5 tips taken from the best chess courses on the Internet

Comments: 48

This article contains 5 important tips that will facilitate your chess learning and advancing. The material is prepared by a student of our Remote Chess Academy. He summarized the ideas that worked well for him. There’s a great chance that these tips will be helpful for you just as well. 🙂

Without further ado let me present an article from Louis Holtzhausen at chessfox.com.


The tips are from the chess courses of GM Igor Smirnov

1) The main idea of a chess game is ACTIVITY

Isn’t it strange that even after studying a chess course many chess players still can’t tell you what the main idea of a chess game is?

This is bad because how are you supposed to make good moves if you are not even sure what the main goals are? Once you know that you need to maximize the activity of your pieces, everything else will start to make a lot more sense.


2) Study the middlegame plans that relate to your opening

It is a common training mistake that many chess players make. They memorize many opening moves. To play the opening moves from memory can hardly give you any advantage over your opponent. But if you know the typical plans that arise from the opening you play, you can be much better prepared for the game!

When you train your opening moves – focus to understand the middlegame plans that are typical to your opening. Training your opening moves in this way makes more sense and is also a lot more enjoyable than simply trying to memorize a lot of moves.

3) Focus to improve your thinking process

Your knowledge about chess is not the factor that will give you the edge in your games! Instead, knowing how to apply every bit of knowledge you have is the skill that will give you the edge.

In fact, too much knowledge will only confuse you if you don’t have a clear thinking system to help you apply all the things you have learnt.

4) A master outplays his opponent with better positional understanding

chess master

Chess masters often avoid complications! Yes, sure, they are good even in complicated positions, but they also know that their main advantage is their deep understanding of chess positions.

A master will outplay their opponent. It will look as if the master wins easily without even doing anything special. This is simply because they have a deep understanding of the game and outplay their weaker opponent slowly but surely.

5) Focus on the QUALITY of your training instead of the quantity

I have been guilty of this training mistake myself too. Often chess players feel that they will improve by spending a lot of time training a whole lot of chess information. They will even spend hours solving tactical puzzle without seeing any real improvement in their results.

You will benefit more from studying one topic well (QUALITY) than to study many topics superficially (QUANTITY).

One last word from my personal experience:

I have spent many hours discovering the secrets of chess. However, one of the simplest and most profound discoveries that I have made is that it is good to listen to what the chess masters say! They have achieved the pinnacle of chess performance and they know what it takes to get there.

When a master gives advice you should listen carefully!

You can find more tips and information on GM Igor Smirnov’s high quality chess courses. I only recommend chess courses that I have worked with myself and can highly recommend.

Top-recommended courses: “My Thinking System”, “GM’s Secrets” and “GM’s Positional Understanding

P.S. Did you find this article instructive? Were you able to recall the tips from my courses you studied? 🙂 Also, please feel free to write your thoughts about your experience of studying our courses in the comments below. Thanks in advance!

Quick success in chess


Comments: 48

Comments 33

  1. After a 26 year absence from chess, I have studied Igor’s lessons on YouTube and purchased his course, GM Positional Understanding. I have played 35 games with only 1 loss and have had great success with the b3 and b6 openings. And yes my goal from the beginning has been Quality, not quantity.

    Study Igor’s lessons on YouTube and purchase his lessons. If you follow Igor’s advice you will get better.

  2. “The biggest problem chess players have…is accumulation a pointless knowledge which doesn’t help them to play better” The grandmaster’s secrets course….

  3. Dear Igor,

    I am a big fan of all of your courses. I own them all and I have made incredible progress since I work with your programs. I would like to add to these tips that it’s exceptionally important to work with the principles provided in GM secrets / positional understanding as it just feels like a guide through practical play.

    Theres just one question that keeps bothering me. Could you explain the idea of adding ideas to your thought process a little more clearly to me? Could you provide us with an example how the process should be done? I am eager to hear your answer. Best regards, .

