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Chess forum by Grandmasters

Scandinavian 2..Nf6 3.Bb5+ Nbd7 4.c4 a6 line

Recently I'm having trouble playing against this line from practical point, especially in fast time controls: 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Bb5+ Nbd7 4.c4 (CM recommended) a6 5.Bxd7+ Qxd7 6.d3 e6 7.dxe6 Qxe6 In most games I played 8.Qe2 but then black gained some serious compensation with bishop pair with the move 8..b5. Then I looked up in CM and 8.Ne2 is suggested, but they go Bd7 and 0-0-0 next and for me it's very hard position practically to play as black's pieces are so active + 2 bishops, I wouldn't want this position in classical OTB to be honest as white. So need advice how should white defend in this situation, thank you.


For the moment I decided to switch after 3..Nbd7 to 4.Nf3 - healthy development and not be greedy with holding onto that pawn, usually what happens is 4..Nxd5 5.0-0 c6 6.Be2 with c4,Nc3,h3,Be3/f4 coming up with very nice position for white cause of space advantage. So I'm playing this mentioned line, until someone can prove how to hold CM position pawn up 😀

I asked the team to take a look at your position, we have some questions pending but they are very busy at the moment. We will get back to you for sure though.

Hi Paulius,

I find the positions after d3 playable for both sides. But if you want I can offer you to investigate the alternative with Nf3 instead of d3 move.

Scotch Game Shankland Line

Hello! I have a question in our spicy line with h4 with the Scotch Game. In the variation 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 ed 4. Nd4 Nf6 5. Nc6 bc 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. h4 f6 9. c4 Ba6 10. Rh3 Nb6 11. Re3 and Shankland gives the move 11...f5, saying that white will lose a pawn either on c4 or h4. He ends the line there, claiming the White has to prove the compensation for the sacrificed pawn. My engine suggests to just go b3, give up the pawn, go Bb2, and a weird sequence of moves that leads to (according to the top line of my engine) an [about-equal] endgame where we having 2 rooks and 2 pawn versus Black's LSB, Knight, Rook, and one pawn. What does GMs Avetik and Gabuzyan think about this? Thanks, Ashwin


And to keep in mind most of us and our opponents aren't 2700, so the question is how easy is it to find the right moves for both sides or have the line in your prep.

Ashwin, what book or course are you referring to?

Also, can you tell us what's your rating?😅

I checked this line and as you say b3 it is a good move since it threatens to play e6 or g3,  we can play Bb2 maybe Rh3 if Qxh4 and together with Bb2 we can put lots of preasure in the KS. 

Of course, if we follow engine lines to the end all games will end in a draw, but we never faced this line and if we do, normal moves like b3 and Bb2 are the first ones that come up. 

I am sure that you will be more prepared than the opponent because they will be very unfamiliar with these structures if they manage to remember the right moves. 

Hello A D,

The question you are asking is super deep and advanced. It's impossible to record and cover very deep engine lines, and if our students want very deep analysis we suggest them to work on that with the engines on their own.
The knowledge we provide in the courses is good enough to build a healthy foundation and understanding of the lines. But super deep engine line move-by-move preparations is not what we are aiming for, as it will be out of interests of 99% learning in Chessmood.



Thanks for understanding,
Good luck!

Accerated Dragon Section 3 9. Nc6

Hi, I was entering the opening moves into my repertoire with SF following along and to my surprise the recommended 9. Nc6 dc6 10. f3 Qc7 11. 0-0 Nh5? alters the assessment from -0.5 to +1.1 after the move 12. f4!! 11... b5 is the recommended move with the standard Q-side play.


11...b5 does appear to be the best move, with as you said standard queenside play, but f4 only shows up as +0.51 compared to 0 for 11...b5. There should probably be explanation for the move in the course. This was on stockfish 15.1, i think lichess runs on 14 so thats why it shows +1.5

It makes sense that 12.f4 is a good response to Nh5, as black's ideas involve Be5 and/or Nf4 and pressure on the dark squares, and f4 counters all of that quite nicely. Black is not well placed to exploit the drawbacks of f4 (e.g. pressure on the e4-pawn or some sort of Ng4) So, it seems to me that it's fair to say that f4 refutes the Nh5 concept. Still a good course, but the general life advice applies - trust, but verify...

Hello Zee,


Thanks for the right note. Lots of updates are going on our website ( courses/recording) and we have planned to redo the accelerated dragon course with improved mistakes. ( Can't mention the exact days, as I said lots of new projects are in progress)

Have a great day!

Quiz issues and improvements

In the endgame roadmap course there are a number of positions that are repeated with opposite colours. I'm not sure that's useful, particularly in the same quiz, you just repeat the sequence previously you don't see anything else. There is at least one quiz (weak squares quiz 2) with multiple answers and move-orders even with the colours swapped it's not consistent. It's very frustrating to have to find the right move if your choice is a good one, and worse to learn the sequence and then have to find a different one with reverse colours. A suggestion there is to allow multiple soft moves (which I assume is possible already), but where there are clearly many moves or it's a move in a sequence which isn't force to either auto-play it with suitable pause or to instruct the user to play a move. In addition I think sometimes a textual problem would be better than just assume it's find the best move. This can give hints as well as give a little background on the puzzle. As mentioned elsewhere, hints and give-up should be possible after say 3 tries. Otherwise it ends up in guessing moves and getting frustrated.


