The Grandmaster’s Secrets by Igor Smirnov is the most basic of his paid courses. It lays the foundations of a good chess understanding.
This course is about building (with the lessons) and automating (with the practical part) your thinking process.
The lessons are:
- An introduction. Here, GM Smirnov describes the main mistakes chess players make when they try to improve and how the following lessons will help you avoid those mistakes.
- The thinking system. This lesson contains two parts. The first part is about strategical thinking to find candidate moves and the second part is about tactical thinking to calculate the candidate moves you found with the strategical principles.
- Tournament preparation. This lesson and the following one are more for OTB players. This lesson explains how to bring yourself to your peak condition for a tournament.
- Game preparation. This lesson helps you prepare against a known opponent. This lesson is very detailed and walks you step by step through the process. He uses Chessbase but the lesson is applicable to any database.
- How to learn chess. In this video, GM Smirnov explains how to study chess. He tells you how much time you should spend on each category of training and he explains why. He also explains how to analyze a game.
The practical part:
It is divided in 11 tasks and contains 100 games to analyze and 100 positions to solve which I think is enough to automate the thinking system. All the games and positions are from Grandmasters. The answers are detailed and the thinking process described in the lesson is used to explain every move.
I’ve only studied the first 40 games and 40 positions and I’m already finding good moves in my games. Unfortunately, the process is not yet automated and I still take a lot of time to choose my moves (because I still need to remember the 4 steps). I play great (for myself) chess but I lost one game on time.
I would recommend The Grandmaster’s Secrets to any player who doesn’t have a precise thinking system as it will help to find good moves more easily and, once the process is automated, more rapidly.