The Chess Experience

By Daniel Lona

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Chess improvement as an adult is harder than it should be. Plus, the journey can sometimes feel too stressful and serious. This show aims to fix that by 1) interviewing experts who can offer clarity on the best ways to improve; and 2) giving you a heap of fun with “chess entertainment” shows that discuss chess culture, events, movies, etc. Most episodes feature a guest, but sometimes I'll do a solo show on a topic. This is all brought to you by me, Daniel Lona. I’m a dedicated chess amateur and the owner of Adult Chess Academy. After listening to this podcast, I want you to have a clearer idea of how to improve, and have a more fun, dynamic chess experience. Please follow the show so you don’t miss an episode!

Episode Date
IM Eric Rosen - Improvement Q&A and Chess Content Creation

029  Eric Rosen is perhaps best known for off-beat openings and stalemate traps. But don’t sleep on his incredible coaching skills. In this interview, Eric offers powerful advice in answering questions from my Twitter followers on improving as adults.

Before we get into the heart of sharpening your chess skills...

The episode first covers Eric’s career as one of the world’s top chess streamers and content creators…

Including his favorite types of content and how he strikes a balance between entertainment and education.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • The unexpected secret to increasing your rating.
  • Does studying endgames or openings lead to better growth as a player?
  • How does an adult balance their chess ambitions with the limits of everyday life?
  • How do you bust through a rating plateau?
  • Eric’s “dream content” that he hopes to one day create. 

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Follow Eric Rosen Here:

Resources Mentioned: 

Eric’s article Chess Life Online on how to overcome rating plateaus

Aug 09, 2022
50 Years of Growing the Game with NM Bruce Pandolfini

028 Bruce Pandolfini is arguably America’s greatest chess coach. His impact on growing the game throughout the world is immeasurable. Bruce is the author of dozens of superb chess books. All are great, and many are still must-reads for beginners and club players.

He’s been the coach for such top players as Fabiano Caruana and Josh Waitzkin.

Bruce has also been the consultant for the most popular chess stories ever put to screen: Searching for Bobby Fischer & The Queen’s Gambit.

Countless other accomplishments fill Bruce’s career.

More than can be quickly described in this introduction.

The chess world has been enhanced greatly through his work and presence.

In this episode, we cover:

  • The common traits of his most successful students.
  • Has chess coaching improved over the years?
  • Did he expect The Queen’s Gambit to cause a chess boom?
  • Were his coaching methods accurately represented in Searching For Bobby Fischer?

More From Bruce Pandolfini:

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Aug 02, 2022
Quick Tips on Development with WGM Ekaterina Atalik

027 If you've studied chess, then you know development is vital. Yet there’s more to this principle than just the obvious “get your pieces out.” Even titled players can struggle with effective development…

Which means club players should always be working on this nuanced skill.

To help, this episode discusses the subject at length with WGM Ekaterina Atalik.

Katya (for short) is the European Women’s Chess Champion and the 5-time Women’s Champion of Turkey.

She’s also authored the Chessable course, The Method of Quick Development. 

In this latest episode, we cover: 

  • The “Development Score” technique that teaches you when to attack.
  • Critical defensive ideas if you fall behind in development. 
  • Why development is not just an opening principle.
  • Why playing with an isolated pawn shouldn't be feared (lessons that will be part of her upcoming course on pawn structures!)

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

More From Katya:

My Latest YouTube Video with IM Andras Toth:

Jul 26, 2022
5 Keys To Chess Improvement with FM Nate Solon

026 How do you ensure chess improvement? The old magic pill would be nice, but we know that doesn’t exist. The next best thing? Put energy and work into five key areas…

This may not guarantee improvement, but doing them will give you the best fighting chance to see results.

And, hey, given the mysterious ways of chess improvement, that’s sometimes the best we can do.

So, what are the key areas?

FM Nate Solon explained them in his 2021 article entitled, The Chess Improvement Checklist.

Impressed with the list he created…

I  thought it would be great to do a deep dive into these core areas and discuss the ins, outs, and whys of this list.

Which is what we do in this episode. Enjoy!

