Chess & Competitive Programming talk with Gaurav Sen, fellow programming Youtuber

Published by Jan Heaney on

Chess & Competitive Programming talk with Gaurav Sen, fellow programming Youtuber

Good morning everybody, As you might know, I’m not the only programming channel on YouTube and I’m not the first one Yeah, I know you’re surprised and today’s with me, Gaurav. Gaurav, can you say a little bit about your channel? Hi, everyone! I’m Gaurav Sen, I talk about system design and algorithms on my channel. Kamil : Don’t listen to him – – his channel is just about chess But today we’re playing chess and talking about competitive programming.Gaurav: Errichto, I have this question a lot of people ask me Should I start by learning all the algorithms first that I can? Learning the basic algorithms – Intermediate algorithms and then starting competitive programming or should I just go ahead and try the very first problem which comes in the contest? I guess you can mix because doing just one thing will make you a bit bored eventually You don’t want to burn out. In a lot of platforms you can sort by, maybe not by difficulty but by the number of accepted submissions or just roughly sorting by difficulty And then this is how you can start, For example go to codeforces or SPOJ or whatever platform there is, (maybe) hackerrank, sort problems by the number of people that solved it and you’re good to go! There will be some problem like, given two numbers print their sum, which only can give you some technical difficulties like how to read the input? From there, you will solve harder and harder problems Like, maybe binary search is a good start. One book that is a free PDF online that I recommend for very beginners is Competitive Programmer’s Handbook, it’s really from scratch. It doesn’t assume that you even know what those problems are about and it will teach you basics at the very beginning. In general, If a person is starting off, Is there any site you would recommend? I’m not too familiar with those good sites for beginners because I started on Polish websites, It was many years ago and Some of those websites don’t even work anymore. They are down. I guess you can stick around in codeforces… Atcoder Beginner Contests (ABC) are fine. Maybe some other platforms have contests that are very easy too.Gaurav: Do you think it’s that important? Do you think it’s very important how a person starts, Is making the base a very important deal when it comes to compare programming? I don’t think that by choosing wrong platform you will learn incorrect things that later That will weigh you down It’s all fine. It’s about, maybe choosing something that will make you more efficient, if you choose a website and it turns out that well I don’t recommend websites that don’t have editorials, at all, Descriptions of what a solution to a problem is because then if you can’t solve that problem What do you do? You can bug people in the internet about the solution, That’s one possibility, that is quite annoying for them because beginners should instead solve problems that have very well written editorials, solutions written down. Those problems are made so they could practice, why do you want to take something that doesn’t have a solution? Yeah, that’s an interesting take on the things. And then you can learn new stuff, actually you can learn something new. Well, if you take a problem without the solution written down You can only solve it if you’re capable to solve it, You will not learn a new technique. But other than that Everything is fine.Maybe one platform would be 10% more efficient for you than the other but it’s hard to say so just If you like User experience on some website because it’s more colorful or it has leaderboard of the number of problem solved. That’s enough of a reason to use it. What do you think about competitive programming as a profession? So there was a recent survey that I’d asked people to take and also the International Labor Organization had partnered with one of these companies Soundrocket. They were really interested in knowing that, Can a person do competitive programming full time through prize money, through Sponsorships etc. I know Gennady is capable of doing that but he seems to be the only person who’s capable of doing that. If you come to just competitive programming, it’s very hard to live from prizes because I think if you take the sum of all the prizes out there yearly, you will not get that big amount plus some of them are only for university students and indeed, for example Gennady can live just from, maybe, winning Google Code Jam every year. It’s I think, $15,000 but There is also opportunity cost. We are talking about good programmers that are able to get to, say, Google or Just almost every startup or a big company and earn at least several thousand dollars a month. $15,000 does not seem that big a prize, to be honest. That’s right, it’s it’s a nice prize for a university student that doesn’t have a job yet but not for a full-time engineer. I think there are there is a big market around coding interviews, that there is money there and I also do some coaching related to that but I I wouldn’t want to just stick to competitive programming and support my family just from that forever, because it’s very hard and I’m not just now talking about competing and relying on prizes and that’s by the way very dangerous in the future because you’re assuming that you will still be one of the best But you know that there will be new people, That are younger and more brilliant than you. That’s very risky, Gaurav: The more the opportunity cost, don’t you think the risk is lesser? Because if Let’s take Gennady and he Let’s say there’s somebody who’s more brilliant or is basically more successful in competitive programming contests than him, a new guy comes in Gennady can always get a software engineering job, It’s not like the person is going to starve or something. In the worst case. There is still some opportunity cost that is hard to measure. By the way, we just got a draw and I remember it was 10 seconds before that, you said that you don’t want to get a draw Because, you often get that. Personally, I do feel like my mind gets logged on to the result, if I think about it too much. That’s very important, If you really care about the competition, For example recently I did a Google kickstart and I knew that those problems are relatively easy and people in the top will solve things in around 20 minutes. Then it’s a waste of time to just look at the leaderboard and say Even think, In what order I should solve problems or see, Am I right now winning, Am I top five? It would be waste of time and actually, I won that competition by two seconds and even if once I had looked at the leaderboard, I would’ve lost. That’s a different thing because here we’re not talking in chess about losing one second, We’re talking about the psychological aspect I guess. Yeah It’s quite similar because here’s a person who’s instead of their mind completely focusing on the problem at hand, is thinking about something else, Which is the result and the result is something that you are moving towards automatically, like even when, in your Google KickStart contest, you’re moving towards the result It’s not like if you do something then it’s going to change. I mean the time is going to move as slowly as it will. That’s a waste of time, focus, brain. Has it ever happened to you that you see a problem on a competitive programming contest and you solve it in a way that the tester, the setter didn’t think about and then you yeah, that’s that’s something quite interesting in life because when you have some sort of an idea and you say that this is going to be solved this way and somebody comes up with a much simpler idea, which is going to solve that problem It happens all the time, at least at work. Kamil: Maybe if you look at some Kickstarter projects We maybe would see some of that there- For sure there you can see some ideas that seem good, like for example A Camp on the river, you know You can have a tent on the river that is in some way connected to the land with a string Well, this is not about not seeing better solution But, what maybe creators didn’t predict and didn’t think about too much is that, If something breaks, if something bad happens then you’re trapped in Maybe not in a coffin but in in some material in water and you have very low chance of survival So yeah, it’s possible not to predict something But is that really similar to competitive programming? I wouldn’t say so. Okay, thank you all for watching, If you want to hear a bit more of us talking and playing games and of course me winning all the games (question mark?), then head out to gaurav’s channel for his part of the video. See you all. Bye, Bye. 🙂


