Highlights of GM Igor Smirnov’s “Ask Me Anything Event”

Comments: 15

First, let me remind you of the “RCA Crossword Contest” – we’re conducting a crossword contest that will run till 8 September. By solving it, you will reinforce your knowledge of chess terms and hopefully have fun along the way. 🙂
chess crosswordFind more details about the contest here, try to solve it, and get a chance to win amazing prizes (RCA courses, premium videos, and gift vouchers worth a total of over $1500 USD!) Moreover, I’ll provide something cool for all participants – therefore, don’t miss it!

designRecently, I published an article replying to the unanswered questions from my “Ask Me Anything (AMA) Event” which was conducted on the RCA Facebook page on 15 August. If you missed that article, you should definitely read it here – it contains very useful information.


Today, I’ve decided to share some more useful information from this event. I’ve picked out a few of the interesting questions from our students (you) during the event and would like to publish them below. Let’s go!

Q1: Hello Mr. Igor Smirnov! First of all, thank you for pleasing me with the fact that you are doing this and that I’ll be able to contact via my questions The Grandmaster, Igor Smirnov. I’ll start this with a question. I’ve been trying to figure out the answer to for quite a while, but was unable to do so, which is: ”Why are top Grandmasters breaking basic principles?” You said that the base principles like maximum activity and so on are the MOST important and that we MAY NOT care much about something else.


For example, in the game Carlsen – Giri, Bilbao 2016 (you actually analyzed it), Carlsen played 6. Nd2. You said that the idea is that the Knight supports c4 and/or e4 breaks. White is already thinking about plans. First of all, using the principle of the maximum activity, the Knight should go to c3, so why not perhaps c4+Nc3. Also you said we shouldn’t think about plans in the opening. Also another rule of yours Carlsen broke in this game is: If you can plan in the center – do it!
carlsen vs giriAt move 10, he played a4. Why didn’t he follow this simple rule and played c4, playing in the center? At move 16, he played Qg4. But engines suggest e4! Play in the center! Why is WCC breaking these rules? On the next move he played h4, but again, according to engines e4 was the best move. This isn’t only for this game, but for 99% other games of strong Grandmasters.


And we cannot argue that World Champion doesn’t understand basic principles.  😀 Anyways, to sum up the question: Why are top grandmasters breaking these basic principles? Are there special reasons? Thanks in advance for your answers! Cheers! 🙂 – Lovro Glavina


What is the difference between cacophony and improvisation (in music)? To use improvisation, you must first master all the rules. Same in chess. Thanks for your well-thought question!


Note: you can find the game between Carlsen and Giri (with analysis) that Glavina mentions in his above question here, and its corresponding article here.


Q2: I am Nicolas and I live in Colombia Sorry for the translation, speak Spanish and I had to translate it into Google. I am delighted with your courses, the truth is that I felt the change in my chess level exponentially, disciplined started training two years. Your teaching is accurate and has helped me beat several people who have had much more preparation than mine. Without any more preambles. My questions are:


1. In the Scandinavian defense (Icelandic gambit ) you recommend me that defense play in tournaments or play the Sicilian defense? I am studying in college and I have almost no time to study, but I always look for a space for your courses.


2. What do you recommend I study within 6 hours of the week?


Nicolás Gerardo Cuéllar Canosa


1) If your rating is below the 2000 level, you may play any opening. If you are above 2000, I would suggest that you play the Sicilian in tournaments.


2) If you only have 6 hours a week – study the video lessons from my courses and play training games against a computer. Good luck!


Suggested: you can study my FREE course “Chess Training Plan for Rapid Improvementhere.


Q3: Hello Master!! Here is my question! is it true that playing blitz, getting obsessed with chess and being an empiric chess player for so long (since the very beginning, about 9 years ago) can mess up the chess career?? – Favian Mauricio

learnThat’s true. There should be a proper balance between study and practice (playing). You need to learn something new, and then you go and implement it in real games. Then you come back home, analyze your games, find errors, and fix them. Then go playing again. And the cycle goes on.


Q4: Have you ever analyzed different playing styles? At our club we’ve noticed that certain people play much stronger (or weaker) against certain other personalities. There seems to be an attacking style, a tactical style, a positional style, a defensive style, and something, I would call a practical style, where you just play what you get. Have you ever noticed this and what style would you say you are? – Jeffrey Davis


Indeed, different players play in different styles. For instance, Nakamura could not play against Carlsen for a long time because he’s an aggressive player, while Carlsen would not give him a chance to go for the attack.


