The doctor who only used ChessMood to raise 400 points in 1 year

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The doctor who only used ChessMood to raise 400 points in 1 year

Our student, Dr. Shahinur Haque raised 400 points in 1 year. And he did it without using any books or private coaches! Discover his unique approach here.

Success Story | 7 min read
The doctor who only used ChessMood to raise 400 points in 1 year

Many learn chess in their childhood. They love playing the game, but then there comes a fork in the road where one has to choose between formal studies and chess.

For Shahinur Haque, this is how it went.

“In my childhood in Mymensingh, Bangladesh, I played with my family members, neighbors, friends, and seniors. In my school, I was an inter-school champion in my class category. And in my college days, I also played chess and was the inter-cantonment champion in 2002.”

“But studying medicine has a very different environment. I still played a little bit of chess but not that seriously. And later, I kind of forgot about it for over 10 years.”

Shahniur became a doctor, but chess was left behind.

Dr. Shahinur Hauqe

How Shahinur rediscovered his love for chess as a doctor

“In 2018, I was in Japan for my fellowship. I had a lot of free time and was trying to rediscover my passion.”

Then one of his colleagues invited Shahinur to play Shogi.

“It has a few more pieces than chess. I don't know how to play Shogi, but it’s similar to chess.”

And that reignited a spark.

“I told my friend I loved to play chess. He then promised to introduce me to someone who also played chess. It didn't happen, but I felt I could play the game in my leisure time.”

“So when I returned from Japan in 2019, I went to the chess federation of Bangladesh, decided to play a tournament, get a rating and try to do something with chess. So in my first tournament, I got an elo of 1725. But I couldn't hold it, and it dropped to 1641.”

And then came COVID.

“I still had a job, but our office told us to work from home.”

Joining ChessMood after understanding their values

While scrolling through Facebook, Shahinur came across something interesting.

“One day, Avetik made an announcement which, as far as I remember, was like this – He said, ‘he wants to help people stay in their homes because of the COVID outbreak’. So they unlocked all their content for like 7 or 15 days. Anyone could watch it for free.”

“That message caught my mind. These people want to contribute, and they're thinking about how to do it. So I thought they're broader-minded people.”

With that, Shahinur started to watch the unlocked courses.

“I liked the coaches and the content. I watched 10 or 15 lessons from the middlegame section. So when there’s someone who understands the game deeply and makes it easy for me to digest, I liked it and became a pro member.”

During the 1-1 call with GM Avetik, Shahinur revealed his goal.

“I told him(Avetik) that I want to become a very strong player.”

Learning from one source to optimize his time

Being a full-time doctor means a busy schedule. On average, Shahinur had 10 hours a week to study chess. Though there was time, he had to make the most out of it if he were to achieve his ambitious goal.

“Friday is a holiday in Bangladesh. So I always try to squeeze in 4 hours that day. Sometimes I get Saturday and government holidays too. While on a working day, I can find around 1 - 2 hours.”

“When I started in 2019, I did many things, many books.”

“But in the last couple of years, I’ve studied only from ChessMood. I don't have to run here and there. I just open my computer, go to the ChessMood website and only use their opening repertoire and content. Because I’m not a big fan of technology, it's easy to navigate everything in one place.”

Switching from memorizing to understanding openings

“I can clearly remember I started the Sicilian GrandPrix setup. So at the very beginning, I just tried to memorize this and this move, although Avetik said in many streams not to do so. This is my mistake. I used to forget the openings. I posted in our group about this, and many people had this problem too.”

But when you see someone get results by using a particular approach, it’s enough to convince a change. That’s what happened with Shahinur too.

Avinash, the young Indian, had raised many points. And we joined at a very similar time. So when I heard his interview, he said he tried to understand the opening, and then memorize.”

That convinced Shahinur to tweak his approach. And soon, openings would go on to become his strength.

How interacting with Grandmasters made a difference.

“As an amateur chess player, I don't have many options to meet with Grandmasters daily. It’s very difficult.”

In the process, he was absorbing many things unconsciously.

“In streams, either coach Avetik or Gabuzyan are playing. They don’t just play; they also talk and interact with us. They’re telling us why to play this move and give many examples. That’s the most important.”

