My Chess Story – How to improve your chess?

Hello there are thanks for visiting our site,

At first, I was quite weak chess player myself. My Elo rating was just under 1200… I played tournaments and wondered why I lose a game after game.

I tried to improve very hard. I followed every reasonable study plan and advice, bought many books and dived into studying. I’ve spent months trying to understand certain openings and middlegame ideas from greatest players of the past.

On top of that, I played over-the-board against stronger opponents, on the bi-weekly basis. After a year of such training, I only gained about 50 ELO points.

I was stunned. I could not believe it will take that much effort to improve. I felt I was doing something wrong.

And I was right. As Albert Einstein puts it

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I needed some change…

I tweaked my training routine and got rid of some useless and time-consuming elements, focusing on what I actually needed to win games. I stopped studying openings and focused primarily on attacking chess, deeper endgame understanding, and the right type of tactics, common at practical chess.

The results were simply phenomenal.

By spending almost 5 times fewer hours/week on chess than a year before, I was able to pick up spectacular 500 Elo points, instead of modest 50 points a year before.

My studying/rating gaining efficiency went up by as much as 2500%! I was ranked a number 1 player in the state by the number of Elo points gained in a year span.

Players, who used to crush me with ease, were now terrified to face me over-the-board. They were simply out of my league.

By working another year on chess, using similar training routine, I was able to gain another 300 ELO points, becoming one of the highest ranked chess players in my state.

I went from losing games against 1200-1300 rated opponents to holding my grounds and even beating FIDE masters (2200+) in less than 2 years!

Here is proof, check out this [annotated] game I have played against 2250 ELO rated guy.

The System was actually rather simple…

How did I go from losing to sub-1200 players to beating experts and even Masters in less than 2 years? The systematic training is the key.

The majority of chess players simply train here-and-there, without following any sort of system. That’s why they often get disappointed with their results, or lack of thereof.

What did I do: [only 60 minutes/day – 5 days a week!]

  • Relevant Grandmaster’s Game Analysis – I spent a good 30 minutes a day analyzing 1 high-quality grandmaster game on a specific middlegame theme [closed center, open game, attack on opposite flanks, same side castle, isolated queen pawn, etc.] First, I went through the game myself, took notes and tried understanding what’s going on, why the moves are played as well as what’s the plan for both sides. Then I compared my analysis with annotations of a higher rated player [an IM or GM] and noticed what I missed or didn’t understand.
  • Solving Daily Tactics – no I didn’t use the interactive tactics trainers… it was static chess board with no draggable pieces [e-book or a book if you wish]. That way you can focus on finding the line completely instead of dragging the pieces right away to check if the answer is correct. This is very important! I used a real wooden chess board to go over the games and solve tactics, and suggest you do the same. You don’t need to spend ages on that, 20 minutes a day and 4-5 reasonable tough tactics problems should do it!
  • Working on Endgame – this is a super important step that’s being overlooked by 95% of chess players. I guarantee you, without a solid endgame understanding it’s not possible to improve. Spend 15-20 minutes a day to learn 1-2 new endings and you will build a strong foundation for success.
  • Practice games – forget blitz and rapid! If you are serious about improving you should play couple long time control games per week, recording the moves and doing a post-game analysis especially if you lose. Playing 100-200 points up is very helpful!

You ask me what about the openings? Yes, I did do study the openings from time to time, but before reaching certain level probably around 1800 you don’t need to work on those too much.

This simple plan should be enough to get you started…

the chess system

From that time a lot of things have happened.

  • I started this website where I share the chess training techniques that actually work for anyone looking to rapidly improve
  • I have done and keep doing an extensive research on different methods of chess training, reviewing literature, trying different approaches, interviewing chess coaches, Grandmasters, and strong players to share their secrets of success
  • Recently we hit 10,000,000 visitors mark here on, which makes me happy because I realize that just as many players have learned something useful and have improved their chess using materials from our site. We actually make difference!
  • We have published well over 1,000 instructional chess articles here on that cover everything from opening selection to an endgame technique – so you can learn not just from me but from many GMs, IMs, WGMs, WIMs, FMs and NMs.
  • We were also featured as one of the Top 10 most popular chess website in the world according to Alexa Information Company.
  • We have filmed many-many dozens of hours of Grandmaster instructional content that already helped many thousands of chess players all over the globe at reaching their chess goals…
  • Finally, I have decided, to sum up, all the important things about chess training I learned and have released an intensive chess training program [together with IM Castellanos and WGM Sgircea21 Days to Supercharge Your Chess. You can check it out here.

I’m sure that you are capable of everything, you just need to commit yourself. And with our help, you will make progress even faster, guaranteed!

Thanks for reading this!

Yours truly,

Yury Markushin