Thank you!

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for your nice greetings for my birthday!
Let me publish one more greeting card I received:
happy b 'day Igor_01
It’s a great pleasure for me to communicate with such nice and creative guys like you!
Let me take a moment to remind you that the special offers in honour of the release of the NEW  Opening Course will expire on 2 November.
You can read the details about the course by clicking the image below.
For a few more days, you still can get a discounted price for the new course and for some accompanying courses, and the bonus of my personal support while studying the course, etc. You can read more aboutthe special offers by clicking the image below:
Thanks for publishing your feedback about the new opening course in your comments! It’s interesting for me to hear your opinion and it’ll be useful for other people as well.
Let me comment on one message I’ve just received:
“I buy the course and starting to study the first lessons: at the beginning i was sceptical cause i thought was a double of the previous but after the study now i know that is a superlative one a very hard work made by our Igor!!!”
Massimo Tricomi

Indeed, I repeat the key ideas over and over again. This is a part of a teacher’s work :) Those who take study superficially tend to go over new materials all the time. They don’t take enough time to MASTER necessary skills, and all that “new information” they learn brings almost no effect at all.
Look at Tigran Petrosian: he became World Champion by exploiting his opponent’s weaknesses and by using prophylaxis (well, of course, he knew many other things as well, but I’m talking about his main skills). It happened because he MASTERED these skills to the highest level.
Petrosian – Khasin
White’s turn
Let’s check if you can guess Petrosian’s moves. How would you play here as White?
After you come up with your solution, please download the whole game here: LINK
In conclusion, be sure that you study chess lessons slowly and seriously.Repeat the key ideas until they become a part of your “chess nature”. Then good results will follow shortly.
Another type of a feedback I’m always delighted to receive is messages from mature persons about their progress.
Unfortunately a lot of players who haven’t managed to progress much for some time decide that “they don’t have enough talent” or “it’s just their normal level”. However, that’s not the case.
I’ve had a similar period in my chess career. I became an IM at 13, but was then stuck at the level of around 2430. It lasted for years (!!!) until… I changed my training methods. Then I achieved the title of Grandmaster shortly afterwards.
Even if you are a mature person and your progress in recent years has not been that great – you still can look forward to good advancement! When you change the way you train and play chess, the results will change as well.
Let me provide some feedback from students.
Dear Igor Smirnov,
I already have one of your chess courses, Grandmasters Secrets.
I am an amateur chess player, old now at 75 years but still madly keen on
Chess and always trying to improve.…
Richard Lett
That’s a good attitude to have!
The next person contacted me via YouTube and wrote the following.
I just wanted to drop a quick note to thank you for your videos and lessons. Over the past several years I’ve studied all of your free lessons, purchased all of your larger lessons, and have worked hard at integrating them into my game.
It has proven extremely effective for me! I have gained several hundred Elo points (up to around 2100) and, at the age of 37, finally feel like I know what I should be doing when preparing for a tournament or approaching a new position.

There’s a common stereotype that children can progress quickly, while for an adult it’s almost impossible. However, I know A LOT of examples where adults made progress that children would only envy! Don’t underestimate yourself – your potential is at least two times greater than you normally think is the case!
Today I’ve been observing the games from the recent major tournaments and found an interesting example:
Giri – Bartel
White’s turn
How would you play here as White?
This game illustrates a typical motif, and you should know it for sure. Check the whole game here: LINK
For those who have studied the video lessons from the new opening course already, there’s an additional task. Observe the whole game. Think what Black did wrongly and how he should have played. Please think independently, don’t use a computer. You will be finding mistakes in the game of a GM rated 2638; isn’t that cool? :)
Finally, let me provide one important technical note. Some people didn’t receive the new opening course instantly after making their payment, because they didn’t go to the web page with the course.
If you pay via PayPal, on their final web page with a confirmation of your payment, you need to click the button “Return to Remote Chess Academy”. Then you’ll be able to download the course instantly.
If, however, you closed that web page without downloading the course, please contact our support teamLINK We’ll back to you shortly – usually within 12 hours.
Note: you are always most welcome to leave your comments below the lesson. However, they are NOT suitable if you need technical support (questions about payments, downloading the course, etc.). In the latter case, you’ll need to provide some personal information, which should notbe shared publicly. Instead, please contact our support team via this LINKor e-mail

My birthday & New Opening Course

Today is my birthday and I’ll try my best to keep you in a holiday mood! :)
One student sent just sent nice a greeting card:
Perhaps I should publish more of my photos… In this one there was a parrot on my shoulder, and it required a lot of creativity for the student to get rid of it. :)

In any case, thanks a lot for your greetings! It’s always a big pleasure for me to see the successes of my students, while your appreciation motivates me to keep making new and useful lessons for you.
Another great thing is the release of the NEW opening course, “The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory – 2”.
It’s quite amusing that the release concurred with my birthday, because initially I’d planned to publish the new course in June… :) Ultimately it took a lot more time, and I’m sorry for that. I just didn’t want to compromise on the quality and that’s why it took so long.
You can read the detailed description of the course by clicking its image above.
As I promised earlier, there will be “special offers” during the first days of release. Thus my long-term students will get the best conditions. The special offers will expire on November the 2nd.

