Episodes
ūüéĮThis episode is our Season 5 Finale. Season 6 coming soon!ūüéĮ Our guest this week is Brian¬† Karen, a Candidate Master, chess educator, historian, and regular contributor to the podcast. We discussed the evolution of chess clubs and the amateur tournament scene, specifically from the 80s, 90s, and early 00s until now.¬† Chapters: 00:00 - Intro 09:26 - Rise of International Players 14:00 - Postmortems 18:38 - Analog vs. Digital Clocks 28:11 - Speed Chess 30:35 - OTB vs. Online Ratings 38:37 -...
Published 09/17/23
Published 09/17/23
In this episode, we unravel the English Opening from Black's point of view for club players and adult improvers. We tackle the unfamiliarity and anxiety that comes with confronting 1. c4 and share three variations that will boost your confidence as Black. Chapters: 00:00 - Intro 05:50 - Symmetrical Var. (1...c5) 10:33 - Nimzo-English (1...Nf6) 16:58 - English Defense (1...b6) 26:52 - Outro Referenced: Starting Out: The English (Amazon) PGNs: After 1. c4: Symmetrical English: 1. ...c5 2....
Published 09/10/23
Ready to shake up your chess game with some unconventional openings? In our latest episode, we make a case for occasionally adding complexity to your game. By getting higher-rated opponents out of their comfort zone early on, you can create an unbalanced, non-theoretical position that might just give you the upper hand. We also bring attention to the "piece polishers" - those players who love sticking to conventional theory. This episode explores how you can disrupt them. We delve into the...
Published 09/03/23
Did you know that the world of chess ratings can be as intriguing and mysterious as the game itself?  How significant are tactics, game analysis, and a consistent opening repertoire for players rated below 1800? We go a step further, shedding light on the pros and cons of competing in higher rating sections and the unreliability of online ratings. As we wrap up, we serve up practical tips and strategies to help bolster your rating, including the pitfalls to avoid like dual-rated games. But...
Published 08/27/23
Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a chess tournament? Join us as we converse with return guest National Master Nick Panico, who takes us on a captivating journey. This episode is a deep dive into the world of chess, the importance of taking lower-rated opponents seriously, and much more. The discussion gets even more interesting as Nick recounts a suspicious game. This fuels a conversation about potential cheating in chess and the rules about phone usage during play. We also explore...
Published 08/20/23
This week, we'll be exploring some common themes for club-level players by analyzing a typical amateur game that featured a lot of miscues. Concepts include: stopping counterplay, open vs. closed center, impatient pawn pushes, "phantom" tactics, and much more. Chapters: 00:00 - Intro 01:50 - Nimzo-Indian Defense 14:12 - Phantom Tactics 15:15 - Impatient Pawn Pushes 16:57 - Feel-Good Checks 23:08 - Players who Stand 31:00 - Outro Referenced: Starting Out: The Nimzo-Indian (Amazon)Game...
Published 08/13/23
Our episode features an engaging analysis of a chess game from the Long Island Chess Club. We dissect every plan, delving into the nuances of a Queen's pawn opening and strategies for preventing Black's e5 idea from White. We also unravel the mystery around the hyper-modern idea of striking in the center. In addition, we're sharing our insights on tackling higher-rated opponents, the significance of game review using an engine, and the importance of a positive mindset. Lastly, we touch upon...
Published 08/06/23
Meet high school student and Candidate Master Jessica Hyatt, the highest-rated female African-American chess player, and National Master Tyrell Harriott, her coach and mentor. Be intrigued as the duo sheds light on Jessica's inspiring journey from her initial rating of USCF 350 in fifth grade to her current rating of USCF 2100, and her quest to achieve the title of National Master (USCF 2200). Advancing in chess is a long trek, but it's filled with numerous exciting turns, as Jessica recounts...
Published 07/30/23
Tune in as we delve into the mind of a seasoned tournament player, Dan Levin. A regular at the Long Island Chess Club, Dan brings a unique perspective to this episode as he shares his experiences from the recent Eastern Class Championships in Connecticut, and the National Open in Vegas. Listen in as we uncover the reasons behind a peculiar resignation and a puzzling rating discrepancy in his games. Get ready for an in-depth exploration into the complexities of strategic moves as Dan shares...
Published 07/23/23
Have you ever wondered about the differences between playing chess online and over-the-board? How does it impact your strategies and even your enjoyment of the game? Welcome to the first solo episode of the fifth season of The Chess Angle. We're making our podcast experience more user-friendly by introducing chapter markers and experimenting with video versions of our interview episodes on YouTube. This week, Neal dives into the mailbag to answer your questions. In a light-hearted...
Published 07/16/23
Get ready to sharpen your chess skills with National Master Jerald Times, a revered chess educator and CEO of Chess Across Borders. We'll traverse across the chessboard of Jerald's experiences, from his nostalgic moments playing chess on a Navy ship to his enlightening journey of teaching and transitioning to a more dynamic playing style. Ever wondered about the psychological transformation of chess players? Our conversation reveals the intriguing shift from reactionary to responsive play,...
Published 07/09/23
Are you ever too old to get better at chess? Join me as I sit down with National Master, top podcaster, successful entrepreneur, and best-selling author James Altucher, who is on a thrilling journey to regain a rating of 2200. Despite being in his 50s, James is determined to prove that age is just a number when it comes to mental capacity and improvement. From discussing strategies of the game to understanding the importance of physical and mental health, our conversation is full of...