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Nate is a superb chess player and has written articles for Chess Life and Chessable’s blog. For more of his work:

Connect with Nate:

Jul 19, 2022
Expanding Chess to More Amateurs & Cultures w/ Naycir (Nigarhan)

025 There are several ways to #GrowTheGame. One is through helping folks play better. Another is to find ways to make chess more appealing and accessible for everyone - regardless of where you live or your skill level.

This week’s guest, Nigarhan (or Naycir, as she’s known online), has chosen to make the second option her mission.

A fellow adult improver and amateur player herself…

Nigarhan has become well-known in chess circles as a streamer with an irresistible wit and passion for the game.

She brings top-level humor and a magnetic joy to the sixty-four squares - which is much needed given how difficult this game is.

And her chess life doesn’t stop there…

Nigarhan is also the Director for International Growth at

Impressive, right? 

There, she helps translate the site’s chess content into dozens of languages. This helps the non-English speaking world more easily learn and enjoy the game.

In this episode, we discuss: 

  • How she began a full-time job in chess before learning to play.
  • The challenges posed by chess’ over-serious “gatekeepers.”
  • Overcoming her online bullying experiences as a streamer.
  • Nigarhan’s favorite openings (it’s not the London.) 

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Connect with Nigarhan:

Jul 12, 2022
Candidates Recap with WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni

024 The 2022 Candidates was a wild ride. Predictions were shattered. A dominant performance surprised many. And the looming question of “Does second place matter?” hung in the air.

For the first time, The Chess Experience is reviewing a world-class tournament!

To help discuss the highlights (and lowlights) of the event, along with some lessons that can help club players…

I interviewed WIM Fiona Steil Antoni, a professional commentator of top chess events,

Fiona has been commentating for the past eight years and now works for 

Most recently, she had the incredible opportunity to be one of the regular commentators on Hikaru Nakamura's Twitch channel while he competed in the Candidates.

In this episode, we discuss: 

  • Which players exceeded her expectations? Which fell below them?
  • Three lessons from this event that can help club players in their own tournaments.
  • Fiona’s two favorite games from the event.
  • Should FIDE change the World Championship format to entice Magnus to defend the title?
  • Will Magnus defend his title?

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Connect with Fiona:

Jul 07, 2022
Update: Next Episode Coming In 2-3 Days (& Keep Going With Your Chess!)

A brief 2-minute update about the next episode (coming later this week) which reviews the Candidates. And a little message of motivation to keep striving with your chess!

Jul 05, 2022
Top Mistakes Made By Club Players (Vol. 1) With NM Dan Heisman

023 Adult improvers, ironically, have limited time to improve. Which is why it’s so helpful to know the answer to this question: “Of all the mistakes we make, which ones are the most important to fix?” That’s what today’s episode is about…

Identifying the key mistakes made at the board by adult improvers (most of whom are club players) and finding solutions to them. 

To help, I’ve brought back for a second time National Master, Dan Heisman. 

He is the ultimate coach for adult improvers.

Dan has written over a DOZEN chess books and has a popular YouTube channel with over 200 videos - all of which are gold.

There are very few chess instructors who are as good as Dan Heisman. He gets to the heart of what club players need to improve, and articulates those problems and solutions so well.

In fact, there’s so much on this topic to dig into with Dan, that I’m calling this episode Vol. 1, as there will likely be one or two more on the same subject down the road.

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How to tell if you’re playing “hope chess.”
  • The sure way to avoid playing too fast.
  • Why do club players overemphasize strategy over tactics?
  • Is it "ok" to spend too much time on openings?

 Resources Referenced In This Episode

More Resources From Dan Heisman

Jun 28, 2022
How Aging Affects Chess Improvement with GM Jesse Kraai

022 If you’re over 30, you might wonder: “Will aging affect my chess improvement? Should I adjust my program any differently due to my age?” These are compelling but often difficult questions to answer... 

On the one hand, we want to be optimistic and aim for whatever chess goal we desire, without concern over biology getting in the way... 

And, yet, biology is real. 

Athletes understand this - both amateur and professional alike. 

Which is why it’s worth taking a look at this subject with clear eyes. 

