Crushing Kings with the Kingscrusher of

Published Feb 13, 2024

Hi! Can you tell us who you are and about your game?

Tryfon: Good day everyone, I’m Tryfon Gavriel, also known as Kingscrusher within the chess world, and with me is my brother, Nick Gavriel. I’m the founder of and the YouTube channel kingscrusher, as well as the instructor of my own chess coaching course at Udemy. I’m a professional chess player and a FIDE Chess Candidate Master with a rating that exceeds 2200. My whole career revolves around analyzing, teaching and playing chess at a world-class level. 

Me and Nick are currently in North London, Hertfordshire, and we’re excited to talk to all of you today!

Nick: Hello everyone! I’m Nick, and I helped Tryfon create and continue to assist him with other tasks involved in maintaining the website. is a place where you can enjoy playing chess at your own pace with people around the world, and the site itself is filled with features that allow you to interact with a very friendly community and learn to be a better chess player overall.

How did you start programming?

Tryfon: Back when we had a BBC Micro, it kinda started off our education in computing. The Micro had an Assembly in it, and it was quite easy to learn how to program in it. BBC was sponsoring their devices back then and they wanted to make it into a national thing, so they provided some to schools for educational purposes and we’re lucky to have gotten one and it just went on from there.

Nick: Yeah, that BBC stuff was really something. In fact, is still in classic ASP and didn’t go over to .net, so that’s why to us, classic ASP resembles BBC Basic a bit. It’s not a high-tech language like Rust or APL, but it’s a good starting point to learn from back in the day.

Tryfon: Still is, in my opinion! You had to learn how to manage your resources because memory ran out fast when you tried to write a structured program back then. Even programming in itself has shifted a lot as well, as during our times, you had to squeeze every ounce of resource from the machine, whereas today is more focused on readability and those kinds of things.

Nick: The way things are going now, the new era of programming will be prompt-based I think. Tryfon recently showed me that he did some optimization on some SQL stuff with ChatGPT and we were both amazed at how much programming has evolved.

What started

Tryfon: Well, you might be wondering how a bloke like me ended up becoming a professional chess player and creating the website. It’s quite a journey, really. At that point in my life, computing was a hobby, and I took up Computing in Business as a course at Brunel University, majoring in Computer Science. But that university degree didn’t really teach classic programming—it was more of functional programming and it had a lot of interesting concepts. So all in all, it didn’t really significantly help me with creating my site. Ironically, it was my background with BBC Basic with BBC machines that helped me create

Career-wise, I did start off with an IT consultancy doing accountancy software. But it just made me realize that I didn’t really want to do accountancy software. That part of my career also taught me about the “normal” company structure—where people who came from the same uni together will group up and start treating other people like slaves. So I was recruited along with this other person, and during my whole time there, it was like a competition to see which one of us would be gotten rid of!

Of course, I got kicked out, and then I went off and worked with several more IT companies that were related to business and accounting… fund processing and all that stuff. The latest one I worked for ended up being taken over, so I had the opportunity to leave with some money behind me.

Nick: Yeah, when he left the last one, he was pandering about whether he should continue in the IT and finance industry, and that’s when I suggested he create a correspondence site. And in that correspondence site, he could store a chess game position in a database.

Tryfon: From that idea, I knew that it would be a great fit for correspondence-style chess. And I had a lot of SQL and Oracle skills that I learned from Brunel, seminars and hands-on experience from working on trade software. Nick then persuaded me to create a chess server because we could store all the positions made in the games, and that’s basically how—it’s not real-time, but asynchronous and in a correspondence style.

Can you tell us more about the website and your other projects?

Tryfon: Right on. The website went up around the 2000s, and I was already very enthusiastic about chess at that point. I saw other sites back then and they were a bit techy-focused, but I preferred the playing aspect of a chess site more than the technicalities. Things like annotated games, puzzles and things like that, most sites didn’t have them. Playing chess is also a social activity, so I wanted to let people chat about games and have somewhere they can play and talk to fellow chess players.

