What are your experiences after joining the International Chess School - Is it really worth it for me?

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What are your experiences after joining the International Chess School - Is it really worth it for me?

Post by jasoncruz98 on June 2nd 2012, 5:09 am

Hello. My name is Jason Cruz and I am an unrated player from Malaysia. My country is so behind in chess that we do not have a Grandmaster yet. I originally thought being a grandmaster was dependent on individual skill and I could only improve by memorizing chess openings and solving hundreds of tactical puzzles. This year, I finally improved my chess to a level that I cuold represent my school to compete in the district level chess tournament. Being a 1.e4 player, I played well with that opening throughout the tournament and did quite well. That was, until I became overconfident and played 1.d4 and Queen'S gambit without any knowledge of that opening whatsoever. Long story short, I was over whelmed when I played against the top contenders and realized that they had a deeper understanding of chess and since then, I have been looking up the internet on chess courses. That's where I found ICS.

My budget is around USD 468 which is around the amount I would spend if I went through the entire course in 13 months (including the openings module). My plan is to play in rated tournaments and win against players with 1600+ rating so I can get an initial FIDE rating. From there, I want to improve to a level that I can become an IM and then become a Grandmaster. I realise this is a daunting task, but I was wondering if I went through this course, how would it benefit me? Would I improve overall in my positional understanding of chess? What rating would I be if I completed this course in 13 months?

I just wanted to know how this course can compare with the other courses out there such as the Remote Chess Academy courses provided by GM Igor Smirnov. The primary reason I have chosen this course over his (GM Igor Smirnov) is becuse I have seen the sample lessons and I belive this course offers a systematic approach.

My dad is very worried for me because he doesn't want me to fall victim to scams over the internet and therefore I have to be very open-minded, but could you please try your best and be patient with me and explain your journey through this course, what state were you before and after you have joined this course, and whether or not this course has helped to improve your chess abilities and increase your rating.

Please forgive me if anything I have said has insulted you in any way, but please be candid and honest with me, and pointing out any flaws with this course so I can consider whether it is really worth it to buy this course, because I really want to improve at chess and one day be like Magnus Carlsen.

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Re: What are your experiences after joining the International Chess School - Is it really worth it for me?

Post by PawnCustodian on June 2nd 2012, 8:04 am

I'm now finishing year two, and I am completely sold on the benefits of the ICS course.

You are absolutly correct that memorizing openings and doing tactics exercises will not get you into the master range. Frankly, most of the books available won't get you there either, the amount of knowledge required is simply too big for a couple of books.

Also, you cannot buy a master rating with $468, or any other amount. To be perfectly honest it takes a lot of work, both studying and playing (a lot!). The players at the highest levels are driven by an ambition far beyond most of us. It is impossible to predict your rating after completing the course - it will be totally dependent on your individual work ethic, talent, access to rated tournament opportunities, and your fighting spirit.

The strength of the course is in it's broad coverage, it does an excellent job covering the openings and middle game. Coverage of the endgames is somewhat less comprehensive.

The major weakness is that you are totally on your own - while the material is well written and understandable, you need to work out questions on your own. If you belong to a club, and have some strong players to question or study with you can overcome that shortcoming.

Also, you should be at a club level when you start the course (it seems you are already there). You won't see comprehensive coverage of basics such as the 14 tactical basic methods nor coverage of many of the useful endgame methods. The course introduces these concepts at a more advanced level - for example with tactics they start with attacking methods against the king.

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Re: What are your experiences after joining the International Chess School - Is it really worth it for me?

Post by supermoy on June 20th 2012, 11:10 am

Hi Jason Cruz, as well as my friend Pawncustodian, i can assure you this is a great course. I am also taking year two, almost starting year 3, and I can confidently tell you, that you don't have anything to fear, take the course, and you will see that your comprehention will dramatictlly improve for sure month by month. Obviously you need to make a big effort too, but you will need that everywhere and with every material you buy online or in any shop, cause it's the hard work of understanding the materials and fixing the information, and aply it in your games.

Apart from what i have told you, let me tell you i have seen all of the sample lessons smyrnov gives for free, and I sincerely don't like Smyrnov's method, since it is based on a video course, and his ideas are quite general and sometimes even wrong, although i want to be completely honest with you, i want to give you an opinion and i don't want you to think that i am talking bad about other courses,you are completely free to choose the one you like.

