Changes for the better

Comments: 16

The beginning of a new year is considered to be suitable for two things:

  1. An analysis of your results in the past year.
  2. Your plans for the New Year.

An analysis of your results in the past year.

All chess players know the importance of an analysis of your games. It helps them detect your past mistakes, and prevent them from recurring in the future.

For the same reasons, it’s important to analyse your OVERALL PERFORMANCE as well.

Analyse your chess results in 2013. Think about the following questions:

  • What is your rating change since 1st January 2013? If it’s smaller than +100 points in the official FIDE rating, or +300 points in your online rating, it means something is wrong. You need to change your way of training and/or playing chess.
  • Have you been progressing steadily? If yes – good for you! Keep up the good work you are doing.

If your progress was unstable, it proves the absence of YOUR TRAINING PLAN. Unfortunately, lots of chess players study chess haphazardly. They learn various books, puzzles and other stuff in a random order. Predictably, such random training brings random (unstable) results.

Imagine a doctor who studied medicine by watching a couple of thematic videos on YouTube 🙂 It would be better for your health to run away from such a “specialist”.

Similarly, one can’t become an expert chess player without a solid, systematic approach for studying chess. I’ve provided such a program for an effective training in the course
“Self-taught Grandmaster”: LINK

If your chess progress in 2013 was limited, less than 50 rating points – unfortunately you’re stuck. This means you use ineffective ways of training/playing chess habitually.

On the positive side, this can and should be changed for the better. I strongly recommend that you print out “10 Golden Rules” I’ve provided in the previous lesson: LINK
(this advice is suitable for everyone). Keep it on your table for some days and implement it in your chess training/playing.

  • What are your statistics in different openings? Lots of chess programs or databases can provide such information to you automatically. At the very least, you can calculate your win/loss record in your main openings manually.

What’s the reason for doing it? Very simple: if you lose in a certain opening (variation) more often than in other openings – you need to fix this problem. Perhaps you should allocate some time to study this opening and/or arising middlegame positions.

However, if you keep getting bad results with a certain opening over a lot of games – just stop playing it. Probably it’s too difficult for you at this stage of your chess learning.

You can learn good openings in the courses “The GM’s Openings Laboratory” (LINK) and “The GM’s Openings Laboratory – 2”: LINK

  • Calculate how many games you have played against opponents 200+ rating points higher than you in 2013.

If you can’t calculate it, at least you can evaluate it based on your overall perception.

If the number of such games is small, your modest progress is not surprising. It’s difficult to reach a higher level if you never face the players of that level.

I’ve provided a few important things you can do to analyse your chess performance in 2013.
Of course, you may use other criteria as well. At least, you can evaluate the above mentioned items intuitively, spending only a few minutes. You can do it right now.
You can draw some valuable conclusions based on your performance in 2013 and speed up your progress in 2014!
In the next lesson, we’ll talk about your chess plans for 2014 and how to make them come true.

Your tactical vision should be sharp, right? Let’s do a little bit of training now.

Li – Aronian
Black’s turn

The material balance is equal, and not many pieces are left on the board. Is it a draw? How would you play as Black?

Moen – Topalov
Black’s turn

Your task is not only to find the next move for Black, but also to calculate all the following lines.

After you come to a decision in both examples, please, download the solution here: LINK

Note: if you don’t know how to open *.pgn files, please read this FAQ: LINK

P.S. If you accidentally missed “10 Golden Rules”, I do recommend that you study this lesson: LINK

P.P.S. I may be visiting Singapore in the following months (although I’m not totally sure about it yet). If there’s anyone from that country, you may like to send me an e-mail: [email protected] (if you’d like to contact me for any other reason, please, do so here: LINK ) Maybe we’ll meet each other soon 🙂

Comments: 16

Comments 16

  1. In the first diagram g1 looks particularly weak, material is equal but black’s pieces are far more active. There is so much contract and if I can’t force mate or win material then simplifying into an endgame is a bad idea due to the connected passed queenside pawns. I’d say black is much better here, probably to the point of outright winning. My first candidate move and primary variation is 1…Nxh2 2.Rxg5,Nxf3 the white king is far more open at the cost of sacrificing the exchange. So much force around the white king. 3.Ra8+,Ke7 4.Ra7+,Kf6 white should be done here as a classic mating tabiya is in the corner whereas none of white’s pieces could come to the defense in time whereas my rook has easy access to h4 in one move. 1…Nxh2 2.Kxh2,Rh4+ 3.Kg1,Rxg3+ 4.Kxf1,Rxf3 with the extra pawn and rook against knight. Here I want to trade off a rook for the knight and two pawns and exchange the other rook, those passed queenside pawns are a top priority and the major source for white’s counterplay. The h-pawn is well advanced, perhaps I can use it to outright win knight for pawn?