tony tank · December 14, 2019 at 4:03 pm


Rafay · December 14, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Wow didn't know you played chess too! Amazing, would you be down to play your subscribers sometime too? 😀

Alex Larionov · December 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm

I'd suggest for beginners, it's quite comprehensive review of absolute most of techniques and algorithms for competitive programming.

Reagan Yuan · December 14, 2019 at 4:09 pm

excellent video 🙂

rohith kattamuri · December 14, 2019 at 4:11 pm

Hey man! Drop me a request on Lichess when u r in the mood for some good chess… my handle: imobssessedwithchess

sourabh khandelwal · December 14, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Two of my favourite YouTubers in the same frame. WoW!

ultrahalf · December 14, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Thanks for pdf recommendation

akash dubey · December 14, 2019 at 4:31 pm


Brandon Lim-it · December 14, 2019 at 4:36 pm

The 2nd doppelganger of Ted Mosby!

JAVAAID - Coding Interview Preparation · December 14, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Good to see your fast improvement brother on, you got more than 100+ in his first game, it seems..:)

Aaron Hawkins · December 14, 2019 at 5:01 pm

This is crazy…I watch your channel all the time, and when I'm not programming, I'm playing chess or golf. Very interesting.

ashfaque mamdu · December 14, 2019 at 5:14 pm

Where is Errichto presently working ?

reddy nishanth · December 14, 2019 at 5:16 pm

When can we expect your next educational video? BTW Congrats on 50k.

1704102 Tahsin Ahmed · December 14, 2019 at 5:17 pm

wow that was in 4k! didnt expect that haha

GuitarEssence · December 14, 2019 at 5:40 pm

Both your videos were very funny and you have got synergy!

