The One Course that Transformed Anthony's Chess
Which course? What did Anthony learn from it? Find out here.
Which course? What did Anthony learn from it? Find out here.
Like many adult improvers Anthony Giles, a graduate career adviser, picked up the game again in his late 20s. And when it came to improving his chess, he faced a common challenge.
“I didn't really know what to study. So I started out by reading books, beginner books.”
But it didn’t go as Anthony would’ve liked.
“They’re filled with long variations that are hard to follow, especially when you've got a physical board. You read through the pages, make the moves, and then you have to reset everything.”
“It takes a very long time. I don't think my brain worked well enough to learn from written books.”
“So it just became about getting into video courses.”
Anthony discovered ChessMood from Louis Holtzhausen who runs the Chessfox website.
“When choosing between the Essential and Pro membership of ChessMood, the 1-1 call with a Grandmaster incentivized me to go with the Yearly Pro plan. The half-hour call was worth a lot.”
“At ChessMood, I found the resources very well presented and well thought out in terms of training and development. Avetik is a very charismatic presenter and very good at making the material understandable.”
Just a few days after becoming a ChessMood member, Anthony had great results in an open-air on-beach blitz tournament in August, winning 8 games out of 10!
A great view definitely boosts the mood and creativity | Photo: Bexhill Chess Club
On the 1-1 call with GM Gabuzyan, Anthony uncovered a problem that many are unaware of. He wasn’t following the golden method of raising rating.
“GM Gabuzyan told me I was playing too many blitz games. It means you're giving up on many of them too quickly. And I took that personally because I've always thought that I was a fighter.”
“So I wanted to prove to myself that I can actually fight in a position where I'm losing.”
“One of my biggest problems has been not being able to think properly over the board. I end up making blunders because I don't think things through.”
“I wanted to stop that from happening. Or at least, learn how to think differently.”
“The Blunderproof course is the first resource I've ever seen of its kind. It addresses so many psychological issues, which you don't find elsewhere in other courses.”
Anthony would get the chance to implement many of the things he learned at an upcoming event.
“Instead of thinking about openings or chess tactics before the Hastings tournament, I focused on the psychological aspects that the course teaches.”
From the BlunderProof course, Anthony followed the advice of getting rid of distractions when he participated in the U1850 Hastings Club Weekend Chess Tournament. He was rated 1756 ECF there.
“I used to look at other people's games and work out their positions. I stopped doing that.”
“At Hastings, I didn't move from the board apart from going to the washroom. As soon as I was slightly distracted, I reminded myself to focus.”
The focused Anthony at the Hastings tournament held at St. Leonards Chess Club, established in 1882!
Anthony was also using the powerful technique of legal cheating during the game.
“I kept having the words, ‘GM Avetik is with you’, going around in my head.”
The sharp focus reflected in his performance with a perfect 3/3 score. But he lost the 4th round.
The loss could’ve easily disheartened him. But this was another moment to apply the learnings from Blunderproof.
“The other people at the tournament, I could notice them doing what I used to do – worry and stress about the result – ‘Oh, I'm on this number of points. What do I need to do to be 50%?’ ”
“I didn't let my mind run or dream about the final result. That was from the from the course – the hyperfocus mode.”
Tips to control the mind – GM Avetik explains it in the BlunderProof course
“Instead, I would take a breath, keep the mood, and focus on the next move.”
This not only helped Anthony play better but also made the whole process a lot more fun.
“After the 4th round loss, I came back to win the last one. I was a pawn down and worse. Yet, I was able to fight back and get a win.”
The promise to prove to himself he was a fighter had made a big difference!
He finished with 4/5 points, raised 18 ECF points, and became the co-champion of the tournament for the first time in his life!
First tournament victory is forever special | Photo: Anthony
“After the tournament, I just went home, had pizza, and enjoyed the moment with my wife.”
Favorite player from the current generation.
He's hilarious and he seems to really study his position when playing.
Favorite player from the upcoming generation.
I like the way he plays and he's one to watch for the future.
Favorite player from the past generation.
Because he wasn't about openings. He just had a natural ability to see the game in a certain way. His combinational play and his understanding were just phenomenal.
Your Right Mood ritual.
I make sure to eat something for energy. And I listen to some good music.
Favorite chess memory.
We did a Christmas tournament once at Chess Tuesdays, a club I started with my friend. It was a friendly blitz tournament with about 14 or 15 participants.
That night was hilarious. The social side of chess is definitely a great thing.
I've had so many good nights just chatting and bantering.
All the serious games and everything are great, but it's those nights where it's just you and your friends playing for fun. It brings people together.
Who has supported you on this journey?
My wife, Ami.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned from finishing first place at the Hastings tournament?
I've still got a very, very long way to get to where I want to be.
I've definitely gotten a lot better in the last year, especially in the last couple of months studying with the ChessMood courses. But there's a lot I still want to learn.
If goddess Caissa could give you a chess superpower, what would you prefer it to be? Which chess superpower you’d like to have?
Perfect photographic memory. If you learn one thing, you just remember it straight away, be it any opening, strategy or game.
Share your thoughts and well-wishes for Anthony under this forum thread.
Originally published Dec 20, 2023