A Merry Christmas from ChessLecture

by admin on December 20, 2012

Looking for a last-minute Christmas present for the chess player in your life? ChessLecture is now producing DVD’s of lectures that appeared on their website. You don’t have to be a subscriber — just order the DVDs of the lectures you want! The DVD’s are collections of three or four or five (or more) thematically related lectures by your favorite lecturers: Jesse Kraai, Eugene Perelshteyn, David Vigorito, etc.

In particular, ChessLecture has released six DVD’s ($19.95 each) of my long-running series “Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs.” You can find them on the new releases page. You can also find them on the US Chess Federation website, which has a whole page for ChessLecture DVD’s. On the USCF website you can also buy the whole six-DVD set of “Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs” for $99.00.

My premise behind these lectures is that amateur players can learn just as much or more by studying amateur games as by studying grandmaster games. The mistakes made in amateur games are more representative of the kind of mistakes typical tournament players (including your opponents!) will make, and they help illuminate typical flaws in many players’ thinking process. By contrast, the mistakes made in grandmaster games are often more subtle and hard for an amateur to learn from.

I shouldn’t dwell only on the mistakes. There is also something quite inspiring about seeing an amateur play a truly master-caliber game. It does happen. You can do it, too. You’ll see some examples on these DVD’s.

Why are there so few books or compilations available of amateur games annotated by masters? First, I think that many masters consider it beneath their dignity to annotate amateur games. Not only that, many masters have not thought deeply about the pedagogy of chess. When they write a book, they often write it for themselves and other masters, not for the average chessplayer. By contrast, in these lectures I have tried to think seriously about what amateur chess players really need to know and how to present it understandably.

Another challenge is finding high-quality amateur games to annotate. The subscribers of ChessLecture have solved that problem for me, by submitting their own games for this series (often with very helpful commentary about what they were thinking about during the game). Without them, the lectures would not have been possible.

All in all, I think you’ll find this series to be a unique addition to your — oops, sorry, I meant your friend’s — chess library!

P.S. While I’m on the subject of ChessLecture, let me pass along some news from the management… Jesse Kraai is coming back! Specifically, I have been told that “Jesse is nearing completion of his novel, and is looking to end his sabbatical and return to chess activity by late spring.” Any of you who have heard his lectures know what great news this is!


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Schmidt December 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I subscribe to ChessLecture largely for Learn From Your Fellow Amateurs! There should be way more books/videos annotating sub-2000 games. Dan Heisman’s new book is a good step in the right direction, despite the terrible title (The World’s Most Instructive Amateur Game Book). The only other amateur game collection I can think of offhand is Alex Dunne’s “How to Become a Candidate Master”, which is just okay but at least has its heart in the right place.


Brian Wall December 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Attacking Chess 101 by Joel Johnson
analyzes how he crushes 1000 to 1800 players.


Matt December 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Excellent, thanks Dana. I just ordered one from USCF Sales. Unfortunately, the checkout process is broken when trying to order from ChessLecture. 🙁 I emailed them about it with screenshots so hopefully that’s fixed soon.

I am also looking forward to Jesse Kraai coming back. He hasn’t recorded any ChessLecture videos for a long time and he was always one of my favorites lecturers.


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