My biggest problem with quizzes is that they still don't work properly on mobile and tablets. It's why I don't use them at all.

I agree that some implementations you re suggesting could be an improvement . I do a lot of quizzes of my iPad Pro and I dont have problems usually . I did encountered some freezing the past 2 days thou when I tried the longer quiz before some section. Should the quiz improvement be a priority over adding new content , that I m not sure as I really appreciate everything I was able to discover so far !

Hey everyone! 
Thanks for all the suggestions, feedback and kind words. 

1. Flip board 

This is a technique that we used and will use it. 
You can learn more about it here: 

We want our students to understand the ideas, and not blindly solve quizzes because of the short-term memory. 

It's especially useful for not advanced players. 
And advanced players should use this especially for their openings. Blindly memorizing moves and understanding are very different things. 

2. Multiple answers 

We try to keep our puzzles with only 1 answer. And whenever there are multiple ones, all correct moves should work. 
If there are ones, that doesn't go with this, please send us links. It'll be highly appreciated. 

Daily, our chess team creates about 500 quizzes. 
There is human factor. So help is highly appreciated. 

Also, in the Discord, where we will start soon, there will be a separate channel for puzzle fixing. 

3. Hints, 2 move clicks and other tech things. We'll make it. It will take time. 

4. Peter N, we get 100s of suggestions every day. 
We make our lists. Priority lists and go ahead. 
I didn't get positive emotions from your "nice" comments. 
You have no idea on whats going on here behind the scenes. 
How many hours our developers work. How many days off they have. How many fixes are happening every day. 
And to call it “uncompetence”, it wasn't the best comment on our forum. 

Yeah, there are many websites that our technically better than ours. 
But we do our best with our small team.  

I feel you're one of the few students who are always dissatisfied, I just can't understand why don't you cancel your membership? 
Just say “Oh, right,” and I'll personally ask our support team to cancel your membership, so you spend time only typing “Oh right.” 

5. Mobile and Laptop issues 

Daily at x our developers we push them. Which comes with lots of fixes. 
Can anyone confirm that they also have issues with tablet and mobile?  

Any screenshots, screen recordings will be highly-highly appreciated! 

Denis, thanks a lot! 
People like you are the ones, who gives us smile and helps us push forward. 
It's tough to push and push forward every day! Such words and positive feedback is what gives us mental fuel, energy and motivation to keep going forward. Thanks a lot, friend! 
Looking forward to our 1-1 call soon. I'll jump on it myself. 

7. Behind the scenes 

There are lots of things going on here. From 6 AM to 10 PM. Almost every day. 
Many technical improvements. Working on new features. Adding more courses, quizzes etc… 

99% of the things are behind the scenes. 

I want to assure everyone, that we all, want to do our best, to serve you in the most effective way. 
Not everything is perfect. I know. But we try to do our best. 

We don't need to satisfy our investors, like many companies. We don't need to push bullshit courses and hire copywriters in order to sell them. 

We have to satisfy our students and help you to grow in the most efficient way. 

I send surveys. Read them personally, one by one. Take notes. Have 1-1 calls.
Everything with 1 reason. To make ChessMood a better place and help you better. 

Thanks again! 

Right Mood! 

🔔NEW COURSE: The Wolf of the Chess Street: Art of Piece Trading!🐺

Trading pieces in chess is like trading stocks on Wall Street!

It happens all the time. Yet, despite it happening ALL the time, very few have studied ‘Trading in chess’ separately. 

The knowledge many have about it is far too obvious. Like: 

‘Exchange bad pieces, keep good pieces’. 

Or ‘Buy low, sell high’ on the Wall Street, which even a 6-year-old knows. 

The wolves, the ones with the most expensive cars on Wall Street, know a lot more than just the basics of stock trading. 

And so do the wolves on the chess street when it comes to exchanging!

Today, we’ve launched a course where GM Gabuzyan teach you how to become a wolf on the chess street by making smarter trades. You’ll learn:

✅1 easy question to evaluate any trade.

✅3 important strategies around exchanging in the opening.

✅The common and hidden mistakes even strong players make while trading and what to do instead.

✅The rules of exchanging in lost positions and winning positions.

✅When to make anti-positional trades to gain an advantage.

✅When you can break all the exchange-related rules and more!

And because exchanges happens all the time, what you learn here will help you in EVERY game you play! Watch the full course 👇


Love the name and the graphics. The ChessMood team is producing an amazing amount of great looking content! I hope you still are finding some time to practice table tennis :-)

Awesome course, will deepen the knowledge for sure!

