Archive for the ‘Jacob Aagaard’s training tips’ Category

Training Seminar in Edinburgh with GM Jacob Aagaard 6-8 Oct

August 28th, 2017 6 comments

Training Seminar in Edinburgh with Grandmaster and FIDE Senior Trainer Jacob Aagaard 6-8 October

On the first weekend of October there will be a three-day training seminar with Grandmaster Jacob Aagaard in Edinburgh Chess Club. The training weekend is organised in collaboration with Chess Scotland, offering free participation to the members of the national team participating in the European Team Championship in Crete in November.

The themes will be changing from day to day, with a focus on positional play, calculation and endgame technique. The sessions will be evenly balanced between lecturing and practical application.

The place of the training seminar is Edinburgh Chess Club, 1 Alva Street, in the centre of Edinburgh.

The timings are:

Friday 6th October         7pm – 10pm

Saturday 7th October      1pm – 5.30pm

Sunday 8th October        11am – 3.30pm

The cost of participation is £75. Please register by emailing



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Making a solving collective

August 21st, 2017 16 comments

One thing that many people struggle with is solving puzzles on their own. It requires some discipline to get started and distractions can get you diverted. It is popular to meet up with friends and solve together. It makes it social and a bit competitive. But for most people, this is not an option. Their friends are far away and local players might have no ambition or be unsuitable for other reasons.

The idea I came up with years ago that worked really well, was to have group training on PlayChess (or it could be many other servers or even Whatsapp on your phone).

The way to do it is that one person has gathered positions in advance, preferably from a Quality Chess book of course, but other good exercise books have been published (I have been told).

He presents the first problem to the group.

When you have a solution, you say so.

When only one person is left, he gets an extra minute to find the solution, while the others prepare their solutions (but don’t press return).

When time’s up everyone gives their solutions.

Correct solutions get one point, mistakes get no points. The group decides if the solution is correct in disputes.

Next problem.

After a fixed amount of time, you have a winner.

This worked for a long time with a group I set up. I supplied them with the exercises, but since then these have been published in many books, so there are no excuses…

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Critical Moments – two opposing definitions

July 11th, 2017 64 comments

Having debated CRITICAL MOMENTS here on the blog with a number of readers, I received a longer email from our friend and one-time author, Amatzia Avni.

Hello Jacob,

I’m following your blog and although I haven’t yet read your “Thinking inside the box”, I strongly disagree with some observations you make regarding the nature of “critical position” (or critical moment).

First, here is your own definition: “A critical moment …is something along the lines of a moment where the problems in front of you (hold great complexity) and failing to find a good move will a) lead to great suffering, or b) lose the advantage”. 29/4/13

“A position where the difference between the best move and the second-best move is high, let’s say half a point”. 9/5/2017.

Correct. (Also, when the decision is irreversible or hard to rectify). Read more…

Solving and guessing

April 25th, 2017 31 comments

The last four weeks I have been travelling through Asia, visiting 12 cities in eight countries. Sometimes for less than 24 hours, arriving at 6 in the morning in Manila, for example, and flying out at half past midnight the same day…

On my trip, I have talked a lot about Thinking Inside the Box and the core ideas in the book. It has been an amazing experience, seeing how the ideas have resonated with people of all ages and all levels, from young kids to top grandmasters. I wish I was going to write the book now, as the ideas are so much clearer in my head and the diverse ways I have found to explain them would have improved it.

One thing I realised along the way is to emphasise the difference between guessing and solving. When I was an improving player, I struggled a lot with solving exercises. I would find ideas and then my concentration would crumble. I would flick to the solutions page and see how close I was.

Because close was the best I did – for a long time. Discipline was always a problem for the younger me. I had a spine similar to cooked spaghetti, according to a friend.

What I needed to do was to get into a habit of solving positions. When we are talking about tactical exercises, you should calculate all the variations till the end, working out all the details. This is an important skill to develop in training. It will take you far.

But this does not mean that guessing is all wrong. In my model there are four types of decisions.

1. Automatic Decisions
2. Simple Decisions
3. Critical Moments
4. Strategic Decisions

I deal more with this model in both Grandmaster Preparation – Strategic Play and in Thinking Inside the Box. And in previous blog posts, most likely. (No, I do not routinely look through them!) For here it suffices to say that only automatic decisions and critical moments require a high level of accuracy. Simple decisions are often taken on an intuitive basis and are as such, a pure guess. Strategic decisions include more calculation and logical thinking, but will in most cases include guessing as well.

This is important, because we simply cannot work everything out till the end. If you try to solve every move, you lose on time. For some people this is their existence.

The average player is directed by impulses and his inability to stay concentrated. The great practical player finds a good balance between guessing and solving and is always aware of which tool he uses. Moving from the first category to the second is a big jump and one the Grandmaster Preparation series is all about (as well as a few other things).

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Talking to Yusupov about the Yusupov challenge

March 22nd, 2017 12 comments

The Yusupov Challenge

February 27th, 2017 234 comments

I have personally taken up a challenge after reading an interesting article. It is my goal to read 100 books this year. 50 novels and 50 non-fiction books. I used to be an avid reader, but lately I have been caught up in too many things and maybe watched a few too many TV-shows on Netflix. Every second novel must be what we call a “serious” novel. At least!

In that connection, I propose a reading challenge for those who wants to improve their chess, but have never really gotten around to it. The Yusupov challenge.

Artur Yusupov has written 10 volumes in his series of training material for those starting at 1200-1800, wanting to get to 2200+. They cover more or less everything and received the first ever Boleslavsky medal from FIDE, when they started handing them out. And not without competition. Kasparov was in second place and Dvoretsky in third.

Your goal should be to read one book per month. There are 25 chapters in each book, making it a total of 250 chapters. They take maybe 10-20 minutes to read, after which there are 12 exercises, which should take you 20-40 minutes to go through. Some of you might want to spend more time per chapter, but the point stands. You can do six of them a week and make it easily. In a year, you will have learned an immense amount about chess.

Which order you should read the books in

When we acquired the books, we originally only planned to publish one from each series. We all make mistakes. For this reason, the order which the books are intended to be read is not entirely obvious. The order is:

Build up Your Chess 1, Boost Your Chess 1, Chess Evolution 1 – the orange books (Fundamentals series)

Build up Your Chess 2, Boost Your Chess 2, Chess Evolution 2 – the blue books (Beyond the Basics series)

Build up Your Chess 3, Boost Your Chess 3, Chess Evolution 3 – the green books (Mastery series)

The newest book, Revision & Exam 1 should probably be read last.

So, the order to which I suggest you read the books is:

Spring – The Fundamentals series

March: Build up Your Chess 1

Boost Your Chess 1

Chess Evolution 1

Summer – Beyond the Basics series

Build up Your Chess 2

Boost Your Chess 2

Chess Evolution 2

Autumn – Mastery series

Build up Your Chess 3

Boost Your Chess 3

Chess Evolution 3

Winter – Revision time

Revision & Exam 1

If you are up for it, sign up below.

How to train without a coach? – By GM Adhiban

February 16th, 2017 25 comments

The answer to the above questions is surely books and DVDs. However, with this huge wealth of material out there, it is easy to be completely confused. It is difficult to pinpoint on only one book, because different people at different levels have different requirements. However, I would like to tell you the story that happened with me yesterday:

Read more…

The cat is out of the bag

February 7th, 2017 No comments

Hi guys, what are you planning to do this spring. Here is my plans…