Your questions answered

You may use the Contact me page to send me your questions. I’ll answer them here.

Hi, Majnu,
I have a some questions with regard to on-line chess lessons, do you think that it is as effective a resource as face to face tuition? If so, how is one meant to improve? repertoire suggestions? having games analysed by coach? Lastly how effective do you think such tuition could be ?

Many thanks for taking the time.

Kind regards,

PS: thanks so much for videos I have watched them many times always with pleasure.

Hi Robert,

It’s not easy to answer that question since the improvement by taking online lessons depends on different things. First of all it depends on the quality of the teacher/coach and besides that it depends on the willingness of the student to work hard on his chess study.

In my opinion a good chess teacher will go through your games explaining you what the points of improvement can be and indicating you what you could do by yourself to improve. This could be recommending you certain books and exercises that can help you fill those empty spaces in your play. Besides that a good teacher will encourage you by pointing out your strong points as well.

Unfortunately many chess teachers give online lessons because they want to earn a living. Because of this they tend to make you dependent on them by offering you discounts if you pay for a big amount of lessons at once. Remember also that a strong player is not always a good teacher. A good teacher should know how to explain things so clearly to you that you can make the next steps in your improvement.

Best wishes,


Hi Majnu,
I was really impressed with your ten minute blitz game and analysis because it was
very apparent that you were thinking in plans rather than single
moves, how can one develop this mentality?
– kind regards Robert

Hi Robert,
The step from thinking in single moves to thinking in plans is very
To develop this skills there are two things needed:
1. See how stronger players do this.
2. Having your own games reviewd by a stronger player.

For the first one you could use the following books:
– How to reassess your chess, by Jeremy Silman
– How to reassess your chess, workbook.
– Judgement and planning in chess, by Max Euwe.
– Winning chess strategies, by Jeremy Silman.

For the second one you could make use of my game analysis service. You can
see the video on my website for more information about this.

Best wishes,


Hi Majnu,
My question is to do with lines in the opening. I find these terms used in chess literature all the time with no explanation.
Main line, side line, critical line and theoretical line, who decides which is which, and how can you tell the difference between them?

Hi Dasher,
The main line is the line that is mostly played in an opening.
A side line is a line that often starts with the same moves as the main line but then follows a different path. Like a tree has a main branch and smaller branches growing from the main branch.
A critical line is a line that is still being examined without yet a clear conclusion.
A theoretical line is a line that can be seen as opening theory after being played many times in grandmaster practice.

Best wishes,


Hi Majnu,
I have really enjoyed your videos on youtube. Thank you for making and posting them.
I have a question about chess openings. I’m a novice, and I feel I need to learn something about openings. At the same time, because I’m very busy and don’t have ambitions of becoming a very good player, I don’t plan to learn all the theory about the different variations in different types of opening. This leads to the following question:
Is there a line of attack and a line of defence in which the player can make the same moves regardless of the moves played by the opponent? It’s OK if it’s suboptimal as long as it leads to reasonably decent results.
Best wishes,

Hello B.
I remember having exactly the same question when I was a novice. I felt insecure about my openings and was convinced that my opponents knew much more than I did. The most important thing is to understand what the main ideas are behind a certain opening set up, what the possible plans are etc… If you are interested in learning some opening lines without getting lost in detailed variations or having to expend to much time, you could have a look in the book Winning Chess Openings by Yasser Seirawan. In chapter 7 of this book Seirawan explains different formations that can be used with white and with black. He is in my opinion an excellent teacher who explains different opening principles very clearly.

Good luck!


A question for you Majnu, im not as good as you but when ever I go over GM games and I am looking for the best move, I always tend to look for flashy sacrifices or crazy tactics. cause I feel like these super GMs are just so good they find crazy moves and variations.
Teddster214 (Youtube)

Hi Teddster214,
I think it’s a misunderstanding thinking that the superiority of GM’s consists in seeing tactical lines. Of course GM’s can calculate better than most of us but the big difference is in my opinion that GM’s understand a position so well that they know what to calculate and what not to calculate. That’s why my approach is focused mainly on positional understanding rather than on tactics. Perhaps you’d find it interesting to watch my videos in the series “Chess: how to attack?”.
Best wishes,


Dear Mr. Majnu, thanks for all the videos that you post on your page. They are very informative and meaningful. I am a tyro and I would like to know the most effective method to learn chess.Where should I begin and how should I go about it? How did the GMs learn before they became GMs? How many hours of study did they put in everyday?
Thanks, Jeyanth.