“For example, coach Gabuzyan always says to play healthy chess. He has said it more than 50 times. And when a GM says it several times, do this in your game, it makes a difference. I’ll recall and someday, I’ll also do it.”

“And I always like to play, whenever coach Gabuzyan hosts a 1-1 game 🙂”

Unlocking his true potential

Shahinur kept working on his chess. But because of his job as a full-time doctor, it was hard for him to find time to play in tournaments. He saw an opportunity in December 2021 at the Mujib Borsho FIDE Rating Chess Tournament 2021 (Below 2000).

“It was a great tournament to participate in. Most players had a higher rating than mine (1643 classical elo at that time).”

Little did he know, he was about to transform as a player.

The game that rewired Shahinur’s belief system

“In the 2nd round, I played against a player with a rating of around 1900. I had the Black pieces. And I beat him. I couldn't believe it. He couldn't believe it.”

“That win gave me the confidence that I can beat any player rated higher than me.”

What followed afterward was phenomenal.

“I won the next 4 matches, making a perfect 6/6 score. That happened for the first time in my life.”

Shahinur had defeated 5 higher-rated players in a row! And he did so while fulfilling his responsibilities as a doctor!

“Every day, I did my job in the morning and went to play after that. Everybody was talking about me! 🙂)””

A perfect 6/6!

This man is using a book!

Such performances are often met with awe and suspicion.

“At a tea stall, one Candidate Master joked – ‘this man 1600 fellow I'm sure he's playing by seeing the book.’ 😅 That was funny.”

It was a joke and an acquaintance of Shahinur, who was at the tea stall, was prompt to clear things.

“One of the people knew me. He said ‘No, no, he's a very gentle person. He's a doctor and a good player. It’s just that he didn't have that much time to play tournaments.”

Unfortunately, Shahinur couldn’t keep up his winning streak. But on the back of this great performance, Shahinur raised 70 points in just 1 event and also won a category prize!

Receiving a prize at the Mujib Borsho Below 2000 event
Shahinur receiving the prize

Gaining around 200 elo in Rapid even as a full-time doctor

While his Classical strength grew, he also did well in Rapid events and online games.

“For instance, in the last tournament, the Mohammedpur Chess Club, my performance was very good. I didn't lose any game.”

Performance at Mohammedpur Chess Club rapid tournament
Performance at the Mohammedpur Chess Club

It reflects in his rating too. Shahinur had raised around 200 points in Rapid(red line) since joining ChessMood.

Shahinur's FIDE rating progress chart
FIDE rating chart of Shahinur (Rapid rating in red)

Raising 400 points in 1 year

Shahinur’s rise in elo wouldn’t come as a surprise, considering he had already raced from 1750 to 2150+ rating on lichess by October 2021, more than 400 points in a year.

Shahinur Haque's raising 400 points on lichess
Lichess rating graph

Learning from the ChessMood family

Shahinur is also looking for ways to find more time to improve his chess.

“In one of the previous interviews, Vishnu used to study very early in the morning. But I couldn't. I don't have this habit.”

“I'm thinking about including it, so I can get some time from here, at least 30 minutes, maybe.”

Because he’s clear on where he wants to take his chess.

“I want to go to the 2000 FIDE rating as early as possible.”

And the ChessMood family wishes him all the best!

Rapid Round

Before wrapping up, we asked Shahinur a few rapid-fire questions.

Your favorite opening.

The Anti-Sicilian Grand Prix setup in 1.e4.

Your favorite ChessMood course.

Commented Classical Games.

What’s the favorite memory chess has given you?

In the inter-college championship, there used to be many sports competitions – football, cricket, chess, etc. I used to participate in the chess competition, which would be held in a knockout format. And there, I would beat everyone and become a champion within 1 or 2 hours.

I would then go out and see football and cricket games. All the games were going on, but my competition was over 🙂

What’s the most important lesson chess has taught you?

Patience and decision-making process.

Your Right Mood ritual.

I listen to songs – mostly old Hindi or old Bengali songs.

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

I would like to calculate 100 moves 😅

Thank you for reading! Share your questions and wishes for Shahinur under this forum thread.

Originally published Oct 11, 2022

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