Is there an issue with the course videos? It looks like a bunch of sections that were previously available were taken away. As of yesterday (March 7th), videos were available through the Winning Won Positions section (first 8 sections). And now, only section 1 is available and everything else says "Coming Soon".

A Maroczy Bind variation, built on your given theory.

Hello! I tried to play a game according to the theory given by you in course Maroczy Bind. I got tempo up as he moved Queen d1 so after his Qd2 I understood we were on given theory so I moved h5, here is game if you would like to look at it, friendly regards Per;


Very nice game! It is nice when the plan works perfectly! 😜 

I have one favor to asky you: Could you be so kind to post it in the thread specified for the best games>

Otherwise we will have hundreds of posts with games. 😅

I will delete this thread after you do it, or if you do not do it in a few days, I will delete it anyways.😈


French Attack - Exchange Variation Model Game?

Can we get a model game for the exchange variation? The course mentions one, but there aren't any games in the model-game section in this variation.


I'm sure they'll add it to model games and to stream section how to play for black in that line. Currently you can check streams in events this year, I saw many french exchange being played. Also searching through database of strong GMs playing the black side you can find some interesting games like this one

Okay. They just added a ton of stuff to the model games, including some exchange-variation games. Terrific.


Hello again, I was wondering If there are any good courses for the middlegame. Thanks! 😃😃


Did you check the Middlegame Mastery section in the courses? 😜

Also the commented games offer plenty of advice on the middlegame….👍

Tactics Ninja - Section 10.13

Here, why cant White pay Qh8 directly instead of first playing Be5 first?


When you start with Qh8, black does not have to take your queen...

French and Dutch attacks?

I recently saw some posts on French and Dutch attacks. I had no idea what that is. I studied nearly all ChessMood openings for black. After some search I realized that these are hidden behind BlackMood openings. I saw WhiteMood openings are shorter version of white repertoire, but BlackMood openings are these two totally new openings. Anyone has idea why is that? Second, what is your experience with French and Dutch ''attacks''? Did anyone switched from Sicilian and started playing French. I never played French in my life, it looks too passive to me... Dutch I would really consider as d4 openings I find a nightmare.


They are to make it easier for weaker players not to have to study hours to play a tricky Black repertoire. The attack isn't passive, and activity is stressed throughout when demonstrated.

My Chess back blog

I just got done reading the latest blog about skiing fast by Avetik. That was me. That is me. I want so much to raise my rating so I can be proud of myself as a chess player. I am not a high rated player. Around 1000. But lately I was close to 1100 but have had a bad time recently. Very frustrated and being a perfectionist it was hard to deal with. I was contacted by a advanced player on this board who has offered to help me. He has reviewed my games and pointed out my mistakes and what changes to do. It has been extremely helpful. But my point is this, he has helped me change my mindset from caring what is my rating is to how can I play my best with each game. So two comments. One, thank you for the help you are giving me. I am not mentioning his name because I do not know if he wants to be known. Second, I am enjoying chess more again because I am appreciating learning both from my wins and my losses. And ultimately my goal of a higher rating will follow. Allen


Show a bad game , and analyse why you played it

Hi chess mood family After reading and replying to the article of GM Avetik on objectivity , I decided to create this post . Its a place to use to vent out bad performance and analyse it to be able to improve . Have fun ! Here is my last and probably worse one in tournament ! 🤭 I m over 1700 otb Classic . Last month , I had a nice game with a 1400 + , probably 15 yrs older than me ( im 56 yrs ) he play a carokhan exactly like I wanted so I was very ( too ) confidant. I had a superior position out the the opening but he managed to equalized by outplaying me with his knights which is a strong point for me usually ( I took advantage with it it the opening) . I was not able to assess correctly his skills with it and I went all in to get a winning endgame . My plan was correct besides some approximate calculations but when he counter attacked , I stopped my plan to slow his plan . I lost precious tempi and he got a completly winning ending .. I fought back and was able to find a way to force the draw.. I was playing on the 30 sec increment and he had 50 min.. as he showed me some weaknesses in the ending , I felt that maybe I could tricked him and finally get back in front again .. with few seconds on the clock , being able to sacrifice my last knight on his c4 passed pawn and after , if he takes my knight , I m close to his g3 passed pawn and its draw . I have a pawn on a2 , his knight is on the a file , my king is on e2 ( just took another passed pawn there, lifting my spirit even if I m still losing ) and what did I do ? Brought my knight closer to my king instead of the sac for the pawn , hoping absurdly to fork the remaining g pawn with the king ( like I did with the e2 pawn ) . With his huge time advantage , he easily avoided the trap I imagined in my 30 sec thought process . Forced me to sac the knight on the g pawn few moves later and calmly came back to queen the c pawn which I could not approach tx to his knight ! This game hurted me deeply and it was not my first sin of this sort but maybe still the worse as since I came back to chess, I tried to improve my attitude and this game was the sum of so many flaws I have.. 😝 but I m not a bad loser , and those painful experiences only reinforce my will to improve despite my age ! I could try to add the game later on or at least a diagram of the last critical position and a link to the article .


