Your opinion on the next RCA course

Comments: 77

My students always ask me to keep updating them with the latest news about RCA. For instance, one of my students, Ayush, follows our lessons and articles regularly, and the comments section of each article is usually filled with those from him – thanks for your support and interest, Ayush! 🙂


In one of our recent articles on the topic “Decision making in critical positions”, he made the following comment:
rca studentAs you can see, he has requested us to create a course on opening theory. Also, in one of our recent blog-posts here, he wrote: “Please make a course on modern opening trends”. We’re thankful to all RCA students for their support and enthusiasm. As I often say, this helps us create more useful materials for YOU! 🙂


We have thousands and thousands of students, and each one requests courses on different topics. That’s why I’ve decided to ask the opinion of all my students (YOU). Yes, it’s time for us to create a new course for you. And we would love to hear your suggestions for this new course.


Therefore, we’ve created a survey for you to let us know your thoughts. The survey is very short and contains only THREE questions. It won’t take more than a minute or two for you to complete it.

<<Take part in the survey>>


Most importantly, I’ll really appreciate your participation in the survey – so you will get one of our popular premium videos “Chess opening disasters” by IM Alex Kundin (worth $10) for FREE in return!
chess opening disaster

<<Participate in the survey now>>


Note: you’ll be provided with a link to the download page of this premium video after completion of the survey in full.


Thanks in advance, guys! I’ll be excited to read your answers to the survey. Please take part in it NOW because we will close the survey in a few days – so please do hurry up! 🙂

Comments: 77

Comments 44

  1. Like most Chess players I have loads of books on opening, middle games and end games… loads of DVDs too… what I don’t have is a planed way to study and get the most out of the books and DVDs I have…. What I really need is a roadmap of how to train, what to learn and when…. I need instructions on how to study and learn, what to study and when….

      1. thanks for your reply but I think $129 for a 2 1/2 hour course id way to expensive…. there are many people offering much better value for there courses…. Foxy… Empire and Chessbase to name three…

        1. The courses of GM Smirnov are “short” but they are extremly to the point and without any “nonsense”. Other courses are filled with Games explained by the Master to generate hours of lession.

          They are quite expensive :/ but you save!! time

          1. maybe they are good but I would never pay that for a 2 1/2 hour DVD, would not even pay half that!… I’ll stick with Roman or Foxy thanks….

          2. Thanks for your much appreciated opinion, Uwe.
            As Uwe said, most of the chess coaches analyze their games or talk about a certain topic without much preparation. But chess courses from GM Igor takes close to 6 months. You can read the student’s review below to check their opinion.

            Or you can check out our free videos from GM Igor to get an understanding of Igor’s opinion.
            We understand your concern that the courses are costly. We have made a note of your opinion.

            Prasaadh | Support Officer

    1. “I need instructions on how to study and learn, what to study and when….”

      Igor’s courses provide exactly these instructions, and yet you complain that they’re expensive. You have no idea what an excellent teacher he is. The only reason I don’t have every one of his courses is lack of funds. But the many I do have are all A+. He has an amazing talent for immediately getting down to the bare bones of exactly what you need to know. It also pays to be alert to opportunities for substantial discounts, which are offered on a regular basis. And then, once in a while, there’s something like the crossword puzzle contest, which saved me $50 on my last purchase.

      1. I am in the same position and need to be careful with the budget … Arturo, I started out with this shorter video because it was less costly way to try out Igor’s coaching — I was so impressed I have purchased another video as well. I have not taken chess coaching lessons for almost 15 year break, and after looking around the Phoenix area at the cost of what the coaches charge and compared that with the cost of these videos, it is far and away the best financial investment to purchase these videos and put in the effort to do the work on my own. There are always advanced players around at coffeehouse chess or online who will help you for free to analyze a game here and there until you can save the money to purchase the next one of Igor’s superb videos. My heart goes out to you as we need to be careful wtih money as well at our house. But it takes a long time to go through and fully integrate one of Igor’s videos. And he has lots of free stuff online too.

  2. According to me a new video course should be started in RCA. After all these awesome courses and videos, I think Mr. Igor, you should start a video course regarding “the art of analysing”, games and tactics of grand masters and chess champions should be analysed. Analysis of games are a very crucial part of chess practice. It helps to improve games and improves the ability to think like grand masters.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Navya,
      Thanks for your suggestion. Your idea sounds really good. We will take it into account.

      Prasaadh | Support Officer

    2. Great idea. Perhaps GM Smirnov could take a series of recent games that he hasn’t seen before and we could watch him walk through his process for analysing games “live”

  3. Hi Igor. There are some examples of a positional sacrifice in practical part of GM’s Positional Understanding course and i was really impressed by some of them.. i would really like to learn about positional sacrifice more specifically…
    Thanks in advance!

