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Chess forum by Grandmasters

New article: The "Smiling Pillow", Todd Hermann, and the Thief

I would know that today was a great success if at the end of the day I did, said, or felt … 

Continue the sentence in the comments. 

And if you’re unsure of the answer, check out our just-published article. 

You’ll love the concept from the World’s leading expert on the mental game and peak performance.


I did my best ! Hi GM Avetik , this podcast was incredible ! Its amazing to hear from someone who is working with the best out there ! The pillow concept is probably true for everybody ( except maybe for psychopath or sociopath ! ) . I especially liked the last part about older people . Being myself 57 yrs old , I know its hard to change old habits but with the right mindset, the motivation and good work , I feel anything is possible and if I dont succeed , it wont be because I did not try ! Thank you very much for bringing this to us ! 👍

Smiling pillow is such a lovely concept! We all have a child inside of us, we can identify with this :)

Wonderfull article! But words are easy, you still have to do it. How to find the right alter-ego? I am a heavy procrastinator and in my 34 year of playing in a chess club I have not find the right thought proces that I can use constantly for every move I play, so my chess strenght goes up and down with every game I play. Once again, the concept looks wonderfull and beautiful, but like always, I suffer with the start of it and then to continue with it. Or is it because I want perfection from the start, not willing to fail (maybe my biggest mistake).

How to use MoodCoin?

It says that I can buy courses with MoodCoin...But HOW???🤔


Click Get lifetime access It s over the main quiz of any course . 1 k MoodCoins = 1 $

Study plan- How to stay disciplined?

I created a chess study plan for myself, and I keep going for 1 week, but then at some point I lose motivation and I completely stop. So my question is, how to stay disciplined and stick to the study plan even if I am not motivated?


Set achievable goals, and then break them down into sub-goals. Track the completion of your goals in a notebook or online tool such as Google Sheets. For example if a goal is to complete a particular course, you could break it down into a chapter per week. Build some slack into your schedule. We're not perfect studying machines.

1 on 1 call with GM (studyplan)

As a Pro member I can choose for a 1 on 1 call with GM to get a personalized studyplan. I can only see available times on june 2th and 9th, both fridays. That is a day I have to go to work and in the evening go to my chess club. So I dont have time those two days. For may and july there isn't a day scheduled. Does this mean I have to wait until august (or maybe even later) to have a 1 on 1 call on a for me suitable time and hour?


Hi johan You should probably contact support for this , I hope you get your call soon as my personalized plan it was quite different from the general study plan in my case .

Hi Johan,😃

I am sure that we still have to update the event list, but just in case, please send us a private email (since the open forum is not the best place to discuss private matters) or get in contact through and we will try to find a good time slot for you.😁 

Need urgent answer

Hey chessmood team love your free videos next month i am going to play a tournament biggest in my chess carrier if i will lost it would cost me my whole chess chess so is there any one to help me


So World Championship then or over dramatic? Why put yourself under so much pressure?

Hi Zayn . You can try to prepare the best you can till the next tournament but , having long term goals is the way to go as chess can be a life long work ! What is your level and the level of the opponents you will face ?

Hey Zayn, In a game, you can always win if you follow these rules: Make Good Opening Moves. Do Not Give Away Pieces For Free. Get Your Pieces In Position. Coordinate An Attack On The King. Watch The Safety Of Your Own King. Always Be A Good Sport!!! If you follow those, you will succeed! (Mostly)

If this tournament isn't over, then just stay calm while playing. If you panic, things will get worse. Prepare, you can fix common mistakes you make, practise and study, and if possible, try to learn about your opponent/opponents.

Article: How to Find the Right Chess Coach | Ultimate Guide

Hey Champions!

We have this topic in our Blog:

If you have any questions, comments or you just liked it, feel free to share your thoughts here. 


Well I prefer to choose Kramnik and Peter.  But if he wants to learn how to play mindblowing moves in time trouble then Grischuk is best in the world. 

My fav. Coach lists includes.

1. Coach Avetik.

2. Coach Gabuzyan

3. Anonymous my teammate mentor hehehe.  

For Question 1, I would say Svidler!

1. I would love to have a world champion who has already achieved the title as my coach like kramnik or anand etc

2. to be honest i have never had "coaches", chessmood is the first place where am meeting strong trainers like GM Avetik 

Ans 1 ) Leko

I really like the article and have just filled out the form for finding a coach.