New article: Objectivity - the key ingredient for your growth

Hello champions!

It’s 2023. So first of wishing you a very very happy new year!! ✨

You would have set up new goals for this year! And you’ll find a lot of value from the 1st ‘Traditional Tuesday’ article of 2023! 

In their Chess Growth Hacking interviews, GM Sokolov and then GM Vishnu Prasanna (GM Gukesh’s coach) mentioned the same thing in their top 3 list for fast chess improvement.

That was… Objectivity! 

And that’s absolutely true! Developing this skill will bring you the biggest difference in the quality of your life and the speed of your chess improvement. 

In today’s article you’ll learn:

📌The story of a young girl who from 0 got to the top of her country in 1 year and stopped playing chess 

📌The hidden reason behind it 

📌3 dangers of not being objective 

📌The 2 causes of losing objectivity 

📌The solution 

📌And the irony about objectivity 

Read the full article here 👇

We hope this helps you set ambitious and objective goals for 2023! Wishing you a lot of energy ⚡ to crush your goals this year! 

Share your thoughts about the article below!


Hi Avetik, I have been following your posts regularly & what you have written is absolutely true. Thanks for all the motivation you provide through your articles.

Well GM Avetik. Already you help me a lot with the article of Kobe Bryant quote:"focus on growth as an athlete, don't focus in results (ratings)". The truth is that the very few coaches I tried were disappointing. So now I coach myself and I am backed by this wonderful chess platform called Chessmood. BTW., about Gukesh success and the interview with his coach, (another indian GM) I remember saying in a post that the guy was very near his plateau since I have been following the indian chess prodigies who attempt to beat Karjakin record of youngest GM ever, and I sead that the guy, Gukesh was playing all type of tournaments, like the turkish league, the polish leag, the spanish team championship, etc. GM Pragg is the reverse of the coin. With his famous coach R.B.Ramesh he has the calm to choose only hand-pick competitions with care. For this, being 1 year older than Gukesh and still U2700, he works on his growth and his plateau is far ahead since he is playing only selected events even this online no FIDE ratings tournament, because his coach wants him to grow interacting with the best, even if it's rapid 15+10 or 20+15. Finally last week I read this Gukesh coach you interviewed saying: "Gukesh is now resting since the results of his last tournaments were not satisfactory". So even at the top levels, and in India with the support of Anand himself, the government, sponsors and all, the fool of this GM you interviewed has burnt out the poor 16y.o. Gukesh.. 🤒

Hello GM Avetik, Thank you for this article and all of the others you post weekly. I appreciate your sense of motivation and its role in chess improvement. This article really resonated with me. I just looked and my rating has been stagnant for a year and I was feeling a little discouraged. Your articles remind me it is a marathon not a sprint. I believe I am improving but my rating doesn't show it yet. I am also a sucker for Michael Jordan Quotes! My favorite is: "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Thanks as always!

😀Hi GM, Happy New Year, Read your article on objectivity. It is extremely hard because it is easy to fool oneself into believing that we are being objective at the board or in any other activity in life. I played a game last year where I thought I was completely winning, a pawn sac allowing all of my pieces to enter the fray. The computer assessed it as zero zero and I only won because of a blunder. Recently I upset a guy on a Parkrun (2000 globally each week, not reached Armenia yet) 5K race who was going on about his wife at being good if you compare age grading performances but with a best time of 20:18 puts her a long way behind the world record of 12:35. Have you read Jonathan Rowson ? 7 Deadly Chess Sins , Chess for Zebras. He deals with these and other issues that get in the way of chess improvement. That quote about being satisfied enough to be happy but not enough to want to improve is key. I have had a bad year results wise but feel I have improved and try to cling to good moments such as not losing with White playing e4 and winning game of the month for June.

Wonderfully written GM Avetik. All the best for you and your growing Chessmood family.

Supre sir, really an eye opener!!!

nice article, I really like and appreciate your articles - keep up good work. Jan

Love it!!!

