Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How to play an opening?

Firstly, we are now sending the newsletter from another system. We tried ourbest to keep all of our contacts from our database, but due to some technical problems, some of them might have been lost.
  • If that’s the case, please accept our sincere apologies and we kindly ask you to subscribe to our newsletter: LINK
  • If you are still getting our newsletter, that’s cool and nothing needs to be done. :)
Currently, we’re conducting a competition “Christmas Day Bonanza” – Games Festival (LINK), where you your skills in finding the best game in a given topic and your ability to understand the position and annotate the same will be judged.
Since some of our students asked for more time to submit their games, we’reextending the last date for entry/submitting games to 15 December:)
If you didn’t know about this competition till now, then this is the 2nd chance forYOU. You have 5 more days to submit your annotated games!
Don’t miss this great opportunity! More info about the event, prizes: LINK
Let me start the lesson with a question. Do you know what determines yourWIN/LOSS in a chess game?
Whether you win or lose is determined by your:
  • opening preparation
  • middlegame skills
  • endgame technique
It’s quite obvious that the opening phase is MORE important, because if you don’t play it well, you will lose before you can demonstrate your middlegame/endgame skills.
Then, here’s the next question you need to think about – how do you play an opening properly?
In order to play the opening properly, a lot of people believe that one should just study a lot of opening variations and typical ideas/tricks.
Although this is partly correct, there’s actually a huge hole here. Let me give you an example.
White’s turn
Above, we see the starting position of the Scheveningen variation of the Sicilian Defence. What move can White play here?
Almost anything! For instance: Be2Bc4g3Be3f4g4Bg5f3Qf3 and the list goes on.
Do you really need to study all these lines? Of course NOT!
The opening stage lasts for 15-20 moves and on every move both opponents can play around 10 different logical moves. Ultimately, this generates many thousands (perhaps millions) of variations.
Obviously, there’s no way for us to analyse and remember them all.
Therefore, we should learn the most logical moves only. For example, in the Scheveningen variation, Black certainly should know some theory in the main lines, like 6.Be26.g46.Be36.Bc4.
But what about other possible options for White? Should Black learn the lines arising from 6.Bb56.Nb36.Qf36.h3, etc.?
 NO! You can’t learn it all anyway. If you dig too deep in your opening study, you will not have time for mastering other vitally importantskills: calculationtacticspositional play, etc.
Therefore, there can be two situations in an opening:
  • You play a theoretical variation based on your home preparation.
  • Your game turns into a sideline or your opponent surprises you with an unexpected move. An unknown position appears and you need to find correct moves by yourself.
These two situations will happen equally often. Again, let’s be realistic. You can’t learn all possible opening variations – it’s an unworkable aspiration.
FINAL CONCLUSION: how do you play an opening successfully?
  •  You need to choose the right opening variations (your opening repertoire) and learn the NECESSARY lines within them.
  • You need to know the general rules/principles of opening play and how you can find correct moves in unknown opening positions.
If you’ve watched the video I published a few years ago, “Professional Opening Preparation” (LINK), that’s good for you!
Regarding the opening variations – there are a lot of existing chess books/DVDs about virtually any opening you can think of.
Some of these tutorials are even pretty good. However, there are still some problems here:
  • Studying various opening variations takes a lot of your time.
  • As we’ve already discussed, you can’t learn everything anyway.
  • Your opponents have access to the same tutorials you have.
  • There are opening tutorials about all possible opening variations and you don’t know what will work best for YOU.
As for the general rules/principles of opening play – this topic is almost completely missing!
Yes, there are some well-known opening rules like “develop pieces”“fight for the centre” and so on, but these are very basic rules. Even beginners know such ideas and, in many positions, they simply cannot help you.
Let me emphasise this with another example.

White’s turn
Above we see a very popular variation of the Ruy Lopez. How should White play here?
As you can see, the basic opening rules don’t help here. For example, it is true that“we should fight for the centre”, but he’s already fighting. So what should he do? :)
Most modern openings lead to complex positions, where you need to use moreadvanced rules. Surprisingly, this topic is almost completely missing in opening tutorials.
So what is the solution?
To overcome these difficulties, I recommend you to study the opening courses I’ve prepared for YOU. You’ll find solutions to all these questions in the courses
  • GM’s Opening Laboratory – 1 (LINK)
  • GM’s Opening Laboratory – 2 (LINK)
Some of my students have already studied these courses. Moreover, after studying them, they had some questions and sent them to me. Therefore, I have answered them all in the BONUS pack (LINK).
If you really want to have SUCCESSFUL opening play, I recommend you to buy theOpening Bundle which has both parts of the Opening Lab course, including theBONUS pack.