The sentence that gives (for me) the most important point is:

Therefore you want to work with your coach on things that you couldn’t have done alone!"

What does this mean for me being an "Adult Improver" (wife and two kids, full-time job, 49 years old, FIDE ELO around 200): 

I do know "how to study" and I have a general idea of drawing a study plan that fits my needs and framework conditions.

I do have the ability to focus and work hard for my goals. But sometimes I do need a kind of external "push". Taking part in the closed tournaments and webinar is an important "push" for me as I can see how fellow PRO-members improve and compete for our coaches's praise.  And do want to beat Tom soon :-)

I have a limited ability to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses or to put it differently my understanding/knowledge and the ability to apply it in a practical game. Therefore, I can not put together the best possible study plan and cannot adjust it as early as possible. I guess this would be the main field of work for my coach.


Do you have any suggestion on how a chess coach like myself who has a full-time job unrelated to chess, but loves the game and loves to coach, can improve his skills as a coach? 

I prefer Vlad Kramnik in my first choice, He actually did what we want, became world champion and he was known from hard working. My secret list of the best coaches are  GM Gabuzyan, which did in my opinion huge improvment in be smart coach, gives more patience in explain our positions. Thanks Man for great webinars ! 
Second is GM Avetik, our Big Brother and my wizard Liczner, who always has good relationship with students and can   inspire to hard work.

I really liked the article and have will fill out the form for finding a coach.

to answer the 2 questions:


2...since in the article you wrote to think big...then 1 Magnus Carlsen 2 Garry Kasparov (he was born 13th aprile if I'm not wrong, like me...but that's all we have in common I suppose :) :) :) ) 3Judith Polgar

Question 1, Svidler Maybe, he seems like a good coach .  I applied for the google form.  when should i expect to get a reply?

Question 1: doubtless Peter Svidler

Question 2: My #1 although I know is unaffordable, would be Jacob Aagaard, I have read many of his books and he was an attacking player.

My #2 Vladimir Akopian. Must be expensive but he was in the Botvinnik-Kasparov and he won everything under 20. So too much talent and light disposition to fuel it all. I think now he is composing Studies

My #3 there is draw here. Paco Vallejo because beside his rating he is spanish best player of all time and I am from Barcelona-Catalonia (Spain). Paco is from Mallorca. The other guy is A.Volokotin, I read his book (exercises) Perfect Your Chess and I read recently in an interview to promote his serial about Decision Making in Chess, he mentioned Perfect Your Chess as a very good book.

I also have a look at and coaches (basically there are the same guys) and called my attention a 25 y.o. active GM who wants to coach, with a rating +2650, the azeri Nihat Abasov. He doesn't publish his fee, only tell to contact for an agreement. But reading your article I doubt so young he is an experience coach and probably he just wants to improve his finance.

Thanks for your time

Is the form still here ? (for finding a coach ) I can't find it.

Very good blog and well worth reading. A few years ago a parent during the British Championships expressed her horror to me at a titled player offering coaching between rounds of 75 dollars an hour only to find 9 other juniors being coached at the same time. And all the titled player did was set one problem to one and move on to the next with a similar problem. She said to me that most parents did not realise this and saw it as child minding ! On the positive side the advice on doing your research is key. I knew what I wanted was a player stronger than me but not a GM and approached an old school IM who had helped Jonathan Hawkins become a GM and was turned down which I fully respected.

Thank you for this incredibly helpful article!!!!!!!!! Could you please post a/the form for finding a coach?




Trading options

One thing that isn't mentioned explicitly in the Wolf course, but may be useful is the enumeration of options you might have when a trade appears. There is a quite a list: .Capture it .Play another move and let opponent capture, or be distracted from capturing. .Move it away so it can't be exchanged for that piece .Reposition so opponent trade is favourable (e.g. repair pawns or open file) . Defend attacked piece to recapture favourably .Interpose with lower value piece, or sacrifice of higher value piece . Pin attacker to stop it exchanging . Alternative trade / tactic to move attacker away . Create other threat/position to make opponent trading bad . Tactic to win attacker . Bluff by offering an alternative piece that appears a better option to capture Others?


Question about the French exchange?

e4 e6 d4 d5 exd5 exd5 nc3 nc6 nf3. What do we do because we can't go bishop d6 and get the long castle set up because black would take on d5. Thanks for your answers.