Great article and honesty. A fair bit to unpack there. I don't think it's just me that writes a lot :) It wasn't clear (to me) initially what was meant by 'being objective' here. By objectivity I tend to think about the opposite of subjectivity (own view of the world filtered through our beliefs, experience etc) vs objectivity (how it really is). However it's (in the article) having your own map of the world and following it blindly when you're not getting the results you want, then not wanting to see how it really is - the it'll be just as easy as K+Q mate, or that ease of rating gains is linear. I think possibly we're wired to have our own view of the World and stick to it, even if it was completely fabricated from the start and changing that view by others isn't easy. Through school we learn to listen to authority, but then we learn that blindly when authority isn't always right, and not everyone who claims to be is an authority even if they hold the position. When I first went to school at the age of 4 (whole issue about sending kids to school in September disadvantaging the younger ones, but that's another topic), I somehow believed that you move up a class when you're 5. So much so I went to the next class on my birthday and was quite upset when that wasn't how it worked: 'But I'm 5!'. Obviously a very naive view, but some people don't grow out it, or perhaps are so distrusting or hurt that they go into their own World with their own rules and delusions. Many are there to escape a World they can no longer handle. Not to say having your own ideas is a bad thing. I'm certainly one who has my own ways of doing some things and much of the time its of great benefit as I'll adopt, try, discard/improve, but I try not to stick to what isn't working. I certainly don't follow the crowd, as I've learned that it's the way to be average. However I'm happy to learn from someone who knows the path or has some interesting ideas. That doesn't mean I'll change, but I will integrate and experiment, and if that brings me closer to my goal, I'll take a little more and so on. Causes/reasons of losing objectivity also include: not wanting to be told / finding one's own way / focusing only on only what you want to hear / focusing on yourself not learning from anyone else (best mistakes to learn from are those that someone else made) wanting it to be a dream (which you touch on) / homeruns vs long term effort ('Next year Rodney we'll be millionaires!' / Jordan's video) getting emotional (angry/upset/dejected/depressed at below 'self-expected' results rather than seeing failure as steps to success) the perfectionist / moving the goal posts unreasonably (also touched upon with the GM/IM norms) trying to be a guru / know-it-all (thus you can't admit being wrong/grow because it might undermine your authority) overwork - you don't get a chance to step back and see the wood for the trees and when you're tired and emotionally charged you can't see it Indeed a lot of people don't want to be told the truth, or receive advice, so people who could help often don't give it, and those that are willing to give it are then those with hidden agendas. Conversely some people feel that on hearing an opinion, that they must treat it as the truth and follow it, rather than just take it onboard. It's also that some can't handle the truth, since they would feel a failure. Actually the defence mechanism protecting egos is a explainer of much irrationality (sometimes we blame ourselves for when it is the other person). Even then people ask for feedback and then get upset at the person that gave it to them. Similarly if you give advice you should be able to handle being disagreed or called out on it. That too can be a learning opportunity even though it can hurt. Chessmood dream: It's not just marketing. Chess players are known (not all!) for being tight with money. It were free they'd be many users, but no doubt that it wouldn't be appreciated as much (every had so many games for example you only ever play a few). It's more than marketing in that people are also irrational. There is no website offering training out there which says prominently 'Yeah it's good, but you need to put lots of hard work in and even then...' - they're all extolling the results and the marketing, so much so that people approach any claims with a huge pinch of salt. It's hard to pick out which are any good, and which are just giving you a load of lines (not just the openings!) and the usual hackneyed examples without adding anything extra. That is why in the past I said I think Chessmood over-markets itself on the website, and some people smell a rat that isn't there because of trying too hard to persuade value. The real backing up will be testimonials backed with showing rating rises which are independently verifiable but that takes time. Plus word of mouth (I did mention Chessmood to one guy who was playing his first tournament and had clearly done really well on his own so had the desire to put in the effort). The marketing of all the features should really just be a tour. In the end the question boils down to given where I am, where can I get to, how long, how much effort. Everyone has Google after all so as long as you appear on the first page, much of the old style marketing can be secondary, but writing articles, free bits and so on that are picked up on other popular sites helps (as does occur now). I used to run and program FICS. It was free and as good as the commercial alternatives (back then, but dated and awkward now), but so many went to the pay servers because of word of mouth (often from those with vested interests because they were titled and paid for example) and irrational things (GMs being there who'd never play them without being paid, so what?). You can be the best, cheapest, fastest, but the best isn't what wins. However in the industry of chess tuition it needs to be born in mind that a large part of the population doesn't want to get better (beyond the easy to learn basics), doesn't want to pay for it, and doesn't want to put all the (years of) effort in to take advantage of it. They want quick, easy fixes. Which is why when and if they do buy (not rip off) books, often they don't read them, because it's a lot of work (not that many authors make it easy). However to have the ambition of getting by and making a real difference to many chess players and using that to eventually pivot into something that does make money is very realistic if making money is a secondary goal. Even Chessable I bet if we saw the accounts it will be not making a fortune because once you pay for the courses and hosting them, wages etc there isn't a lot left over. Popular doesn't equate to making money or people being happy. They are pivoting into live coaching events which is something certainly which could be a fit for Chessmood, offering master classes / group coaching with guest Grandmasters and advertising it to the whole Internet where Chessmood members get it for free (and in turn Chessmood gets advertised as part of the deal). 'caring what they think' - it was Feynman's wife who said 'Why do you care what others think?'. And 'Thinking that they care' - they don't it just gives them something to talk about to other like(lack)-minded people. My wife works with people like that who badmouth others behind their back, but do they really care, unlikely (unless jealous). I once did speed-dating and some girl (who had no hobbies or life whatsoever) rolled her eyes because I played chess! I mean it was a classic moment and a huge next! The other thing to note on getting trapped/gurus is how many self-help books (including best sellers) are written by fakes, fake-it-til-you-make-its, don't walk their talk, blind-leading-the-blind, passing on others' advice.... And many of the ones who do have something good to say have a few pages of good advice and the rest is just filler of heart-warming stories... (I mean if you want that instead of getting help, watch reality TV). That's not to say there isn't some good stuff out there, but taking it with a pinch of salt and healthy scepticism is the key.