<<Get the Opening Bundle NOW>>

In this case, you will get both of the courses and the bonus pack for just $143 andSAVE $33 – DISCOUNT!
P.S. We’re nearing the festive season – Christmas and New Year. As usual, there will be some huge OFFERS and DISCOUNTS for you. :) Stay tuned for the updates.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Translated Courses


Now get more GM Igor Smirnov's courses in other languages - TRANSLATED!

GM Igor Smirnov's Translated Courses!

Anand VS Carlsen 2014 - Highlights

NOW is the FINAL reminder for you to sign up for the upcoming webinar,“My Thinking System”which will be conducted by ME on Saturday 6 December at 3 P.M. GMT (check timings here: LINK). Join now: Standard or Premium
RCA’s Special Offers in honour of reaching 1 MILLION views on YouTube have finished!
Celebration offer
Thanks everyone for your support! Most importantly, let me congratulate all theWINNERS:)
Below is the list of students who got a free course from RCA:
  • 1. Vikas, India
  • 2. Lim, Singapore
  • 3. Mahen, Pakistan
  • 4. Francesco, italy
  • 5. Jose, Brazil
  • 6. Rosauro Gordon, Philippines
  • 7. Antonio, Italy
  • 8. Gerardo, Argentina
  • 9. Leonardo, USA
  • 10. Per Ivar, Norway
For privacy purposes, we state only the first name of the winners on the website. All winners were contacted. In addition to that, other students have got a free webinar!
Congratulations to all WINNERS! I’m sure you’ll enjoy your prize! :)
For those who missed this event, please don’t be upset. You can take part in our future events, including the “Christmas Day Bonanza” (LINK). :)
We’ve also prepared a video for you explaining the event. Check it now here: LINK
NOTE: The last date for entry for the “Christmas Day Bonanza” is 10.12.2014, so you have a period of less than a week. If you really want to win BIG PRIZES, you need to start collecting the games and annotating them at your very BEST LEVEL! For details about the event, click here: LINK. Good luck! :)
We all witnessed a great World Chess Championship match this year. It was truly atough competition for the players and Carlsen has justified the odds.
Therefore, your ‘favorite’ guest coach of RCA, IM Valeri Lilov, has prepared avideo for YOU, where he explains the highlights and the critical and instructive situations of the recent World Championship match.
Watch the video now.

Finally, let me remind you that we’re conducting a survey as we’re planning to provide RCA branded products for you. For instance, a T-shirt that has the RCA logo on it can be added to our shop.
But not only that, we’re planning to provide many products for you. And that’s why, you need to let us know what you want by taking part in the survey: LINK
You might get a T-shirt like this one in the future. :)
RCA t-shirt
P.S. I have an idea to visit Austria in the coming months. If you live in this country – please, send me an e-mail to We might get a chance to meet personally :)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Chess Engines and a NEW course in Spanish

Nowadays, most chess players learn and practice chess by using COMPUTERS. There are many chess programs like ChessBase, Fritz, etc., and they have a lot of chess ‘engines’ installed (Rybka, Houdini and so on).
Of course, engines are very strong: they calculate a lot of variations and evaluatea position in not more than a minute. The most important question for YOU, though, is: how to use chess engines PROPERLY? How to utilize the great power of chess programs for your benefit?
In order to answer this question, we’ve invited an active chess player – GM Mikhailo Oleksienko – to join us.
He’s the current Ukrainian Rapid Chess Champion, has won a couple of international tournaments and achieved an awesome 2640 rating in 2014.
This Sunday, 12 October, at 4p.m. BST (London time) you can attend GM Mikhailo Oleksienko’s webinar “Chess engines: how to use them properly?”. You can get all the details and sign up here:

Live Webinar

“Chess Engines: how to use them properly?”

by GM Mikhailo Oleksienko


Chess Engines: how to use them properly?