You can get a 10 USD discount for the new course: “The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory – 2“. Indicate the discount coupon GOL2 while placing your order and it will reduce the price for you.
The new course complements my previous opening course “The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory” (LINK). You should not buy the 2ndcourse if you don’t possess the 1st one.
At the same time, I do understand that buying 2 courses simultaneously can be expensive. That’s why I’ll give you 10 USD discount for the 1st opening course as well. You can use the same discount coupon GOL2while purchasing “The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory” course and it will reduce its price.

The first 50 buyers will get a free BONUS of my personal support while studying the course. You’ll be able to send me your questions and get them answered. This will ensure that you digest the course’s material well.
The next 100 buyers will get my answers as well, but will not be able to ask their questions.
Please note that 150 is not so much when compared to 20,000+ of my on-line students. However, I can’t serve too many people personally and that’s why the amount is limited.
Initially I had doubts if I should provide any other bonuses. But today I’m in a good mood, so here we go. :)
Perhaps I’ve never made so many “special offers”. This will be the last one.
Most of my long-term students have already studied my previous courses. However, there are some new people here as well. If you happen to be in this group, let me give you a piece of advice.
BEFORE studying specific opening lines, you should learn the fundamental chess principles. Otherwise you’ll have to memorize variations mechanically, which is a dull and less productive work.
That’s why before studying the opening course; I would recommend that you learn one of the base courses:
  • The Grandmaster’s SecretsLINK or
  • The Grandmaster’s Positional UnderstandingLINK
Again, I understand that buying a few courses together may be expensive. That’s why I’ll provide 15% discount for the above 2 courses (you may pick the one you like better).
While placing your order, please indicate the discount coupon BASE15. This will automatically cut 15% off the price.
Time for Action
Let me remind you that all of these special offers will only last until the 2nd of November.

Technical notes:
  • Here you can see HOW to use a discount code: LINK
  • If you’re not sure how to place an order, please watch this video tutorial: LINK
I hope you will enjoy the new opening course. It’s designed to improve not only your opening play, but improve your overall chess strength as well.
The guys who assisted me in development of the course have already benefited from it. Shane (he’s my friend, who helped to correct mistakes in my English) raised his Internet rating from 1590 to 1950. Sagar (who helped me with opening analyses) in recent tournaments drew with Black pieces against 2556 and 2487 rated players by using the openings from the course (I’ve included these games in the course). Now it’s your turn:)
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New Course and Opening Preparation

Today I’ll provide more details about the new opening course (which will be released on October 28th). Also we’ll discuss opening preparation in general.
The opening stage is quite important, because if you don’t play it well, you will lose sooner than you can demonstrate your middlegame/endgame skills. :)
There are a lot of opening tutorials that show what moves you should play. However, that’s only a part of opening preparation.
The opening stage lasts for 15-20 moves and on every move both opponents can play around 10 different logical moves. Ultimately this generates many thousands (perhaps millions) of variations. Of course there’s no way for us to analyze and remember them all.
1)    If your opening preparation is excellent, it may work for you maybe in 50% of your opening moves.
2)    However, very often you’ll face unknown positions, where you need to find correct moves by yourself. That’s another 50% of opening moves you’ll need to play.
That’s why I developed the new opening course that will help you master BOTH of these components.
In comments for the previous lesson (LINK) 1 person described the difference between the new opening course and my previous course “The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory”. He did it excellently, so let me just re-publish that comment.
Since I’m an owner of The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory, let me see if I can answer this for you.
The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory is designed to provide you with a complete opening repertoire on the Grandmaster’s level and make your pre-game preparation extremely effective.
This new companion course, The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory 2 (which complements the first course), addresses the question, “How do Grandmaster’s detect the best opening moves and variations?”
As opposed to “openings knowledge,” which entails vast amounts of study and memorization of theory, this course is more about developing your “openings understanding.”
Thus instead of being a mere fleshy robot that plays its moves unthinkingly, this course gives us the opportunity to think more “independently,” or perhaps more precisely, to think more like a Grandmaster during the opening.
Take Kamsky for instance. USA Champion, a 2700+ player who almost completely ignores opening theory. Nevertheless, he plays very strongly because he knows how to find correct opening moves. I’d like to help you share the same level of chess understanding. That’s 1 HUGE thing that you will learn in the new opening course.
The 2nd thing is a powerful opening repertoire.
The new course complements the openings from “GM’s Openings Laboratory”; it contains:
1)    New openings which were not included in the previous course (for instance the English opening).
2)    Alternative openings/variations that will widen your opening repertoire. For example, in the previous course I provided the Ruy Lopez. It’s a very good opening indeed, but sometimes you may prefer to play in more aggressive style. That’s why in the new course I’ve provided a powerful alternative for the Ruy Lopez.
3)    For some of the openings from the previous opening course I’ve provided more analysis and explanations. Thus you’ll become a big expert in them.
Now we come to the sweetest part. When I release a new course, I’ll make “special offers” during the first few days. Thus my long-term students will be able to get the best conditions.
This time the “special offers” will last from 28 October till 2 November.
1)    There will be a special discounted price.
 2)   There’s a BONUS of my personal support during the course’s study for the first 50 buyers.
Normally when I make private lessons, it costs 100usd / per hour, and I do it very exceptionally (only for my friends and very long-term students). The quickest 50 guys will get it for free! I like fast and competitive people. :)
While studying the new course, they will send me their questions, and I’ll answer them (via e-mail or by recording a video – depending on the question).
The next 100 buyers will also get these materials, but will not be able to send me their questions.
Thus, in total, the first 150 buyers will get a BONUS. It’s not too much compared to 20,000+ of my subscribers, but “the winners take it all”, right?:)
Victory is mine!
Maybe there will be some other special bonuses as well, but I’m not sure about it yet.
New opening course will be released on 28 October (Monday) at 5pm Ukrainian time.
Note: you can see Ukrainian time here: LINK
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New Opening Course Is Coming Soon!