  4. Hi Igor,
    These might be included is some of the classes already, but I have a few questinos and perhaps you can point me in the right direction and/or include in a future video. I have not watched all of the videos yet. And these are beginner questions — please bear with me. 🙂
    What to do with the rook in the opening and middle game. Yes, the open files. But those danged opponent bishops, etc. 🙂 I’m afraid the move the one by the King away, and if I don’t I don’t support other pieces. Some sort of structure in decision making here would be helpful. ThanX

    Also, more on the counting of spaces under each person’s control. That helped me in today’s match to find a weak piece in my own territory. But I have found some contractory evidence, after seeing that in your video on the internet (I like to see what other people say so that I can be prepared for other ideas so I know what others are reading.” I know this must be a very important fundamental, and I don’t mind counting *all* of the squares. Helps me to see. But a few comments to help me work with that would be good.

    I have heard that one should not move the pawns, but rather the pieces when possible. Pawns cannot move back. But I find myself in positions with experienced attacking players that my only move seems to attempt to push them back with a pawn, (no rook or queen to attack) and next thing I know I have two pieces under attack, etc. Would you please talk about the pawn structures in details, which openings lead to which pawn structures and how some of th GMs can get to the end game with so many pawns, 🙂 Maybe all of this is in your opening video. ThX

    I realize this has nothing at all to do with high level, and tournament chess. I played only 12 tournmanets when I lived in CT, we moved west, and I didn’t play til now many years later. I now need to play “coffeehouse” chess to get enough games in each week with many differnet people. MOST of the people I play with are really nice, especially more advanced played. Kind and play quietly. However, sometimes I get people who are insecure and will do anything to win. Whine about my moves being stupid, tap the table (“Am I playing too slowly for you.” “Oh no” and continue lookingn at watch, etc.) I am not ready to play tournaments yet. What to do with these people to shield myself form the negativity and be able to concentrate better? I finally told one man who said “We gotta speed it up here.” that perhaps he might find a more advanced player and he relentless talked trash about me and I did not go back to that small group of 5-6 people in one specific isolated location.

    One very nice young man I played with yesterday commented “Nice to play with someone who isn’t getting angry over lossing.” So apparently it is a bother to some people but not all. I’m sure I’m in the minority, but much appreciate your assistance.
    People who have excellent concentration will probably not relate to this question. My analytical skills are my strength and I would like to be able find a system to block this stuff out.

    Perhaps a bit more about after the opening how to develop a plan. I’m guessing that certain openings and certain pawn structures go with related plans, but I’m clueless here. Again, this may already be included in one of your videos, and I will get through them eventually. I was planning on spending a good amount of time integrating one video before I move to another.

    Thanks so much for sharing the GM insider information with us. I taught figure skating for many years and I know of what you speak. Some keep their secrets just for their high level competitors. Much appreciate you supporting the sport of chess for everyone!

  5. thanks dear igor to accomplish my request and you make mei famous queit a lot in rca.may be one day i am able to take private lessons with you are great.!!!!great mark drovestky died today suddenly could you please say something about him and his training methods??

    1. Yes, we are aware of Mark Drovestky. His Endgame Manual and Analysis books have helped a lot of players. Thanks for the idea. We have already talked about this in our Facebook. You can check it out.

      Prasaadh | Support

  6. Hi, i had thought that ı know to play chess well because i know how to use tactics in a game and how to solve puzzles but when i start to play real games i saw that i dont know to play chess. Because i couldnt win much games. I have just learnt the reason of that situation. The reason is my opening knowledge isnt enough. If you tell how we must play against rivals moves in the openings we will play better games thanks..

      1. Hi Hasan,
        Sorry for the delay.
        To cover how to play each opening is a big task. We have dedicated course for openings.

        You can also check out few free videos Igor made about some interesting videos on YouTube

        If you can’t afford the course, then you can use free online databases and check how the GMs played that opening. GM Igor recommends to select active openings.

        Prasaadh | Support Manager

  7. As far as i see the courses (of GM Smirnov) build a complete system of thinking. My problem is that i dont have the skills to implemet them. I would need more and maybe different exercises. What i would like to have are exercises offered weekly or even daily by mail. We would send our solutions back and GM Smirnov would not answer every single of our replys but the most common (1,2,3?) errors and give the exact solution. Or maybe a forum is offerd where the pupils ,may discuss by themself the different possibilitys.
    I would like to have weekly exercises (7?) to the courses “Grandmasters positional understanding” and “Calculate till mate” per mail or per forum for say.. 60 Euro per year. ( Could be cheaper though 😉


    1. Hi Uwe,
      Thanks for your opinion.
      Yes, most students lack the practice that’s why GM Igor puts lot of emphasis on the practical tasks.
      Your idea is very good about weekly puzzles and reviewed by a titled player and creating a community to help with the most common mistakes.
      I have made a note of your comment and they sound really interesting.

