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How to Unlock Your Grandmaster Mind E-mail
Written by WGM Raluca Sgîrcea, IM Renier Castellanos   
Monday, 23 January 2017 00:00

unlock gm mindUnderstanding the game of chess is not something exclusive to the world top players. Chess can be understood by all chess fans and enthusiasts who are willing to learn new things about the game every day. In this article we would like to explain you how you can improve your level and get closer to the mind of a Grandmaster.

It is no secret that by training, dedication and a certain amount of talent one can become a Grandmaster even if starting late in chess. There are several cases of players who started after 15 (even 20s) and achieved the highest title. Let us try to explain how the GM mind works and what can you do to think like them.

How do Grandmasters think? Why are they different?

One becomes Grandmaster after accumulating a lot of experience over the board and, of course, after a lot of hard work on the game. However, it is not enough to learn openings and understand the main concepts of positional chess. There is something called wisdom, that helps the Grandmaster to make the right decisions in different situations.

He can even sometimes play a bad move knowing that this move will be the most difficult to his opponent, even if objectively it is bad. A bad move, a right decision? Yes, and this is given by the wisdom he has in order to trick his opponent in that moment. After all, chess is about tricking your opponent and winning the game.

This Grandmaster wisdom is obtained through experience, after lots of practice, losses and victories. Inevitably, your level of understanding is higher. The good news is that this practical experience doesn’t need to be your own. Fortunately for us there are thousands of books with games collection that can help us through the process of understanding how to think like a Grandmaster.

By playing through the moves of their games and annotations we can learn which factors made him play each move. This method is pure gold and it is very much underrated nowadays.

One of the characteristics of the Grandmaster’s way of thinking is DEPTH.

A high level player is not tempted by shiny attacks unless they are totally justified. Neither is he tempted to refute your play right away. Instead, he will try to outplay you slowly but surely. You may have noticed that Grandmasters are usually staying away from unnecessary complications, are they afraid? Are they poor tacticians?

The answer is NO.

But they simply won’t take unnecessary risks, especially against players that they should beat comfortably. Another common thing is that they don’t take material they don’t need. If grabbing a pawn will give you some attack or active play, then they probably won’t bother. A positional advantage is what they are looking for and it should always be preferred to a material advantage. That’s what depth means, to think beyond the immediate gains, to build something strong on the board so when the time to attack comes, the attack will be lethal.

Grandmasters also have a very good sense for prophylaxis and this is perhaps one of the things most club players and masters lack, the ability to frustrate your opponent’s plans.

In order to think like them, one must analyze games played by them. Play a good collection of Grandmasters games, anyone you like by style of play or achievements and study their games carefully. Pay especial attention to the comments that explain what made them decide on each move. Solving similar exercises regularly will also help you reach a higher level of understanding and will certainly improve your decision-making during your games.

We hope this article has been useful to you, we believe that it is a good guide to learn what to do in your day by day training. As usual, your remarks and suggestions are important to us, so feel free to leave any feedback. Thank you for reading!

If you want to improve your chess level, you need to have a clear study plan. If you aim for a dramatic improvement at chess you need to work on all of the elements of the game in a systematic way:

  • tactics
  • positional play
  • attacking skills
  • endgame technique
  • classical games analysis
  • psychological preparation
  • and much more

That seems to be like a lot of things, and that is. But no worries, we have made it easy for you. Our comprehensive training course covers it all and much more. Sign up for 21 Day Training right now!

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Last Updated on Monday, 23 January 2017 13:08

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