  4. Thank you very much GM Smirnov for this interesting lesson. After to have analyse my chess games I have understand one very important thing: In order to improve your chess, you must make a good analysis: it is the basis of good chess. Even in the Opening you must check accurately the response of the opponent when you choose a move. In the past I could not progress because I did not knew how important is this thing. Secondly when I study games between amateur and master I look how the master exploit the weak moves of the amateur. It help me to improve my game and I make less mistakes.

  5. So much chess material in this days and so much CM NM FM , like kingscrusher chessnetwork valeri Lilov etc they make huge lesson and they get huge like and subscribers !

    But my nice chess coach Igor Smirnov is A great GM that know all my mistakes/blunders and my problems in chess and really wanna help me to improve 🙂

    I won a game on my club from a strong player with white to a french defense player, I used the french defense opening line from the gm opening laboratory , and I not like french defense and before I lost much to french defense and fount it difficult. Thank u really so much for anything !!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    1. I’m very glad French is not a problem for you anymore. My congrats with your victories!

      As for the chess tutorials/authors, there’s a contradiction between quantity and quality. I prefer to make courses rather seldom but to make them really good. Most of modern authors, however, use an opposite approach 🙂

      1. Thank U , please accept my congratulations 🙂 I have study huge before but to be honest , I had never good progress and no improve , I can win more in chess now only because of U , my new chess style is risk play I know why I lost before now I played to passive making normal move standard move to much , its not so good bemuse i play on the strongest chess club in my city. and chess strategy is the most first important thing to master I know now,

  6. Well, i think it is time to share with you guys and our teacher my success in a recent, very strong for me, tournament. I played on the 3nd board for the Greek team championship and i scored 8 out of 9! It is my best ever achievement (for now…:O) The average rating of my opponent’s was 2100. I gained 55 rating points out this tournament.
    My goal for now is to stabilize my perfomance and my chess so to get even higher. I had good tournaments in the past by i also had bad tournaments. It is time to be more stable to achieve improvement.
    For this tournament i employed something new for the first time in my chess life. I decided to focus on chess solely. I didn’t care if in front of me was a 5 years old child of Garry Kasparov. My aim was to play the board! Before the game i was making a warm up with easy exercises for about 5 to 10 minutes. And i was keep thinking the sayings of the old masters such as:
    a) I play against the pieces (Gligoric), b) I believe in good moves (Fischer), c) My aim is to play 40 good moves (Smyslov) and d) I don’t lose. I win or i learn (unknown :O)
    The psychology lessons helped my a lot and i own very much to our teacher who made look chess in a different way. Thank you very much Igor. I really appeciate your help and kindness!

    1. Congratulations! This is an awesome result!
      What is your performance rating for this tournament? It’s an indicator of your potential (of what you should achieve!)

      Let me bring up a little hint: it’s quite easy to find the right path; it’s a lot harder to STAY on it.

      Thanks for sharing your success with us! It’s inspirational and useful for other students.

      1. My rating perfomance for my last tournament is 2449! And all this thanks to you Igor! I understand the hint you mention above because i have experienced it with the thinking system you tought us! I was quite amazed when i read about it for the first time and after just i read it i participated in a strong tournament where i won an international master in a very nice game and i drew against another with an exchange down! But then something happened to my mind and i was finding hard to follow it. Then i remembered the advice you have gave us: “you should improve your thinking system all the time”! It is hard work but it pays off! So yes you are right. It is very hard to stay on it! But i try hard and i read your lessons time and time again.
        And i should add again that your psychological lessons help us very very much!
        I try to get a phylosofical attitude on the game and this helped me a lot.

    1. Anyone have more ideas about using a thinking idea like CALM or do you have another anagram (I think that’s the right word.)

  7. Ivanchuk loses feebly except when he plays Carlsen, when suddenly he controls his clock brilliantly after 4 farcical falgs!!!!!!