      Prasaadh | Support Officer

      1. Just to make it clear:
        Such “puzzles” should be related to to one of Igor’s courses. The solution should help me to implemet Igor’s thinking process. The solution should show me , how “I” ! can find the right move

        Typical “puzzles” by many other writers are just showing that this master did find a nice move “by magic”. Such puzzles are a waste of time.

        The practical tasks of Igor are already good , maybe enough for a younger and stronger player but beeing an older and week Class A player i need way more exercises.

        So if this exercise is a puzzle of the type: “find the best move” then i need to know:

        1) how to find the opponents idea behind his last move, how do i read the position , how do i find the most important aspects, weaknesses and so on, how to find the right strategy

        2) How to find the candidate moves

        3) How to calculate them

        ( depending on the course )

        A wonderful bonus could be the hint for typical pattern like : The move g2-g3 is a typical move to reduce the activity of a knight at g6 …

        1. Yes, your idea is very clear and sounds useful. There may be constraints in implementing it.
          To implement your idea, I think we need either or both of these two things.
          1) We need a large community who are working on the same exercises and willing to help other students.
          2) GM Igor or other titled player has to review all the students response to an exercise and give feedback. This may not be practical.

          We would love to hear your ideas on how to implement. We will also think about this since it sounds interesting.

          Prasaadh | Support officer

          1. The comunity dont need to be “thaaat big”, there could be simply a special/seperate forum at this site with a login. A admin of Igor will give the pupil username and password
            Every week all students of this course will get the same “puzzles”. They get the chance to send their answer until a certain day. The master will look at typical errors of all pupils and send the preparated detailed solution plus some extra words about the most typical errors to every pupil ( and maybe a individual score ).
            So the pupil has the “chance” that the master will say something about their individual error but cant be shure.
            The feedback will help the master to modify the puzzles and the solutions. After 1 or 2 years the master will have virtually no work with these anymore; further feedback from the pupils might not be necessary anymore

  8. thanks dear igor for this great news and suvery for the new course you arejust great.thanks for considering my request.what are your views about mark drovestky training methods could you make a course on that??he died yesterday suddenely.

    1. Hi Ayush,
      I think it is a good idea to write about Mark Dvoretsky’s teaching since he was a big influence on lot of players. Thanks for the suggestion.
      Prasaadh | Support Officer

      1. thanks sir byee tc i had previously seen two of his latest series on calculation and endgames with gm jan gustaffson it was just awesome.

  9. … and speaking of the crossword puzzle contest, has the correct solution been posted? I’m curious as to which answers I got wrong.

  10. GM Smirnov teaches (if I understand correctly ) that learning to apply the knowledge that we have is more important than constantly getting knew knowledge. Perhaps he could do a program on study technique and skill building.

    1. Hi William,
      Yes, chess is a skill based game. It is important practice then to accumulate knowledge.
      Study techniques and Skill building sounds interesting. We have made a note of your idea.

      Prasaadh | Support Officer

  11. To all of you, guys, big thanks for sharing your feedback and suggestions! I’m impressed by your frank and detailed messages!
    We’ll study carefully all the answers from the survey, as well as your blog comments, and will prepare future lessons / courses based on the most frequent inquiries.

    Finally, I’m happy to see many people who are willing to support other students. Thumbs up!

  12. Finally, i had the chance to participate in the survey. And i hope my suggestions about the new course will be helpful as well for RCA students.
    1. “Carlsen, Kasparov and Fischer’s best practices and their approach to chess”.
    2. The improved version of the Self-taught GM illustrating the most important techniques and training to become a Grandmaster. (In addition to just referring to other courses, video lessons illustrating the critical technique in the training program.)

  13. I hope about kasparov 🙂

    Also a part 2 of how to beat titled players. )
    On my chess club there are some very good strong players , that I still not can beat 🙁
    Thank you in advance..

  14. I don’t know if a course on opening trends is such a good idea, as it only takes one newly discovered move to destroy an opening idea. And how much of that variation are you going to actually remember when your first chance to play it is in a tournament six months after you studied it? You’re probably better off simply reviewing the fundamental ideas about openings that Igor teaches in his Openings Lab videos.

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