12 Weeks to Better Chess

3 weeks after my arrival in New York, I met with Danish-American FM/FT Carsten Hansen a sunny Saturday morning in Brooklyn. After a few cups of coffee we decided to start an ambitious work concept called “12 Weeks to Better Chess”.

It all seemed very natural: we are both experienced coaches and authors (12-11 in Carsten’s favor, if we include my 5 game publications!), we share a common origin and have approximately the same rating (again, Carsten wins by a nose, although I have the IM title).

After a few more cups of coffee, we decided to create the homepage www.12weekstobetterchess.com. Here, you can learn more about the project, and also sign up for the program. You can also follow us on Facebook here.

lt starts on March 5!

In order to get better at chess, the players who sign up for the program are expected to work hard on a weekly basis throughout the 12 weeks. Our estimate is 4-6 hours per week. We plan an interview for the participants to make sure that we meet each other expectations, but also to get an insight into what chess knowledge the participant’s rating is based upon: books, training methods, number of tournament games etc. We really want you to improve your chess during these 12 weeks!

The training material is divided into 3 rating groups, based on the strength of the participants: 1) 1400-1700 2) 1700-2000 3) 2000-2200. The training material cover all phases of the game, from the opening over the early middlegame and middlegame to the endgame, and the participants will get material for self-study. For material where the participants are asked to assess positions with open-ended answers, there will be individual feedback on the thinking that led to the suggested solutions.

Of course we also exchanged books on our first meeting: Carsten got a copy of my The Secret Life of Bad Bishops, and I got his Improve Your Positional Chess. Incidentally, Carsten writes about bishops and knights as “Cats and dogs” in his book when considering the relative value of the pieces – a term I also use in my book. The bishop only works on one color, but it protects this particular color better than a knight does – since it changes color with every move it makes. Since the bishop only works on one color, it is more dependent on other pieces, whereas the knight can do a lot on its own. Hence my comparison of dogs and cats.

By the way, recently Carsten’s book hit the top-5 on the Amazon.com bestseller list (chess e-books). Well done!