EP.215 - Dr. Vishnu Sreekumar (Adult Improver Series)
We are back with another Adult Improver Edition of Perpetual Chess. My guest, Vishnu Sreekumar, is a 35 year-old cognitive scientist and dad, who has been dedicating many hours to studying and playing chess since he rediscovered his love for the game in 2018. There have been plenty of obstacles along the way, but Vishnu has had great success, as his USCF rating has risen from 1675 to 1954 in the 1.5 years preceding the onset of Covid’s changes to all of our lives. During this period he has continued to work on his chess, although unfortunately work responsibilities and a pending move back to his native India may soon slow down his chess schedule. Vishnu is also a classically-trained pianist. This background gives him even more perspective on the field of adult learning. So between the chess talk and the neuroscience talk, there is a lot to learn from Vishnu. Please read on for many more details and timestamps.
0:00- Vishnu shares a bit about his background and his beginnings in chess, as well as his initial tentative return to tournament play in 2018. .
Mentioned: GM Nihail Sarin, Meet the Dojo with GM Jesse Kraai- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kAGwWsRsKU&t=1381s
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
How to Reassess Your Chess by IM Jeremy Silman, Pawn Structure Chess by GM Andy Soltis
12:30- Perpetual Chess is proud to be brought to you in part by Chessable.com. To check out their latest offerings, you can go here:
13:00- At the peak of his chess obsession, Vishnu was spending 3+ hours a day on chess while maintaining work and family responsibilities as well. In this segment, Vishnu shares some of the resources he studied, but he also reflects on that period of obsession, and the adjustments he has since made to make sure that chess doesn’t supplant his family and work responsibilities.
Mentioned: Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies, Grandmaster Chess- Positional Play, Test Your Chess IQ. Understanding Chess Move by Move, Tal Botvinnik 1960 , GM Jesse Kraai, Episode 44 with GM Jesse Kraai, Episode 175 with GM Jesse Kraai
21:00- Vishnu answers a question from the Perpetual Chess Patreon mailbag. “Is it better to study tactics from a book or from an online tactics trainer?”
Mentioned: The Test of Time, Winning with the King’s Indian by Eduard Gufeld
26:00- Patreon question: “What are Vishnu’s biggest regrets in how he has studied chess?”
Mentioned: GM R.B. Ramesh
33:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by AImchess.com which collates data from your online games and gives you actionable advice and lessons. Check out the site, and if you subscribe use the Promo code “Chess30” to get a 30% discount.
35:00- Vishnu answers a few questions from Patreon supporters relating to the cognitive science of chess.
Mentioned: Practical Chess Exercises, Lev Alburt Pocket Chess Training Books, Woodpecker Method, Sherlock’s Method, Universal Chess Training, IM Elizabeth Paehtz, Van Perlo’s Endgame Tactics
41:00- Patreon question: “As a cognitive scientist, why does Vishnu think it’s so hard for adults to improve at chess?”
Mentioned: IM Greg Shahade, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Peter Svidler, GM Jan Gustafsson, IM Kostya Kavutskiiy, GM Jesse Kraai, GM Avetik Grigoryan
57:30- Another Patreon question- “Is there a correlation between chess and long term brain health?”
1:00:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessmood.com!
Check out their blog here:
and check out their YouTube, featuring Lessons with a Grandmaster here:
1:01:00- Does Vishnu have advice for how to balance a desire to improve at chess with work and family responsibilities?
1:08:00- We discuss Vishnu’s background in music, as well as his daughter’s burgeoning interest in music. He also answers a Patreon mailbag question relating to whether he thinks that chess talent and music talent are transferable?
Mentioned: The Steps Method
1:16:00- With Vishnu moving to India and opening a lab, what role will chess take in his life?
Thanks to Vishnu for sharing his chess story! You can keep up with him via Twitter
Vishnu Sreekumar | Facebook
See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.