GM Max Illingworth's Blog

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How To Solve A Chess Or Mental Game Struggle

How To Solve A Chess Or Mental Game Struggle

GM Illingworth
| 1 day ago

Throughout my career, I've had the privilege of embarking on a shared journey with countless chess players, each unique in their struggles and aspirations.   This is one of the most effective ways to solve a chess or mental game struggl...

The 4 Things To Avoid In Winning Positions

The 4 Things To Avoid In Winning Positions

GM Illingworth
| 15 days ago

Discover the four main things that stop players converting their winning position into a win! About My Free Live Training As you can see from the image above, I am hosting a live chess training session on Thursday from 12 to 1 pm GMT+10 (Sydn...

This Determines Your Future Chess Results

This Determines Your Future Chess Results

GM Illingworth
| 27 days ago

A big part of the ‘mental game’ is learning how to manage our emotions, so that we control our actions rather than being a ‘slave’ to our emotions.  The influence of our emotions is well summarised by the ‘Law ...

A Grandmaster's Thinking Model For Chess Defence

A Grandmaster's Thinking Model For Chess Defence

GM Illingworth
| 29 days ago

Discover how to defend better in your chess games Introduction ⁣The importance of defending well in chess is a pattern in the games of both my students and the best chess players in the world. ⁣⁣As the saying goes in team sports, 'Offence w...

The Mental Game Of A Champion

The Mental Game Of A Champion

GM Illingworth
| Apr 22, 2024

Background In a monumental turn, the chess world was rocked by the news of 17-year-old Gukesh's triumph in the 2024 FIDE Candidates, securing a remarkable 9/14. This victory has catapulted him into the spotlight as he prepares to challenge Ding ...

How I Read A Book Every Day

How I Read A Book Every Day

GM Illingworth
| Apr 20, 2024

Have you ever found yourself saying, 'I want to read more books' more often than you actually read? What do you think has changed in your life that led to this shift in your reading habits? I used to be like that - reminiscing about my childh...

How To Get In The Zone

How To Get In The Zone

GM Illingworth
| Apr 17, 2024

A Step-By-Step Process To Getting In A 'Flow' State During Our Chess Games Introduction In this post, I will describe how to get in 'the zone' or 'flow' during our chess games. 'The Zone' refers to a state of complete focus and concentratio...

Overcoming Our Self-Imposed Limitations To Develop Creative Solutions

Overcoming Our Self-Imposed Limitations To Develop Creative Solutions

GM Illingworth
| Apr 9, 2024

A common challenge when trying to improve at something is that we place conditions on what we'll do to improve. ⁣⁣We see limited options (or even only one choice) for overcoming an obstacle because we 𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘶𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘭𝘴𝘦. ⁣⁣A c...

The Qualities Of The Most Successful Students

The Qualities Of The Most Successful Students

GM Illingworth
| Apr 1, 2024

What makes a great student? Over the years, I’ve taught individuals from various backgrounds, each with unique qualities. Reflecting on these experiences, I’ve observed specific characteristics that stand out in those who excel. ⁣...

The Carlsen Variation Of The Exchange QGD

The Carlsen Variation Of The Exchange QGD

GM Illingworth
| Feb 18, 2024

Hello chess friends!In today's post, I will share with you the Carlsen Variation of the Exchange QGD, and how to play it as Black!You may be wondering - what exactly is the Carlsen Variation?The Carlsen Variation arises after the following moves: ...

A London Opening Bomb, In Morphy Style

A London Opening Bomb, In Morphy Style

GM Illingworth
| Feb 12, 2024

𝐀 𝐋𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐧 𝐎𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐁𝐨𝐦𝐛, 𝐈𝐧 𝐌𝐨𝐫𝐩𝐡𝐲 𝐒𝐭𝐲𝐥𝐞⁣ ⁣ While working with a student, I discovered a sophisticated opening bomb in the London System, which I'd like to share with you. ⁣ ⁣ Our position arises after 𝟏.𝐝𝟒 𝐝𝟓 𝟐.𝐍𝐟𝟑 𝐍𝐟𝟔 𝟑.𝐁𝐟𝟒 𝐜𝟓 𝟒.𝐞𝟑 𝐍𝐜𝟔 𝟓.𝐍𝐛𝐝𝟐 ...

Potholes & Detours From The Road To 1600+

Potholes & Detours From The Road To 1600+

GM Illingworth
| Jan 19, 2024

Hello chess friends!Would you like to discover what's stopping you from getting a chess rating over 1600?Then check out my new training video, 'Potholes & Detours From The Road To 1600'! Would you like to discover what's stopping you from...

The Modern Caro-Kann Antidote to 3.Nc3

The Modern Caro-Kann Antidote to 3.Nc3

GM Illingworth
| Dec 31, 2023

In this post, I will share with you an interesting idea against the Caro-Kann, which was first played in a Grandmaster game in 2017 (and once before that in 2014), but is now a quite trendy answer to the old main line of the Caro-Kann, with 1...

The Importance Of Unlearning In Chess - Part 1

The Importance Of Unlearning In Chess - Part 1

GM Illingworth
| Dec 30, 2023

You may be wondering...⁣⁣What is 𝐔𝐧𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠?⁣⁣Why does this especially matter for 𝐚𝐝𝐮𝐥𝐭 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬?⁣⁣How can we 'unlearn' the things 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘹𝘵 𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭?⁣⁣Let's discuss each of these.⁣⁣Unlearning means 'to make an effort to f...

A Creative Approach Against The Short Caro-Kann

A Creative Approach Against The Short Caro-Kann

GM Illingworth
| Dec 27, 2023

IntroductionWhat is the most annoying system for Caro-Kann players to face?The easiest answer would be 'The line that scores best for White', but we can't purely rely on the statistics to determine this. For instance, White's best scoring lin...

A Small Learning Hack

A Small Learning Hack

GM Illingworth
| Dec 25, 2023

Do you want to retain much more of what you learn in your study for the day?⁣ ⁣ Allow me to share a short story.⁣ ⁣ When I resumed coaching privately in April 2023, I had a lot of new experiences from the last few years:⁣ ⁣ - Selling low-tic...

The Quest To Play Every Opening Variation

The Quest To Play Every Opening Variation

GM Illingworth
| Aug 1, 2023

How many opening variations are there in chess?If you've looked at the Chess.com Explorer, under 'Master Games', you'll notice that the branches quickly become very wide: For instance, we see here that 3.Bb5 is played more than all other moves c...

The Role Of Positive Reinforcement In Chess Improvement

The Role Of Positive Reinforcement In Chess Improvement

GM Illingworth
| Jul 2, 2023

Today I want to discuss the role of approval/recognition in our chess improvement journey.⁣⁣The fundamental process of how we improve at chess is to:⁣⁣1. Do something⁣⁣2. Get feedback⁣⁣3. Adapt or reinforce a pattern based on that feedback. ⁣⁣Howe...

What Makes Chess Significant?

What Makes Chess Significant?

GM Illingworth
| Jun 26, 2023

Looking at it from a broad perspective, I consider the greatest significance of chess to be as a model for effective decision-making in life.⁣⁣In fact, this significance - of simulating life in a way where the constraints of the game give us a sys...

How To Play The Opening Like Hikaru

How To Play The Opening Like Hikaru

GM Illingworth
| May 14, 2023

Would you like to play the opening like GM Hikaru Nakamura?Here's the short answer to that question. For the long answer, continue reading!In this post, I'll share with you some games by played by Hikaru with his most effective system with Bl...

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