About a week ago, on 20 July (International Chess Day), I conducted an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) event on Reddit. The event lasted two hours and I wrote over 2000 words of advice, anecdotes and even jokes. :)
One of the students has summarized all of my thoughts into different categories. Reddit is slightly frustrating in format because of too many threads. This student has organized them across several different topics and published it on his personal blog (LINK).
I found it very nice and instructive, and would like to share it with you now. You can find the original Reddit thread here – LINK.
On Chess Training:
  • Use ACTIVE learning – think for yourself to find the best moves. Just watching videos is for Hollywood, not for serious chess training.
  • Inconsistent training brings inconsistent results. It is rare for people to have a well-thought-out training plan or even a plan at all. Check out these resources– Free: RCA Rapid Improvement Plan (LINK); Paid: Self-taught Grandmaster (LINK).
  • If you’ve been away from chess for a while, just play a few practice games and solve a few problems. Your understanding won’t disappear.
On Grandmasters:

  • Opening preparation is much more important and powerful at the IM/GM level.
  • In particular, planning and an organized thinking system are what allow GMs to see 10-15 moves ahead.
  • IMs and GMs have comprehensive knowledge about chess, whereas NMs tend to be more specialized in some areas.
  • Grandmasters play mercilessly, always creating problems for opponents, while lesser players (including FMs) just follow well-known rules.
On playing:

  • An anti-blunder check is always required, even in time trouble. It is the most important part of your thinking system(or at least the part you never skip).
  • They key, as always, is to keep your piece activity high (learn more about this in “Grandmaster’s Positional Understanding”: LINK).
  • With regard to planning, only plan during critical positions. You don’t need to plan and re-plan every move.
  • Blitz is also useful for getting lots of experience in different openings, quickly.

  • “Everything is hard until it is easy”. Never give up.
  • Intuition in chess is powerful. It often shows us the best move that our current chess understanding can see.
  • Computers are not “sucking the joy out of chess”. They are a tool that serves us. Analogy: cars run faster than people, but we still run.
  • Don’t complicate things: complexity prevents progress.

P.S. I hope you had a nice time at my ‘AMA’ event and learnt at least one thing that was new and interesting! :) Thanks for participating.