what are the pros & cons of ics school?

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what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by amonptah on July 26th 2011, 1:35 pm

hello:
seeking others personal experience with the ics online school: is the material appropriate to performing in the chess tournament environment,are you able to adapt what you learn to winning and achieving a decent elo rating ? i appreciate the responses
thank-you
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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by PawnCustodian on July 26th 2011, 2:54 pm

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: you will need a lot dedication to do all the reading and studying of the course material (you are basically on your own), and you will have to play a lot of games to practice and gain rating points.

You have to love the game to stick it out - it's not easy.

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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by LostTactic on July 26th 2011, 4:35 pm

I think it's worth what you're paying for it (referring to 1st year only). A lot of the useful content consists of a number of instructive quality articles, some are pretty much common sense, but important nonetheless. You probably won't get a lot out of the openings module if you're not a positional player, as ICS is definitely geared towards positional play vs complex & tactics orienated openings, however I think it's only an extra $5? So probably worth it just for the price. Also I don't think their opening lines are enough by themselves, at least for tournmanent play, definitely worth buying a book or 2 that specialise in the openings you do decide to play from their recommendations. For example a complement to the Catalan material would be Avrukh's 2 volumes on the opening, for the Semi-Slav repertoire, Alexey Dreev's (worlds leading expert on the Semi-Slav Moscow and Meran systems) recent books for chessstars called "The Moscow & Anti-Moscow varaitions" and "The Meran and Anti-meran for Black. An Insider's view". For the Kalashnikov, Tony Rotella has a book coming out in Aug called the Killer Sicilian, which is a repertoire based around the Kalashnikov, also I'd recommend "Experts on the Anti-Sicilian" by Shaw and Aagaard. I don't play the other ICS openings so can't really recommend anything for them, I guess "Win with the Stonewall Dutch" would be useful if you played that though, had excellent reviews when it came out.

Finally... Openings wise I am greatful to ICS that they got me interested in the: Catalan, Kalashnikov and Semi-Slav Moscow and Meran, probably wouldn't have learnt these openings otherwise, and they're a perfect fit to my "style" and "temperament". Just in case anyone cares the other openings I play alongside those are: Nimzo/Queen's Indian, QGD, Caro-Kann and Berlin defence. Chess understanding wise the material they give is worth the price like I said, but there's definitely good alternatives out there, such as: Artur Yusupovs training books for Quality Chess.

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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by amonptah on July 28th 2011, 10:32 pm

hey lostactic"
thanks for the advise,you have the right idea, i plan to join ics the first week of august, i like your choice of openings, this will be a fun learning experience
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ics school

Post by amonptah on July 28th 2011, 10:51 pm

PawnCustodian wrote:Short answer: yes.

Long answer: you will need a lot dedication to do all the reading and studying of the course material (you are basically on your own), and you will have to play a lot of games to practice and gain rating points.

You have to love the game to stick it out - it's not easy.
thanks for the info
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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by Chess? on August 1st 2011, 12:30 pm

So true PC, i am still at it after start date Jan. 6, 2008. I went from 1400 to over 1700. But i have yet to finish the material in one go. I have recently started over at month one. Life keeps getting in the way of my chess.
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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by Bilbo on August 6th 2011, 6:50 am

I love the course but haven't really progressed very far with it.

I started the course not long after I joined a chess club in Sept 2008.

I think I focused too much on trying to gain knowledge and not enough learning how to actually play chess.

Now I'm following Smirnov's courses and attempting his 300 growth spurt module, Basically it consists of two main elements, opening study and mastering the thinking process in chess according to basic chess principles, and then after that a study of attacking play.

I love this approach. He says it's not enough to accumulate knowledge but you have to integrate it into your game, by playing over what you have learned.

So now I'm systematically creating an entire opening reportoire and after every significant opening variation lean't I play a full time controls game against opponenets on chessmaster and then analyse the game according to his base principles. It's really good fun and I think I'm making more progress.

Once I've completed my repotoire and thought process work I will spend a couple of months focusing exclusively on the attack. Not just reading material as in the past but aloso setting up positions and playing them out against opponents on Chessmaster so that the understanding becomes automatic.

I'll then move on to the ICS course probably in January 2012 and go through the material slowly, all the time playing out what I've learnt against the computer so that I'm getting a wealth of actual playing experience, which I think is key.

135 ECF right now, hoping for 150 by the time of the next July rating list.

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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by PawnCustodian on August 6th 2011, 2:16 pm

Bilbo wrote:

I think I focused too much on trying to gain knowledge and not enough learning how to actually play chess.


I think you have hit on the one omission by ICS Training - integrating the lessons into an active plan that includes playing.

There's a structured plan in the ChessOK archives that lays one out. I think it is also in the Chess Cafe archives. Admittedly, they're about selling their software, but the plan does lay out a very aggressive study/playing schedule that illustrates how much actual playing it takes to advance. What I like about the plan is that it addresses various time controls to use, how much computer game playing, and OTB tournament play.

The title of the article is:

Modern methods for training a chess player. 27 April 2006
Irina Mikhailova, GM, trainer, T.V. Petrosian Chess Club (Moscow)

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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by Blue Devil Knight on August 6th 2011, 7:18 pm

Bilbo nailed it.

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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by Bilbo on August 7th 2011, 11:30 am

Yeah I think I just wasn't ready for the course really. I absolutely intend to complete both years but trying to approach chess as something I can just read about just got me frustrated.

