How to Become a Titled Player (part-2)

Comments: 26

Here you’ll learn some techniques that will make your transition to an international chess title (FM / IM / GM) quicker and easier.


Note: you may study the 1st part of this lesson here: LINK


Observe games by your “CHESS HERO”.

Imitation is a most natural and effective learning method. That’s why it’s so useful for you to choose “your chess hero” and to observe his/her games. Now, here are some important observations that you should take into account.

  • If you study different chess books, videos, etc. you see the games of many different players. All of those different styles and ideas can mix up things completely for you. Select a single chess hero and focus on his games. After some learning you’ll notice the typical plans and ideas used by this player. Doing this will help you to more easily adopt their method of play.
  • Choose an ATTACKING player. Since attack is the main way for a win, one must master this skill before anything else. Although Karpov, Petrosian, etc. are great players, they are not suitable for the role of your chess hero (they may be suitable AFTER you become a titled player).

Chess history knows a lot of great attackers: Morphy, Tal, Shirov, Kasparov, Spassky, Tolush, Alekhine, etc. – you can easily choose the one you like better.




Play a series of tournaments. At least, play training games before a tournament.

It’s a different thing to study chess than it is to play chess. In fact, these things require a somewhat different mindset.

Those players who don’t understand this make 1 typical mistake. Before a tournament they study chess intensively: reading books, studying openings, etc. After that, they go to a tournament and play badly. Following that they become frustrated and can’t understand what has happened.

However, there is a simple explanation (known by most professional players). You need “to switch your brain” from training mode to practice mode. While preparing for a tournament you need to play chess. At this point, it’s too late to read books – you can’t change your overall chess strength in a few weeks anyway.

Playing 2-3 tournaments in a row can be a solution as well. During the first tourney you’ll warm up (:)) while in the next tournaments you’ll show your best performance.




Study chess PROPERLY

Together with “ADVICE #1” these are the most important factors.

It’s a pity to see how many people spend/waste time on Internet blitz and tactical puzzles, and after that wonder why they are not progressing.

Luckily for chess players they have A Universal Lame Excuse (:)): “I don’t have chess talent”. It’s so convenient to say it. Now it’s not your fault anymore, you’ve somehow shifted responsibility to God. People like this psychological trick so much, that I propose to establish an abbreviation ULE: Universal Lame Excuse. Now if somebody starts explaining you that “he thinks that maybe he does not have enough talent for…” – you can just reply: “I know, it’s ULE.” :)


Note: While I can’t explain everything about chess training in this short article, you can always find a lot of related free lessons on this website, or you can simply study my chess courses: LINK

To conclude here, let’s train your calculation skills.

Topalov – Amonatov
White’s turn

This is a very practical position. A lot of endgames end up with positions where you need to calculate who’ll promote a pawn earlier.

Your task here is to calculate the move 38. Ba5 and to determine the final result of the game.

After that please download the whole game here: LINK


P.S. In case of any questions or comments, you are highly welcome to write them below.

Comments: 26

Comments 3

  1. You need “to switch your brain” from training mode to practice mode. While preparing for a tournament you need to play chess….this’s it,,…wonderful article..thanks so much GM Igor…

  2. Igor, thank you for a very informative article. If you could share with us, who was your “Chess Hero” when you were climbing the chess ladder?

  3. Great article , I study Kasparov games , I like him more then Tal or Fischer etc Tal won only one game from Kasparov the rest was draw and wins for Kasparov.

    Kasparov is a great black player he won more games with black , he have a very deep understanding of chess openings , and he always get. his pieces to maximum activity. And he alway put the pressure on his opponents , etc 🙂

  4. Actually I had several of such “heroes”. However, it’s important to have only 1 “hero” at a time. After you focus on his/her games for a relatively long time, and you feel that you adopted this style – you may switch to another player.

    I’d say there are only 2 requirements here:
    1) It should be a really strong player;
    2) It should be an attacking player.
    As you long as both criteria is met, you may choose any player. Kasparov (mentioned by Dennis in another comment) is a good example for sure.
    I don’t want to present my “heroes” here, as I believe it would be better for you to choose the one according to your personal preferences.

    Good luck!

    1. Such a nice advice GM Igor..thanks so much, this will help me a lot to improve from being a chess enthusiast and make my games good..

  5. I have 5 games swiss tournaments evenly spread across the calendar year (8 or 10 tournaments total per year). They are 45min/Game, all 5 rounds in one day. While preparing for them I have to play chess. What chess (time wise) and where (Internet, Computer) would you suggest me to play?

    1. Hi Igor,

      Thanks for
      contacting us. GM Smirnov has a busy schedule, but I’ll try to help you as much as I can. In your case I would advise to try to focus on advice 1 from

      That means choosing the right tournament and coach. Regarding the internet websites, I am afraid that we don’t promote other websites here 🙂 but you can surely Google the best ones

      Finally, as far as I understand 45 minutes games will not allow you to get the ELO points to become a titled player. Probably it would be better to focus on classical games with a longer time control.

      Hope that helps! Manuel / Student Support Officer

  6. Become the title really is not that simple, I think it’s only reserved for the stars, the famous and talented people. I also hope you will become the focus of a particular problem.

  7. Sir I found difficulty in middle game what should i do?
    I can solve your puzzle but i am not able to play in my game please help me

    1. yes he was! he used to play one killer move in a critical situation which forced the opponents to resign! so its just to think that killer move for you that will change your games 🙂
      p.s: dont forget to protect your king in the greed of attacking !

  8. The link for for the whole game doesn’t seem to be working..anyway I am pretty sure that it’s a draw if Bxa5 since it takes 6 moves for white to queen and 7 for black after Bxa5 Kxa5 Kxf4 but after a8=Q g1=Q white has move but black has 2 pawns vs 1 so it should still be drawn.

    1. Hi Eduard,
      We are sorry for the inconvenience caused because of the download link.
      Thank you for pointing it out.
      We will look into the problem.

      Prasaadh / Student Support Officer

    1. Yes, you may choose another GM. If you are going to select a modern player, pick the one rated 2600 or higher.

      Once again, I would suggest that you choose an attacking style player.

      Good luck with your chess progress!

    1. Hi Kevin,
      GM Igor is busy. Let me help you.
      Of course, it is not possible to give a time frame since it depends on lot of factors like amount of time you spend on chess, your current rating and the training quality.
      We hope to provide the best training material to reduce time spent for you to reach these rating.

      Prasaadh | Support

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