I have the feeling that nearly every day somebody starts a new Chess Training Website. Everybody wants a piece of the ever-growing chess online-business cake. But as most of these people seem to be after the big fast money in the first place, the quality of the content is mediocre at best. Luckily there are some exceptions to this.
But before I am revealing my favorite exception, I want to get into why chess learning websites can be a huge asset in chess improvement and what you should look for in them.
Why Should You Invest In A Chess Training Site?
Time is the most precious resource you have in your life. It is also the only resource that gets fewer every day for everybody. No exception whatsoever. Most Chess Training sites offer solutions to your problems. This means you do not have to fail 5 times before finding the solution. No, you can simply learn from somebody that made those 5 failures and now explains to you how to avoid them.
Those courses do not have some magic that you don’t have. You can make the process yourself. They simply make your improvement much faster, because you can learn from other people’s mistakes and do not have to do all of them yourself!
If you have unlimited financial means, then you might enjoy a private Coach even more. A private Coach can give you a more specified solution to your problem. That means you save even more time. If that is the case for you, then check out this article on how to find your perfect Chess Coach. Remember that with any approach, you still need to put in the time and energy to get better! There is no “get rich quick” in chess.
If you have limited financial resources, online Sites can be a great solution. With mass distribution via the internet, you can buy courses at a fraction of the price you would pay if this person were to only teach you privately. As an example, I have bought a course on how to create a Blog.
Many of the solutions this Course provides I could learn myself. But why not save dozens of hours of frustration by listening to somebody that went through that same process before? A big factor in the success of my blog is the course I bought.
What Makes A Good Chess Training Website?
As I have written a long Blog Post about this (one of the most important ones I ever wrote), I am very fond of the principle.
Let me say it again for you: Quality over Quantity.
Whenever I see an overload of different offers, I am getting skeptical. In 99% of the cases, a huge quantity will mean that the quality drops. This actually does not only apply to Chess. It applies to basically everything in life. For example, I use the same rule for restaurants. If some restaurant is offering Stake, Pasta, Pizza & Indian food I highly doubt any of it will be great.
Which cook, after all, is great at preparing all these different kinds of food at the same time? It is basically impossible to have great quality with such a huge diversified offer. Great Restaurants usually have a small card. Because they only want to offer what is truly amazing.
So what does this mean for an online chess site?
Some Sites seem to have sheer endless video courses to sell. Dozens if not hundreds of different authors will have courses about hundreds of different openings, strategic concepts, and endgames. As an Amateur I believe it is not very easy to distinguish which course might be valuable, and which not.
Additionally, you get the fear of missing out (FOMO) every time new courses get out. In fact, that is mostly their business model. Selling you courses you don’t need, but that will stop your FOMO (until the next course gets out…). If somebody is only offering a few dozen of courses by very selected authors, it usually means:
- Either they are new in the business
- Or they are simply very fond of the QUALITY of the courses
A good way to find out about the quality of the product is by asking the following question:
Did the presenter/author of this course use what he teaches?
If Peter Svidler is talking about the Grunfeld, then hell yeah I am listening. It was (and still is) his main weapon for so long, the quality of the material is great. I really don’t like it if somebody teaches you an opening he never played. Or if a tactical player teaches you strategy.
If after all, they are so fond of what they teach, why don’t they use it themselves?
Are you trusting an obese doctor if he gives you advice on how to eat healthy in order to lose weight? Probably not. He might know some theory, but obviously, he doesn’t do it himself. Also: don’t trust a guy that shows you a ridiculous gambit he never used in practice. If he doesn’t play it in his own games, it won’t be that great after all…
Diversified Online Chess Courses
The opening is only one part of the game. True, if you learn a cheap trick that mostly works in Blitz, you win a lot of games and feel great. But once your opponents get stronger, they don’t fall for it anymore and completely destroy you.
Because when you were busy memorizing opening lines, others used their time to truly improve their chess.
They didn’t take the easy way that promises fast, easy victories. Mid- to long-term, you will have no chance against them anymore. That is why I like to see a good balance between courses that truly make you a better player and opening courses.
If you are an amateur player, your opening training should not take more than 30% of your entire training time. If you see websites with 90%+ opening courses, you can get the feeling it is the only important part of the game!