To discuss this further, I brought the esteemed Grandmaster Jesse Krai, co-founder of Chess Dojo.

In this episode we discuss: 

  • Would he coach someone differently if they’re 25 versus 45?
  • Have adult improvers proven the upper limit of their potential yet? 
  • Is Viktor Korchnoi’s astonishing late-career run in his 70s instructive for adult improver potential?  

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Where To Find More of Jesse & Chess Dojo’s Content: 

Jun 21, 2022
Switching Openings & Defeating Rating Plateaus with Daniel Lona

021 This week’s format is different. Every few months, I’ll create a solo episode where I update you on my own chess journey: The top challenges I’m having, the best insights I’ve gained, and the latest wisdom my coaches, Andras Toth & Dan Heisman, have offered me.

I’ll try to frame it in ways that benefit you, so that you get a heap of value from listening. 

This week’s topics:

  • Why I no longer play the French Defense and key resources for determining how/when to change your openings.
  • The top 3 insights from my coaches that'll help me see some massive rating gains.
  • Why dealing with a rating plateau is a true test of character and how I intend to bust through this phase.

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Resources Referenced:
NM Dan Heisman, “Selecting An Opening Repertoire” (YouTube Video)

IM Andras Toth, “A Big Rant About How to Choose Opening Lines.” (YouTube Video)

IM Andras Toth, “Private Lesson with Chess Podcaster Daniel Lona.” (YouTube Video)

Jun 14, 2022
Tournament Advice & Building a Strong Chess Culture with WGM Irene Sukandar

020 You may have first heard of WGM Irene Sukandar in 2021, when her popularity soared after defeating Dewa Kipas, a man who infamously cheated in an online game against IM Levy Rozman.

But, in this interview, we discuss what I believe Irene should be what be most well-known for:

1) Growing the fame and respect of chess in her home country of Indonesia, and 

2) Being an inspiration to chess players throughout the world who wish to make chess a major part of their lives.

Irene is a professional player who is a 2-time Asian Woman’s Chess Champion and has been one of Indonesia’s top players for many years.

In addition to discussing her incredible rise as one of the most talented players in her country…

 We also discuss:

  • Her efforts and passion to grow the game in Indonesia (which could be a model for other countries.)
  • How to manage your nerves before an OTB tournament.
  • Hitting “reset” during a tournament if you’ve lost several games.
  • How long after the tournament should you resume studying chess?

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Irene's Online Content: 

Jun 07, 2022
Beat the Rating Slump Blues with WIM Anna-Maja Kazarian

019 With so many hours put into our chess practice. The experience of a long-term rating decline or plateau can be frustrating. Even painful. Shouldn’t we see positive rating results if it’s been X number of months or years?

Not always.

But that doesn’t mean you’re not improving. Or that the tide won’t eventually turn.

In this episode, Woman International Master and popular chess streamer, Anna-Maja Kazarian, tell us about her struggle with a long-term rating decline.

First, though, we discuss her chess origin story, her rapid ascent as a chess player, and a bit about her Twitch channel.

Then we explore the topic of dealing with and overcoming a rating plateau.

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Follow Anna-Maja Here:

May 24, 2022
How to Analyze Your Games with WGM Katerina Nemcova

018 You just finished a Rapid or Classical game. Now it’s time to pluck some hard-earned lessons from the experience. But wait: should you turn on the engine? Annotate the game with notes? Review it intensely for an hour or more? 

Or maybe just glean one key lesson and call it a day?

These issues and more are discussed in this episode with the phenomenal WGM Katerina Nemcova.

First, we learn about Katerina’s exciting journey to the top of women’s chess in the Czech Republic. And, how she later became one of America’s top female players…

In the second half of the interview, she offers helpful tips on how to best analyze our games so we’re not making typical mistakes…

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How to use the engine analysis without falling into its common traps
  • The pros & cons of analyzing your games without a coach
  • Learn from each game without wasting time over-analyzing it

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Follow Katerina Here:

May 17, 2022
How to Study Annotated Game Books w/ IM Kostya Kavutskiy

017 Today’s episode has been in high demand for 2 reasons: the guest and the topic! First, many have asked for an episode that covers how to study annotated game books. Second, after many requests to feature IM Kostya Kavutskiy...he’s here today! 

