Pretty Much Pop #78: Chess Is Having a Moment w/ J.J. Lang

The high level of interest in The Queen’s Gambit has brought this most popular game back to the forefront of pop culture. Chess expert/teacher J.J. (who’s also a grad student in philosophy) joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to consider chess culture, what gives this game its edge on other contenders (why not Terra Mystica?), player personality characteristics, and the effect of chess media. We consider gender, genius, and other issues in Gambit, plus Pawn SacrificeSearching for Bobby FisherThe Luzhin Defense, and The Coldest Game.

A few articles and lists:

J.J. fails to consult the ceiling for his next move.

Watch J.J. on stream on Twitch. Other interviews he’s done: Perpetual ChessFriends and EnemiesAakaash

This episode includes bonus discussion (covering more chess films, among other things) you can access by supporting the podcast at

This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by

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