Just adding one more thing about the ICS course, so that my answer is more complete and I hope can help you more, I found this course amazingly good, since with it, I have learned subleties, and although you will be guided by general rules, you will be able to exploit confidently any little positional mistake of my opponent, since it will be enough for you to take an advantage because you know the subleties, the exceptions beyond the general rules.
Good luck and hope you join us (John Lenon Smile ) byee

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Re: What are your experiences after joining the International Chess School - Is it really worth it for me?

Post by Robin187 on June 21st 2012, 5:43 pm

Hi Jason, I'm about 5 months through this course, and in my opinion ICS is as good as its going to get, I started playing 3 years ago, I signed up online for a few courses online, these include improveyourchess.com, igor smirnov's chess-teacher.com, I have searched the internet high and low for materials, I have a chess library of over 500 books I downloaded for free. some are amazing, others are flat out overbearing and lame. This course has a very direct approach, and it will improve your game as much as you are willing to learn. the only flaw is that its not exactly interactive, you cant ask a question and get a direct answer, or personal one on one classes, their endgame materials are limited ( from what I have seen )

your aiming very high, to be like Carlsen, which is admirable indeed. so if you are willing to work hard, you came to the right place, I would know since I have been in loads of wrong places first! my understanding of the game has improved considerably and so will yours.

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Re: What are your experiences after joining the International Chess School - Is it really worth it for me?

Post by supermoy on June 22nd 2012, 2:19 pm

What robin187 says it's true Smile
And it's true that they don't have too much endgame material in the first course, although they have a good amount of endgame material in month 8. and in year 3 ("What really matters course"), but the objective of the first course(the core course), is to improve your strategic thinking, you besides that have to work on tactics and endgame theory. Smile

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Re: What are your experiences after joining the International Chess School - Is it really worth it for me?

Post by Leavenfish on October 7th 2012, 10:04 pm

Supermoy -

Can you elaborate on what the '3 Courses' they allude to on their website are? They say that...and only mention the 'Grandmaster Course' and the 'Core Course'.

You mention year 3 as the 'What really matters course". Where is this described on their website? 1 and 2 are the ones I mentioned, is 3 'What really matters'?

Why would they take 3 years to get to what really matters in chess? I'm so confused!

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EXPLANATION

Post by supermoy on October 7th 2012, 10:55 pm

Leavenfish wrote:Supermoy -

Can you elaborate on what the '3 Courses' they allude to on their website are? They say that...and only mention the 'Grandmaster Course' and the 'Core Course'.

You mention year 3 as the 'What really matters course". Where is this described on their website? 1 and 2 are the ones I mentioned, is 3 'What really matters'?

Why would they take 3 years to get to what really matters in chess? I'm so confused!
Hi Leavenfish, don't worry, take it easy, everything will turn out right. Now let me explain you... There are 3 courses however there are two things you must know, there was just one a little time ago and they had other names a little time ago.
The Main Course, the one that they had always promoted is the "CORE COURSE"(as they call it now)
The next one (2nd) is the What really matters course, (which befotre the names changed was the 3rd instead of the second, they exchanged places in the trilogy), this course is the one that covers the attack topic and the endgame topic and comes with extra lectures
The last one is the pawn structures course and treats the openings.
The reason for making two more courses was that the core course was all you need for strategy,the pawn structure course was a course for improving the opening and a course for you to know the common plans in the different oppenings and the what really matters is an easier course than the core and just helps you to see the mistakes that you might be making at your level and how the more experienced player had solved them so that you can improve your level, and it comes with extra lectures on attack and endgames as they speak very little about endgames in their courses.
I hope that helped, Smile, sincerely moydz Smile

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Re: What are your experiences after joining the International Chess School - Is it really worth it for me?

Post by Leavenfish on October 20th 2012, 12:20 pm

Thanks for the response supermoy.

I am afraid I am still confused though. You say these are the 3 courses:

1. The Main Course (Core course)
2. What really matters
3. Pawn structures and openings

Yet their web page http://www.chessmasterschool.com/chess-courses.asp
clearly says the 3 course are:

1. Core Course - 1 year (13 months actually)
2. Applying Chess Essentials (Easy Course - 1 year)
3. System of Champions (Advanced Course - 1 year)

It is this loose or conflicting terminology that has me so confused.

I have been USCF rated 2000 - 2160 or so for a good 20 yrs...little play/rusty has seen me all back to 2030. I have been trying to determine if I would get enough out of say the Core course to justify spending $400.

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