Kostya is one of the founders of the incredible Chess Dojo. It's a channel and business designed to help chess improvers (most of whom are adults.)

You could hardly ask for a better guest on this podcast than Kostya, right? :)

Haven’t heard of him yet?

Well, in addition to being an IM and running Chess Dojo…

He's co-authored the book Modernized: The Open Sicilian. And he's created the Chessable course, Endgame Studies 101.

In this episode: 

  • Why you should bother reading annotated game books.
  • An answer to the age-old question: how many of the endless variations should you go over?
  • Should you read an annotated game book more than once?
  • A rarely talked about benefit to playing classical games that can make a huge impact on your improvement.

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Where To Find More of Kostya/Chess Dojo’s Content: 

May 10, 2022
The Journey of a World-Class Chess Commentator w/ WGM Keti Tsatsalashvili

0016 Offering live commentary of world-class chess is no easy task. Your audience is often club-level players and beginners. So, you'll have to strike a balance between explaining obscure GM strategy…

While also delivering fun commentary that keeps your viewers engaged…

That’s what this week's guest, WGM Keti Tsatsalashvili, does all the time for and FIDE. 

In this episode, we dive into the story of a commentator for these incredible events.

Keti makes top-level chess easy to follow for those of us who were never pros…

Plus, she has an incredible, positive energy that makes listening to her a pleasure. 

In this episode we discuss: 

  • The unique experience of learning chess in Georgia, where the game is immensely popular and revered.
  • How Keti got unexpectedly swept into commentating for chess’ elite tournaments.
  • Balancing commentary of world-class chess events for all skill levels.
  • Keti’s top advice for all adult improvers.

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Where To Find More of Keti’s Content: 

May 03, 2022
Common Mistakes Made By Adult Improvers (& How To Fix Them) With FM Peter Giannatos

015 All chess players struggle to improve. But there are some mistakes made along the way that are unique to adults. Thankfully, there are easy solutions that’ll remove these roadblocks and get you back on the road to faster improvement…

To help identify and fix these mistakes, I interview the straight-talking FM Peter Giannatos…

Peter is the founder of the Charlotte Chess Center, a powerhouse chess club in the United States.

Plus, he’s the author of the book & course, Everyone’s First Chess Workbook, which is phenomenal for folks under 1200 who want to master their basic tactics and checkmates.

In today’s episode we discuss: 

  • Six key mistakes adult improvers make and solutions to each one.
  • How to better manage (maybe even eliminate!) a fear of losing in chess. 
  • Why poor opening play or weak strategy doesn’t matter if you’re below 1200 Rapid. 
  • How to beat the harm to your chess improvement that’s caused by information overload in the modern world.
  • The #1 way to speed up your chess progress.

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Where To Find More of Peter’s Content: 

Apr 26, 2022
Unstoppable Chess Queens & Rare Tips to Improve w/ WGM Jennifer Shahade

014 Today you get a 2-topic episode: 1) Adult chess improvement tips from WGM Jennifer Shahade; and 2) A discussion on her new book, Chess Queens, about the celebration & deeper understanding of women in chess.

There’s hardly anyone who has done more to make this game more inclusive for women and girls than Jennifer...

She’s a true inspiration in our community.

Not only is she a 2-time US Women’s Champion and Woman Grandmaster…

Jennifer has also tirelessly spent the past two decades improving chess culture for females everywhere…

In today’s episode we discuss: 

  • The little-used secret to better performance in your games without having to spend more time improving your chess.   
  • Redefining what it means to be “great at chess” (it’s not just ELO!)  
  • Jen’s 2 often-overlooked tips for adult improvers.   
  • The impact she wants her book to have on the chess world.   
  • The importance of celebrating women in chess…while also making people aware of the steep challenges they’ve faced (and continue to face.)