As for me, I like imitating Capablanca (classical, logical style) or Tal (attacking style) depending on my mood. 🙂


Q5: What exactly is the playing style of Vishy Anand?? – Pawan Kulkarni

viswanathan anandHe’s a classical player. He plays ‘according to the position‘, as chess players say. This is a very good style to imitate for chess learning. Unfortunately for Anand, this style is not quite enough to overcome players like Carlsen who know that ‘classical style’ too but have some extra skills on top of that. However, for your level, it’s perfectly alright to imitate Anand.


Q6: How do you fix Inconsistency in chess? I am currently a bit inconsistent, beating strong players and even masters but losing to lower players. – Elijah Logozar


Inconsistent results are a consequence of inconsistent learning. You need a SYSTEM of chess knowledge, then you’ll perform well on a regular basis. Studying various separate lessons here and there (which most players do nowadays) is a bad thing.


Suggested:My Thinking System” will teach you about a developed system of thinking and help you detect the best move in any kind of position. Get it now here.


P.S. Once again, I’d like to remind you of the “RCA Crossword Contest”. Only the first 50 participants who solve the crossword correctly will get a chance to become a winner. Nevertheless, all participants will get something cool – find more details and participate now! 🙂
Comments: 15

Comments 15

  1. outstanding and fabulou q and answer sessiondear smirnov thanks for that and you are just great coach please give mie coaching.please collaborate with chess24.com site gms and produce a vidoe course as mark dvoreskty and other gm do.

    1. Hi Ayush,
      Thanks for the compliment. We would love to collaborate with quality and well known coaches.

      Prasaadh | Support Officer

  2. Dear Igor,
    I watched your videos about improving a skill.It takes about 3 weeks right?
    Can you make a timetable on practicing anti blunder check with 3 weeks like what to do? how many hours?
    I want a answer from the grandmaster not from any RCA crew
    thank you

    1. Dear Lankan,

      Indeed, it takes 3-4 weeks to automate a certain skill.

      Your question is huge, and obviously I can’t answer it here in a comment. However, the solutions do exist.

      1) Based on your question I guess you own the course “Self-taught Grandmaster”, which is very suitable to train the anti-blunder skills. You may wish to check out the Task-13 from the practical part of the course. If you keep performing this task during 3 weeks – you’ll reduce the quantity of blunders in your games significantly.

      If however you don’t have this course yet, you may get it here: https://chess-teacher.com/shop/chess-courses/self-taught-grandmaster/

      2) Creating a detailed 3-weeks training program is a relatively huge task. I’ll definitely keep your question into account while planning future courses.

      If other students are interested in this subject as well – please, write about that in comments.

      1. Thank you Igor but like when i m training with it or playing with anti blunder check I almost forget it in 10-15 moves what is your solution? like when you are training this.give us some tips

        1. Make it so you can’t forget. Have a piece of paper right next to your board or screen with huge neon letters, “ANTI-BLUNDER CHECK!!!” Tie something around your wrist, so everytime you go to move a piece, you’ll notice this weird sensation, and that’ll remind you to blunder check. You could even get a timer to beep every 30sec or so, and every time you hear it, you immediately think blunder check.

          It takes discipline, yes, but the results are worth it. I used a combination of these when learning the base principles in GM’s Positional Understanding, and I never forget the base principles in my games.

          1. Hi Lankan,
            That is a great idea by Jonathan!. Like Igor said you have to practice enough times to make it automatic in your games. All the best.

            Prasaadh | Support Officer

    1. Hi Riyaz!

      I’m delighted to hear from you again!

      It’s hard to provide a quick answer to such a huge question, but I’ll try 🙂

      Play the following moves as Black: d5, Nf6, c5, Nc6, Bf5/g4, e6, Bd6.

      It’s the simplest, and one of the good solutions. Good luck!

      P.S. I noted your question, and will take it into account while planning future lessons/courses.

  3. Thank you Igor but like when i m training with it or playing with anti blunder check I almost forget it in 10-15 moves what is your solution? like when you are training this.give us some tips

  4. Hi, i’m a beginner, playing Blitz online I’ve got 1290 Elo. I only Know spanish opening, but just the first 4 moves. I wanna start a course from RCA. There is a Beginner-pack, but I’m not sure about which course do first. Can you give me any advice?

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