Published 07/02/23
This week's episode is our Season 4 Finale. SEASON 5 COMING SOON!  This is an updated version of the very first episode of this podcast, "Chess Openings and the Club Player." We cover: The main goal of the opening System and thematic openingsIs there an advantage to having the white pieces?Should you play complicated, theoretical openings?The importance of a consistent opening repertoireNeal's personal opening choices Referenced: The London System in 12 Practical LessonsWin With the London...
Published 05/21/23
We cover: Touch moveTrapped piecesDoes playing through Master games really help?Is a knight on the rim always dim?Should you move the same piece twice?Speculative vs. combinational sacrifices"Shuffling" movesInitiative vs. developmentReferenced: Winning Chess Tactics (Amazon)Introduction to Tactics (chess.com)Step Up In Tactics (chess.com)Game Analyzed: 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 d5 3. e3 Bf5 4. c4 c6 5. Qb3 Qb6 6. c5 Qxb3 7. axb3 Nbd7 8. Nc3 e6 9. h3 Be7 10. b4 O-O 11. Be2 b5 12. Nf3 a6 13. O-O Ra7...
Published 05/14/23
National Master Nick Panico returns to the podcast for our first "coffee talk" episode. These episodes will feature a guest and include the full conversation, including the pre/post interview segments that are typically off-air.¬† Essentially, we'll press "record," let it run, and publish the whole thing. We covered a variety of topics for amateur players of all levels. If you have a question or topic idea for a future episode, e-mail us at [email protected]. Our...
Published 05/07/23
Neal plays a round of Puzzle Rush during the episode! For most of us, "life happens," and lengthy chess study sessions are not possible on a consistent basis. Neal recently created a simple, condensed study routine that can be used intermittently when life gets busy. This allows your chess abilities to stay sharp during those times. The basic idea is a daily study plan of about 15-30 minutes (as your schedule allows) consisting of one 5-minute Puzzle Rush, followed by one other short segment...
Published 04/30/23
For this interview episode, Neal spoke with National Master Anthony Levin, a NY based chess player and the News Manager for chess.com. Anthony shared his insights on adult improvement and his own personal journey. Talking points include the following: Puzzle Rush vs. speed chessThe mythical "phase out" of classical chessAnthony's role as News Manager for chess.comChess improvement tipsEndgame realities for amateur playersReferenced: Shereshevsky's Endgame StrategySmyslov's Endgame...
Published 04/23/23
Live, over-the-board (OTB) tournament play is the ultimate in chess competition. It's fun, exciting, and aesthetically pleasing. However, rated chess events are not always unicorns and rainbows. There's a harsh reality to tournament play that is often omitted from the discourse on chess. Neal discusses some hard truths about tournaments, shares some of his own personal journey as a player and TD, and provides some tips and tricks along the way. Some of this episode's talking points include...
Published 04/16/23
This episode offers some direct and pragmatic ideas for club players when facing a higher-rated opponent. Talking points include the following: Why chess generally hates the underdogWhy there's often more pressure on the higher-rated playerUpsets happen quite often at the amateur level Is creating complications the ONLY way to beat these players? (hint: no)An effective mindset approach that you probably haven't tried beforeStrategic draw offers to place pressure on your...
Published 04/09/23
This week's episode is a thematic analysis of an amateur game featuring the Steiner Variation of the French Defense (1.e4 e6 2. c4!?). Some other common French sidelines are discussed as well. Additional talking points include the following: Queenside castlingThe Hedgehog formationDoes it make sense to to "prep for an opponent" at the club level?Blind spots when analyzingGame Referenced: 1. e4 e6 2. c4!? b6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 Bxc3 5. dxc3 h6 6. Qd4 Qf6 7. e5 Qe7 8. Bf4 Bb7 9. Be2 Nc6 10. Qd3...
Published 04/02/23
This episode covers so-called "club-level" time controls, such as G/90 and G/60. These usually include a time delay ranging from 5 - 30 seconds per move. Neal also shares his thoughts on speed chess as it relates to amateur players and improvement. In addition, some helpful resources that may be underutilized by many are discussed. Additional talking points include the following: The (imaginary) decline of slow time controlsDAUT: Don't Analyze Unnecessary Tactics*Your puzzle rating or online...
Published 03/26/23
This week's episode discusses study plans, training programs, and improvement as it relates to the amateur and club player. If you have a question or topic idea for a future episode, e-mail us at [email protected]. Our links: WebsiteTwitterYouTubeFacebookE-mail: [email protected] Chess Angle is sponsored by Chessable. Check out a list of our favorite courses!¬†
Published 03/19/23
This episode is a review of The Complete Book of Chess Strategy (Amazon) by IM Jeremy Silman. This is an excellent all-in-one reference book for improvers and club players, covering all phases of the game as well as practical matters (blunders, time pressure, chess psychology, etc.).  Neal shares his thoughts on how the concepts in this book apply to the amateur tournament scene. Talking points include the following: The "cat and mouse" techniqueOpening principles and the correct way to...
Published 03/12/23
This episode explores the psychology of facing a lower-rated opponent who is playing really well. This is often highly frustrating for tournament players. Many times, however, it's more about your own mindset than your opponent's abilities. Conversely, this episode will explain the "ratings walk" phenomenon when facing a higher-rated opponent. Have a question or topic for consideration in a future episode? E-mail us at [email protected]. Mentioned: Chess for Tigers¬† (Amazon)The...
Published 03/05/23