What is Your Plan? (Part-3)

Comments: 16

In a few previous lessons we’ve been talking about a PLAN for your chess progress.

Having such a plan ensures your step-by-step advancement. Random study, on the other hand, is rather a numbers game, where you can only hope for luck.

Before we move forward, you may like to recollect the previous parts of this lesson quickly: PART-1; PART-2

Now we come to the most intriguing moment. You are about to create a PLAN that will bring you a serious chess progress in 2013.

There will be 3 steps here.

STEP-1: Set up your chess GOAL for 2013.

Even if you are not a professional player, and don’t take part in official tournaments – you should still have a GOAL.

It is this goal that motivates you. It helps you to check if you are on the right track or not and allows you to evaluate your progress towards this goal. Having a goal also challenges you and makes it more exciting.

How do you set up a proper goal? It should be realistic, but ambitious. For example:

–         Get +100 FIDE rating, or +300 Internet rating (on any game zone).

–         Calculate how much you raised your rating in 2012. Set a goal to DOUBLE this increase in 2013. (e.g. if you got +50 rating in 2012, you should get +100 rating in 2013).

–         Get your next title: FM/IM/GM

Now, set up YOUR chess goal for 2013, and write it down.

STEP-2: Define WHAT you need to obtain for reaching your goal.

Make a list of knowledge, skills, resources etc that you need to learn during 2013.

The self-analysis that we did in the previous lesson (LINK) will help you here.

Analyze statistics of your results in different openings.

If a certain opening brings you bad results, it obviously means you should allot some time to learn it better, or replace it by another opening line.
Also you need to learn NEW opening lines from time-to-time. This will favor your overall chess development.

Make a database of your losing games and look through it.

Notice what your main weaknesses are. Do you have troubles in endgames? Maybe you suffer from blunders? Detect your weaknesses and write them down.

Look at the players whose rating is 100-200 points higher than yours. What is it that separates them from you? What do you need to learn in order to play on the same level?

At the end of this 2nd step of planning, you should make a list of WHAT you need to study in 2013.

STEP-3: Create a PROGRAM for your chess development.

Take the list that you created in the 2nd step, and place the items in a logical sequence.

Remember how you studied math at school? First you studied numerals. Then you studied simple operations with them (addition, subtraction). Later you studied a bit more complex operations (multiplication, division).

All in all there was a strict logic of learning. You started from simple things, and later on the level of difficulty was raised gradually. The whole process ensured that your knowledge was thorough and complete.

How do chess players study chess? Many just go from one book (lesson/video) to another, using no system at all. Such random study can only bring random results.

That’s why it’s so vital for you to create a PROGRAM for your chess progress and training in 2013.

To sum up, here’s how you can create a PLAN for your massive chess progress in 2013:

1)    Set up your GOAL for 2013.
2)    Define exactly WHAT you need to obtain for reaching your goal.
3)    Create a sequence of simple and logical steps (PROGRAM) for your chess development.


If you have the course “Self-taught Grandmaster” (LINK), then you already have a ready-made plan.

Do you know what the hardest thing here is? Yes, it’s to continuously FOLLOW this plan. Print out your plan and keep it somewhere near to you. Review this document from time to time during your trainings.


In closing, let me remind you of 2 key ideas:
–> If you want to achieve a certain distant goal, you need to have a map that will show you the right way.
–> It’s better to have a bad plan than not to have any plan at all.


To conclude this lesson, let me show you 1 very interesting game that was played a few days ago:

Iturrizaga – Le Quang
White’s turn

In this tense position, both players have some attacking chances. Now it’s White’s turn and you need to choose the best option. Of course, you should calculate the resulting variations as well.

After you find the best move, download the solution and check your answer: LINK
Note: if you don’t know how to open chess games in *.pgn format – please, read this FAQ: LINK

Comments: 16

Comments 16

  1. WOW thank u so much for the great info and tips , my goal is in 2013 to train more and more with your courses , in 2012 I did play to huge and to much online on my club and tournaments , and less training 🙂

  2. my goal in 2013 is to achieve 1500 points rating.im still pretty low, at 1200 points right now.however,im quite satisfied because i was very weak at chess and everybody could beat me,my rating was 850-900 and after Gm Positional Understanding and GM Secrets i had a 300 points rating increase.

  3. Maybe its too ambitous goal to increase my rating double than in 2012 because I progressed rapidly from 1400 Elo to 1750 and after this season it will increase even more to 1850,so double it by 600 points will be very hard to achieve,but I can focus mainly on progress! Thank you,it was pretty helpful ,after part 2 I made a plan because I cannot be so patient to wait until part 3 arrives,and hang it on the wall,but now I can make that plan better,so thank you Igor!

    1. My congrats with your great progress! It’s amazing indeed!
      Assuming your big advancement in 2012, you may set a goal to keep your progress in 2013 on the same level. In any case you need to set a SPECIFIC goal (and let it be higher than your “comfortable expectations”).
      Good luck!

  4. Dear Igor–I own several of your courses including the “Grandmaster’s Opening Laboratory”. My question is this: How do you recommend that your students play against the English Opening? You don’t give a line against this in your course. Thank you.

  5. Very nice Igor. Thank u. My goal for 2013 is not to rise my rating or win in chess! I believe that if i rise my status of playing strength things will go smoothly. And i can do that by studing your courses even more deeply than before and of course by imporing all the time my thinking system.
    I also need to streghten my psychological properties. I noticed that when i focus on improving my rating or on winning a game etc. I lose concentration on chess, im very stressed and i am not objective. I play against the person and not against the board! Then i noticed that i play bad. So this is another thing that i need to improve and i am already on it!
    My goal for every game will be to play 40 good moves…! Thank u and bye!

  6. Thanks for your question. I plan to make a continuation of the opening course, and I’ll include the lines against English Opening as well.

    If you play Nimzo or Queen’s gambit, you may play 1.c4-Nf6 2.Nc3-e6 and then either 3…Bb4 or d5.
    If you play Benko, sometimes you can switch the game to this opening. For instance: 1.Nf3-Nf6 2.c4-g6 3.d4-c5 4.d5-b5

    1. Dear Gm Igor,

      If you plan to make continuation to opening course , Please consider about including some ideas against 1 .d4 openings which refute Benko. As an example In Sri Lanka most player play 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 Where I cannot play benko.
      Thank you !

  7. Sir my name is Jayakumar from India . I am not a chess player but i like chess . I have 36 year old now and played chess when i am young . and after i have no opportunity to play chess. But now i began to play chess on face book and noticed and now practiced your great lessons . Now i have great confidence and gain great victories against difficult players.
    I am thanking you sir with my heart and i began to teach to others who likes chess including kids. Once again i thanking you sir

  8. Hello, I already bought “the grandmaster’s secrets”. Since this study, I earned about 30 points and my elo is 2071.
    My question is, where to start with your products, and in what sequence?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Karl,

      Unfortunately, our programs are not available for tablets for the time being. Thanks. Manuel / Student Support Officer

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