The Story of Karjakin

Comments: 218

A few days ago the 2012 Chess Olympiad concluded. Armenia won the gold medal and continues to get great results in team championships. My congratulations to the winners and all chess fans! This was an exciting event with many interesting games.

When observing such games, people often admire the genius moves played by the top players. I often see comments like “Black’s position was tough, but the genius Ivanchuk found the right way.” It’s a bit funny to hear. It seems that Ivanchuk’s talent “tells” him what the best move is. 🙂

In this issue, I’d like to reveal the REAL truth. Let’s use Sergey Karjakin as an example. I know him pretty well (initially we lived in neighbouring cities and often met at tournaments, etc.), so I can provide the true facts.

Nowadays Karjakin is considered a “natural talent”, one who chess successes come easily to. Let me tell you how this story began, however.

–> Karjakin’s parents hired all the good coaches they could find.
–> He spent a lot of time on chess training, starting at a very young age. He’s the only person I know who studied the entire series of endgame encyclopaedias as a child!
–> Sergey took part in all the top tournaments. His father always accompanied him (I even was thinking “When does this man find time for his own job?”).

–> Karjakin didn’t really study in a school or university. He dedicated all his time to chess.
–> He travelled around the world to train with good coaches.
–> When he was school age, he moved to another town which offered better possibilities for chess development.

–> Later he moved to another country to join the Russian team and meet even better coaches.
–> Even his wife is a chess ‘player and I bet they met at a tournament 🙂


As you can see, his chess development required a lot of effort and sacrifice (from himself and from his parents as well). Remember this the next time you hear about “natural talent” 🙂

I know some of you will argue: “Some people just have a better aptitude for chess.”

A man with long legs has better prospects as a runner. Does this mean others can’t run? Can’t others also improve their results in running? Can’t they become professional sportsmen and run faster than the majority of people in the world?

You may be thinking, “Yes, but a natural talent progress’s faster”. I can tell you this: the way you train, combined with your enthusiasm, are MUCH more important factors!

So don’t overestimate the value of aptitude. And don’t underestimate yourself!

You CAN improve your current results significantly! And realise MUCH greater progress than you originally expected. I know PLENTY of such examples and publish them regularly. Here’s one more.


Sir, you may be happy to know one thing that “I have become Champion” in All Assam State Open Rapid Chess Championship’ 2012 held on 28th & 29th July at Guwahati, Assam. It was a state level (15 minutes rapid) competition and I got 6.5 points out of 7 rounds.
Before 1 year, victory in my state was a dream for me, but after going through your courses and keeping in touch with a GM like you, its become so easy to me to achieve the goal!! I get the championship title effortlessly for the first time in my life.

Bidyut B. Handique (India)


I hope to receive the next e-mail with a success story from you!

At the end I’d like to show you a very interesting position from the recent Olympiad.

Try to find Black’s next move and calculate the following lines.
After that, download the solution and check yourself: LINK

P.S. Write your views in comments.

Comments: 218

Comments 23

  1. “the way you train combined with your enthusiasm are MUCH more important factors!” …..This is the meaning of all life,..
    .thanks so much our teacher GM Igor Smirnov…

  2. This history is very interesting. It is true that a player who have a talent progress more quickly that a player without talent. But all is possible with hard and methodical work. The top player have a good positional judgement and a good ability to calculate variations. But I think that the most important in chess is to be able to think about a position, to recognize the consequence of our moves.

  3. sorry this is a wrong post…….. i checked the matches and found out that krajkan ended third in the tournament as opposed to gelfand who ended 10th

  4. Well, there is an element of natural talent in everything especially chess alright…but what you imply is to put a lot of weight on the hard work and not merely bank the hopes on natural talent.. But the right way and guidance for a proper training eliminating unproductive thinking procedures has to come from a trainer like you.It is highly appreciated considering that it is ” remote”. Thank you and regards.

  5. I think that our teacher helps us lot with all these psychololical lessons which keeps sending us from time to time. They are invaluable, extremely important and i dare to say so important as the method of training that he teaches us.
    I tend to believe that progress in chess slows down many times due to psychological reasons. At least this is what i discovered for myself after reading again and again, carefully trying to dig in the lessons sending to as by Igor. And i know many friends of mine who have the same problem but they just dont’ know it!
    Of course chess skills are also important but to fight ones bad habits is really difficult. To change is difficult. To fight your own character is difficult…
    Thanks Igor because your teaching goes further more than being just for chess. It is for being better as a human being! :O)

  6. OMG!! for the first time in my life ever i saw such a long combination ….. i thought Nd4…. but refuted it the moment i saw Qxd4….. it take lot more insight than just thinking. Specially in territories which seems already lost but its just an illusion. My GOD!! this puzzle was seriously OMG!!! Like world’s most OMG puzzle i ever saw

  7. You Said, Karjakin didn’t really study in a school or university. He dedicated all his time to chess………… that a wise thing to do for players who are good in chess, take it seriously and have good potential of great success in it? if so should i do it too?

    1. Well, pls don’t take it too literally. Having focus is a necessary thing for the highest achievements, that’s true. Nevertheless, you should have some successes in chess before you may abandon other areas.
      A school is not that bad 🙂 But before making a decision about your study in a university – you should make a decision about your future plans (will you be a PRO in chess or not).

  8. sir ,
    i jst look for your new email in my email id and when i recieve your email my day goes in chess training only thank you for motivating me

  9. Hi Igor Smirnov Sir! I have your ‘Opening Laboratory’ Course but I am facing problems when playing against 1.c4 Whites Opening please help how to play against 1.c4 opening or English opening. Thank you very much in advance.

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