmann, goes in depth and behind the scenes of each month’s Chess Life cover story. Our July episode features IM Vignesh Panchanatham, who wrote the lead elements in our extensive cover story on the Amateur Team Championships. We talk about his chess career, his journalistic impulses, and what he'd bake to win the Showstopper Challenge. ]]>
Published 11/13/20
The June edition of “Cover Stories with Chess Life” is now live! This monthly podcast, now hosted by Chess Life and Chess Life Online Editor John Hartmann, goes in depth and behind the scenes of each month’s Chess Life cover story. This month’s guest is GM Jesse Kraai, who wrote the cover story on "Chess & Coronavirus" for our June issue.  While the main topic of discussion is chess in the age of COVID-19, we also talk about his book Lisa: A Chess Novel, his ideas on improvement, and his...
Published 11/13/20
The May edition of “Cover Stories with Chess Life” is now live! This monthly podcast, hosted by Senior Director of Strategic Communication Daniel Lucas, goes in depth and behind the scenes of each month’s Chess Life cover story. This month's guest is GM Francesco Rambaldi, who contributed annotations to our May Chess Life cover story on the Cairns Cup.  We talk to him about the Cairns Cup,  growing up playing chess in France and Italy, his current status as a member of the Saint Louis...
Published 11/13/20
The April edition of “Cover Stories with Chess Life” is now live! This monthly podcast, hosted by Senior Director of Strategic Communication Daniel Lucas, goes in depth and behind the scenes of each month’s Chess Life cover story. This month we talk to Tom Beckman, the impresario of the Eastern Open since 2009, who wrote our article on this perennial event. (Note: The authors of our cover story about chess on Grand Cayman Island were unavailable.) We talk to Tom about his time running the...
Published 11/13/20
The March edition of “Cover Stories with Chess Life” is now live! This monthly podcast, hosted by Senior Director of Strategic Communication Daniel Lucas, goes in depth and behind the scenes of each month’s Chess Life cover story. This month we talk to Menachem Walker, who wrote about chess and autism as part of our special issue on accessibility. Wecker is not your typical chess writer; he is a freelance journalist who is a former (full-time) education reporter at U.S. News & World...
Published 11/13/20
The February edition of “Cover Stories with Chess Life” is now live! This monthly podcast, hosted by Senior Director of Strategic Communication Daniel Lucas, goes in depth and behind the scenes of each month’s Chess Life cover story. This month we talk to GM Lev Alburt and Jon Crumiller about their cover story on the history of--and the possibility of bringing back--adjournments. Don’t miss your chance at winning a $50 gift certificate to USCFSales.com! Send in your question...
Published 11/13/20
The January edition of “Cover Stories with Chess Life” is now live! This monthly podcast, hosted by Senior Director of Strategic Communication Daniel Lucas, goes in depth and behind the scenes of each month’s Chess Life cover story. This month we talk to Jamaal Abdul-Alim about his cover story on WGM Jennifer Yu. Don’t miss your chance at winning a $50 gift certificate to USCFSales.com! Send in your question to [email protected], and if your question is selected as the Best Question, you...
Published 11/13/20
The December 2019 edition of “Cover Stories with Chess Life” is now live! This monthly podcast, hosted by Senior Director of Strategic Communication Daniel Lucas, goes in depth and behind the scenes of each month’s Chess Life cover story. This month we talk to Al Lawrence (our first four-time guest!) about his cover story on the 80th anniversary of US Chess. Don’t miss your chance at winning a $50 gift certificate to USCFSales.com! Send in your question to [email protected], and if your...
Published 11/13/20