This week's episode of the New In Chess Podcast features an interview with Dutch grandmaster Sergey Tiviakov.

A talented player in his youth, Sergey studied under former World Champion Vasily Smyslov along the likes of Vladimir Kramnik. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he won the U-18 world title and later emigrated to the Netherlands, where he would win multiple national championships as well as a European Championship in 2008. Sergey's dominance in tournament play culminated in a baffling 110-game unbeaten streak, a feat surpassed by only some of the greatest players of all time.

Sergey's book, “Rock Solid Chess”, has received unanimous praise from critics, including the very best players in the world, for its novel insights. Sergey describes his chapter on opposite-coloured bishops as a personal favourite. Additionally, the book takes a different approach to engine analysis: where some annotators would be happy to call a -0.05 evaluation a dead draw, “Rock Solid Chess” tries to look beyond the horizon of the silicon brain to find hidden winning chances in “drawn” positions.

Together with Remmelt Otten, Sergey discusses his writings, his playing career, and his life in The Netherlands.

00:00 – Intro
00:22 – Being happy to release his book, his love of chess literature
01:49 – All top players praising Sergey's book and wanting a copy
03:10 – His 100+ game unbeaten streak
05:42 – His Dutch nationality, background in Russia
06:55 – Being stronger than Kramnik in the beginning, Kramnik becoming Kasparov's protégé
08:15 – Studying Smyslov's chess school
09:22 – Planning to study medicine, achieving success in the post-Soviet era
12:41 - The Soviet school of chess
14:00 – Limited availability of chess materials in the Soviet Union
15:44 - Why Sergey decided to move to The Netherlands
17:52 – His book Rock Solid Chess and the importance of studying pawn structures
21:22 – Ad break
22:00 – Sergey's philosophy on castling
23:35 – Sometimes playing risky lines deliberately
25:50 – Impressing strong players with his book's insights on opposite-coloured bishop positions, it being his favourite chapter
27:42 – Engine misevaluations
28:54 – Working on Volume 3 of his book series
31:23 – Having played chess tournaments in 95 countries
33:55 – A lot of strong players becoming good chess coaches