That bit also frustrated me, because even though people were playing a lot, they weren’t chatting about games. It just didn’t feel right to me that the people didn’t get to enjoy having discussions about games and sharing analyses. That’s why I ended up creating the YouTube Channel kingscrusher, so I could get discussions going as well as promote on the side.

In chessworld, I moved away from the idea of instant gratification that’s provided by real-time matches. In my correspondence-style site, the playing part is there, but its slower pace gives way to more research and learning, that’s why there’s an option to set a time limit of between 1 to 15 days. It used to be 20 days max, but players were complaining that there were a lot of people who would really push the time limit and make a move at the very last minute. There was also an instance where during a tournament on the site, there was this one specific player who kept doing just that, and it annoyed everyone, so I reduced it. But technically, games can even last for years on end on chessworld, so it really depends on the preferences of the players involved. As for the most common time limit, I think 5 days at a time is the most popular right now.

Regarding the channel, I also discovered along the line that I could do live commentary, which is to me, effortless content because I get to talk about chess all day to fans, and people seem to like that as well. Back in the day, I was ranked around the top ten of YouTube chess channels, but nowadays it’s fiercely competitive, so I dropped, and those days were long ago.

Then at some point, I noticed that some people were starting to create courses when we were looking at our IT videos, and I thought that maybe I too should start a chess course in Udemy? So for the last three years, I’ve actually been creating some chess courses at Udemy, which has been actually better and more satisfying than YouTube in many ways. YouTube of today is more optimized for clickbait and grabbing attention, and I’m not really like that.

Because when I annotate a game, I like to get all the fine little nerdy details. And in the competitive scene, all those little details are important in beating strong opponents. That’s why I prefer teaching at Udemy to trying to fight it out on my YouTube channel, because when I teach and analyze, I can be the nerd I want to be and not force myself to become the entertainer.

Aside from being better for my mental health, Udemy also has this little bonus that you can link back to a site, and of course, I put in there. It’s a nice little promotion on the side as well!

What problems did you run into with the website?

Tryfon: One of the major issues we hit with the site in its early days was with the providers. One of the providers had kicked me off because there was too much activity, and the other one was going to take us off the network and charge a ludicrous amount. So we had to escape, and with Nick’s help, we managed to export the key databases and get them onto Microsoft’s cloud. That worked out much cheaper than what the provider was proposing, and I’m glad I had Nick with me there.

Nick: There was also the issue of scaling up and having dedicated machines significantly reduced the costs involved with the whole thing. Because with a dedicated machine, you don’t get the huge spikes and get a more even flow.

Tryfon: Also, don’t pay per second with your provider! That’s one of the mistakes I made early on. There were also parts of the site that I couldn’t have improved on my own, and I thank a lot of my fellow programmers who helped me upgrade, especially this genius German programmer who helped with conditional moves. He really contributed a lot, especially for the interactive JavaScript bits of the site, as sometimes those can be super tricky. There are times that I’m able to do the JavaScript myself, but the really advanced JavaScript parts like the analysis board… I’m really thankful for everyone there.

Nick: Yeah, I saw his code and it’s phenomenal, and I really think he’s a superb programmer. This is especially impressive considering at the time, developer tools weren’t as advanced as they are now.

What do you think made popular among players?

Tryfon: It’s the slower pace. Not just because people are trying to be perfectionists during their chess games, but some people don’t have the luxury of time to continuously play. Aside from that, people could play at their worst on chessworld because it isn’t real-time and there are fewer factors to deal with on their side. They can also strategize with time and look up openings and counters while playing, so they both learn and play at their own comfort and choices.

But that also opens another problematic can of worms—engine abusers. While I don’t condone cheating, it can be very controversial to add a few things that will affect the normal experience they expect while playing. A good example of this is the official ICCF correspondence chess site, which allows engine usage, but they’re suffering from it because it ends up mostly in draws due to how powerful computer engine software is nowadays. This is also the reason why I don’t create tournaments with prize pools because it’ll just incentivize cheating.

