Changes for the better

Before we start today’s lesson, let me publish a new possibility you might be interested in.
A lot of students asked me to translate my chess courses to other languages.

That said, I’m going to translate the courses to all most popular languages (based on the frequency of student’s requests).
You may help me to translate the courses from English to your native language.
Lots of people will be grateful to you!If you may be interested, please, read the details here: LINK
A beginning of a new year is considered to be suitable for 2 things:
  1. An analysis of your results in the past year.
  2. Your plans for the New Year.
An Analysis Of Your Results In The Past Year.
All chess players know the importance of an analysis of their games. It helps them detect their past mistakes, and prevent them from reoccurring in the future.
Due to the same reasons it’s important to analyze your OVERALL PERFORMANCEas well.
Analyze your chess results in 2013. Think about the following questions:
  • What is your rating change since 1st January of 2013? If it’s smaller than +100 points in official FIDE rating, or +300 points in your online rating – it means something is wrong. You need to change your way of training and/or playing chess.
  • Have you been progressing steadily? If yes – great for you! Keep up the good work you are doing.
If your progress was unstable, it proves a lack of YOUR TRAINING PLAN. Unfortunately, lots of chess players study chess haphazardly. They learn various books, puzzles and other stuff in a random order. Predictably, such random training brings random (unstable) results.
Imagine a doctor who studied medicine by watching a couple of thematic videos on YouTube :) It would be better for your health to run away from such a “specialist”.
Similarly, one can’t become an expert chess player without a solid, systematic approach for studying chess. I’ve provided such a program for an effective training in the course
“Self-taught Grandmaster”: LINK
If your chess progress in 2013 was small, less than 50 rating points – unfortunately you stuck. This means you use ineffective way of training/playing chess habitually.
On a positive side, this can and should be changed for the better.
I strongly recommend that you print out “10 Golden Rules” I’ve provided in the previous lesson: LINK
(this advice is suitable for everyone) Keep it on your table for some days, and implement it in your chess training/playing.
  • What is your statistics in different openings? Lots of chess programs or databases can provide such information to you automatically. At the very least you can calculate your win/loss record in your main openings manually.
What’s the reason for doing it? Very simple: if you lose in a certain opening (variation) more often than in other openings – you need to fix this problem. Perhaps you should allocate some time to study this opening and/or arising middlegame positions.
However, if you kept getting bad results with a certain opening during a lot of games – just stop playing it. Probably it’s too difficult for you at this stage of your chess learning.
You can learn good openings in the courses “The GM’s Openings Laboratory” (LINK) and “The GM’s Openings Laboratory – 2”: LINK
  • Calculate how many games you have played against opponents 200+ rating points higher than you in 2013.
If you can’t calculate it, at least you can evaluate it based on your overall perception.
If number of such games is small, your small progress is not surprising. It’s difficult to reach for a higher level if you never face the players of that level.
I’ve provided a few important things you can do to analyze your chess performance in 2013.
Of course you may use other criteria as well. At least, you can evaluate the above mentioned items intuitively, spending only a few minutes.
You can do it right now.
You can make some valuable conclusions based on your performance in 2013, and speed up your progress in 2014!
In the next lesson we’ll talk about your chess plans for 2014 and how to make them come true.
Your tactical vision should be sharp, right? Let’s make a small training now.
Li – Aronian
Black’s turn
The material balance is equal, and not many pieces are left on the board. Is it a draw? How would you play as Black?
Moen – Topalov
Black’s turn
Your task is not only to find the next Black’s move, but also to calculate all the following lines.
After you come to a decision in both examples, please, download the solution here: LINK
Note: if you don’t know how to open *.pgn files, please, read this FAQ:LINK
P.S. If you accidentally missed “10 Golden Rules”, I do recommend that you study this lesson: LINK
P.P.S. I may be visiting Singapore in one of the following months (although I’m not totally sure about it yet). If there’s anyone from this country, you may send me an e-mail to (if you’d like to contact me for any other reasons, please, do so here: LINK ) Maybe we’ll meet each other soon :)
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