Chess Openings Wizard – two minute exercise

Hi! I have a cold so I may have to rely on these signs more than I want to but if I do get to coughing during this video, I’m just gonna edit it out if that’s okay with you. So I have one question to start all this off and that question is: Have you ever in your adult life looked in the mirror and thought I should be stronger at chess than I am right now. If so you are not alone. In this video I’m going to show you one exercise that will get your rating steadily climbing again. Bobby Fischer did this exercise long before there were computers so you don’t really need a computer to do it. It’s easier but you can do this exercise with a pen and paper. And if this exercise takes you longer than two minutes you’re cheating. Not that it matters to you but I want to take just a minute to explain Who I am and why I’m uniquely qualified to get your rating climbing again. I’m Mike Leahy from and I’ve been making tournament preparation software for 39 years. I started out making it for myself and my very first rating was 1247 and it shot up to about 1950 at my peak. One of the tournaments I played in was the dark horse chess club championship. It was a round-robin. It was a big club and almost every player was rated higher than I was. So round-robin means I had a different opponent each week. Each week I would ask that opponent before the next week what opening he wanted me to play against him and when it came time for our round I would play that opening against him. And of course each week I prepared those openings. Colle-Zukertort Alekhine’s Najdor poisoned pawn. Remind me to tell you the story sometime of playing the Saragossa opening which was 1.c3 but that’s a story for later though. In that tournament I gained over 200 points. At some point I gave playing up over-the-board chess and concentrated on publishing my software and I’ve been doing that for decades. And that got me access to some really incredible chess players. I was in the press room for the Karpov Kasparov match and the U.S. champion at the time Yasser Seirawan was just telling people matter-of-factly about how he went about creating an entirely new repertoire. That’s the subject again for another video. The world champion of postal chess used my software. Now back then postal players had up to three days to make a single move. They would send postcards with their moves through the mail. One round could last up to two and a half years. Those games were incredibly accurate with huge amounts of analysis which was why Bookup as it was called back then (now Chess Openings Wizard) was often the secret weapon of postal players. Yesterday I was talking on the phone with America’s highest rated correspondence player who has been using my software for more than 20 years. So when a correspondence player wanted to speed up his game, he would send his move in a postcard but he would also send “if moves.” So for instance I would send you a postcard through the mail and it would have my move as 2…d5 but then I would have “if moves” maybe on a postcard look something like this. So if Nc3 then …Bb4 or if e5 then …c5. That way if you wanted to play one of my ‘if moves’ you could play it and save some time and maybe finish our around in less than two years. Which leads me to this exercise. The one thing that you can do today during this video that can start your rating climbing again. And again if this exercise takes you more than two minutes it’s likely you are cheating. Working with really strong chess players for decades you’d have to be a moron to not pick up on the patterns that the better chess players are using when they’re getting stronger as opposed to the players whose ratings stay the same year after year. Now I think I have heard it all when it comes to opening preparation after all those years, from the players who actually do it right and continue to pack on rating points year after year, steadily, to the players who profess that they don’t study openings no matter what – but somehow still continue to win games. So are you ready for the exercise that will tell you more about your opening than any other exercise? And I’ll warn you in advance the exercise is simple but do not let the simplicity of the exercise fool you. After I describe this exercise and we do it I’m going to come back to Bobby Fischer who took this exercise to a new level and if you have read his biography you know that he took this exercise to a new level. And it catapulted him to the top. You don’t need it but if you have Chess Openings Wizard this will be even easier. If you have Chess Openings Wizard open a new ebook window, a new blank ebook, and start from there. If you have ChessBase it’ll be a little bit easier. Just open a blank game window. And again, you do not need software to do this exercise. Just a board and pieces will work, and for some of you who study your openings quite a bit just a pen and paper will work. So you have your pen and paper? Good. Let’s do it. Imagine you are sitting down to a board playing white against an opponent who’s 100 points stronger than you are. And you are playing for a win. What move would you play without thinking? Write that move down or enter it into Chess Openings Wizard. For example I might play 1.e4 so I’d write down 1.e4. Now turn the board around. If you want to do that in the software in Chess Openings Wizard go to the Commands menu and select white at bottom. Now play the move you would play against that move. So in my case I play 1.e4 as white. I’m a French player so I play …e6 as black. Write that move down. Now turn the board back around till you’re white again and play the move that you would play as white, again without thinking. Play the move that you would play in a tournament situation – but without analysis. Continue the exercise. Keep playing moves for both sides as if you’re in a tournament situation but here’s the rule again. Only play a move that you would play without any kind of analysis, Pause this video now and do the exercise. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Pause the video. No really, pause the video. This shouldn’t take any more than about 90 seconds. Well welcome back. Did you do the exercise? If you did not do the exercise pause this video now. It will take you 90 seconds tops. Do it! If you have done it well welcome back. How far did you get? If you got to move 20 you are exceptional. 