Your goals for 2012

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I hope that 2011 has been a VERY productive year for your chess development. As for me, with pride I can say that the students of our Remote Chess Academy achieved GREAT results for this year 2011!

But that doesn’t have to stop there – 2012 is near and I’m sure it bodes well for your chess development… if you have the right tools. That said, to help you in your chess development, I’m offering my courses at a specially discounted price! But don’t hang about. This offer will expire tomorrow (28 December).

<< Special Offer >>

This is the last day for the discounted price. Make haste and write down your discount code: XMAS, when placing an order. That automatically slashes 20% off of the price.

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Recently, I gave you some advice about analyzing your chess development in 2011. I hope that you sat down and spent some time on this important step for chess improvement. If you have, let’s build upon that step and set your chess goals for 2012.

Why it’s important to set goals? Well, there are MANY benefits. I’ll mention 2 main ones.

1) First, it motivates you. When you see an attractive goal in front of you, you get motivated to reach it.

2) It organizes you. In order to achieve a long term goal, you need to create a plan (from your current point to the final one). This plan will become a schedule for you. By following this schedule you will advance to your goals in the most direct way (making sure you don’t get side tracked).


It’s time to set your chess goals for 2012. Better yet, write them down somewhere that you can easily see every day. Here are some questions you want to answer when setting your goals:

What result(s) do you want to get in 2012?

How many rating points do you want to bag in 2012?

How many tournaments do you need to play in 2012? (This question is closely connected with the previous one)

How many games against strong (titled) players would you like to play in 2012? (You need to play against strong opponents in order to pull yourself up to their level)

How many hours will you spend on chess daily?

Which drawbacks in your chess game/training do you need to remove in 2012?

Which areas of chess will you focus on in 2012?

What will be the most important part(s) of your training in 2012?

Of course, NOTHING will come out of just reading these questions. BUT if you think about them seriously, answer them truthfully and realistically, and write down your answers– you’ll be surprised how many useful things you will discover for your chess development! :)


Here I’d like to make a few important notes:

–> Your chess goals should motivate you to train TODAY!

For instance, if you think “In 2012 I want to gain 100 rating points” – it does NOT motivate you TODAY.

Instead, be detailed in your goals. You should think:

“I want to get 100 rating points in 2012. Thus I should gain about 10 points each month. Therefore I’ll need to spend 20 days for training; and then go to the tournament. In that tournament, I’ll try to get at least +10 rating points. So TODAY and during the next 19 days I’ll train hard and prepare myself for my upcoming tournament.”

Of course, you can tweak it depending on your situation and chess goals. Nevertheless, I hope that you got my MAIN idea: your long-term goals should be connected with what you have to do TODAY. They should motivate you to do something TODAY!

The 2nd note is this:

–> Your goals should be SPECIFIC. Remember, they should organize you.

For example, if you decide: “In 2012 I’ll improve my tactical vision” – then how will you check it? It’s too general and it does NOT allow you to check yourself.

Instead you should plan “to solve 10 tactical puzzles each day”. This is concrete and measurable. You will easily know whether you follow your schedule or not.

Again of course, there’s so much more you can do to improve your tactical vision and skills than just solve tactical puzzles day in and day out. :) It’s only an example to illustrate my point.


By the way, you may like to read what I wrote about chess goals the day before 2011:

“Your Chess Goals”LINK

“Your Chess Goals – 2 (Creativity)”LINK


Setting your chess goals is the 1st step to achieve them!

I strongly believe that you can reach those goals in 2012. Moreover I KNOW that You CAN achieve in 2 times greater results than you expect!

From my side, I’ll make my best efforts to support your chess development in 2012! I’ve already set this goal for myself! What about you? :)


Don’t forget that TODAY is the last chance to use the special offer:

<< Grab Your Course with Discount >>

  • Uri Blass

    2011 was bad for me.
    After some years that my israeli rating is above 2000(usually 2000-2100) I decided to play more than I played in the past and played more than 100 games and my israeli rating got first time below 2000.

    Note that I bought the opening course of you and tried to play gambit benko but I lost all 4 games when I played this gambit(3 of them against weaker opponents)

    I feel uncomfortable with playing gambits and making a positional sacrifices and one of the problems is that I have not patience when I am a pawn down.

    I am afraid that if I do not attack now I lose the game because I will be pawn down with no compensation so I attack too early.

    I have not the same problem when I do not play a gambit.

    I talked with one player who play the gambit benko and he told me that if I learned from my errors I can continue to play the benko gambit but I decided not to do it because I still feel uncomfortable
    with that opening and when I analyze the gambit benko with houdini I do not like the scores that he gives and even if the opponent make a move that is not common theory houdini does not see an advantage for black(so it is not that I can hope to win thanks to memorizing more theory opening
    moves than my opponent).

    2 of my conclusions for the next year are the following:
    1)Do not play gambits.
    Make a positional sacrifice only if there is no good alternative(that means the alternative is that the opponent get a clear positional advantage).
    2)Do not try to win but try not to lose games(it means that if there are 2 options when one of them lead to boring equality and the second one lead to an interesting game with unclear position and chances for both sides
    then choose the first option if you are not convinced that the second option is better(significant number of my mistakes are because I tried to play interesting instead of simply trying not to lose).