Hi Jeyanth,
Improving our chess level is only possible if we work hard. I’m afraid that I can not say what the best way is of learning chess since I’m looking for this answer myself! A very effective method is in my opinion the 3-minutes exercise. I describe this method in one of my videos with this title. The good thing about this method is that you train your chess simulating a real tournament game. Besides this it’s very helpful to play many chess games with long thinking time and analyse your games afterwards, with or without the help of a stronger player. But above all enjoy the game!
Good luck in your journey!


I am an intermediate player.I want to be a good chess player.I practice chess 8-10 hours daily.How could I practice to improve my skill.Please suggest me a daily chess practice routine.

Hi showkat,
Great that you have so much time to practice chess!
In my opinion half of the time that we spend in chess should be playing games with long thinking time. The other half should be analysing our games, training with exercises and studying theory. But of course this may be different for each of us depending on what we need to improve.
Good luck!


Your questions answered — 32 Comments

  1. Do you self the middle and end game type of training like in your videos?
    Do you think this type of training is the most effective?
    What do you think about doing chess puzzles?

    • Hi Markku,
      Yes I use this training method myself. I find this a very good way to train because it simulates the real game situation.
      Chess puzzles can be very helpful to train tactics. I do those as well at
      Best wishes,

  2. hi Majnu
    i had briefly out lined a game i use to go over a master game.
    i printed up some score sheets with the flowering
    3 spots to make an entry i pick my best guess. if right i get 3 points
    second guess 2 points third i point.if i miss alltogether i loose 3 points
    i repeat the process to the end of the game
    plus one more chance to score i use fritz to analyse . if fritz thinks my
    move is its first i get 4 points.

    • That is a very good training method! I call it the 3-minutes exercise because I take 3 minutes thinking time for each move.

  3. First off, thanks for the great videos.

    My question is what program are you using or do you recommend?
    You mentioned Fritz. Is that the same as the Fritz 13 from Chessbase on Amazon?
    For around $50 it seems like a bargain.



  4. Hi
    I want to ask about a program to use it not to play chess matches but to train (to move chess pieces whith out any restrictions )

  5. Hi Majnu.

    Thank you much for your efforts and contributions to help us improve our chess abilities. I was particularly impressed with your calculation training videos.

    My questions for you:
    1. Do you recommend any books for training calculation for beginners?
    2. Can you suggest a book on endgames for beginners?

    Once again, thanks and keep up the great work!

    • Hi Rob, I don’t know any book especially written to learn beginners how to calculate. But practicing on is certainly helful. A good book on endgames for beginners and above is Silmans Complete Endgame Course.

    • Hi José,
      That’s difficult to say. I learned the rules of chess when I was 5. I joined a chess club when I was 13. At the age of 19 I quit playing chess (I was rated around 1700 then). I started playing again 15 years after that. Now 15 years have passed again and I’m climbing above 1900. I think that the biggest improvement began the last 5 years. When I started making the chess video’s on youtube in 2006 I decided to study chess seriously and see how far I can get. I’m still growing in strength. This season I became club champion for the first time. And I believe that more improvement will follow if I keep training consistently.

  6. Hi Majnu-

    Is a checkmate possible against a reasonably skilled opponent who has only his king, if you only have a king and knight? Thanks.

  7. Hi Majnu,
    Love your videos one of the most instructional on you tube.Cheers. Just wanna ask e what chess software do you use and pls suggest some. Preferably free ones for intermediate players like me.

  8. Hi ,
    I am Ok in opening but seriously very weak in middle games. Apart from watching your tutorials and reading books (which I generally not a habit of), could you suggest something through which I could strengthen my middle game.
    Thank you,

  9. Hi Great videos on youtube! They are very instructional.
    I hope you can answer the following question specifically: As a beginner at chess, I want to know what the best resources are for learning chess, are there textbooks that can take a beginner from “a to z” or do I need to purchase a book for openings, one for middle game development, one for endgame, and another for strategies and tactics? Also, do you recommend software like Houdini to study classic games, I hear that it is better to purchase annotated tournament books like the New York 1924 because they are better annotated. What can you recommend me?

    Thanks for your reply


    • This is James again, I forgot to add something to my comment above.
      I see that you have videos on middle game and endgame tactics
      will you be doing video tutorials on openings? That would be great if you could.
      And another final question: Are strategies and tactics the same thing in chess?

      Thanks again Mr Manju


  10. Hi Majnu, I was looking at the End game lesson 1, For Rh8 , black can play Bg3 and now the passed pawn is protected and the rook on h8 and pawn on g6 is en prise.
    Am I missing something here ?.

  11. I enjoyed much your middlegame videos – very clear, precise and interesting, and am still watching. However, I wonder why you choose to be anonymous. Would you be willing to let us know your credentials?

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