Amazing article GM Avetik! 

I think this was a big problem for me in the past. Despite making a lot of progress, I never really stopped to appreciate my journey. It was always about chasing unrealistic goals, which did lead to burnout at some point. Now I know what I have to do differently.

Thank you for sharing this perspective! 

Ciao Avetik While reading this article I sensed that you put a lot of emotion into it and the examples I'm sure elicited some emotional thoughts from some readers! Objectivity is a subject that is not talked about much but vital to one's goals! Thank you for always sharing knowledge and wisdom that take years to acquire....for free many times. Hopefully members realize and appreciate this. An unwritten rule says that wisdom that comes easy is unappreciated almost all the time. I'm a student of the 95% effort, 4.9% know-how-to -learn and .1% talent school. Over the last 3 years with Chessmood, my rating did not go through the roof like some other spectacular Chessmood students'. In fact it rose just modestly. Ratings, in my opinion , are not always an accurate measure of knowledge. My deeper understanding of the game, however, has risen substantially and I feel comfortable playing much higher rated players with the confidence that I can give them a tough game. This is one reason why I'm motivated to work hard every day with joy. I would also like to recommend you for GM in coaching if there was such a qualification (Gabuzyan deserves it also). I hope that the Chessmood journey continues for many years with it's unique, unrivaled character! Ovi

Impressive. Very well written by GM Avetik I'll try be more objective :)

Hey GM Avetik I became a pro subscriber maybe about a week ago. I haven't started playing and studying chess until about 2 weeks ago. I'm 21 now, so there definitely is no GM at 13 kind of craze for me. Took me a bit later in life, but now I'm pursuing this passion of mine, with 6+ hours a day studying/learning/practicing chess. I'm a college student with a job so my average is only 6 hours a day, but if I can get more on certain days I do. My biggest chess goal for my life is to become a GM, of course the sooner it happens, I won't complain. But I understand it won't be light speed. Only 6+ now, but when I graduate college, I plan 8-11 hours a day. Thank you for this article, and I look forward to the months and years coming with my chess and learning here on Chess Mood.

Hello GM Avetik! I recently read this article and am considering becoming a pro member, with a future ambition to become my country's first GrandMaster. Your articles really help me a lot and am around 16 years old, and my dream takes a lot of ambition, which I hope to put in (just like you did yours). Thanks to this article, I will try to look at things with more objectivity. Btw, do you know how I could contact you further? Need to take your own words into consideration and take some advice from you, as well as your GM Team! Hassan Naz (Your average 1500+ elo)

Thank You Avetik, Great article for inspiring and motivating everyone! 🙂

Hi Avetik . Thanks again for this very interesting article . As a new member , I m discovering your exceptional work and I feel in harmony with your mood and what you re trying to achieve here . The problem is I want to read , listen , and do everything I can but I need to take the appropriate time to absorb most of it . After reading this article last night , I wanted to reply but it was already too late for me and I was not able to synthesize my thought . My sleep was agitated as my passion for chess is sometimes overwhelming.. But this morning , i knew where my lack of objectivity was hurting me the most .. its during a game ! Especially classic otb . Before and after any game , my expectation are correct and I accept any result even if I prefer to win. In reality, I tend too much to play for a win against any player weaker than me and accept way more easily to draw against stronger opponent and the 2 approaches get influenced by the margin of elo.. I m trying to improve that .. Accept to draw if the opponent played well enough to get there and merit it . And looking if I can improve a position without taking too many risks even if my opponent want to draw.. when I refuse draw offer , my record is negative.. it almost a winning strategy to offer me draw! 😅 In otb , I lost too many games by the past because I always played for a win in endgames and taken unsound risks to achieved it . Thats where my lack of objectivity is evident to me . Beside my winning obsession ,I DO NOT EVALUATE THE POSITION CORRECTLY AND SEEM WAY MORE TOO OPTIMISTIC WHILE I M PLAYING. If I m low on time or feel stress , which happens too often , my objectivity is worse . I did a lot of tactics and endgames problems where there is always a solution and maybe it transpose into my games where I m trying to build a position that I will transform into a wining problem ! So I often think there is something hidden that I can use to turn the table , even in a totally lost game which I usually play almost till checkmate . In my career , i did pulled out some miraculous draws or some beautiful last minute wins but they were not worth all the losses that prevented me from achieving my goals ! But when you do pull a rabbit out of a hat in a chess game , it momentarily gives you high satisfaction but if you dont get back to reality quick enough , you wont improve in the end . Adding knowledge is probably a good way to help me improve that but , managing my emotions during a game should be another key . Denis ( otb 1700+ ) Here are my best and worse example I was able to draw a 2308 ( FQE ) NM in 2007 in a classic game otb that lasted over 5 hrs ( he tried everything he could ) . I had white , and played the French exchange variation with c4 without having study it and played aggressively from the start . Last fall , i was able to draw another master in a senior classic event ( 2185 FQE ) . I had white and played a closed sicilian . He pushed d5 early and I played aggressively . After some exchanges , I infiltrated the back rank with my queen on the kind side and as the position was almost blocked he offered me the draw which I happily accept . Last month , I had a nice game with a 1400 + , probably 15 yrs older than me ( im 56 yrs ) he play a carokhan exactly like I wanted so I was very ( too ) confidant. I had a superior position out the the opening but he managed to equalized by outplaying me with his knights which is a strong point for me usually ( I took advantage with it it the opening) . I was not able to assess correctly his skills with it and I went all in to get a winning endgame . My plan was correct besides some approximate calculations but when he counter attacked , I stopped my plan to slow his plan . I lost precious tempi and he got a completly winning ending .. I fought back and was able to find a way to force the draw.. I was playing on the 30 sec increment and he had 50 min.. as he showed me some weaknesses in the ending , I felt that maybe I could tricked him and finally get back in front again .. with few seconds on the clock , being able to sacrifice my last knight on his c4 passed pawn and after , if he takes my knight , I m close to his g3 passed pawn and its draw . I have a pawn on a2 , his knight is on the a file , my king is on e2 ( just took another passed pawn there, lifting my spirit even if I m still losing ) and did I do ? Brought my knight closer to my king instead of the sac for the pawn , hoping absurdly to fork the remaining g pawn with the king ( like I did with the e2 pawn ) . With his huge time advantage , he easily avoided the trap I imagined in my 30 sec thought process . Forced me to sac the knight on the g pawn few moves later and calmly came back to queen the c pawn which I could not approach tx to his knight ! This game hurted me deeply and it was not my first sin of this sort but maybe still the worse as since I came back to chess, I tried to improve my attitude and this was game was the sum of so many flaws I have.. 😝 but I m not a bad loser , and those painful experiences only reinforce my will to improve despite my age ! I know this reply was way too long.. 😂 and many did not got to the end but I used it to get it out of my system and to help me understand better what I m doing wrong and how I can exfiltrate only the positive side of it and bring it with me in my next game ! It gaves me an idea of starting a new subject in the forum , describe a bad chess game you played and explain why you did it and how you can use that to improve !