I have some good news for you. The new opening course is almost ready! I hope to finalize it very soon, and to publish it on the 28th of October.
How do chess players study openings? There are only 2 main ways:
  • They learn via tutorials (books, DVDs etc) made by GMs about a certain opening, or
  • They observe the games of strong players in this opening.
cd (3) kasparov books

In either case it assumes that a student will remember the lines and plans demonstrated by a GM, and then reproduce it in his/her games. This kind of training makes sense for sure. But there’s another question here which is much more interesting and important: how do those Grandmasters detect the best opening moves and variations?

GM Smirnov Answers Students’ Questions

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Our News and Your Questions

Today I’ve been considering what lesson to record for you next. But then I decided to simply ask YOU about it. Feel free to write your chess questions in the comments area below.
  • Here I’m talking about my free video lessons that are usually around 10-30 minutes in length. Thus I’ll probably be unable to answer huge questions that require a large and comprehensive answer.
  • I always try to answer all questions from my students. However, due to a huge quantity of students and a lack of free time, I simply cannot promise a reply to every query.

How to Become a Titled Player (part-2)

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

How to Become a Titled Player? (part-1)

Would you like to become a titled player (FM, IM, GM)? Most chess players would answer “Yes, it would be cool!”
This can be pretty nice indeed. Titled players have more possibilities to play in strong tournaments, better financial conditions, free access to Internet resources (game zones, etc.), more respect, higher self-confidence during a game, and the list can go on…
Getting a chess title is more important for professional players, but even if you are an amateur you’ll still find some useful ideas for raising your chess level.

The Secrets of Strong Players

Intellectual Sport

Recently I gave an interview to a Ukrainian TV channel. The 2 most popular questions that non-chess playing people asked me were:
1. Why do people play chess?
2. Why do players need chess coaches when there are so many books, videos etc?
If we want to raise the popularity of chess, we should EXPLAIN its value to people. There’s an old and wise idea that “People criticize what they do not understand”.

Winning Patterns

Today we will be discussing typical middlegame plans and patterns. Thus this lesson will contain practical information that you’ll be able to apply in your own games afterwards.
I asked Sagar Shah (my friend and a member of our Remote Chess Academy) to record this special lesson for you. So feel free to grab yourself a cup of tea/coffee and enjoy the video. :)

How To Grow A Champion

Today I’d like to provide some advice on chess training for kids. This will be especially important for both the chess coaches and for the parents of chess playing children.
If you don’t correspond to either of these groups – do not despair. Thankfully, the general principles of chess training are the same for everyone.

Chess + 2nd Language

Have you ever thought about studying a 2nd language?
Perhaps you’ve heard that Bobby Fischer learnt the Russian language in order to be able to read and study Russian chess tutorials.
I will share with you something interesting that I’ve noticed over the years. When I learn materials in English (which is my 2nd language), I usually digest them very well, maybe even better than materials in my native language!
Sound strange? Well, there is actually a simple explanation. While viewing materials (books, videos, articles, etc.) in your native language, you naturally move through the materials rather quickly.

Gambit Rules

Note: If you’d like to master the gambit line showed in this video, you may study 3 special videos about this opening:
Smirnov’s Gambit – PART-1PART-2PART-3.

Champion Psychology from the Martial Arts

Chess players feel nervous before and/or during a game. This has a serious influence on your results.
In the previous lesson, I’ve published a message from a student who used the power of a proper psychological attitude: LINK
We know that in critical situations, some people demonstrate extraordinary performance, while others become feeble. How can YOU adopt the right approach?
Let’s see how masters of martial arts overcome fear and nervousness. They take a serious risk while participating in sporting competitions. Thus they need really powerful techniques.
By the way, chess is a model of war, so we may make this comparison.
I’ll place a quote/idea from the martial arts in bold font, and then will place a note on how you can adopt it in chess.

Successful Experience

During the last months we’ve been working on developing a new opening course. This work takes all my time, and that’s why I haven’t published any new free lessons recently.
Nevertheless, I just want to say “Hi!” to you :) , and to ask how things are going at your end. You are welcome to let me know about your recent chess achievements in comments below.