We adapt and we go Bb4.

I've never told you this...

Hello, my friends and champions! 

From reading my articles, you might have the impression that I’m made of iron, have super discipline and always have solutions. Which is very far from the truth :)

In reality, I have hard times and hard days too… 

Guess how I find motivation to push forward and who helps me?  

Yep, YOU… 
YOU, ChessMood family! 

I should’ve told you this earlier. 
How you heal me each time I’m down. 

How many of you have a special place in my heart. 
But as they say, better late than never. 

I wrote a letter to you 20 days ago, but then I decided to send it on Thanksgiving day. Then I changed my mind again, and published it on our Blog, in case you miss the email.  

Please take a few minutes to read my gratitude essay. 
Thank you for every-every-everything! 


Thank you to you and all your staff for working for chess lovers in the way you do👏👏

Happy Birthday to Grandmaster Hovhannes! Thanks for all of your high-quality Instruction videos!!

Thank you to you ! I was not among the people who helped you 6 months ago as I m here since 3 months . With very good results in the first 3 tournaments after joining the chessmood family , I had one more ordinary and this WE , I having a bad one ! 0.5/3 . But I had good games with chances to win in everyone , but it s just not working so far . I feel some deception but I m not discouraged at all and still feel I can score pts tomorrow . Whatever the final results , I m confident in the long run that I will improve and it will show in my results thanks to chessmood . I m patient and plan to work hard to get there eventually ! 👍

Can we download pgn from file courses because it is unlocked for 28 hrs

I am not a pro member Can we download pgn from file courses because it is unlocked for 28 hrs? Also Belated Happy birthday to Gabuzyan Sir


Sorry, the videos are unlocked, not the pgns. Enjoy them! 😀

e4 c5 Nf3 Nc6 b4?!

Had this tricky gambit in an informal game and lost. Should this be handled by the sharp cxb4 d4 d5 exd5 Qxd5 c4 Qa5 etc (Qh5 didn't work out for me) or by the safer 3... Nxb4 c3 Nc6 d4 cxd4 cxd4 e6 lines?


I think this has been discussed before and ..Nxb4 was suggested.

Hi David!

This was debated and replied in the following thread>

I think that this will be a good line for the next time…

Right Mood?

ChessMood talks a lot about right mood right move, and how that will help you. I think this is a smart approach but I am reading "Thinking, Fast and Slow" and in it it says that if you smile or are in a good mood System 1 kicks in. He says something like "System 1 is more intuitive and creative, but it lets down it's guard, is not that vigilant, and does not think that deeply" So in Right Mood-Right Move, doesn't System 1 kick in? And is that good? Or is it bad? Thanks for your help!


Hello ebk Chess! What it probably means is that you don't want to rush. System 1 is the system that is not focused and will help you make more blunders. Also, it is ok to have fun while your playing. Just don't let that fun distract you from your practice. Also, I'm almost positive that system 1 doesn't get involved because it will make you unfocused, and focus is, in my opinion, is the key to winning a game. I hope you can understand.

Candidate moves or Instinct led?

In an FM talks about 2 different approaches to how to find a move. How am I supposed to do it? Should I analyze different candidate moves or should I stick to one unless I can prove it wrong?


what's your rating? I'm sure the answer will differ from 1000 to 1500 to 2000 to 2500+

Can also depend on the time control and the nature of the position.

Analyze different candidate moves so that you can manage your time when playing a game

d4-f5 (not d4-e6), what else should I learn except Staunton?

If I as black do not want to play French, I should play on d4-f5 (not d4-e6), right? (I am e4-e5 player with black and I have also added e4-c5 now, but e4-e6 is not my choice currently). I understand that then I need to learn Staunton gambit (d4-f5 e4). What else should I learn additionally if I start with d4-f6 and not e6 that is not mentioned in the course?


2.Nc3, 2.Bg5, 2.g4, 2.h3., 2.Qd3 Lots of tricky stuff in there.

Older Player Improving Thinking Process

Background: Learned chess at age 5, but did not play seriously until my first tournament at age 30. Now retired and trying to improve at age 66. Trying to correct two bad thinking habits. (1) Failing to identify my opponents' reasonable responses to my threats (responses that are well within my ability to spot rather than being beyond my tactical ability) and (2) Stopping my calculations too soon (after checks and captures are complete, but missing certain threats at the end). Seeking: Suggestions for study techniques, exercises, etc. to help address the two bad thinking habits. Playing more obviously will help, but I slip back into my bad habits during games with the typical fast internet time controls. I need some way to establish good habits before I try to apply them quickly. Thanks for your suggestions.