GM Mikhailo Oleksienko

Date:Sunday, 12th  October at 4p.m. (16:00) BST – London time.

90 minutes.


limited to 100.


Standard ticket = $15; Premium ticket = $20

*The registration will be closed 2 hours before the webinar.

What is “a webinar”?

During a webinar, you have communication with a coach in live mode. A coach tells you the tasks, while you can ask your questions. This is real TRAINING, which develops your SKILLS. Hence, you’ll be able to improve your chess strength properly during the webinar.
A video lesson or a text article provides some information to you. Any chess player can find tons of information about a chess game on the Internet. So what? Has this overabundance of content made you a strong player? Probably not.
 Information does not affect your play. Only a new SKILL can do so.

Chess engines: how to use them properly?

Nowadays, many chess players learn and practice chess by using computers. There are many chess programs/software like ChessBase, Fritz, etc. and they have a lot of chess ‘engines’ installed.
Of course, engines are very ‘quick’: they calculate a lot of variations and moves and evaluate the position in NOT more than a minute. That said, it does NOTmean that engines are the BEST.
In this webinar, GM Mikhailo Oleksienko will teach you how to use chess enginesproperly (use the core of your computer and pay attention to the depth) and show you some positions where computers evaluate positions completely wrongly.  Also, he will show some positions where computers blunder or do not see the win.
GM Mikhailo Oleksienko
GM Mikhailo Oleksienko was born on 30 September 1986. In 2008, he graduated from Ivan Franko Lviv National University (Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics). In May of 2012, he was awarded a PhD in mathematics.
In 2002, he received the title of International Master and in 2005 became a Grand Master.
Mikhailo Oleksienko’s achievements:
  • Current Ukrainian Rapid Chess Champion
  • PhD in Mathematics
  • Joint winner of 20th Abu Dhabi Chess Festival (UAE) 2013
  • Joint winner of David Bronstein Memorial (Belarus) 2014
  • Joint winner of ZMDI Open (Germany) 2013
  • Joint winner of Pardubice Open (Czech Republic) 2013
GM Vladimir Kramnik (on the left) and GM Mikhailo Oleksienko (on the right) discussing a Kramnik game.
YOUR games and questions.
Students with a premium ticket may submit their own games and questions for the webinar. You can check out the details here: LINK
After you have registered for the webinar, you’ll be given the chance to submit your games and questions.


Standard ticket

Premium ticket

  • Attend the webinar



  • Submit your games


  • Submit your questions



$15 USD

Buy Now

$20 USD

Buy Now

P.S. Please, note that the seats are limited to 100 students. The questions will be answered on “first come, first served” basis. If you wish to participate – please, register NOW.

<<Sign up for GM Oleksienko’s webinar>>

In the recent article “Opening Traps & A New Course in Spanish”, we released a Spanish translation of the course “An Endgame Expert”. It has had MASSIVE popularity! It seems like chess development is now huge in Spanish-speaking countries. This is a very nice fact indeed!
Moreover, we have released another course for you in Spanish:D
NOW you can get the Spanish version of “Your Winning Plan”:

spanish<< Get the course in SPANISH now>>

NOTE: Each additional language pack for a course that you already own is only $7. For example, if you already own an English version of the course,“Your Winning Plan”, you can get its Spanish version for just $7. Get your Language Pack here:LINK
So, now there are a total of 5 courses which are translated into SPANISH. You can check them all here: LINK
If you haven’t even studied an English version of the course, “Your Winning Plan“, this is the right time to do so!