40 plies deep. If you got to move 15 you have some work to do, but we have tools for that. If you got to move 10 you have a lot of work to do. And if you’re still in single digits, it’s okay. You’re in the right place. There are lines in the Sicilian and lines and the Ruy Lopez that are mapped out to move 29, best play for both sides and everybody who plays that line knows those lines. Move 29! So this exercise (that you just did) had you playing your white repertoire against your black repertoire and these are the positions you know the best for both sides, so if you didn’t get to at least move 20 you could use some help. Earlier I brought up Bobby Fischer, arguably the best repertoire player of all time. In the rare, rare circumstance where he was outplayed in the opening, immediately in the post-mortem he would announce publicly that if anybody repeated that line, this is the improvement he would play against them no matter who they were. That is a man who believed in his repertoire. If you know anything about Fischer, there was a time in his life where he was let’s say just a grandmaster and then there was a period of time where he really, really improved. People asked him you know what happened in that amount of time and his reply was :I got good.” So here’s the thing if you read his biography you know that, in that time, he was doing this exercise. He would play what he called a “fair game” against himself. He’d set up the clock and the pieces and he would pretend he was playing a full-out game so he’d go beyond the opening and played the entire game. Now you and I have all all been in this position before, where we’re in the middle of a game and we’ve hatched a plan and we are hoping that our opponent does not understand our plan. Hmmm. But Fisher, when he was playing against himself, had no such hope. There’s no way he could hope for that because his opponent was him! If you are going to get good you are also going to have to give up hope – and replace hope with a method. If you want to be a repertoire player like Fisher but you don’t have the time that Fisher had to actually put into his repertoire you’re going to need power tools. You’re going to need a way to document all of those “if moves.” Let me tell you right now, a tree of games is not going to cut it. And once you’ve designed your repertoire for black or for white you’re gonna want a way to play it on your iPad or your Android, while you’re on the bus or going on the commute and a break during a tournament. If you’re gonna leave your rating plateau behind, I’ll be honest with you. It is going to take some work. But you and I also know that work is so much easier with a power tool, and if you’re gonna pick a proper tool I’d really like it to be my app, Chess Openings Wizard. It takes a specialized tool to make it really easy to put in all those “if moves” and keep track of how many that you know, and train you and test you on them. I’ve been working on that tool for 39 years and I think I’ve made it as easy as it can be. So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to click one of the links below this video get it for Macintosh, get it for Windows, get it for your iPad, get if your Android. Possibly more than one of those, and then do the two-minute exercise. Then each day – and I mean each day – spend no more than about four or five minutes to select and research and choose three new “if moves” to add to your repertoire, white or black. At the end of the year at that pace you will have knowledge of more than one thousand additional positions. And I promise you that after that year, that will result in a 200 point increase in your rating. That link is not going to click itself. What are you waiting for? And I really do mean this, like, what are you waiting for? I mean for some people it’s easy to think, “You know, for the next year I’m just gonna continue doing what I did last year, and maybe I’ll get stronger.” But I think the Einstein quote applies here right? So you know, that’s one definition of insanity. doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And I have to remind you that chess is a lot more fun when you’re constantly getting better, when you’re rating keeps going up! So get out your PayPal information, get out your MasterCard and order the software now. If you’re still watching then you you might have some reason you haven’t ordered Dhess Openings Wizard. Maybe you’ve bought some software in the past and then you couldn’t figure out how to get the most out of it. Well if that’s you, I made you a web page called “getting the most out of Chess Openings Wizard.” Or maybe you’re one of those people who always runs into a technical problem. You can check the expert users forum and if they can’t help, you can email me. And if that doesn’t work you can call me on the phone. I will not let a technical issue get in your way. Click on the link below and order the software and find out. Or maybe you invested a lot of money in a game database like ChessBase or a playing program like Komodo and you’re thinking, “I don’t think I need a power tool to design my opening repertoire.” So years ago I was at the New York Open and Grand Master Peter Svidler sat down with me and he asked if the 200 rating point guarantee applied to him and I said, “Sure.” And he said that an extra 200 points would have him rated higher than Kasparov who was the world champion at the time. Svidler ended up paying for the software. It was called Bookup back then, and he went on to beat Kasparov and not everybody can win a game against the world champion. But then Svidler gave us his endorsement. Now I want you to hear two things in there. First, this grandmaster paid full price for the software then after he used it he gave us his endorsement. We did not pay him for that endorsement. I want to put you on the same track that Svider was on, constant improvement. So click on the link below and install the software. I will show you how to do your game research inside of ChessBase and then use those games as part of your design inside Chess Openings Wizard but I can only help you if you click on the link below and install the app.

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