Very interesting question. Here's what I try sometimes: when doing serious solving, I setup the position on a real chess set. This gets me out of that "must move quickly" online mindset. When I think I've solved it I'll write down my solution on a piece of paper, trying very hard to cover a few defensive options. Sometimes, particularly if I'm unsure about things, I'll take a break and come back to it later with a clear mind to see if I've missed something.

Hi Randall , I think the answer is within your post . To improve this , you need to play slower pace game maybe ! And just take more time to spot what your opponent can do and try to see what the position will be after the calculation you made , like 1 more move for each player and not just stopping after you took a pawn on tactics . Is the final position worth winning anything ? My best games , I often delay taking a pawn or even a piece which could ruin my position.


Hello Chessmood, I tried to find the solution to today's puzzle. I found the first good move, but then the following moves seemed obvious to me. However, I tried all possible black moves, but none of them worked. Is it a bug? Thank you very much for giving me an answer. Informally,


The puzzle worked perfectly, plus it was White to move… I just did it and still 5 hours left on the puzzle…😅

It was definitely broken for me earlier too. But worked just now.

I looked at it 4 different times today but only tried to solve it 10 min ago as I was not seeing the solution . I finally got it on my first try but its the first time I have so much trouble with a daily puzzle but still get it right on the first try ! So if it was not working properly at the beginning , I got lucky to have avoided the problem ! 😅

Question in a wolf trade puzzle

Hi chessmood family On the diagram showed , the 2 first moves have been played to ruined the pawn structure ( Bxa4 bxa4] . The continuation is Rxd6 which is fine ( and necessary to get the puzzle solve ) but what about other moves like Ne6 (or even a5 ) ? Is it better to trade another piece quickly to aggrave the pawn weaknesses or the other moves are as good ? In other words , is there a concrete reason to continue with Rxd6 immediately and if not , should this move be removed to get the puzzle right ?


Dear Denis, 

I believe you are mentioned the wrong squares for the pieces, could you please improve the annotations, so I can better understand the question and reply?


What do you think of this gambit?

Hello. I've been preparing this last days to face the English opening since my knowledge of the theory was near to null. My main document was the draft and the course by GM Gabuzyan, but my friend, FM Van der Mechelen suggested a new gambit that goes this way: 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 e4!? 4. Ng5 c6 5.Nxe4 Nxe4 6. Nxe4 d5 7.Ng3 h5 (to push h4 and so on) I will like some expertise opinion. I told FM that as a Sicilian and Benoni player I will go c5 but this gambit should be tested online blitz/rapid and also is very difficult to see an English player go Nf3 before playing g3-Bg2. 🤔


That's the Adhiban Gambit pioneered by GM Adhiban Baskaran from India. I've played it online a bit - definitely a fun opening. As you say if you're playing 1...e5 against the English then you'd better be prepared for g3 on move 2 or 3. But some players do bring both knights out first. Here's Pragg winning with the Adhiban Gambit against Aronian:

Consolidate Ninja tactics?

Hello everyone, I am a green player (1130 rapid ...) and enjoying this course a lot! Just a question: in addition to "playing games" what is the advice in order to consolidate the "Ninja tactics" courses? would like to try more quiz based on those, I heard there is some downloadable material somewhere, is this correct? Clearly one could just take aimed quizzes on lichess or, but I wonder if there is some better choice, more directly related to this course. Thanks!


Hi LuRe,

Well, there is the quizz with the 777 positions in the course page but no downloable material is available. Did you do the quizz several times?😀

You can even just repeat the entire course a few times. Or, if rewatching the videos is too tedious, repeat all the internal quizzes.

Consolidation is done by doing, and keeping skills fresh by practice. I'm don't (nor do I suspect many others) go through a tactical list when we play, we just spot things. Simple tactical puzzles and blunders are usually seen instantly without any thought.

When i go to: there is a floating box, at the bottom of which is a button that will send you to the 777 quiz questions.

Hello, In the following article, at the end, ct-art is mentionned. Probably a tool interesting for you.

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