The Power of Focused Learning: 400 points in 1 year

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The Power of Focused Learning: 400 points in 1 year

Debasish Bhattacharjee raised 400 points in a year even while working a full-time job! Discover how he did it.

Success Story | 4 min read
The Power of Focused Learning: 400 points in 1 year

“In 1991, Vishwanathan Anand was playing Alexei Dreev in the Candidates. It was a big year for Anand. That’s when my interest in chess started.” says Debasish Bhattacharjee, an IT professional from Bangalore, India.

Chess was always a hobby. And as other commitments in life took over, Debasish had to stop.

“In 2021, I fell sick with Covid. I wondered what I could do for 2-3 weeks. That's when I reignited my passion for chess.”

Chessable didn’t work

“As normally happens, I started studying openings. And what do you do to study openings? You're going to Chessable.”

“So you buy a bunch of courses, play along with the MoveTrainer, and then through experience, you learn that doesn't really help. I mean no disrespect, but it didn't work.”

Dealing with information overload

“Also, one of the challenges most amateurs face is a tendency to go through a lot of material not even meant for our level.”

“That’s when I was looking for a one-stop shop that would go from the basics to advanced.”

Discovering ChessMood via the articles

While searching on Google, Debasish stumbled across articles by GM Avetik.

“I read – The golden method to raise online rating. Then another – how to analyze your blitz games. And I thought – okay, this guy makes sense.”

After binge-reading the blog, Debasish became a ChessMood student with a yearly Pro plan and instantly dived into the ChessMood courses.

Over 400 points in 1 year

Debasish was hovering around 1350 in online Rapid at the time of joining ChessMood. A year later he reached 1758, increasing his rating by over 400 points!

Raising 400 points in a year

So what was behind such rapid growth?

A focus on simple things.

Debasish followed the chess improvement formula of study-practice-fix and avoided anything that wasn’t the most effective for growth.

Humble enough to keep a beginner’s mind

“The first course in ChessMood I went through was Opening Principles. I believe there’s no shame in going through easy material. Because when you go back to the basics after some time, you still learn something new.”

The Opening Principles course of ChessMood
Debasish picked up important nuances from the Opening Principles course, which is currently fully unlocked. 

Focus on the most useful

Debasish did the most important courses for his level without getting distracted.

“I went through the Tactic Ninja, the WhiteMood and BlackMood openings.”

“I would make pgn files with my own hand. Then I started going into the streams where you can look at the model games and things in practice.”

His efforts soon started to pay off as he could remember the openings, feel the positions well, and had a clear idea of the plans to make.

Consistency gets you farther

Debasish would spend around 15 hours a week on his chess training, 2 hours a day on average consistently!

“I divided my chess learning into three broad phases:

  1. Game + analysis
  2. Solving tactics
  3. Study

If I'm too tired, I just study.

If I'm fresh enough. I play a game in a secluded environment with almost full concentration and analyze it later. I avoid playing on the mobile as much as I can.”

Don’t skip training

On busy days, Debasish solves chess tactics and practices every day, no matter what!

Noel Studer’s blog has also helped me a lot. One of the things he talks about is never missing a training session. And if you ever miss one, don't miss another on the second day.”

The sensei from Japan

In December 2022, Debasish also started training with Edo Tokyo, our ambassador from Japan, as you might know from Jules Carter’s success story.

Edo Tokyo helped Debasish in his chess journey

“It’s a significant difference when you have somebody significantly stronger than you. Edo’s also a ChessMood student, so I don't have to explain to him why I'm playing certain openings. He helped me identify and fix mistakes in my play.”

An underrated quality of a good student

When we asked his coach, Edo Tokyo, to explain Debasish’s fast growth, we discovered an important quality, one that even GM Vishnu Prasanna had shared about his student GM Gukesh. Edo revealed:

“Debasish studies what I tell him and doesn’t start new things... He's focused. Instead of chasing the latest trends, Debasish has always committed to focused learning. That was the key to his improvement.”

Rapid Fire

Your favorite player from the current generation.

Magnus Carlsen

A photo of Magnus Carlsen
One of the greatest | Photo: Arun Sankar

Your favorite player of all time.

Robert James Fischer

Robert James Fischer is Debasish's favorite player of all time
The legendary Robert James Fischer | Photo: John Lent

Your favorite ChessMood course.

The Endgame Roadmap was a game-changer.

I know the theoretical endgames. But you don't see a Lucena every day in life. You don't see a Philidor every day in life.

So how do you maneuver in an endgame? That’s the most important. The Endgame Roadmap helps me plan.

The Endgame Roadmap course

Your Right Mood ritual.

I do a puzzle streak. 

And I see the solution till the end, just like Bruce Pandolfini tells Josh Waitzkins in the movie “Searching for Bobby Fischer”.

What’s a life lesson you’ve learned from chess?

You go through ups and downs. Just hang in there.

One habit that has helped you improve your chess.

Consistent study practice.

What’s the biggest learning you had from your coach?

Piece activity and don’t give up.

What’s the best investment you have made in your chess?

Chessmood, Edo Tokyo.

What does success in chess look like to you?

To be the best player that my potential allows.

Who supported you on this journey? Whom would you like to thank?

My work colleagues. They encourage me to keep improving my chess.

Debasish Bhattacharjee with his friends
With his work colleagues | Photo: Debasish

If goddess Caissa could give you a chess superpower, what would you prefer it to be? Which chess superpower you’d like to have?

Calculate correctly, accurately, and deeply.


You can share your congratulatory messages with Debasish under this forum thread.

Originally published Feb 23, 2024

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