GM Igor Smirnov Answers Chess Questions | Live Call With a Student

GM Igor Smirnov of the Remote Chess Academy (RCA) had an online training session with one of the RCA students from India, GM Karthik Venkataraman, during the lockdown period due to coronavirus outbreak.

The young Indian grandmaster Karthik Venkataraman (Karthik has been a student of RCA for a long time – said that his rating and performance are being stagnant and are not going up recently. He said “There has not been much of an improvement in my performance. I want to improve and I am not sure what to do or what is the best way. Also, I don’t know what I am doing wrong”.

In addition to that, Karthik said that his blunders count have increased a lot and he fails to see the opponent’s moves/plans, and that his confidence is very low. Karthik had a lot of doubts and questions, and GM Igor Smirnov have answered them all, which are categorized into topics (see below) for your convenience.


▶ Making a lot of blunders in recent times. How to fix that? (00:13) 
▶ Calculate and think too much about my own plans, not seeing opponents’ plans (00:44)
▶ How exactly to train to think from the opponents’ perspective? (01:37)
▶ What to do during the times when opponent is thinking during the game? Calculate something or relax/walk around? (02:33)
▶ Losing confidence when results are not going up for a long time. What to do? (04:07)
▶ Style/Approach of play – Zen mode (‘just play the game’ approach) VS ‘smash the opponent’ approach (04:34)
▶ Relying on intuition – not sure which move is the best (06:53)
▶ Learnt new methods/concepts and tried to adapt to that ‘new’ thinking system? (08:08)
▶ How to make effective use of playing training games against computer? (09:30)
▶ How many games per day should you play against computer and with what time control? (11:02)
▶ Check the statistics of your performance in different openings and stop playing openings that don’t suit you well (12:54)
▶ Getting outplayed (unprepared) in the opening stage against stronger opponents (14:15)
▶ Is playing too many tournaments good or bad? Preparing during tournaments? (14:36)
▶ Analyzing the games that you have won and understand what kind of positions you play the best (16:15)
▶ Training Plan – what to train and how many hours should you train? Does physical training help? (16:55)
▶ Be willing to change something – staying the same will get you the same results (19:09)
▶ Is playing blitz games online (too often) good or bad? (20:25)

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