How many personal games do you currently have ongoing on the site?

Tryfon: I currently have around the hundreds. I like to invite people to make sure they’re finding the advantages of chessworld. And I don’t mind losing to people! I play quickly and I’m not going to be a perfectionist with every single game if I’m to face hundreds of different people.

Nick: Eh? You do take it! It does affect you when you lose games!

Tryfon: What? No! I mean, not on chessworld, of course not. But on official matches and on promotional, yes, of course, that’s a different story. If I lose blitz games, I’m okay, but in a GM match? That’s different.

Do you ever get exhausted playing and analyzing chess continuously?

Tryfon: I do get burnt out, yes, especially with marathon games. I remember making that marathon video that I uploaded to YouTube recently that was about 11 hours… and I wasn’t too keen on playing for the next few nights, but I did take it easier after that. So for example, I have 265 games where it’s my turn, I don’t clear it all out in one go, but rather, I play just 30 to 40, or even 50 max then I rest, because it’s important not to be burnt out.

You know what really burnt me out? Working as an IT consultant after I graduated, as well as working with that accountancy company I used to go to.

Why did you pick the alias “Kingscrusher”?

Tryfon: It’s simple, really. You can be the pawncrusher, knightcrusher, rookcrusher and all that, and you’d definitely win lots of battles, but not the entire war. I took the name because of prioritization. Other players would prefer whittling down their opponent through attrition and numerical advantage, but I prefer to be direct. Why beat around the bush and aim specifically at officers when you can bet it all on taking out the core of the enemy? Crush the king, crush the war, and win. So yes, I’m the Kingscrusher.

What advice can you give to beginners who want to learn chess?

Tryfon: I was recently asked in what order should my Udemy courses be taken from a beginner’s standpoint, and the simplest answer I can give is whatever turns up most frequently in every single game you play. In my opinion, chess tactics would be the most important on the list, as it turns up in basically every game you play. I’ve also got these core skill courses I’d recommend next, which are chess visualization, calculation and evaluation. These are the groundwork skills you’ll need to hone to play and compete at a higher level, and these skills are always in effect even if you don’t know any openings or specific moves.

A great example of this would be the renowned Sultan Khan. He didn’t know many openings, but he still won the British Championship multiple times because he was really good at positioning and tactics.

How do you make income with your projects?

Tryfon: I’m making extra revenue from creating courses at Udemy right now, and they’re all competitively priced compared to other sites. There’s also a small premium member subscription system in But before that, the income from YouTube was quite good for a while, back when I was in the top ranks of chess YouTubers. As for ads, I didn’t want it, nor did I need to. I don’t think you’d get much ad income nowadays anyway. Back then, maybe, it would have paid better ad income, but really, all I think about ads is it’s just distress.

Nick: And besides, it’s not just all about the money, isn’t it? It’s because of the joy of it, and if you can pay the bills without any problems, that’s plenty. If you can get it to be a great experience for yourself and everyone else without it being full of ads and whatever noise while keeping yourself alright, what more would you want?

Can you give us a statistical estimate of how many users opt to avail premium privileges on

Tryfon: I really don’t do that kind of statistical analysis on chessworld. Because for me, as long as I get a few full members on the site, I’m completely okay with that. Perhaps if I was more business-oriented, I would’ve made more monetization schemes within the website, but I’m okay with it as it is, so I don’t bother. Besides, I prefer looking at the charts on Udemy to see how much I’d make on courses and that helps me with financial reassurance.

It’s really like fishing really. Sometimes I’d get a lot of full members applying, sometimes there’s none. But there are times when there are external factors that affect traffic on the site. The most recent ones that come to mind are the worldwide pandemic and the Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit. There was a lot of activity on the site and there were quite a lot of full members every day, and it even got to the point that the servers were getting overloaded.

I think even our provider was also in trouble back in the pandemic since everybody was going online and all.

How did developing improve your chess skills?

Nick: Oh, that’s a good question!

