GM Igor Smirnov Answers Students’ Questions from the Live Event

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I hope you remember that during the beginning of this month, on 7 November, we celebrated the 8th anniversary of the Remote Chess Academy. I conducted a live event on the RCA Facebook page sharing my experience in RCA, giving chess tips and answering YOUR (students’) questions.

Although I managed to answer most of your questions during the live stream, I could not do so for a few questions and especially those who posted your questions after the event ended. Therefore, in this article, I will answer the unanswered questions and I’ll also share the first part of the live stream video! 🙂

Q1: My bullet speed sucks. Do I improve by just playing or are there any other ways to improve speed?” – Esa Ahlqvist


Bullet chess is a chess game with limited time control. Indeed, time is the most important factor. However, if you like to improve yourself, then you need to improve your game in general. You should improve your tactics, which will also help you on your blitz games and your opening repertoire. You need to find VERY tricky opening lines with gambits in order to confuse your opponents.

Q2: How to become a great player in chess? How do I improve my games? Please answer, thanks.” – Emmanuel Barbosa
how to beat a stronger opponentAnswer:

Everybody in chess would like to improve their strength, from beginners to world best players. That being said, you should ask yourself, “In which chess level am I”? Actually, it is easy to understand your chess level because the ELO system is objective. Then, you should study chess material for your current chess level. I recommend you to study the course “Self-taught Grandmaster” in which I explained what exactly the players should learn in any different chess level.

Q3: Sir, how can I prevent losing won games again? I am an expert at it.” – Tung Sten


This is a very important question, and there is a quote which says that the most difficult part is to win the won games… 🙂 In general, you need to prevent your opponent’s counterplay and try to simplify the position. Follow these 2 advices and you will win more won games in the future.

Q4: Is Scandinavian Nf6 the best for all levels?” – Sharavanakkumar


Opening preparation is very important indeed. Yes, you may like to use the Scandinavian line Nf6 in any chess level. Similarly, you may like to be a more universal player and try other openings as well. Sicilian and the solid e5 are also very good openings for Black.

Q5:What is the kind of material you would recommend for a 2100 player to get a 2400 level?” – Shreyas Smith


My first advice for you is to put more specific and smaller targets. For example, you are now on 2100 ELO points and your main goal is to reach 2400, this is great! However, from 2100 to 2400 are 300 ELO points, am I right? Thus, I suggest you to put smaller targets each time. From 2100 you can go to 2200.
smaller targetsMy second advice is to study the courses “How to Beat Titled Players?” and “Calculate Till Mate”. In this ELO points, the players are not making huge blunders, so you need some extra abilities which you can find on the first course. In order to beat players in this level, you need to calculate accurately, so the second course can teach you how to do that.

Q6:Are chess variants 960 and bughouse good for your chess?” – Stephen English Wootton


Yes, they are good for chess and very entertaining indeed. You can improve your intuition and calculating skills, so you may like to continue playing and experimenting with them. 🙂

Q7: “Which is the best reply against d4?” – Sharavanakkumar


This is a question related to your favorite reply against e4! I mean that you should choose the opening according to the pawn structure. For example, if you like the Caro-Kann defense, then you should play the Queen’s Gambit Declined. If you like the dragon variation on the Sicilian Defense, then you should choose the King’s Indian Defense or Grunfeld; in these systems, you will play with the fianchetto bishop on g7.

Now you can watch the first part of the live stream below:

P.S. Guys, did you watch the live video? Did you like it? How would you like if I conduct such events often? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂
how to analyze chess games

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