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

 Where To Find More of Jennifer’s Content: 

Apr 19, 2022
Mental Strength, Positivity, & Banning the Haters with FM James Canty

013 There’s a small percentage of people who can inspire us to be better at chess. One of those rare folks is FM James Canty III. Few would bet money that a guy in his late 20s could go from National Master to Grandmaster.

It’s almost never done.


Because, like us club players, he grapples with adult responsibilities that make improvement difficult: a full-time job, limited energy, and time.

But James is a powerhouse of positivity, discipline, and a tireless work ethic.

If anyone can make the leap from NM to GM as an adult, it’s James.

He’s already soared to the FM title and is now closing in on the IM title.

James will grab that coveted GM title eventually.

And, along the way, he’s out there inspiring us, teaching us how to improve our own game and stay mentally strong:

In this interview, James shares: 

  • The single biggest “non-chess” activity you should do to improve your chess.
  • His top recommendations for sustaining a positive mindset along your difficult chess journey. 
  • The demystifying truth about people who doubt your goals.
  • The surprising reason James got to be rated 2200 USCF with very little endgame study.

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Where to Find James Canty’s Content: 

Apr 12, 2022
Success Strategies For Adult Improvers With NM James Altucher

012  There are nitty-gritty ways to improve: like focusing on tactics or endgame study. But what about big picture improvement skills? Example: are there ways to speed up the learning process?

How can you sustain motivation to get better at such a hard game?

For some discussion on that, I brought National Master, James Altucher, who is also a successful author and entrepreneur…

James has written several business & personal development books…

Most relevant is Skip the Line, which teaches you how to improve at a skill faster than expected…

Plus, on his podcast, The James Altucher Show, he talks with highly successful people about the lessons & strategies that helped them achieve so much…

Including Garry Kasparov and Judit Polgar!

My interview with James covers lessons he's learned from these experiences…

And it’s a discussion of his journey as an adult improver, as James is taking a journey similar to our own (just at a higher rating level!)

Some other exciting points in this episode:

  • Why age is not holding you back from chess improvement
  • How to emotionally deal with losing in chess
  • A must-know strategy for increasing your speed of improvement
  • Why your chess journey should be about more than getting better at the game itself

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

More From James Altucher:

Apr 05, 2022
How to Fix Chess’ Gender Gap With Ingrid Gayle (CEO of Girl Boss Chess)

011 We all know chess is for everyone. Yet there are dramatically fewer women and girls in chess…

It’s an issue we ought to tackle head-on so we can make the game more welcoming to women and girls.

Thankfully, this week’s guest doesn’t just wonder how to solve the problem…

Ingrid Gayle, the owner of Girl Boss Chess (GBC), is taking action every day to make chess a better community.


GBC’s primary mission is to bring more women into the game from the ground up:

By giving young girls a safe space where they can learn chess in online classes from top women coaches. 

In addition, GBC offers private and group coaching to women.

In This Week's Episode: 

  • What caused Ingrid to dedicate her life to a company focused on bringing chess to girls & women?  
  • Why is it important that girls learn chess?
  • Ways men can make the chess community more welcoming to girls & women. 
  • Reasons to be hopeful for the future of women & girls in chess. 

Resources from This Episode:

The Girl Boss Chess Website

Coaching for Women

Coaching for Girls

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Mar 29, 2022
How to Choose an Opening With NM Bryan Tillis

010 Choosing an opening is both exciting and terribly confusing…

A new opening is a thrill in chess…

But it’s hard to know which opening is best for YOU…

  • What factors should you consider? 
  • How long do you stick with an opening before trying something new?
  • How many moves deep should you study? 

In this episode, I interview someone who I consider to be one of the best opening and all-around chess instructors out there…

National Master Bryan Tillis.

Bryan helps me answer all of the above questions and more. 

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Background on NM Bryan Tillis

As a long-time chess coach, Bryan is one of the rare instructors who can bring great clarity and simplicity to chess improvement.

Right now, Bryan is probably best-known in the community for his fantastic openings courses on Chessable, including:

  • Master the French Defense
  • The Aggressive Queen’s Gambit Declined
  • The Dark Night Rises (the Alekhine Defense)

Bryan also has a fantastic YouTube channel chock full of his classic teaching style.

