Using Chess Books the Smart Way

Chess has gone through a transformation in to the digital age. Computers are involved in every facet of the game. We have strong, accessible chess engines for practice and analysis, online platforms to play against one another, and software for improvement. Not to mention internet forums, blogs and websites touching various topics: from opening discussions to strategy and endgame play, from practical advice to general recommendations (including this very site!). It's easy to think that chess books are on their way out of fashion. Still, some "old-school" chess players and…

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ChessCoach: A New Chess Engine with its Own Commentary

A new and unique chess engine was released in September called ChessCoach. ChessCoach is a very strong engine, at about 3450 Elo and will of course beat even the strongest GMs. What makes ChessCoach unique is that it adds commentary to its own games. This can be a groundbreaking advancement for chess improvers everywhere. Imagine analyzing your game with a ChessCoach engine and having the engine explain to you, in English where you went wrong and why. The ChessCoach engine used academic papers from Carnegie Mellon and Peking University to…

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Nakamura’s Insane Run

Hikaru Nakamura won the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament with a dominant performance. He won the event with 3 (!!) rounds to spare. He finished with 9 wins, 18 draws and no losses. Going unbeaten in a rapid and blitz event is a very rare feat. Magnus Carlsen himself even congratulated Hikaru...kind of. Magnus is of course poking fun at Hikaru for being the #2 rated rapid and blitz player, behind only Magnus himself. Even Hikaru was in a joking mood. After his dominant performance in the Rapid and…

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How to Create an Atomic Chess Habit (with Examples)

James Clear dissected habits in his best-selling book Atomic Habits. He explained how to form and sustain good habits as well as break bad habits. Habit Loop James Clear uses the habit loop framework to describe how habits work. It looks like this. The habit loop from jamesclear.com We can see how these four factors build off one another to form long-lasting habits. James Clear's Four Laws of Behavior Change take the feedback loop and break it down like so. Cue - Make it Obvious.Craving- Make it Attractive.Response - Make…

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Learner Series #18 – Ariel T.

Learner series #18 features Ariel, an adult improver and an active member of the ChessGoals community. He finished the 12-week Premium Novice Study Plan and asked me to help him review his recent games and design a new plan. He is combining some of the ideas from the Beginner Study Plan and the Intermediate Rapid & Classical Plan to fit his personal goals. Here's the interview with Ariel! GENERAL OVERVIEW How old are you and how long have you been playing chess? Hi! My name is Ariel, I’m 24, and…

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Our Incredible Year at ChessGoals

My wife woke in the middle of the night with severe cramping. Within thirty minutes I was awake, timing her contractions. Three minutes apart. It was go time. We have an older child who was two at the time, so we had a plan, a backup plan, and a backup backup plan to take care of him. We called Plan A. No answer. We called Plan B. No answer. We called Plan A's husband. No answer. We called our doula. No answer. We needed to leave for the hospital. Now.…

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A New Endgame Trainer to Practice Like Never Before

Note: This post contains chess.com affiliate links. ChessGoals may receive a commission if you purchase a membership. If you are sick of endgame books teaching you dry endings, Chess.com's Endgame Trainer is for you. I have not studied endgames much in my career. I tried making my way through 100 Endgames You Must Know but I felt I only really needed to know 25 or so in the book. The positions were too complex. Each problem was littered with many winning moves. Many positions were far too difficult for my…

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Learner Series #17 – Brett C.

GENERAL OVERVIEW Q: How old are you and how long have you been playing chess? A: I am 39 years old and have been playing chess consistently since 2019. I learned the basics back as a kid from my dad and would just play friendly games against family and friends, but nothing serious. I didn't even know about opening theory, tactics, etc.However, back in 2019, one of my co-workers told me I should join chess.com so I could play him in some games. I did and quickly got a Gold membership and…

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Learner Series #16 – Jesse D.

Learner Series #16 features Jesse D. who is an adult improver that has recently joined the ChessGoals community. He has a coach, is active on Twitter with the #chesspunks, and is the head moderator for the Chessgoals Discord server. Jesse has a very analytical approach and brings his experience from the TCG community to the chess improvement world. How old are you and how long have you been playing chess? Jesse I’m 34 years old and learned chess as a kid playing with my dad and uncles. I never really…

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Learner Series #15 – Jeff Z.

Learner Series #15 features ChessGoals member Jeff Z. He's a 33-year-old who just got back into chess after watching the Queen's Gambit Netflix series, and he's using the Intermediate Adult Improver plan with some modifications. GENERAL OVERVIEW How old are you and how long have you been playing chess? 33. I learned the game in grade school and "knew" one opening: the one where both beginners go king's pawn two spaces and bring out all their knights. After a 20-some year break, following Queen's Gambit, I resumed play. Objective: acquire…

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