How Good Are You At Chess?


Continuing the successful strategy on how to improve in chess I prepared another interesting quiz for you. From now on you can perform this quiz and check your chess strength. Find it here.

Common Errors

There are a lot of common errors and mistakes that take place in beginner's games such as final killing blow, lack of tactical knowledge, and endgame problems. For example, they cannot find the winning move when they have the opportunity. They don't know a lot of typical tactical motifs and this restricts their possibilities to claim an advantage. And of course, they don't know the basic endgame ideas and in most cases, they are afraid to go into the endgame.

Do these errors look familiar to you?

If yes, then you are in the right place because I'm going to help you solve them. The most important thing is to understand any problem and after that, it will be very easy to find the right solution. I gave great attention to student's mistakes and for that reason, I prepared a series of puzzles to find your chess strength. Do you know my special page on the website called "Who are you"? You can find it easily, on the trainer menu tab at the top, after that, you can go to step 4 and then you can see all the puzzles. I suggest you go through them to find out how good are you at chess. Please note that you can jump directly there by clicking here

Lack Of Organization

Before 2000 it was really hard to find good material on chess and it was even more difficult to improve yourself. Then the internet and computers started to play a more important role in our lives and consequently, this helped chess as well. Nonetheless, the problem was the same, on how to improve; because you didn't have specific training steps for each chess level.

Usually, the coaches teach harder tasks than the students can handle as a result the majority stopped chess and felt unmotivated. Of course, some of them moved forward, learned chess, and became better players but the problem was the lack of basic knowledge. You can easily learn 15 or 20 moves theory in any specific opening, but this knowledge will be useless if you don't know other important things. For example, it's more important to know how to calculate variations (see ahead), how to apply the correct thinking way, not lose your pieces (visualize the enemy moves), and even how to play the endgame king + pawn against King.

Boost To Chess

I have taught chess from 2005 to many students in schools, chess clubs, and private lessons. I used to have difficulties on how to organize the material to offer them the best way to improve themselves in chess. Thus, I have organized my material and restructured it accordingly. I try to find illustrative examples for different chess levels.

Things started to become better around 2010 when some websites started creating chess courses and strong players commented on big live events. It gave a big boost to the chess community. Some chess series, a collection of books, have started to appear; such as Step Method in Chess by Cor van Wijgerden and Boost Your Chess by GM Artur Yusupov.

In 2013 I worked at Remote Chess Academy as an Affiliate program manager and a little later as a Translator manager; helping the company translate some courses to Greek and other languages. In 2016 I worked as an Academy Manager, a very important position. My responsibility is to plan, check, and organize future lessons. It's extremely interesting to me to cooperate with title chess players and produce hight quality products; you may like to have a quick look at the RCA website by clicking here.

Training Structure

The common idea of all the above-mentioned sources is the practical exercises after the theoretical lesson. This is something that you do not often see. The main reason for it, it's difficult! For example, you can create a video lesson with two or three examples but to find illustrative games for the practical part requires much more time. Please let me explain myself; to create a good practical part for the theoretical lesson you need approximately 10 examples. To find 10 good examples you need to search for 100 to 500 games!

The next problem is how to divide the lessons. I think the best way to do that is by how many moves ahead you need to foresee. Similarly, you need to learn the basics tactics first and then move forward to more complicated ones. You need to learn the basic checkmate pictures and after that study how to attack.

The aforementioned series, Step Method and Boost Your Chess, has a good structure and a scaling program; something that is rarely seen in chess tutorials.

Step Method

The main problem is that the Step Method is aimed to kids almost exclusively. The theoretical lessons are good for total beginners up to 1200-1300 ELO rating but not more. Some people believe that you can reach 2000 ELO strength after studying the method but this is nonsense.

This method does not examine specific openings, mention a unique way, or explain the common errors that a chess player could face in his career, and many lessons repeat it. Similarly, is not diving too much into the attack, and essential ability for players. Plenty of strategic ideas are missing, that will help players to build their game from 1500 to 2000 ELO. Last but not least the method is very slow. This is a good thing for kids; trying to build up their strength year by year. On another hand, adults could easily get bored...

Boost Your Chess

First things first, Yusupov managed to make a HUGE progress in his writing style. He used to work together with Dvoretsky; they wrote other books for chess training. Their chess training school manages to create plenty of strong Grandmasters and no one can argue against it. However, their books have extremely difficult and complicated examples comparing the theoretical knowledge. For example, they wrote something in theory with the difficulty of approximately 3 levels. Then they added some questions-examples with the difficulty of 10 levels!

One friend of mine, who read all of their books, asked me to go for coffee and chess to analyze some games. He's a stronger player than me and you might think that I'm very lucky to have someone giving me tips for free, right? Not at all! He usually asks me to find some extremely difficult computer moves, so I try to avoid this free training... But in general, he is a great guy; when he is not talking about chess. :D

Coming back to Yusupov, he managed to make a great improvement in his teaching style. The level of theory and practical examples are approximately the same right now. However, the difficulty of the books might frustrate some people and make them stop chess. Similarly, the difficulty made it prohibitive for a child.

His first lesson in the book was about mating motives. I tried to solve the exercises, I'm a 1900 ELO player, and I need to think hard about them. Finally, I managed to solve them. The other negative point is that he covered all of the main motives only in 2 chapters and 10 pages.

Another point, in my opinion, is that the theoretical lessons are small; they could be explained better.

My Conclusions

Please don't misunderstand my harsh criticism; I do like and appreciate both of those chess series. We use the Step Method on the chess club DIAS Petroupolis, the best and biggest Greek club. Similarly, I use occasionally Boost Your Chess books in my private training lessons. The conclusion is that I like both of them, Step Method and Boost Your Chess, but I belive that I can improve then.

The Perfect Solution For You

For that reason I created my Training Program; this could be the perfect solution for you. I divided my Training Program to levels. I strongly believe with the correct training program an average person (not only the super talented kids or adults) can grow his strength for 100 ELO points per year. To do that he needs to spend approximately 2 hours per week and study approximately for 8 - 9 months. You can have your job, and other social activities, but, you can spend approximately 1 hour during the week to see some theoretical lessons and another 1 hour to perform some tests, the homework, related to the theoretical lessons. Please notice that I said 8 - 9 months because we have some Christmas - Easter and Summer holidays. Please also notice, if you have more passion and study more then you can prove faster.

The Begginer 1100 Training Structure

In this article I'm talking about the training program "Beginner 1100" in which you can learn all the mating motives seperatly with exersises. Plenty of endgames, as king + pawn vs king, rook vs knight, rook vs bishop, etc. Many players in this level make typical mistakes. I explained them to you and atfer that you'll stop making them. Of course we're going to take a look at some common opening mistakes and after the lessons definatly you're going to eliminate them from your games. Last but not least we're going to talk about visualization; an extremely important technique that will help you to calculate better and not losing your pieces.

Note: If you would like to see how the training programs are working technically you can check the free "Newbie 500". You can understand the videos and practical test open on your mobile, tamplet or laptop, desktop, windows, MAC, and Linux. Please check it and subscribe for free by clicking here.

Question Of The Day

What is your vaforite chess book, or video, or applications? You're welcome to write it below in the comments. Read more about the training program by clicking below.

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