Tag Archives: Igor Smirnov

The Smirnov Study Plan

I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit of a Smirnov fanboy, a disciple if you will. If he makes something, I buy it. I have good reason: before his courses, I had been stuck at 1800 rating for years and years. I studied Grandmaster’s Positional Understanding, his flagship course, in 2015, and in March 2016 my rating currently sits at 2088. I’ve improved nearly 300 points, and I might not be done yet. That’s awesome.

I’ll be honest, I’m amazed at my progress.

I own all of Smirnov’s courses, and as I’ve begun watching and rewatching all the lessons, I’ve begun to see the overall pattern or structure of his teaching. I now understand why his courses are the way they are, and I want to share that with you here. Continue reading

Chess Game of the Month, Feb 2016

This game was special.  For one, it pushed me to 1990 rating, and my next win (which happened on the very same day) pushed me over 2000 rating for the first time. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I thought it was one of the best games I had ever played.  Ever.

It certainly was a good game, against a good 1800-ish opponent, but time away and deep analysis has exposed some blemishes.  Still, as far as positional games go, it was a treat to play, and when he finally resigned I felt a surge of excitement I hadn’t felt over a chess victory in a long time.

Quick background: the game started out as a Nimzo, then transposed into a QGD structure.  I made a freeing tactic which turned the game into a related but unique structure, and I then used my bad Bishop to outplay a good Knight before simplifying into a better endgame.  Pfew. Continue reading

December 2015 Chess Game(s) of the Month

Alternate title: the difference between high-rated players and lower rated players.

I’m involved in a tournament on chess.com, and I got randomly paired against a 1400 and a 1500-rated player.  I won all four games, one with each colour, and I noticed similarities in all the games.  I won rather easily in all four, as I should, being nearly 500 rating points higher, but how did I do it?

The lazy answer is I outplayed them positionally, but that’s a vague assessment.  What does it mean to be positionally outplayed?  In a nutshell, I did two things better than my opponents: I made a plan, whereas they did not, and I consistently improved my pieces, whereas they made many more backwards moves.

Let’s look at two games that show this in detail. Continue reading

Review of ‘Your Top Chess Questions Answered’ by GM Smirnov

Quick View

Your_top_chess_questions_AnsweredYour Top Chess Questions Answered

Topic: Misc.; how to play and train better in general

My View: Some excellent, concise information, though other parts are less relevant

Purchase it here: Top Chess Questions, Answered Continue reading

Review of RCA’s NimzoIndian Opening Course

Quick Look

Nimzo-Indian Course

Subject: The Nimzo-Indian opening, from Black’s side

Recommendation: Not bad, but you get 98% of this if you get Opening Lab 2.

Buy it here: Nimzo-Indian at RCA

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New Chess Milestone: Over 1900!

I wrote yesterday that I had a really good day.  I wrote that before the best news happened: I reached a new personal chess milestone, hitting over 1900 rating for the first time ever.

Real life milestones are a lot different and less motivational than personal milestones.

I had the day off, so I mostly sat at my computer playing chess.  I play correspondence chess at chess.com, and two other opponents were logged in at the same time.  We traded moves back and forth, and in the end I won all four games, two against each with both colours.  In doing so, my rating ballooned all the way past 1900. Continue reading

Book Review: GM Smirnov’s New Book ‘A Promoted Pawn, My Chess Journey’

Quick Look

igor smirnov bookA Promoted Pawn: My Chess Journey

Author: Grandmaster Igor Smirnov

Genre: chess, fundamentals, part biographic

Recommendation: a fantastic compendium of chess advice

Buy it here: A Promoted Pawn
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Review of Grandmaster’s Opening Lab 2

Quick Look

chess_openings_lab_box_03

Grandmaster’s Opening Lab 2

Topic: How to play the Opening

My View: Absolutely fantastic; universal opening instruction

Size: 270mb, over 5 hours (!) of lectures, and a very decent opening repertoire

Get it here: The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory 2

Continue reading