Welcome to Chess Improvement

mmMy name is Majnu and I started making instructional chess video’s back in 2006. When I noticed that my chess video’s were becoming quite popular on Youtube I got the idea of starting my own chess website. This started as a weblog about my own chess adventures and it changed later into a website to help others to improve their chess.

On this website you’ll find tons of interesting chess training material, like video’s, articles, and weblinks. It’s all available for free, except for the Game Analysis Service that requires a small contribution.

When the question “How do I improve my chess?” was asked to GM Yasser Seirawan during a lecture at the St. Louis Chess Academy he gave a clear and honest answer. He told the audience what he had done to improve his level when he was not yet a titled player. Yasser Seirawan used to replay his games and write down the thoughts that he had during the game. So not only variations but the ideas and plans behind his moves. After doing this he replayed the game again but this time together with a stronger player. This stronger player or coach showed him alternative plans an ideas. By doing this Seirawan enlarged his tool kit of chess thinking. In his vision if we use this method consistently we simply can’t go wrong. Our level of play will increase as your insight in the game will grow.

The interesting thing about Seirawan’s advice is that he is not just telling us to analyse our own games, like everybody says, but also emphasizing that chess is above all about ideas and plans. Knowing how to make plan and discovering new ways to approach a position is a great key to chess improvement.

To improve your chess you will need to make effort and you’ll need to be realistic about the goals that you want to reach. You’ll have to understand that there is no “magic potion” that will make you a strong player in one day. Chess improvement happens gradually and it can not be otherwise. The most important thing is that you enjoy the journey of chess improvement, enjoy learning, enjoy doing exercises, enjoy playing tournament games and analyzing them.

There are many internet resources to train your chess skills. This one is my favorite:

It’s a great place to play and learn. I specially recommend the Chess Mentor feature. It’s a superb way to improve your chess at your own pace with exercises that fit your own level. To use this feature you’ll need a premium account. Believe me, it’s absolutely worth the small investment!

Have fun and good luck!

If you get the chance to hit, hit hard!

highkick1In the third round of the league competition I had the opportunity to play a nice attacking game. If fact my opponent did not coordinate his pieces well in the opening and weakened his kingside. This gave me the chance to play a few forcing moves and sacrifices leaving him in big trouble.

I’ve made a short video about this game commenting it move by move. Click here to watch it.

Do you know how to give checkmate with knight and bishop?

This is a question that is often heard in chess clubs. In fact it’s one of the mates that rarely happens and perhaps that’s why it has a kind of magical attraction for many chess players. Most club players hope never to get an endgame of King + Bishop + Knight vs King because they will have to admit that they don’t know how to checkmate the opponents king. They probably know that they need to force the opponents king to walk towards the corner of the same colour as their bishop, but they don’t know how to do this in a forcing way?

A few years ago,during a tournament, I met an endgame in which my opponent could have sacrificed his last piece for my last pawn leaving me with King + Bishop + Knight. Then I would have had to prove that I know how to do the trick. Luckily for me he didn’t see this sacrifice and I won the game. This experience triggered in me the idea of studying how to give this difficult looking checkmate. I found a method that is easy to learn and also easy to remember.

Here is a video that I made explaining in a structured way how this method works. After watching it, practice it against a friend of against a computer program and you will notice how easy it actually is.

Click here to watch the video and have fun!

Use all that’s within your reach!

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A few days ago I received a message from someone who has been using the training method that I recommend on my video This Is How To Improve Your Chess! He tells me that he has encountered some trouble when in one of the grandmaster games moves were played that he didn’t quite understand. I’m sure that all of us see so now and then GM’s playing moves that are difficult to understand. The most important thing is to use all what’s within our reach to discover the ideas that may be behind those moves. Remember that asking a chess friend to help you with this is also one of the things within your reach! There is no need to walk the path of chess improvement completely on your own. Often  analysing together you discover things that you would have overlooked if you both would have been analysing on our own. In fact it can be a good idea to use this training technique together with your chess friends and after the game compare each others ideas.

John Nunn’s Endgame Challenge

Endgame Challenge

This book is filled with the most beautiful endgame studies ever seen. It’s not a book that teaches you basic endgames, but a book that shows the deeper parts of chess. It’s a chess book that can be very useful for your understanding of chess but you will have to take your time to examine, study, analyse, and slowly absorb it’s content.

The best way to use a book like this is to take on one position at a time and find as much analysis as possible, writing down the various lines of play. When you think that you have exhausted all the likely possibilities, look again for the unlikely ones. That is the beauty of a good endgame study!

Dr John Nunn is one of the best-respected figures in world chess. He was among the world’s leading grandmasters for nearly twenty years, winning four gold medals in chess Olympiads and finishing sixth overall in the World Cup in 1989. He is a much-acclaimed writer, whose works have won ‘Book of the Year’ awards in several countries. In 2004, 2007 and 2010 Nunn was crowned World Chess Solving Champion, ahead of many former champions.

If you are looking for a book that explains you step by step the essential knowledge about chess endgames there is the famous book Chess Endings: Essential Knowledge

Chess Endings: Essential Knowledge

Averbakh’s endgame book concisely reviews major endgame positions, mates, and strategy. In five organized chapters, the author takes readers through the basics and introduces some of the complex features of endgames. The book is written for chess players rated between 1500 and 2100.