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 PerpetualChessPod.com) 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 Ruiz, 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 Chess.com
Mentioned: ChessTempo, Chess.com 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, chess.com 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.
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