<< Get the course in ENGLISH now>>

Planning is a core element of a chess game. This is also one of the most complextopics to understand. That’s why you might suffer from facing those positions where you did NOT know how to proceed.
The course, “Your Winning Plan”, gives you an integrated system of middle-game planning. Using this method, you will be able to find the right plan in any position.
Unlike average “wood-pushers”, you will not need to remember numerous “typical plans”. Instead, you will UNDERSTAND positions and will KNOW which plan to take.
Below are some of the experiences of my students.
In the course “YOUR WINNING PLAN”, you get clear practical recommendations to help channel your thoughts in each position. It is a systematic approach that guides your thinking process. There is not only attention for pure technical aspects but also for psychological skills. For practice these planning skills there a lot of relevant and varied tasks.
Before I had studied this course, I was not sure in complicated positions when and where I would advance my pawns. Now I know exactly what to do. The 18th century chess master Philidor once say “The pawns are the soul of chess”.
Thanks the concrete recommendations of the course ”YOUR WINNING PLAN” I can give my pawns a soul in my games.
Werner Poets
I bought all your courses in a small period of time. I liked it. No surprise there.It has a great effect on my game. I play stronger and better chess than before.You really seem to know what’s important and what’s not.You have the ability and the knowledge to teach good chess. Loving every bit of it!
Erik Bandsma
I wanted something that will guide me to the right plan without eating up my time. And this is where Your Winning Plan excels!It gives you easy to remember guidelines for planning. Each phase is taken apart in a chapter – Igor takes the time explaining what to look for and why…in a way that’s NOT overwhelming for the student.
At the end of every chapter, Igor gives a summary that the reader can print out and review before a tournament game. (That’s exactly what I did)
Jassen Esguerra
  • Webinar “Chess engines: how to use them properly?”: LINK
  • “Your Winning Plan” in EnglishLINK
  • “Your Winning Plan” in SpanishLINK
  • All SPANISH courses: LINK

How to beat Kasparov & GM Smirnov’s DVDs!

NOW, it’s the final REMINDER for you to join our upcoming webinar “Playing for a win” by GM Maxim Dlugy (Sunday, October 5)!
In this webinar you will learn:
  •     How to play for a WIN
  •     How to PLAN both psychologically and strategically
  •     Learn ATTACKING methods
  •     And much more…
  • You can read all the details, and SIGN UP for the webinar HERE
In the previous article “How to beat Garry Kasparov” I’ve shared with you an instructive game Dlugy – Kasparov (if you missed that game, check it out here). It’s a really cool game, isn’t it? :) There is no doubt that GM Dlugy has played for a WIN in that game and has beaten legendary Gary Kasparov.
Now let’s test YOUR skills in another game between the same opponents.
Garry Kasparov – Maxim DlugyKasparov-DlugyBlack’s turn
The task is still the same: you need to beat Garry Kasparov! Don’t forget that Kasparov is a dangerous opponent; right now he’s going to mate you by Rh1 move. Can you stop it somehow?
After you’ve came up with your solution, please, check the actual game here: LINK
If you want to know how GM Dlugy could beat Garry Kasparov repeatedly, you can ask him directly on Sunday webinar “Playing for a win”
 GM Smirnov’s courses are now available in DVDs!
For a couple of years my complete courses were available in downloadable format solely. However, I’ve been asked repeatedly by different students to provide DVDs.
It took some organizational efforts, but I’ve arranged this for you. Hence, now you can get any of my complete courses on a DVD!
  • DVDs contain high-quality video lessons (HD format). In a downloadable format I had to reduce the video quality to minimize the file size. Now we don’t have this limitation anymore.
  • It’s really easy. You don’t need to download some files, unzip them etc. Now you get a DVD and insert it into your computer – that’s it!
  • It’s safe and convenient. Now you may not worry about a loss of a course (due to your computer crash, virus, accidental file deletion etc). Your course is on a DVD and will always be there.
  • If you have slow or paid internet connection, it’s not a problem anymore (you will NOT need to download a course from the Internet).

  • If you own a certain course already, you can get its DVD version now. You will only pay for a DVD delivery to you (of course you will NOT need to pay for the course again).
If you wish to use this option – please, contact our support team: LINK. You may send us an e-mail to as well
  • The price of delivery starts from only $5. The exact price and terms depend on your location. DVD shipment takes from 2 days till a few weeks. Once you select the course, you’ll need to indicate your location, and the system will show you the price of delivery.
From my side, I do NOT charge you anything for a DVD. You only pay to the post (or alternative delivery company) for a DVD creation and shipping to you.
  • You can sign up for Sunday webinar “Playing for a WIN” of GM Dlugy here: LINK
  • You can get my any course on a DVD here: LINK
P.S. If you enjoyed the article, please, write your comment below, and “Like” it on Facebook/Twitter using the buttons on the left side. Thank you!