Tryfon: yeah, good one. To me, opponents are like these scripts and codes I do. I have to make good tight defenses like in a chess game during development to try and make prophylaxis prevention measures to make sure they can’t do any damage. It takes a lot of security, front end, back end and make sure it’s all bulletproof. So I think there’s an element of defensive programming I can see that is parallel to defensively playing chess.

Nick: To be fair, he does transform every situation into a chess paradigm. Even this conversation we’re having right now, I guarantee you he’s translating it to chess, processing it, then translating it back into a normal sort of thing to be able to talk to us.

Tryfon: Oh you! Well, I love reading Garry Kasparov, and he has this book called “How Chess Imitates Life”. Based on the principles of chess, specifically the give-and-take part, there’s always a trade-off happening in every situation. In my case, paying lots of to do some complicated JavaScript saved a lot of time, but I did lose a bit of material. So yeah, like chess, in life and development, there’s always some trade-off going on and it’s up to you how to manage and take it.

What makes you come back to chess every time and makes you want more?

Tryfon: I just love playing it and analyzing everything to become a better player. Every win, loss or draw, I research it all and enjoy doing it all. When I play on chessworld, I can play a very nice move I researched while playing blitz games. So it’s more on the scientific side for me than egotistical, really. But don’t get me wrong, competitiveness runs parallel with ego so pride in winning also comes into play. Chess can be a cruel game, and there are times that the hurt of losing outweighs the fun of winning.

There was even a time that I stopped playing during my younger years when I lost badly in a tournament. I was crying and I actually gave up for a while. Then I came back to it and then I wound up winning the Lloyds Bank Sponsored National Under 18 Tournament in 1989. I even beat a few much higher-rated players and it was really cool!

What advice can you give to new developers?

Tryfon: I’m confident that I can give several pointers to those who want to try out development as a career:

1. Avoid getting burnt out

As I told you all earlier, I got really burnt out with the corporate jobs I undertook. While getting income is important, you also must weigh in if the mental and physical stress is worth it all. Developing is a hard thing to do especially if what you’re making isn’t what you’re into, so avoid getting burnt out by doing other things that will improve your state of mind.

2. Don’t be afraid to request help from more skilled people

Some developers might not like the idea of asking someone who you think is better than you, but I don’t share that sentiment. I know my limits and capabilities, and that’s why when I enlisted the help of more skilled developers, especially the genius German developer who helped us with the JavaScript portions of

3. Analyze things in a scientific way

This applies not just to programming, but to chess, your everyday life and everything in general. There’s always a logical explanation as to why your code won’t work, or why a certain tactic or process will end with poor results, so don’t be discouraged and take a step back and analyze it again.

Did you play any interesting games recently?

Tryfon: Chess. And chess after that, and will always be chess. How about you Nick?

Nick: Chess too! But I had an interesting experience when I was in my late teens when I started playing video games, and I got obsessed. I looked down for a moment and played on a BBC Micro, and when I looked up, two years had gone by! So… yeah, I tend to steer away from video games because I get seriously addicted to them.

Tryfon: Oh, I remember that! I also remember we used to play Planetoid Defender and a lot of slot races on the Atari 100. We played a lot of cartridges, and we had a lot of sibling fights over these computer systems.

What’s your plan for the future?

Tryfon: With how coding and programming are right now, I’m thinking of adding stuff to the website using ChatGPT. A chess quiz is definitely high on the list because I like quizzes on TV, so why not put it in there? Aside from that, I’m going to continue improving my courses on Udemy and create more edutainment content on YouTube, but my main focus would be on Udemy and chessworld, as YouTube stresses me out often.

Where can we learn more about you and your work?

Tryfon: If you’re looking to learn more about chess and improve your abilities, check out I’ve got coupon codes there for those interested too! And if you want to play correspondence-style chess where you can take your time and learn, go to You can also message me there and even request a match with me as well!

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1151 Walker Rd #310, Dover DE 19904

© 2023-2024 Hey Good Game, Inc.

1151 Walker Rd #310, Dover DE 19904

© 2023-2024 Hey Good Game, Inc.