EP 289- Tony Ballard- A Convicted Felon on How Chess has Changed His Life

This week on Perpetual Chess, Tony Ballard, who is serving a 294-month prison sentence for attempted murder, tells the remarkable story of how chess has changed his life. Tony joined me via phone from a minimum security rehabilitation facility in Wichita, Kansas, where he currently lives. As you will hear Tony discuss, he had a difficult upbringing, and made some very regrettable choices in his early years, but while in prison, a love for chess took hold, and Tony credits the game as a transformative tool in his life. Tony is now working with a non-profit called The Gift of Chess. Their goal is to promote chess as a learning tool both within the prison system, and outside of it. Tony is taking online university classes and hopes to work in youth outreach when he is fully released from prison in 2025. This is a truly inspiring story of the many ways that chess can impact one’s life! Please read on for timestamps and links referenced.  0:00- We discuss Tony’s background, especially as it relates to chess.  3:00- Tony discusses his difficult early childhood, and the events that led to his receiving a 294 month prison sentence. Mentioned: Tony’s Zoom lecture for the non-profit organization, The Gift of Chess, Linktree for more info about The Gift of Chess non-profit, Russell Makofsky of the Impact Coaching Network  14:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable.com. You can find IM Andras Toth’s new course, IM Irina Bulmaga’s, as well as so many others, here: https://www.chessable.com/courses/ 16:00- Tony describes his passion for chess, which blossomed once Tony was in prison.  23:00- Patreon mailbag question: “Is Tony able to play chess online within his minimum security facility?”  27:00- How is chess perceived in prison? What would it take to grow chess in prisons?  35:00- What are Tony’s favorite openings? What’s his chess style?  38:00- What chess books did Tony read? Mentioned: Chess by Laszlo Polgar  40:00- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Aimchess.com. Aimchess’ algorithm reviews your games and gives you actionable advice on 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%. Or use this link for the same discount: https://aimchess.com/try?ref=benjohnson12 41:00- Tony discusses why he has been working on his endgames.  https://linktr.ee/thegiftofchess 44:00- What are Tony’s chess plans, and what plans does he have for his life after his full release from prison? His release could happen by 2025?  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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