An Earful of Chess


While working from home was common during pandemic lockdowns, many people have resumed commuting. Driving to work, hands on the steering wheel, precludes moving chessmen. Likewise, eyes on the road makes watching YouTube chess videos and Twitch chess channels impossible. But you can get an earful of chess by listening to podcasts.

Podcast (petcast?)

Pet-sitting kept my hands busy recently. Guest pets Dana the guinea pig (on my lap) and Billy Joel the rabbit (perpendicular to the couch) joined my own rabbit Einstein (parallel to the couch) from May 26 to May 31. The rabbits liked each other, but I still had to keep my eyes on them. While pet-sitting, I listened to two podcast episodes. Each episode was produced in late May and each featured an interviewee who I know in real life.

Perpetual Chess podcast

On the Perpetual Chess podcast, host Ben Johnson asked Grandmaster Ben Finegold if the Twitch (chess) boom is over. Both Bens, Johnson and Finegold, agreed that it was. They cited this article. Finegold’s Twitch channel has 117,000 followers, fewer than he used to have. Finegold added that in-person workers find it more challenging to watch live Twitch streams.

At 52 years old, Finegold is still an active chess player. He thinks he was sharper when he was younger. Here’s an attractive tactic Finegold played more than 30 years ago.

Premier Chess podcast

The CEO of Premier Chess, Evan Rabin, had International Master Cyrus Lakdawala as a podcast guest. Lakdawala touted the benefits of endgame studies. His The Smyslov Workbook: Improve your ability to find combinations, construct plans, and calculate long, forcing variations, with co-author Carsten Hansen, is book 1 of a planned series on chess endgames.

While Lakdawala is most comfortable after queens are traded off, here’s a combination from one of his wins from 2001 where queens were still on the board.

WIM Alexey Root, PhD

Alexey Root is a Woman International Master and the 1989 U.S. Women's chess champion. Her peak US Chess rating was 2260. She has a PhD in education from UCLA. You can find her books on chess on

About the players