Study chess with me - the video series

by Albert Silver
10/4/2021 – Chess improvement at any level requires chess instruction, study, and practice. Thanks to technology, chess instruction of the highest quality is readily available, even in the pages of this news page. However, no matter how many lectures you watch, they do not dispense with actual study, which is often a lonely affair. This is what this new video series hopes to change.

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Of all of the items needed to improve one's chess, chess study is both the simplest solution given, the most nebulous, and the hardest. Video content has become so ubiquitous and available that finding lectures on chess was never easier. ChessBase itself provides content for all levels on just about every aspect imaginable of the noble game.

But no matter how many classes and coaching sessions you receive, at the end of the day, you will still need to sit down and actually study. This often proves to be the stumbling block for more players than can be counted. The reasons are many, and no finger pointing will change it. In my personal experience, among the obstacles, even more prominent than 'discipline', is just the setup needed (board, pieces, space, books, quiet, time, etc.) and solitude. 

If you've ever had the pleasure of studying with a friend or club mate, you'll know that time flies in such cases. You might easily analyze a position for long minutes, but at the end you share your thoughts with your friend, they share their thoughts with you, and it is simply more fun. When you are alone it can often be much harder to muster that consistency to sit down and do the work.

What it is

This is the idea behind the Study Chess with Me videos. First and foremost, the videos are a personal journey to try to raise my chess game back from the grave (was last 2149 FIDE circa 2009). These are genuine records of me studying chess, but presented in such a way that anyone watching them can study the exact same positions I am, share in my thoughts, impressions, astonishment, and even goofs. If the material is too hard, too easy, or simply not what you want to study yourself, the video can run in the background keeping you company, knowing we are sharing this adventure together. Or we can be genuine 'study buddies', and you can study the same content, at your own pace, anywhere, anytime. 

No engines are consulted for general study (at 26:28). The purpose is to develop the brain.

What you won't find

Needless to say, the topics to study are significant, and one of those left out are openings. This is not for any reasons of secrecy, but because openings are such a personal matter. One player might prefer the French, another the Slav, another the Sicilian, and the list goes on. Specific visualization skills and exercises are also left out as they would probably be terribly boring to watch.

What you will find

The idea is to share the same sort of studying that you might do with a friend: Going over the material, sharing thoughts, impressions, and more. The subjects here are tactics, strategy, and endgames, and I am as much the student as you are. I use ChessBase's Tactics site for tactical training:

A look at the tactics work starting with a couple of easy ones before one that really made me think. ChessBase's design to start any session with some easy puzzles is appreciated.

While recorded in its entirety, you aren't forced to watch me analyze for minutes on end. You will be told how long I spent though, and see the lines I saw even if they are not the 'solution'. In this position (at 8:28), a super GM agreed it was not immediately obvious

For middlegames, there are so many good works, I referred to a classic I own in French: Ludek Pachman's "The Complete Chess Strategy". This is volume 2 on pawn play. Back in the day, a close friend, FM (now an IM) François Vareille told me this trilogy had pushed him from roughly 1850 Elo to 2150. The recommendation stuck.

For endgames, the special ChessBase version of Mark Dvoretsky's magnum opus, "Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual" was chosen because the Russian trainer explains that it was adapted specifically to make use of tools such as the ChessBase medals. It is more than a mere digitalization of his work.

Working with it can leave you gaping (at 57:45), but it is always a pleasure to see Dvoretsky's choices and explanations.

And yes, if I goof, it will stay. Here I wondered (at 48:25) why Fine could not take on d5, unexplained by Pachman, and noted: "because of Rc4 (sic)". 

No one is perfect. And the point of leaving it is just that.

If you were looking for somebody to study chess with, this is your chance.

Study Chess with Me videos

Though every video can be watched on its own, this is the first one. In it is a very tough tactical position that took over nine minutes and that a super GM agreed was not at all obvious.

In this second video, you will find a game with the Dutch GM Donner, as well as a recommendation for his collected chess writings, which I read and enjoyed very much. 

You can purchase the ChessBase version of Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual by clicking here

You can get full access to the ChessBase Tactics page (as well as videos and more) by subscribing to ChessBase Account

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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