Perpetual Chess Podcast

EP 279- Derek Wilder (Adult Improver Series)- The key lessons that helped an 1800 break through to a USCF 2000 rating.

This week's Adult Improver interview is with Derek Wilder. Derek is a 33 year old Detroit- based Scholastic Chess Coach and Chess Podcaster (host of the Detroit Chess Killers pod). Derek is always working on his game, and he recently leveled up and surpassed the USCF rating of 2000 for the first time. This puts Derek in the 95th percentile of all USCF players. It took Derek years of hard work to break through this plateau, and it was illuminating to hear what he believed to be the keys to his success. Derek was quick to credit lots of friends and trainers with advice and tips that helped his game, and he offered lots of advice for those looking to achieve a similar breakthrough. Please read on for timestamps, resources, and people that were referenced in our interview. 

0:00- Derek recently had a breakthrough in his OTB game. How’d he get to that moment? 

Mentioned: IM John Brooks, Paul Grams, Chrysler Elementary School

08:00 Growing up in Detroit, Derek was one of the top scholastic players in his state, but he was bullied a bit for playing chess. How did he get through it? 

09:30- What influence did FM James Canty and others have on his chess game? 

12:00- What adjustments did Derek make when he came to chess in 2016 after a long hiatus? 

Mentioned: Nunn’s Chess Openings 

14:30- What kind of chess learner is Derek? 

Mentioned: NM Mike Zaloznyy, IM Atulya Shetty, Derek’s interview with NM Kofi Tatum 

18:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Aimchess’ algorithm reviews your games and gives you actionable advice of how to improve your game. Check it out for free and if you choose to subscribe you can use the code Perpetual30 to save 30%. 

19:00- In his recent gains, did Derek focus more on strengthening his strengths or on shoring up his weaknesses? 

Mentioned: FM Josh Posthuma, NM Gopal Menon, My System, IM Mark Dvoretsky’s books, IM Jeremy Silman, Charisse Woods

26:00- Patreon mailbag question: “How much did studying theoretical endgames help Derek’s game?” 

Mentioned: Kameron Tolliver 

30:00- -Patreon mailbag question: “Did Derek’s training method change leading up to his recent breakthrough?”

39:30- Perpetual Chess is brought to you by Check out their latest offerings here: New Chess Courses Online - For All Levels -

40:30- How big was the goal of reaching the USCF expert level for Derek? Do his students follow his chess progress? 

43:00- How does Derek approach his openings? 

Mentioned: IM Orlando Husbands, IM Richard Leyva Proenza

48:00- How does Derek think about budgeting for chess tournaments? 

49:30- Welcome the the Chess dot bomb! On this month’s sponsored segment we discuss the Global Chess Championship and’s new verification feature. If you get verified on you are eligible to compete in the $1,000,000 Global Chess Championship for free. If you decide to get verified ($15 for initial verification / $10 per year thereafter), please use this link to help support Perpetual Chess. verification: 

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52:30- What does Derek think he needs to do to become a USCF master? 

Mentioned: Max Euwe, Tigran Petrosian 

55:30- When did Derek start working with coaches? How much do they help him? 

58:00- Why is it important to play against tougher competition?

Mentioned: FM Ylon Schwartz 

1:00:00- Thanks to Derek for joining the pod! 

You can check out his podcast, Detroit Chess Killers, here:

Detroit Chess Killers

Follow Derek on Twitter here:

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