Topping it off, he's the owner of Palm Beach Chess, which offers multiple chess coaches in both private and group settings.

Where to find Bryan’s Work:

All of Bryan’s Chessable courses

Bryan’s YouTube Channel

Bryan’s Book: Become a Chess Champion

Palm Beach Chess (coaching)

Mar 22, 2022
Making Chess More Entertaining - With Lula Robs

009  Does the chess community need to relax and have more fun with its game? Not long ago, "chess content" meant either a lesson to improve or an update on the latest elite tournaments. It was a very serious affair. 

Nothing wrong with that. 

But maybe chess players would like to have an experience that also includes some fun and humor?

The past 5 years are proof they do with the boom in “chess entertainment.”

And now there’s a new, up-and-comer in this scene: Lula Robs.

A fellow adult improver with an ability to create highly creative and hilarious chess content (and a Grandmaster at memes)...

Lula is rising fast in the chess world. Her Twitch and Twitter followings have seen exponential growth in the past year.

She discusses with me why chess entertainment is a positive for the community, as well as her own journey and story.

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Where You Can Find Lula: 

Twitch Channel

YouTube Channel

Twitter Account

Instagram Account



Mar 15, 2022
A Guide to Your First OTB Tournament - Daniel Lona

008 Thinking about your first OTB classical tournament?

Or perhaps you still want some guidance for your 2nd or 3rd event?

This episode will help you successfully navigate an OTB chess tournament. 

While you may still have to face down an adorable 7-year-old in battle…

It WILL reduce the number of surprises you encounter and help calm your nerves.

Inside you’ll find: 

  • What to do before, during, and after the tournament to have a smooth experience.
  • The 2 often-overlooked truths that determine which section you should compete in.  
  • 5 incredibly simple ways to be fully prepared for your next tournament.
  • A powerful cure to placing too much pressure on yourself.

>> FREE DOWNLOAD: A Guide to OTB Tournaments<< (This is the guide I created & referenced in this episode.)

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Mar 08, 2022
The Importance of Your Thought Process in Chess – NM Dan Heisman

007 Are you studying chess like crazy but not improving?

You may be missing a critical component to your potential chess improvement:

A well-developed thought process.

Sure, this topic may lack the allure of studying the Sicilian Dragon or becoming a tactical wizard who shreds your opponents in minutes.

But as my guest, NM Dan Heisman, says, “Chess is a thinking game.”

So, you must - at some point - focus on your thought process, or you’ll limit your development as a chess player. 

Dan is the ultimate coach for adult improvers and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on the show.

He’s written over a dozen chess books, has a popular YouTube channel with over 200 videos, and is well-recognized in the chess world as one of the premier coaches for amateurs.

Here, you’ll learn:

  • The most common mistakes players under 1500 USCF make in their thought process - and how to fix them. 
  • 2 questions to almost always ask when it’s your move and you’re out of book.
  • How do you choose among different candidate moves? 

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Resources Referenced In This Episode

More Resources From Dan Heisman

Mar 01, 2022
Time Crunch: What Should You Study? with NM Laura Smith

006 One of the hardest parts of being an adult improver is making the most of your limited (and energy-drained?) free time for chess.

To help me dive into this subject and reach a few solutions for this problem, I talk with National Master, Laura Smith, who brings a refreshing positive energy and enthusiasm to our discussion of chess.

Born and raised in Queens, New York, she now lives in Brooklyn. Laura is an elementary school teacher who also coaches chess at both the scholastic and adult levels.

Plus, she's the mother of three kids with her husband, Shaun. So, she is no stranger to having limited time!

Laura has also recently led the adult beginner classes for the US Chess Women program.

A few ideas you'll find in this episode: 

  • Why you should do fewer puzzles online, not more.
  • Do you really need to dive deep into endgames?
  • A unique approach to delving into strategy.

Want To Save Using the Steps Method? Go to Chess Steps and use her affiliate code, "LauraLovesChess" and get 10% off

 You can also find Laura streaming live with her husband on their Twitch Channel.