  2. Second diagram, strong pressure down the e-file, weak back rank, but three pieces cover the critical e1 square. The center is open, so white’s f-pawn isn’t optimally placed. Candidates so far include Bg7 and Bh6. 1…Bh6 2.Nc5,Re2 3.Nxe6,Rxf2 my coordination is somewhat lessened. Still, if I find nothing better I can settle on this. 4.Rc8 with mating threats, so 4…Nf6 is forced. How to defend here as black? White ha two minors en pris, so 5.Ng5 again is forced with some kingside pressure, 5…Rxc8 principle of trading off dangerous attacking pieces when being attacked 6.Rxc8+,Kg7 I like my king and rook’s positions for the endgame, from g7 my king can march to f6 and the rook keeps white’s king out of the game. 7.Ra8 is impossible due to the mate threat at f1. Can’t really see beyond this point, still some threats left but I can’t visualize anything here that refutes the line. This looks quite promising for black, some technique may be required to win the ending. Having read up on endgames and technique it shouldn’t be that difficult to convert as it isn’t what leaves that matters, but what stays on. Have to keep that king restricted and force even more concessions from white. 1…Bh6 is my move.

  3. in pos 1 Nh2! looks winning lets say R+g5 Nf3 R+h5 is mate Rg4 and on any orther R moves Rh4 is mate then there is 2 Kh2 left which lose to Rh4 Kg1 R+g3 Kf2 Rg-h3 and black is winning

  4. Dear Igor,

    I bought gm positional understanding course, and it’s very useful for a beginner like me. It is only 8 months since I played chess seriously. My first five months of training was a little help to my
    improvement.Solving tactical puzzles all the time. During our intramural last september, I played on board 3.And then I bought this course. It is very useful and helpful. In 3 months time of training and automating the basic principles, I have defeated the board 1 of our rival department in school. He said he’s planning to apply as varsity player next year and he wants someone who’s stronger than him for his training.And because of that, I became his chessmate and until now he only won 1 game against me.

    Last week, I joined a tournament. But sad to say I lost during the 2nd round. I was annihilated because my opponent was the board one varsity champion who haven’t lost a match during the university games. But i think I can beat him in the middle and endgame. I just had a little difficulty in terms of opening. But all in all, my improvement was big for such beginner like me.

    GM Smirnov for the wonderful course. Im planning to get the opening
    course next so that I can compete with stronger players and fritz.

    Thank you and God bless.

  5. Hi. How are u? I would like to share an experience of mine during the last tournament i participated.
    I have to say that my chess thinking has changed a lot during the last 3 years that i joind Igor’s lessons. But we need to follow exactly what he teaches without exceptions! And here is why:
    In the 8th round i faced a strong young opponent rating 2151. I prepared a bit for the game but i was unlucky because he chosed a line that i hadn’t studied. I was black and i played the King’s Indian. I found myself in an unknown territory and i didn’t know what to do. I forgot all about the chess principles that Igor teaches and i just tried to recall the variation which of course i couldn’t because it was the first time in my life to see this line! Of course i lost my way through the complications of the position and the game afterwards.
    This experience had a great impact on me: how it was possible to lose a game so easily? How it was possible to lose without a fight? I play the King’s Indian many years. So why i could’t understand anything?
    And the answer came when i recalled once again Igor’s lessons!
    The King’s Indian is a bad opening. A bad opening consinsts from bad moves. To fix these bad moves we need to play other bad moves! I know that it may seem strange but i believe that this is the case!
    When we do not follow the chess principles we lose our way. It is very important to understant the basic rules and only then start to make expeptions. And King’s Indian is an expeption!
    We should play normal openings and that means normal moves! And of course the opening line should be according to our chess understanding. And finally we should follow the basic opening principles all the time.
    Now i’m about studing the Nimzo and the Bogo which or course are correct opening lines and according to our chess thinking.
    Thanks Igor for your help. Thanks for understanding my mistakes even if i lose the truck some times…:O)

  6. Hi. Again. How are you today? I hope you are fine and get progress on whatever you do!
    I have an idea which might be interesting for our community and our chess teacher and his team: i think it would be a great idea to perform a course about the anti-sicilian systems (which avoids the open Sicilian) and the Queens pawn systems (that avoid the Nimzo and the Bogo). Many club players play, let’s say, the closed Sicilian or the Alapin as also the Trompovsky, Torre, London etc. So it would be nice to have a course about this treatment of the opening.
    Another idea would be to explain in more detail the principles of the closed positions (where we might delay our developent for a bit in order to get a stable advantage). In our repertoire such closed position arise in the Spanish game as white and as black white can play many closed systems as i mentioned before.
    All in all a course about closed positions and anti systems would be of great interest for all of us!
    Thank you for sharing my ideas with you. I hope all the best in your life and in your chess!

    1. Hello Anemos,
      Another good idea! Thank you. We are looking into other Internet based training programs and yours is certainly one idea to consider. We appreciate the feedback!
      Paul | Student Support Officer

    1. Hello Aseem,
      Thank you for the update. It seems that Disqus is loading very slowly or not at all. I’ll let our webmaster know.
      Paul | Student Support Officer

  7. Hi Letsao,
    We have stopped the use of Western Union because this method was costly and complicated for our clients and us.
    But we will have your request in mind because satisfaction of client like you is the main priority.
    Thank you for understanding.


    Prasaadh / Student Support Officer
    [email protected]

    1. payment information

      name; Tsaone Mokgedi
      country; Botswana
      amount; 98USD
      security number;8436780593
      course; the grandmaster'”s openings laboratory 2

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