My draw vs GM in CM GP gambit line

Good day chessmoodians! Over the weekend I played in Lithuania chess league (team event) 3 classical games and I like to present you the draw I made vs GM in sicilian grand prix gambit line everyone likes :) Would like opinion of our coaches, members about how I could have played better in this line, thanks 👍


OH wow! Nice!!👍

I'm so glad for you, congrats! Next time you will crush him :D

Witcher, you played well and solid IMO. Shows that you overcame being mentally down a few months ago. You didnt lose any of your ability, just made another step up! Best wishes Ovi

Well done Paulius. I noticed you played in Titled Tuesday once or twice recently. Do you think that experience was a confidence booster for facing these strong players OTB?

French Exchange 4.Qe2+

Hi everyone! Im curious whats recommended when playing as French Attack as black and face 4.Qe2+. Ive faced it several times and would like to learn the best response and setup afterwards. Thanks!


It looks pretty harmless to me since it voluntarily blocks in the bishop and also puts the queen on an open file where it will eventually be misplaced when we put a rook on e8. I'd play the natural 4...Be7 after which white's only consistent move is 5.Bg5. Against anything other 5th move we play Nf6 followed by a quick O-O and look to open up the position and/or harass white's queen. After 5.Bg5 there are lots of reasonable options just don't go 5...Nf6 allowing 6.Bxf6 ruining your pawn structure. If white captures on e7 don't recapture with your queen as that would let white off the hook by allowing a queen swap.

Why Does Keep Crashing?

Interesting video by Gotham Chess creator Levy Rozman that shows the astonishing worldwide growth of chess in the last 3 months.


French Defense Schlechter Variation - I never get the main line and never get an advantage

Among all Chessmood openings, the one I struggle with the most is the French Defense. Of course, it's very nice when black is kind and replies to 3. Bd3 with 3.. Nf6, but what happens most often is 3.. dxe4 4. Bxe4 Nf6 5. Bf3 and now, all kinds of things other than 5.. c5 are played. I get 5.. Nbd7/Be7/Bd6/Nc6 etc, and it seems to be easy equality for black and no obvious questions that white can ask. For example, below are few lines with 5..Bd6 that seem to give black an easy game. I know GM Gabuzyan advised to quickly play Nbd2-c4, but I don't quite see how this is such a great asset for white. 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Bd3 {C00 French Defense: Schlechter Variation} dxe4 4. Bxe4 Nf6 5. Bf3 Bd6 6. Ne2 (6. Nd2 c5 7. Nc4 cxd4 {and now what?}) 6... O-O 7. Nd2 (7. O-O c5 8. Be3 Qc7 {Holding off on Nc6 seems better for black, as they can now take on d4 while avoiding white pressure on the c6 knight.} 9. h3 cxd4 10. Nxd4 a6 11. Nd2 e5) 7... c5 8. Nc4 Be7 9. Be3 cxd4 10. Nxd4 e5 {and white can't take due to Qa5+.} This are just a few examples, but it's instructive for what I experience in this line in general. To summarize: it's easy life for black! I'd be happy to hear about the experience of others in the community.


