Raising 700 Elo With a Simple Mindshift

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Raising 700 elo with a Simple Mindshift

Within 2 years, Vedant Garg went from playing his first FIDE-rated tournament to raising 700 elo. One mindset shift made a big difference.

Success Story | 5 min read
Raising 700 elo with a Simple Mindshift

Many of us are taught chess by someone who wanted us to get smarter. That wasn’t to be in Vedant’s case.

“My sister taught me because I was troubling her😀 Then instead of causing trouble, I used to play chess.”

“It was only a hobby. But in the lockdown, I got really serious.” says Vedant Garg, a 13-year-old chess improver with grand ambitions.

“I live in the northern part of India, in Chandigarh, where there isn’t much of a chess scene. There aren’t many Grandmasters or titled players.”

Others would think of it as a disadvantage that holds them back. Not Vedant. He sees a strong purpose.

“I want to be an inspiration for the North Indian players. Like Vishy Anand sir did to the whole of India, I want to do it for North India.”

What Vedant learned from a ChessMood Grandmaster

“I found ChessMood in early 2021 when Avetik had an interview with Sagar Shah on the Chessbase India channel. I was a member for a long time but decided to take the next step by becoming a Pro member in May 2023.”

“Then I had a 1-1 call with GM Gabuzyan. He advised me to study a lot of classics, participate in events, and improve my pattern recognition in general.”

“Seeing GM Gabuzyan in live events helps me understand how a Grandmaster makes decisions.”

His dedication to improvement

Because Vedant had a clear purpose, working hard came naturally.

"When I have school, I dedicate around 3-3.5 hours daily to chess.”

“When I'm not in school, I usually devote 6 hours. It’s still less than my friends and fellow ChessMoodians I met at a GM tournament in Delhi. They work 8-10 hours😄”

His efforts have definitely paid off!

Over 700 elo in less than 2 years

In January 2022, he played his first-ever FIDE tournament and got an elo of 1031.

In September 2023, almost a year and a half later, his rating stood at 1801!

Vedant Garg's rating progress chart
Higher and higher – Vedant’s rating chart | Source: FIDE

The last leg of growth (June - August 2023) came after he discovered a missing piece in his chess improvement.

As you’ll soon discover, a subtle shift in mindset did wonders.

Dominating players 400 elo stronger at the Nationals

After a disappointing tournament in June, Vedant participated in the National Championship of India.

It’s one of the toughest opens in the country. Everyone he faced there had an average of 400 elo more than him.

Despite such a massive rating difference, he crushed most of them and raised 272 elo in 1 tournament!

Vedant's performance at the Nationals
Scoring 7.5/11 vs. an opposition 400 elo stronger than you is remarkable!

Improving his time management with ChessMood

“I had better positions in the 3rd and 4th round of the Nationals. They ended up in a draw because of time pressure.”

“So I watched the webinar on time management. And then you can see what happened to my results😀”

He also got a huge boost in morale with the arrival of yet another hero.

How his father helped him at the tournament

“My father came to stay with me before the start of the 5th round.”

“When he's there, I could prepare more because I don’t need to do other things like packing food for the game and all. As I began my winning streak from the 5th round, I started realizing his importance!”

Vedant Garg with his family
A young Vedant with his family

Following the footsteps of endgame legends

“My 6th round opponent was actually a very inspiring person – Darpan Irani. He’s 100% blind and has never seen chess pieces.”

While Vedant found himself slightly worse off after the opening, he fought back to equalize.

“I was going to offer a draw because it was just equal. But I decided to play on. My opponent started to make some mistakes which increased my confidence. And finally, I used the ‘principle of 2 weaknesses’ to win.”

“Knowing the chess classics of Karpov, Rubenstein, and Capablanca helped.”

Punishing a master in the French

Vedant was paired against a Candidate Master in round 7. He played the French 3.Bd3 and sacrificed a pawn for fast development.

Position in French 3.Bd3
A complete repertoire to counter the French with 3.Bd3

“My opponent moved ended up moving his queen 9 times in 19 moves🙂”

Soon Vedant grabbed the initiative and found a killer blow.

Position after 16.Be7!!
He played the crazy 16.Be7!!

White threatens Bxf6 next and also stops long castling!
Watch the full game to see the beautiful finish.

Next round, he faced an IM.

Defeating an IM on the first attempt, with ChessMood prep

His opponent had 900 elo more! Instead of worrying about the rating difference and the final result, Vedant adopted a different perspective.

“I was excited that I would get a fighting game and an opportunity to learn.”

Vedant playing against IM Arghyadip Das

"I had prepared the a3-b4 variation of the Sicilian Rossolimo for Black from ChessMood while preparing against my 6th-round opponent. Even though the Rossolimo didn't occur in the 6th round, it happened in this one vs. the IM, where I didn't expect it at all!"

Hard work never goes to waste.

White plays a3-b4.
How do you counter White’s a3-b4 plan? It’s explained in the Advanced section of the Nightmare of Rossolimo course.

Thanks to the preparation, Vedant got a great position out of the opening, gained a time advantage and eventually outplayed his IM opponent.

He finished the Nationals on a high, winning the last-round game against another higher-rated opponent!

Behind this brilliant performance, there was one change that Vedant believes made a big difference.

“I used to be result and rating-obsessed. I had to become detached. This was the turning point of my entire chess psychology.”

Rapid Fire

Your Right Mood ritual.

“I got inspired by this ‘All is well’ thing from the 3 Idiots movie. It helps me get in the right mood, overcome my fears, and stay detached.”

Your favorite ChessMood course.

In GM Avetik’s Mind.

I really like the games and the explanations.

3 life lessons you’ve learned from chess.

  1. Always have a strong why.
  2. Detach from result.
  3. Always be cool and calm.

What’s the one habit that has helped you the most to improve your chess?

Doing physical exercise. It has helped improve my stamina.

Speaking of chess habits, I regularly solve chess tactics. I do the Tactic Ninja quiz daily for 30 minutes.

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

Chessmood and In Grandmaster’s mind courses.

What does success in chess look like to you?

Nothing is bigger than improvement.

Who supported you on this journey?

My parents, coach Anup Deshmukh sir, and my training partner.

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

To analyze multiple variations and branches in a short time.


You can send your congratulations and well wishes to Vedant Garg for his phenomenal performance under this forum thread.

Originally published Dec 16, 2023

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