>>Join my official FREE Club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Feb 24, 2022
Chess in Film: The Executive Producer of Critical Thinking, Carla Berkowitz

005 In 2020, the chess world was gifted an extraordinary film. 

Yet not nearly enough of us saw it. 

The pandemic blunted its theater release.

So, it never received the attention it deserved.

That movie is Critical Thinking, starring John Leguizamo, who also directed the movie.

The film is about the true story of a high school chess teacher who leads the first inner-city school to win a US National Chess Championship, and uses the game to teach them life lessons.

In this episode, I chat with the film's creator and Executive Producer, Carla Berkowitz. We discuss:

  • The amazing story of how it took 20 years for the film to get made.
  • Behind-the-scenes of recreating realistic chess for a Hollywood film.
  • The profound life lessons of chess.
  • How chess serves as a refuge for those struggling in life.
  • Will there be a "sequel" to this film?

NOTE: There are no spoilers in the interview, so you can enjoy it without seeing the film. But you’ll get even more out of our discussion if you see it first. So, to that end...

Rent or Watch the Film Here:




>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Feb 22, 2022
How to Create An Effective Study Plan with IM Andras Toth

004 What makes chess improvement so difficult?

Crafting a study plan you're confident will work has to be high on the list.

In this episode, I dive into the fundamentals of what makes a great study plan for any rating level with International Master Andras Toth.

Plus, he busts some common but harmful myths.

Andras is a renowned coach to adults with a blunt, no-nonsense approach to teaching that's refreshing.

He has a highly regarded YouTube channel, plus he's the author of many great courses on Chessable.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • The real reason engine analysis is of limited help to your chess improvement (no matter what your amateur rating is.)
  • Why it's so important to work with a coach if you want to see long-term progress. 
  • The vital importance of studying annotated games.
  • A critical, overlooked component to studying tactics that's rarely considered in most people's study plans.
  • Much more!

>> Join my official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<< (PROMOTION)

Supplemental Content:
 "How to Master Calculation? What Difference Can a Coach Make?" - Andras recommends this video to further some of the ideas he talked about in this podcast episode, especially the difference of having a coach.

Andras Toth's Content:

Resources in this Episode

Feb 15, 2022
Overcoming Psychological Barriers in Chess with IM Yuriy Krykun

003 Sure, chess is a game of logic. 

But it’s also a game of emotions -  both on and off the board.

Often, the negative emotions that join us on our chess journey can get the best of us.

This episode is designed to help you reduce their harmful impact on your game and enjoyment of the experience. 

To help me, I’m joined by International Master and renowned chess coach, Yuriy Krykun.

Yuriy has had a successful 10-year competitive career in elite chess, has coached over 100 students, is a contributor to, and is a course creator on Chessable.

In this episode, you’ll learn: 

  • The best perspective to take the emotional sting out of losing games.
  • The cure for being addicted to playing, even when you know you should study more. 
  • How playing too much online chess can harm your nerves at OTB tournaments. 
  • The right attitude when facing higher-rated opponents. 
  • The secret to finding the sweet spot between overconfidence and underconfidence as a chess player.

    >> Join the official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<<
Feb 08, 2022
Top 7 Lessons Learned After My 1-Year Return To Chess

002 In 2021, I made a HUGE return to chess after decades away. 

Yep, all inspired by that little Netflix series...

But this was no ordinary return to chess. 

I spent roughly 3-4 hours a day, 7 days per week studying and playing chess. 

For an entire year.

That’s at least 1100 hours.

I’ve boiled it down to 26 minutes of my Top 7 Lessons.

If you’re hoping to boost your rating, I'm confident these lessons will help you.

>> Join the official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<<

Feb 08, 2022
A Fresh Spin on Chess Podcasts

001 The newest chess podcast has arrived!

And it’s a bit different than the others.

The goal is to make improvement at chess for adults easier and simpler.  Plus, I’ll inject some fun and humor into the experience.

This is a down-to-earth approach to chess for amateurs and enthusiasts who want to improve.

In this episode, I dive into why I created this show, what you can expect, and a little about me, your chess-obsessed host, Daniel Lona.

>> Join the official FREE club for The Chess Experience on<<

Jan 31, 2022