This week's episode of the New In Chess Podcast features an interview with International Master Thomas Willemze.

Thomas is one of New In Chess’s most prolific authors, with a varied body of work that includes opening books, puzzle books, endgame books, and strategy books. His two latest works, “What Would You Play” and “World Chess Champion Strategy for Club Players”, have received positive reviews for their high-quality analysis and educational approach, which aims to simulate over-the-board situations as much as possible.

In addition to his authorship, Thomas has had 30 years of experience as a coach and draws heavily from his coaching experience when structuring his material. Perhaps surprisingly, he has found that a game does not have to be played at grandmaster level to be educational. “What Would You Play” draws lessons from games played at all levels, including by a very young Magnus Carlsen, popular online streamer and influencer Alexandra Botez, and Thomas himself.

Interviewed by Alex Polak, Thomas talks about chess post-COVID, gives his view on what it takes to become a better player, and previews his future publications with New In Chess. 

00:00 – 01:06 Intro
01:07 – 02:06 The new educational approach taken in “What Would You Play?”
02:07 – 03:35 Deliberately choosing lower-level games for this book, why these games are sometimes more instructive
03:36 – 05:29 Where Thomas finds these low-level games
05:30 – 07:10 How Thomas balances his material to appeal to players of all strengths
07:11 – 09:14 Drawing experience from his coaching practice when writing his books
09:15 – 11:04 How the 2020s chess boom has affected Thomas’ chess life and the game as a whole
11:05 – 15:28 Why Thomas structures his books the way he does
15:29 – 16:01 AD BREAK
16:02 – 17:58 What is the #1 way for a player at any level to get better?
17:59 – 19:53 Where Thomas keeps finding inspiration to write more
19:54 – 21:26 Working on sequels to “1001 Chess Endgame Exercises for Beginners” for club and advanced players
21:27 – 22:06 How can a master-level player still improve?
22:07 – 24:15 Thomas’s favourite World Champion to cover 
24:16 – 27:36 How being an author affects Thomas’s own play?
27:37 – Outro