Improve Quickly with Yusupov’s 9 Book Chess Training Program

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Grandmaster Artur Yusupov was ranked as high as 3rd, behind only Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. In the early 2000s, Yusupov paired up with his trainer Mark Dvoretsky to form the Dvoretsky-Yusupov training school. As a chess trainer, Yusupov was not happy with the books available for amateur players, and he decided to create his own training program.

Training Program

In Russia, systematic training programs were popular for other sports based on the level of the athletes. Yusupov formatted his new program to take approximately three years to complete. The program has three levels with three books at each level. Each of these 9 levels was later put into his books with 24 chapters. The chapters each start with a teaching module and then a test to confirm you understand the material. At the end of each book, there is a final test. The program is meant to be used as a substitute for a chess coach but not as an equal replacement for a coach.

Level 1 – The Fundamentals

The first series is intended for players rated under 1500 FIDE Elo. The first level focuses primarily on the basics of tactical motifs, strategic concepts, and endgames. There are a few chapters on opening principles and mating patterns. We recommend this first level for intermediate players in the intermediate study plan.

Book 1 includes mate in twos, basic opening principles, opening gambits, simple pawn endgames, queen against pawn endgames, double-check, smothered mate, the value of the pieces, and realizing a material advantage.

Boost Your Chess expands on the tactical themes of book 1 with chapters on the windmill and perpetual check. 7th rank tactics, elementary endgames, pawn weaknesses, and zugzwang are covered.

Evolution focuses heavily on attacking with combinations of pieces. Q+N, Q+R, Q+B, Q+P, R+B, and R+N receive chapters. Q vs. R endgame, mating nets, positional advantages, and realizing the advantage are included.

Level 2 – Beyond the Basics

Level 2 – Beyond the Basics is designed for players under FIDE Elo 1800. This aligns nicely with the next ChessGoals level and is recommended in the intermediate 2 study plan. The second level focuses more on positional and strategic, finding an equal balance between tactics and strategy chapters.

Opening repertoires after 1.e4, a couple of chapters on pawn endgames, mating combinations, and the Greek gift sacrifice. Strategy chapters include bad bishops, candidate moves, and improving your pieces.

10 strategic chapters, which include the open file, trapping pieces, weak points, line blocking, the bishop pair, and the blockade. There are also two chapters on rook endgames and four chapters on opening repertoires.

Increasing to 14 strategy chapters, this book covers allowing counterplay, exploiting weaknesses, active moves, pawn play, and space advantages. It also reviews how to calculate short variations.

Level 3 – Mastery

The 3rd and final level is designed for players under 2100 FIDE Elo and is recommended to players in the advanced study guide. The majority of the level 3 books focus on strategic play and calculation. More emphasis is on endgames and opening repertoires, with less coverage on tactical motifs. Pawn play and calculation methods get a lot of coverage at this level.

Four opening repertoires chapters: 1.d4 for both colors and the French Defense. Strategic chapters include doubled pawns, hanging pawns, isolated pawns, and backward pawns. Two methods of calculation are introduced.

Another four opening chapters: Reti, English, KID, and Grunfeld. Strategic chapters on realizing the advantage, hanging pawns, pawn storms, and pawn majorities. Candidate moves and the technique of calculating variations are covered.

The final book of the mastery series has 16 chapters on strategy and calculation. Static advantage, the minority attack, fortresses, complex positions, shutting out pieces, pawn chains, and knight outposts are covered for strategy.

Next Steps

For players rated under 1100, is the one-stop-shop best resource for improvement. lessons are the best place to get started with learning strategy and will prepare you for the Yusupov series. Players rated over 1100 should select the appropriate Yusupov level and try to work through approximately one level per year.

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