  8. dear Mr Igor

    thank you very much your kind to give me free lessons and advices to improve my chess ability. as I am not focus in playing chess now I tested my ability using fritz 13 sometimes I win or draw mostly I lost. now I still study your lessons especially middle game and than I TRAIN IT AGAINST THE FRITZ.

  9. dear Mr Igor Smirnov

    last week I joined chess championship that were joined by 150 player from Bali they are also many masters. from 9 round I got 4 poins. 4 times lost because of my own blunder im middle game. give some advices how to avoid blunder.

    I hope you still work hard in chess and good luck

  10. I got tired of going in circles and realised the supposed best trainers and best books couldn’t answer the most basic questions. I decided I’d have to find the answers my self, and everyone else could go to hell, because they all wasted years of my training!

    Then I ran across Igor’s website and saw he thought the exact same thing, and he already found a solution. Of course, by now after years of going in circles, I have to doubt anything a supposed coach says, so I decided to try two of his ideas and see what happened: 1. I switched to b3 and b6. 2. “Take is a mistake”.

    So I concentrated on that and… I gained 120 rating points on FICC in about two hours, ha ha! So, you got me, Igor! I just ordered the “Calculate Till Mate” course and can’t wait! You are the only one who “gets it” !

    I’ll let you know how it goes… 🙂

  11. Hi Igor,
    Thanks for keeping in touch. I’ve been seriously thinking of purchasing sets of courses that you have but for financial reasons I can only afford one at the moment. Which do you think is best for intermediate amateur (unrated otb, around 1400 in chess.com) like me? I’m choosing one among 1. GM Secrets, 2. Self Taught GM or 3. Your Winning Plan.


    1. I would advise you to start from “The Grandmaster’s Secrets” or “The Grandmaster’s Positional Understanding”.

      Moreover, for the players of your level I do NOT recommend to study any other courses before they learn at least one of the above mentioned courses.

      Good luck!

      1. Thanks Igor,
        I’ll start with GM Secrets today. At a glance the course seems written for me as it addresses my questions regarding thinking processes. I’ll let you know about my progress.

  12. playing chess is my hobby, however i can’t paly well because i haven’t enough tim practice. now with the appear on the internet i can learn more to play well

    1. Hello Koravi,

      If I may, a few tips here:

      *Understanding is more important than memorizing: one should be able to explain the goal of his/her moves

      *Each opening (or defence) has “little secrets” or ideas
      than really help you decide what to play and what is generally bad.

      For example, if you plan to play the Sicilian defense, you
      should know that Black normally gains space advantage in the queenside with moves like b5, and that d5 (if it can be played) is a move that is normally convenient for Black to free the position. It is also important to know that this system
      generally leads to complicated tactical games, so calculation and nerves are quite important there.

      Hope this helps,

      Manuel / Sudent Support Officer

  13. Hi Igor,

    Thanks for keeping in touch. I’ve purchased sets of courses that you have:1.GM secrets,2.GM openings laboratory,3.GM The Grandmaster’s Positional Understanding,4.Your wining plan,5.How to beat titled players,6.And endgame expert.I do not know because course begin and that study order to follow. Which do you think is best for club player rated 2000 fide like me?.


  14. Thank you Igor, We cannot hear these concepts reviewed too many times.

    i first purchased “My Thinking System” Wow just that short video relieved so much stress and thinking from my game. I am now working my way, thoroughly, through “Positional Understanding.” I have enjoyed all of your straight-forward and information-packed videos on the internet where you “spill the beans” and give us the real scoop. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Fay,

      I’m delighted to know that the courses helped you discover new concepts and hone your skills.

      After many years of interaction with different students I can ‘diagnose’ a student by the style of his/her message 🙂 I see you are moving in the right direction, keep it up!

  15. It helped when you mentioned that many chess players memorize their openings move but that doesn’t necessarily give you an advantage. I’m thinking about taking online chess lessons because I want to improve my chess skills. This article helped me a lot to know what to look for in a chess coach to improve my playing.

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