I lost a couple games recently where I was playing moves that made perfect strategical sense, i.e putting a knight on a strong central square but had nothing to do with the actual concrete nature of the position on the board, where instead of sticking a knight on e4, I should exchanged bishops on f5 and rip open his kingside and get a winning attack.

I think my problem has been I've been trying to accumulate enough knowledge before hand so I don't have to do any thinking at the board.

Smirnov's course are great in helping you think and plan, although he teaches very little chess knowledge. I want to go through his stuff so I am actually thinking correctly at the board and working things out for myself, and then get the important theoretical knowledge afterwards.

I don't actually need any more knowledge to reach even 200 level. It's chess skill that is required, and I won't get that from reading books, I'll get that from actually playing and analysing my mistakes

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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by Tweety on August 8th 2011, 8:09 am

A few months ago I wondered why I wasn't able to perform better at chess, I have a good knowledge of the strategic part of the game, then why am I not able to play better? I spent days reflexionating of this and I got to the conclusion that it doesn't matter how much knowledge I have if I can use when I play. I also noticed that if the game is based on strategic factor I usually miss a tactic move, but if the game is a tactical one then I can go into a strategic position that I can win. The explanation for this is simple: since I was kid all my games were based on king attacks, it was enough to defeate the players I played with but when I started to face stronger opposition this wasn't work. Well after this review of my life I can tell the answer to the question I made myself at the begining. I don't play well because of two main things:

1.- I don't know how to think. When I play I do it on a move by move basics what is a big mistake and it makes me to end the game in time trouble.

2.- Lack of the right chess foundation. This is why I am not able to mix the knowledge I have on my thought process, as a matter of fact, it does mix but it creates caos instead of harmony.

The solution for the two is explained by the ICS school but it quiet difficult to follow because I need more examples not just text telling what to do but not how to do it. I needed something simpler, I started to search for material that was able to teach me. I found the Dan Heismann column on chesscafe.com, a book from Pert Ostman titled "Your best move. A structured aproach to move selection in chess" and Smirnov courses, his first course "Grand masters secrets" is a jewel, it does teach me how to think. I am now trying a new method of thinking, my method which is based mainly on what Smirnov says, complementing it with ICS thought process, Heismann way of avoid time trouble and Pert way of thinking when is not my turn. It is too early to say it works but the games I played on the internet, 15 to 20 minutes for the game, using this new method get me out of time trouble and this for me it is heaven compared with the knighmare of lossing equal or winning positions because of the clock. I still need more practice but I hope I will be able to do it without spending energy on thinking how to think.

That's all folks!!!!!
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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by PawnCustodian on August 8th 2011, 4:08 pm

Having just completed year one I'm just going to do some casual review (along with the year two games) and focus on playing.

For at home computer play I just installed Hiarcs 13 and their internal book into my FRITZ GUI. I've only played about a dozen quick abreviated games, using the ICS repertoire. The combination of book and engine is great for practice, I'm seeing very logical positional play out of the engine, ideal for practicing the ICS repertoire.

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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by HangingKing on August 8th 2011, 4:52 pm

What i can say about the course is that i'm way better at analysing a game now than before, i find it easier to reconcentrate from any given position if i have lost the course of events. And when i look back at my games from 2 years ago i immediately see a lot of mistakes.

However my elo didn't raised so much, although more solid and i beat occasionnally players 200 or 300 elo above me, and i less often loose against players way under me.

I can say that now i know exactly what's going on the board, still it isn't sufficient to win always. I think it's because some sort of thinking lazyness, often i know what i have to do, or what i should calculate to improve my position, but i'm lazy with it, and search for something more intuitive, or just play the good move without deeper calculation and let see what happen.
Since ICS gives some good strategical plans, most of the time the continuation goes well, but i get trapped the rest of the time.

I think ICS doesn't give enough insights on how to organize a calculation, how to not forget candidates moves in calculation, and not enough insights on how to win the famous "technical win". In year 2, some more accent is put on late middlegame which i think is better for me, but this is more difficult to apply in a real game (since the exact position seen in the course rarely occurs...).

Other pro of ICS is that ICS covers a wide variety of features in the course and they are not dry in expanations, possible variants and so on. Moreover, i find that new videos are a great addition to the course.

A big con, especially for year 1, is lack of numeric interactive content (chessbase file, or even just .pgn), studying with .pdf is quite time consuming particularly when you need to throw an eye a second or third time on a lesson already studied and don't want to do it from scratch every time.


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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by amonptah on August 9th 2011, 3:06 pm

thank-you to all who answered my question on the pros & con ics school ,i received the first month module and read the material and applied all of the diagrams and info from,think like a strong player,decision making ,pme and chess tactics to fritz and with every move seeing the threats and consequences, and making my own to do list and played both sides on on fritz in this first week i have learned to read and apply, i will never be able to look at a chess board or chess position the same way as i did in the past, i plan to follow up and add to the tools that i've learn so far,annotating games,position analysis, decision making,and making the appropriate canidate move . once again thanks to all of you
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Re: what are the pros & cons of ics school?

Post by Blue Devil Knight on August 11th 2011, 9:18 pm

Good to hear you like it. Just remember, the rest of the course is basically an extended explanation of, and following through on, the material in Month 1. So if something isn't clear right away, they may well get to it.

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