And the quick wins will give you the impression that you are right. Until your opponent deviates from your course and you have to use your own brain… This is actually one of the more frequent questions I get. “What should I do if my opponents deviate in the opening”. My answer always is: learn how to understand and not only memorize chess openings.
I guess this is the moment to say that there are some (very few!) opening courses that are truly worth your money. You should not just play 1.h4 and study tactics like a crazy man. This would be the other extreme. The most important thing is to find the right balance.
Everybody is different. While some things apply to each and every one of us, we all have different styles and needs. That is why It is a superb feature if you can get a plan that suits your exact needs. It is also why I always encourage you to send me additional questions via email.
You might be far ahead in strategy, but behind in tactics. This makes you a different “1800” than the one that is ahead in tactics and behind in strategy! Having the possibility to learn according to your actual needs will increase the output a lot. This personalization usually takes a lot of time for the Site to provide. So it is easier not to do it. But there are a few Sites that will care about each and every customer.
Having A True WHY
This one is quite vague, but I still want to get into it very quickly. There is nothing wrong with making money by selling courses. At the end of the day, every company needs to make money in order to be able to offer a good product.
But the quality of the product is usually much better if there is a big WHY behind the company. Instead of thinking “How can we make the most money” such companies and CEOs will ask themselves “how can we help our customers most”. This results in much better customer support, fairer prices, and more personal contact between online Sites and students.
My Favorite Chess Training Website
Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of ChessMood, so I will earn a provision if you sign up through my link. I do LOVE the offer of ChessMood and want to spread the word. If you happen to sign-up using my link, I am very grateful for it.
The Chess learning site that checks all those boxes is called ChessMood. They are still flying a bit under the radar, but I believe this will change soon.
ChessMood was founded by my dear Friend GM Avetik Grigoryan. After some years as a Coach, he wanted to create a Website that truly focuses on helping Amateurs improve their Chess in an efficient way. I believe it was a great success, but it is only the start! Instead of offering a huge amount of Video-Courses, ChessMood focuses on quality. They only have video courses created by Grandmasters for Amateurs.
I did not know this course existed when writing my article. It just shows that Avetik and I are on the same page when it comes to chess improvement. In fact, the idea behind the name “ChessMood” is that if you feel well, you will play well! I could not agree more with this concept. If you happen to like my blog, chances are you will like ChessMood as well.
I like their all-around approach. Instead of only opening courses, they actually only teach 1 opening for white and black at the moment. So if you ONLY care about openings, this isn’t the right choice for you.
But if you want to improve your:
- Knowledge of classical games (over 100 games analyzed in video format incl. Downloadable PGN!)
- Feeling for piece activity
- Defense skills
- Endgame play
then this is the right place for you.
The thing I like most is that they offer a 1:1 call with a Grandmaster if you sign up for the PRO Membership. You will get a very personal study plan that fits your needs! Avetik and his team are so sure that you will like the PRO Membership that they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee! So you can check it out without risk.
And if you don’t want to invest money yet, you can simply be a member and check out the amazing free content they deliver.
For example, there are 2 free courses – WhiteMood Openings and BlackMood Openings, which give you a short and crisp opening repertoire with both colors. Going a step further, you can buy each of the courses separately. But that is not the smartest way of doing it.
The key product of ChessMood is its monthly PRO Membership. As a PRO Member you get:
- Access to ALL video courses (and their updates)
- Downloadable PGN files of the courses.
- Streams where the GMs play using the ChessMood opening repertoire.
- 1:1 call with GMs to create a personalized training plan
- Quizzes to test what you’ve learned
- A community where you can find training partners and make new friends.
- Interactive group lessons on different chess topics
- The chance to challenge a GM in a Blitz game
All of this you get for $79/month! Again, no risk is involved as you get a 30-day money-back guarantee on top of it!
If you only want access to all video courses, the essential membership is for you. This one starts from only $49/month!
By clicking any of the links to chessmood in this article you will get a special 20% discount for your first membership! So get yourself the PRO Membership of ChessMood now and boost your chess improvement!
I can’t wait for you to be a member of the ChessMood family.