Hi, I must agree in Bd3 french lines I very much like when black goes for 5..c5 main or 3..Nf6, but I find 5..Bd6 or even 5..Be7 I often don't know how should I setup the pieces, of course Nd2-c4 vs Bd6 and Nbc3 with d5 vs Be7 all that jazz but often black just breaks with c5 or e5 bit later with good play. I've seen the updated videos as well in Be7 lines. Another line I'm a bit struggling esp in OTB games vs french is 3..c5 and cxd4 or even c4 sometimes, I get kinda equal play but nothing special. Maybe CM coaches can add more model games? So these look like sidelines, but I get them like 50percent of time, cause black usually dont know theory and just play normally. I even started experimenting with 3.Nc3 and 4.exd5 lines (vs both 3..Bb4 and 3..Nf6) cause it gives fast development with sometimes 0-0-0 esp in blitz and reminds me of CM french rep colors reversed. So that's my experience.

Most e4 approaches work for me from the CM repertoire except the French d3 and in particular the Caro . So I sympathise !! My particular ' bete noire' though with the d3 French is the d/e lines. Like today I got e4 e6: d4 d5 : Bd3 d/e ; Bx e4 Nf6 : Bf3 then c6 . OK I got a decent position playing stuff like Ne2 and c4 + Nc3 etc etc . But I was making it up !!! Black Be7 and wait is another. Personally above 2000 > I struggle with the Caro lines and whilst usually not worse never get any traction on a King side attack. 😠

Please post below this post all the lines that trouble you in this variation and we will try to do a webinar about them like we did with the benko. That would be cool, isn-t it?

😈Only on the Schlechter😈!!! Not other openings (I know you) 😁!!!!! 

Hi, thanks for the post. I actually searched to post the same question. I am around 2100 blitz rating and I totally dislike the positions I am getting out of the French opening course. I played earlier Advanced variation with much bigger success. Similar to French, Caro-Kann exchange variation I find quite unambitious as well, although somewhat better than French. It might be that with accurate play one gets miniscule edge, but most of us are not GMs and will suffer to find correct moves in these kinds of positions. So any alternative to these two courses would be welcome from my side.

Just to add to the commentary, and find this with the old maroczy, ignored lines of the accelerated, chessmood london (which I don't play), English... It's also a question of how fast the game is and what the opponent's rating is (and sometimes where they are from). In 5 minute chess it all works, pretty much up to the top levels as seen on the streams. However I think sometimes long play is ignored and also underestimates our opponents, especially when breaking through the 1900-2000 barrier. That's not to say that 'perfect' play in other areas more than compensates and of course most of us need to do more work there, but when opponents know what to play or good looking moves do the job, it's a problem playing from a line where your opponent is solid or has it slightly better. Sometimes I find the courses focus more on when the opponent went wrong, and not so much on what they are trying to do and how to handle the balanced position. As much as people might think I'm all for more lines, I'd much rather see model games from GM praxis and discussions on how to handle the mopening, middlegame, endgame with the structures obtained especially when play is balanced. This can link into middlegame/endgame courses and model games as drop-off points for how to play discussions, rather than them being more background skills that we somehow have to apply to the lines we play.

New with french attack

Hi! I just started playing french attack after looking blacks opening course. After advance variation 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 Bd7 4 Nf3 a6 5 Bd5 Bb5 After the bishops change I got really good positions and won a lot and get better and better to understand what the plan is. To my question: After 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Bd3 Bd7 4 c3 Bb5 5 Bc2 Whats the plan after white not want to change the whitesquare bishop? Regards Niklas


Hi Niklas!

The thing is at that point your light-squared bishop will no longer be a bad piece. You can put the pawn on a5 and get the a6 square for the Bishop if white plays pawn a4. After that fighting for the center and pressuring on d4 square with c5-Nc6-Qb6 with French-style ideas.


Good luck!

Happy Pieces

I'm watching the Happy Pieces course but i feel like i'm not learning. I am never able to find the plan and I think i need the thought process to be explained more in detail.


Interesting. So far it's one of my favourite ChessMood courses. I hope they add more sections soon.

What's your rating? If you're not at least 1600, if not more you probably won't get that much out of it.

Error in Endgame Roadmap Quiz

In the endgame roadmap course, there's an error in Section 2's first quiz. The third quiz is Black to play and White will ultimately win the Bishop after 1... Nf5 2. a6 bxa6 3. bxa6 Nd5 4. a7 Nc6 5. Bd7! But the puzzles solution is 1... c6?! This leaves Black 1 tempo behind if White continues in the same way 2. a6 bxa6 3. bxa6 Nf5 and so on. Based on the topic (outside passed pawns), I think that White should be the side to move? With White to move, the a-pawn will be unstoppable.


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