A message from Germany.

I’m on vacation at the moment. Thank god there is WiFi almost everywhere! I’m hiking in Germany and after each hike I have a look on the internet at the latest chess news. The Dutch champion Anish Giri is doing great in the GM tournament in Biel. He won against Morozevich and Bacrot, and played draw against Nakamura. It seems like after many years a Duch player is reaching the world top.

Of course I brought a chess book with me. Before I go to sleep I solve a few puzzles from John Nunn’s puzzle book. It’s certainly one of those books that I would recommend to anyone who wants to improve their tactical vision. Hundreds of puzzles for all kinds of levels. The great thing about this book is that you don’t need a chess set to go through the exersices, the diagrams are enough. It’s a perfect book to have with you on vacation!

Talking about chess books: take a look at The Chess Store website. They have everything: chess sets, chess books, chess clocks, chess computers, etc etc… If I were rich I would buy the whole store! Could it be that I’m addicted to chess? 😉

Improve your chess without losing time or spending money!

The two most heard reasons why people don’t work seriously on improving their chess are “I don’t have the time” and “I don’t have the money”. This means that many people believe that chess improvement is an expensive and time consuming thing. The truth is that this depends on what your goals are. If you want to develop your chess to a professional level you will need much time and money. But if your goal is to achieve a level of a strong club player there is a lot you can do without spending even a penny and investing only 30 minutes a day or even less.

First of all we need to choose training methods that simulate the real thing. When we train chess we should have the same mind setting as when we are playing a tournament game. Two very useful training methods are:

1. The 3-minutes exercise: replay a game that was played by grandmasters trying to guess each next move. Start at a position in the early middlegame and give yourself 3 minutes to think about the next move. Write down on a piece of paper the move that you would play and compare it then with the move that was actually played in the game. It’s important to use those 3 minutes, even if you think the next move is obvious.
Here is an example of the 3-minutes exercise: Youtube 3-minutes exercise.

2. The 20-minutes exercise: choose a complicated position from a grandmaster game. Set the timer on 20 minutes and thing about all the possible plans and variations in the position. Make notes about all your thoughts and ideas. After 20 minutes replay the next moves that were actually played in the game. Did you find the right plan and variations?
Here is an example of the 20-minutes exercise: Youtube 20-minutes exercise.

Don’t be disappointed if your score in this exercises is low. Remember you are training and learning. If you use this way of training consistently I promise you that you will improve your chess.

About tactics I can tell you that it’s far more useful to solve two difficult problems than ten easy ones. Challenge yourself! There are many websites were you can exercise your tactics. Like Chesstempo and Chessity.

Well, I hope that this guidelines make sense for you and that you’ll start making real progress soon.

Good luck!

New chess video’s online!

Today I’ve started with a new series with the title Great chess miniatures. The first three video’s are online now! Chess miniatures are those highly entertaining short chess games that are decided within 20 moves. A great way to work on your chess improvement!
Here is an example

If you would like to view the other videos from this series go to my Youtube page and subscribe to my video’s.

Some great chess video makers!

In 2006 I started making chess video’s and uploading them to Youtube. My idea was to work on my own chess improvement by analysing my games and showing the analysis to other chess players so they could improve their chess as well. Soon I got a message from Tryfon Gavriel, better known as Kingscrusher, asking me if I could explain him how to make chess video’s. After this many more chess video makers have found their way on Youtube. At the moment there are a few video makers that I find excellent: Kingscrusher, Chessexplained and Chessvideoguy. The first two are very active. They upload video’s every day. Chessvideoguy seems to be taking a break.

Most of the other high quality video makers have stopped. It’s understandable that there comes a moment when chess video makers ask themselves: “Do I get enough in return for the energy that I put in this video’s?”. I also asked myself this question and that’s how I came with the idea of the game analysis service. Until now it has worked very well. People send me their games and they find my analysis instructive.

Let’s hope that Kingscrusher will keep entertaining us with his attacking style in blitz games and that Chessexplained will continue making his very instructive video’s.

What are your favourite youtube chess channels? Leave your comments…