Kunal Chand · December 14, 2019 at 6:18 pm

By the title, I thought you guys build some sort of chess related project.
Cool Tips anyway!!

Marsel Atniashev · December 14, 2019 at 6:43 pm

How do I get the interview coaching?

Alex Sav · December 14, 2019 at 6:44 pm

Do you both talk in English? It's sounds "websarvar" like.

Nizam Md · December 14, 2019 at 6:55 pm

Congratulations on winning kickstart errichto! I'd have stalked the leaderboard atleast 15-20 times during the contest

takamura mamoru · December 14, 2019 at 7:11 pm

cool idea bro !

Sumanto Pal · December 14, 2019 at 7:30 pm

you should start proper online courses like those algoexperts and coursera

Gunesh Shanbhag · December 14, 2019 at 8:01 pm

competive programming book link

RAJU PUTTA · December 14, 2019 at 9:28 pm


Liocat tech tips · December 15, 2019 at 2:17 am

hi i am getting started with competitive programming from January and i wanted to know which language should i choose python, c# and javascript in terms of getting a good job.

and yes you are my inspiration thanks

SAHANA S SHENOY · December 15, 2019 at 11:45 am

when Should I start my CP ? after knowing all DS and algo or can I learn by solving problems?

What prerequisites one should have? and what about Math?need to be strong in mathematics?

Satvik GS · December 15, 2019 at 11:54 am

Bro could you plz tell me the website of chess where you play?

Ashraful Fuad · December 15, 2019 at 1:43 pm

thank you for good advice and allocate your important time for us

Stale Noobs · December 15, 2019 at 3:30 pm

Quick question

You have the skills to be hired in which ever company you want or build something of your own?Why still competitive programming?

Tahmid alpha12 · December 15, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Hello brother, do you as a programmer touch type and does touch typing help?? I agree the downsides of not touch typing but what is your opinion?

lazer gorrillas · December 15, 2019 at 3:57 pm

I really like this video! Good job

Harendra Singh · December 15, 2019 at 7:02 pm

1:44 I like how Errichto is so calm playing chess and talking ! hahaha !

Harendra Singh · December 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm

9:12 yeah ! I once made a question using a game theoretic problem called Wthyoff's game and I got submissions from people with easier solutions more logic based solution instead of a complete path based solution ! It feels nice to get such submissions and motivates one to keep working on making problems !

(If anyone is interested in offering a problem setter role, drop a message on CodeForces – UserID=HarendraSingh22) 😛

Salman Sahel · December 15, 2019 at 11:43 pm

Do add me on lichess 😛 username: salmandotexe
and on codeforces maybe hahah: LGM_By_2020

Michael Mills · December 16, 2019 at 12:09 am

@Errichto When did you start competitive programming

kushal tandon · December 16, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Lot of backtracking going in the mind on the left

TheTechEgg · December 16, 2019 at 3:25 pm

meanwhile I am like 800 elo in chess

Niranjan Kurambhatti · December 16, 2019 at 4:03 pm

Hi Erichto, I would recommend you checking out and there you can schedule mock interviews with FANG engineers…. and making more mock interview videos

Abdullah Al Mamun · December 16, 2019 at 5:28 pm

Hey Errichto, We know that you are one of the best competitive programmer right now, you can solve hard problem easily. I think there are thousands of problem you have solved till now. A lot of beginner like me struggle with a problem is that we don't know how to connect our already known knowledge to solve a particular problem. We really want to know how you prepared all this years, how you distributed your time, what was your daily routine. If possible please make a video about it. Thanks.

Shikhar Verma · December 16, 2019 at 6:07 pm

Learning – One cant't be shakespeare in 3-4 years

Rafayeat Hossain · December 16, 2019 at 7:17 pm

thanks loved seeing you guys play <3

Moses Muchemi · December 16, 2019 at 11:59 pm

something that gets typing speed essential?

Karen Mkrtumyan · December 17, 2019 at 7:43 am


hello world · December 19, 2019 at 6:53 pm

i thought you were a international grandmaster?

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