    • KonSu1896

      Dear friend, i read your post and i have the need to tell u this: our teacher, Igor Smirnov, says that if we stuck to our current habits we will get the current results. If we do not change then our chess will not change. It seems that u prefer to follow your own way of thinking than Igor’s. My advice is not to take loses to heavy but to try to learn something from it. Every experience, good or bad, has something to teach us. A filoshofer that comes from my country said once: do not ask yourself…i’m i gonna lose? am i gonna win? Fight!!!
      That’s all that counts. The fight! Enjoy it and the rest are not so important :O) I wish u the best. Bye

    • KonSu1896

      Dear friend, i read your post and i have the need to tell u this: our teacher, Igor Smirnov, says that if we stuck to our current habits we will get the current results. If we do not change then our chess will not change. It seems that u prefer to follow your own way of thinking than Igor’s. My advice is not to take loses to heavy but to try to learn something from it. Every experience, good or bad, has something to teach us. A filoshofer that comes from my country said once: do not ask yourself…i’m i gonna lose? am i gonna win? Fight!!!
      That’s all that counts. The fight! Enjoy it and the rest are not so important :O) I wish u the best. Bye

      • Igor Smirnov

        +1 and that philosopher is a true man of wisdom! We all should write his idea by huge red letters somewhere in front of our eyes! Btw where are u from, KonSu ?

        • KonSu1896

          Hello Igor. How are u? I was studing your course how to beat titled players (the practical part) so i’m sorry for delaying my answer :O) I’m from Greece and the philosopher and writer i talked about is the late Nikos Kazantzakis. He has written many books that takes our thinking about life to a different level. Of course there were many philoshophers in the ancient Greece (most of them known) but Kazantzakis lived in the 20th century and most of his ideas and tellings was even criticised by the state and church!

          • StrugglingPlayer

            Very Fine post by yours =) To improve we should change our current habits for improvement =)

          • StrugglingPlayer

            Also, we should not always rely on chess engines specially in the openings and by analysing our own games.

      • Davin

        Once, my football teacher said, “Don’t think about win or lose. Just play and enjoy the game.” and I found something similar in this blog.

        • KonSu1896

          Well, that’s correct. We have to do what we have to do :O) It’s the journey that counts, not the destination. In the similar way it’s the fight, not the result. Of course if the result is positive that would be fine but again is the pleasure that comes from the battle field. If one gives 100% on what he is doing how much more can we expect from him? :O)

    • Don Chappell

      Stay with the principles of the game and understand them fully. The great masters seem to agree on this; however, as my own rating is WAY below yours, Ifeel a bit cheeky suggesting this. Anyway, cheers from NZ . Chess is just a game anyway.
      Don C

    • Mark

      Hi Uri

      I had similar experience this past year i played lots and went from nearly 2200 down by about 50 points . I think by playing more you have to be aware of lots of games in the database and the chance for opponents to prepare . I think a solid opening repertoire with a few variations and options within is the way to go . The Benko can be quite forcing in some lines but the gambit is a long term one where often the endgame can still be good value for the pawn of course this is not to everybody’s taste and you must decide if it is yours. Iy is not unusual to lose to start with a new opening so give it time perhaps unless you really dislike it.
      The general standard of chess is going up i often meet lots of juniors rated 1950 but they are rated 200 points too low . It is a problem with the FIDE ratings as it often takes 2 years for some players to get the correct rating.
      In the mean time as the guys say enjoy your chess i think below 2300 endings and middlegame work is the key and as long as you know the ideas of your openings you will find you will soon get the results back.

  • Vladimir Kundrak

    My goal is to break 2000 FIDE rating barrier and play some matches in highest national league.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks again our teacher

  • Orrick D. Folkes

    In this comming year2012, i wouldlove to Master this Game ,Chess.idont know its Rules,good enoufg.,so .iwant to save as much money to buy all the tools that can help to teach me how to make my moves.

  • Orrick D. Folkes

    I never knew that Chess to make Your THinking In prove , so i will reccomend it ,to all Person’s who want to Improove their ,mental power to concentrate.i want to thank my present Teacher,for all he taught, cause ,i didnot know anything .about this GAME before, ..may God Bless You, Sir,.

  • MrDeerHunter

    2011-the year ive learned chess. lol. thats right. didnt know anything about this game before. now i started to like it. to love it .and i want to get better. my rating is now around 1200 .in 2012 i want to increase it somewhere near 1500.

  • Dennis

    my goal is to play chess and understand chess like Igor Smirnov :) is my big wish for 2012

  • ZIcs

    hi GM Igor Smirnov
    i thank you a lot about your site and your nice simple lessons, i will ask simple but may be old question and hope you have time to answer it:-
    How to know if i have real chess talent or not , is there some tests or puzzles that can determine that?
    I love playing chess and love spending time training in the last years i was busy in university ( i used to train and then stop to study , then train a little then stop a lot for studing and so on….) i have finished college , so i was wondering is it worse the time to train hard ?,will i increase or will stay at my level?

    • Igor Smirnov

      I’ve wrote about it already. See the articles “Children and adults in chess” “Chess talent” etc. Use the search panel (in right column) and you’ll find these articles easily.

  • Tedy_jing

    I have one concrete goal teacher Igor, to have one your lessons this 2012…I am teaching my 8 yr old son to play chess, of all your courses, what would be the best for me inorder to have a systematic way of teaching? God bless You this year…

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