TRAINING

Every chess player differs in the composure of the following parameters: playing strength, relative strengths and weaknesses, style, knowledge, ambition, fields of interest, available time and other resources. Hence, the training offer has to be comprehensive. Let me explain my standard methods:

1. Definition of middlegame training

Since the middlegame is the most important phase of a chess game, chess training should take this into account. Before I describe different forms of training, I want to give a short definition: According to my understanding, you should generally think of the middlegame and the opening as one unit. For this reason, it doesn’t make sense to study openings without dealing with the respective middlegame patterns. On the other hand, studying the middlegame in isolation is possible, but including opening elements is advisable in specific situations.

Middlegame training should comprise all elements and principals that are important to evaluate a position. Furthermore it should contain guidelines for correct formal (abstract) thinking as well as an overview of all available strategic operations. The remaining element would be an analysis of human perception on the chess board, in order to extract a catalogue of typical mistakes and oversights. Only he who knows his (inner) enemies well, can fight them efficiently.

2. Profile Analysis

My recommendation is to start a training program with a profile analysis. The more the trainer knows about the student, the more efficient the training will be. As you know, it is recommendable to primarily deal with the weaknesses. For the analysis, the student may want to send me around 10 representative games. It would be good if these games are lightly annotated, as it helps me to perceive the student’s thought process. But this is not strictly necessary.

In order to collect as much information as possible, I developed a questionnaire. Even if a potential student doesn’t want to invest money in a profile analysis, he should send me the filled in questionnaire, so that I am able to design the training on the basis of these information.
The profile analysis is an ongoing process. The longer the training relationship will last, the more elaborate the profile will become. A good training method to enhance this process is called “loud thinking”. Here, the trainer asks his student to verbalize his thoughts at specific stages of a game within a live session.

3. Specific Training

After the profile analysis, I provide the student with exercises which focus mainly on his weaknesses. Once a week, the results are discussed either in a live session or per email. In any case, he will receive the well annotated solutions in ChessBase format.

4. Comprehensive Training

Players under Elo 2300 normally have shortcomings in all areas of chess strategy. I am prepared to give them a complete course on that subject, with a respective impact on their playing strength.

5. Papers and essays

I am constantly writing on essays which cover all relevant aspects of the game. This way, a whole book of essential knowledge will be created over time, not meant to be published. At the time of writing, the following documents are finished:

– The Foundation of Chess Training (elements of the decision-making process and basic chess skills)
– Ingame Checklist (guidelines for unknown situations)
– Comprehensive Strategy Map (so you know what elements are out there, and what could be covered by future training)
– Working with Variation Trees (the most important ChessBase function)
– Mental strength in Chess (how you can save many points by improving your attitude)
– Typical mistakes and their origin (learn about how mistakes are created in your mind and how to circumvent them)
– Solving Exercises (a manual for efficiently solving my exercises and exercises in general)

All these documents are given free of charge to my regular students. I define a regular as a student, who booked a minimum of 10 hours with me or spent an equivalent sum on opening analysis.

6. Repertoire Check

I offer a repertoire check to find out, whether there is a disharmony between opening repertoire and playing style or whether there are low quality variations involved. The RC is free of charge for everyone who orders other services from me.

7. Opening Analysis

If you are preparing for a certain game or just want to sharpen your opening repertoire in general, there is always a good reason for ordering high quality opening analyses. I think, I am quite good at finding out the truth about an opening position. Depending on the time available, the reality grade normally ranges between 2600 and 2700.
The costs of an opening analysis depend on the subject and the quantity of the order. Please, ask for information material here.

8. The Power Method

After I became Grandmaster in 1989 I went through a five year period of stagnation. This came partly from the problem to find new goals and remain motivated and partly from the general difficulty to make substantial progress once you reached a relative high level. This phase ended when  I started to use ChessBase more efficiently, the trigger for that being the release of ChessBase for Windows. Apparently, I needed this aesthetic environment. Back then I started to create one variation tree after the other, which not only helped me to increase my opening repertoire, but also made me absorb huge quantities of new middlegame patterns.

This is in line which what I stated above. When you learn an opening, it is mandatory to include the study of the respective middle game patterns. If you know both, the best moves and the most important plans and motives, you can enhance your playing strength in a specific line far beyond your general playing level.

The Power Method basically imitates what I did from 1994 onward and consists of four steps:
1. Provision of an opening analysis with basic verbal comments (see previous paragraph).
2. Enrichment of this material with ample verbal annotation, highlighting all important patterns.
3. Creation of exercises targeting these described patterns
4. Finally I send both, the enriched variation tree and the exercises to the student. The student first solves the exercises. Then, he looks up the solution within the variation tree.

The training basically takes place via Email. In case you want to attend live sessions, we could do this via Skype, using one of the three options:
1. The Skype “Share Screens” function
2. The Chess24 training facility
3. My training room on the ChessBase-Server: Click Here

For more information regarding content, training modalities and prices, please contact me here: info@matthias-wahls.com