Useful story of an RCA Student

Comments: 14

First, I’d like to remind you of the new course “Think, Plan and Win” which contains my seminars that were held in India during October and November. You can find more details about the course and purchase it here. Think, Plan and Win

<<Find more details and buy the course>>


Also, I’d like to remind you of the holiday special offers. You can find all details about the special offers here. designSpeaking of my seminars in India, I met a lot of great people there. One of them is Ram S Krishnan – an avid chess player and follower of RCA. Igor and Ram

Me and Ram


His story is very instructive and typical: LOTS of chess players experience similar ups and downs. That’s why I’d like to share this story with you. Smart people learn from the experience of others, right? 🙂


Ram has been an aspiring chess player for years, and even achieved some great results – he got one GM norm. Despite of his active study, at some point his rating started decreasing. No matter how hard he tried, it didn’t change the situation. The government officials may simply blame ‘crisis’ in such cases, but we have to find a more practical solution… 🙂


When Ram showed me his games, everything became clear to me right away. Let me share an example with you.


Gasanov – Ram S Krishnan

  1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Nf3 e6 5.00 dxc4 6.a4 a5 chess

White to play


What do you think about these moves? Did you notice anything special or is it just a standard opening play? Please, think about it yourself first, and only then continue reading.


What do we need to do in an opening? Develop your pieces. Then why Black moved pawns five times within the first six moves? It violates the fundamental rules of development. Anyway, let’s continue the game.


7.Qc2 Bd6 8.Na3 00 9.Nxc4 Bc7 chess

White to play


Is there anything noticeable in these moves? As usual, I encourage you to think yourself first.


Another well-known rule suggests to avoid moving the same piece twice in an opening. However, this is exactly what Black just did. It’s not surprising that Black lost this game afterwards…


Now we are coming to the main question: why is Black player making such obvious mistakes? Let me mention once again that he’s a very experienced player, who obtained 1 GM norm, and a lot of scalps of IMs and GMs.


By the way, the same question is applicable to 90% of modern players, and most likely it relates to you just as well. thinkNowadays there’s an overabundance of available chess tutorials. On the top of that you have a computer that contains lots of games played by strong players. Also, your chess engine can demonstrate you a lot of variations during an analysis.


Each of those factors, drugs your attention into a certain direction. Ultimately, it’s so easy to deviate from the right path.


This is what happened with Ram. I see a similar situation for 90% of new students I work with. Most likely, it happens to you just as well. Be warned. Do NOT let computer analysis and opening variations deflect you from fundamental rules.


This was a DON’T, while you may be wondering about DOs as well. dos and don'tsHere they are:


1. Know the fundamental chess rules. I explained them in many of my courses and seminars.

2. Whenever you digest any new information, examine it for compliance. For instance:

  • If you study a new opening line, ask yourself: “Does it follow the fundamental chess rules?” If not – reject it.
  • Check your own games, especially the ones you lost. Ask yourself “Where did I violate fundamental chess rules?” You have certainly violated them at some point, otherwise you would not lose, right?
  • If you stumbled upon a certain recommendation in a video lesson published in the Internet – “examine it for compliance”. Do NOT trust it blindly, even if the lesson is prepared by a titled player.


Following these recommendations will help you stay on the right track. This will guarantee you smooth and stable advancement.

P.S. Stay tuned as Ram’s story will be continued in the next article. 🙂
Comments: 14

Comments 14

  1. Black’s 6th and 7th moves both seem suspect. The 6th move doesn’t seem to accomplish anything while ignoring development, and the 7th move sacrifices a tempo in order to place the bishop on a diagonal where it’s biting on granite. On the other hand, I’m probably the last person you’d want to ask about opening theory.

  2. Excellent article. I have a question. Are the older courses such as calculate to mate going to be offered on udemy as well as the newer courses.

    Thanks for any reply.

  3. Hi William,

    Yes, I do plan to move the past courses to Udemy as well. LOTS of people asked me to adapt my courses for mobile/tablet devices. That’s one of the main reasons I uploaded the courses to Udemy – you can watch the lessons there from any device.

    Sadly, uploading the past courses to Udemy can take months… It’s not that easy, and there are a couple of technical issues that needs to be resolved. Anyway, we’ll do this in 2016.

    Of course it depends on you and the other students as well. I always collect students’ feedback and address it. That said, feel free to share your impressions about Udemy.

  4. Uploading courses to Udemy is a nice idea.

    My views on them


    1) Can study anytime , anywhere and at any device
    2) Facilities for discussion with other enrolled students

    These two are the main advantages and there are some other minor bonuses like “Certificate for Completion” etc…


    1) We always need internet access with us. Some times there may be some network problems for some people , so if we want to re-watch again we cannot always do it ( Because only “Summary” file is available for download. )

    2)For people with slow internet connection , the video will buffer for a long time . It may be a drag.In the same case as before , if we need to re-watch the lesson it may give as a big drag

    (Also many people like me re-watch the lessons many times as GM Smirnov sir always recommends to re-watch the lessons again and again until we digest it fully )

    REQUEST : Keeping the above demerits in mind , I guess it would be better if you also provide download link for the course like you always done in past . Because after downloading the course once with internet,can easily study the course without any internet/buffer problems .

    When you upload the course to Udemy and also give download link , people who wish to study the course anytime at any device will also be happy and people with slow internet/ other internet problems will also be

  5. Hey there,

    Thank you very much for such informative and well-thought reply! I’ll check the feedback from other students, but as of now, I tend to agree with you and to follow your recommendation.

  6. That’s great GM Igor! There’s one thing that can be improved with the UDEMY courses: The transcript of the video lessons must be provided in readable format for download and/or printing for future review/reference (for the entire lecture) and across all RCA udemy courses. That will be more professional and have additional value, especially when a lesson is in text format. Regards,

  7. Thanks for your suggestion!

    Let me clarify one thing. How important is the text version of a video lesson for you? You know, the extra work leads to increase of a course’s price. If I prepare each course in 2 formats (Udemy and downloadable) – that’s extra work. If I prepare text version of every video lesson – that’s the extra work too.

    Will you prefer to get a course without texts for a cheaper price, or to pay extra for getting text versions as well?

    1. I guess text version is not so important if we get download link for the video lessons ( in mp4 format since it is readable in any device)

      For text we can see the summary which is available in Udemy itself which also is downloadable.

    2. Hi GM Smirnov,
      Either is fine ;-), but prefer the latter (pay extra) especially if the chess course is more comprehensive. Regarding udemy, a creative approach is something like: complete text version can be downloaded/received in line with sending the course certificate.
      I’m not against watching chess videos again and again, but here are the positives of having a text version of a video lesson.
      1. You can review a particular lecture while riding a bus, without internet and not using any form of energy.
      2. Prefer reading the txt file when going over a certain lecture and can even highlight important notes/ideas.
      3. Maybe I developed that habit of reviewing the text version after watching your excellent chess courses and drawing own conclusion about it.
      That’s all for now, o/

  8. udemy is a best place for students it has got over lakhs of students coming to it if previous courses from beginner level is uploaded we can have access to it and buy when udemy gives disocount example new year , christmas etc it gives offer even for 10 $

  9. Dear Igor Smirnov, thank you for time and efforts into your many chess course (especially self taught G.M.) I was studying it and found a small interesting thing,
    In it, one of the books you recommend is “Theory of Chess sacrifices” by Rudolf Spielmann. When I looked it up, I found a book “The art of sacrifice in chess.” by him.
    All I am curious is is this the same book and consequently should I buy it (it was on the ibook, that is where I found the books.) If you could help me, I would be grateful. Thank you and have a nice day.

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