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Completed Chess Mentor?

  • #1

    I am about 3% through the ChessMentor right now.  I find it extremely helpful.

    Apologies if this thread already exists somewhere.  I didn't find it.

    I want to see how much my rating improves by completing the entire thing.

    I have seen a few mentions of people who have done this.  I would love to hear some experiences about how useful the process was.  Also, how long it took? How much true retention did you get versus how much just sort of blended into your internal chess knowledge?


  • #2

    I think, as with pretty much anything else, the amount you get out of ChessMentor, and hence how much it helps you in the future, depends greatly on how much effort you put into the lessons. Personally, I don't have much patience for most of the ones I've tried so far which is partly a lack of discipline on my part.

    Part of it, however, is I fundamentally disagree with the philosophy behind some of the lessons. I did some of the opening theory lessons, for example (before I realized just how overrated opening theory is for most amateurs) and frankly, I completely disagreed with the suggested lines in many of the lessons. I understand it's hard enough programming meaningful comments after every reasonable move in each lesson, never mind having to deal with branching variations that are equally as good as each solution move, but to me, that's the biggest drawback to ChessMentor. It's one dimensional learning. Either you learn it's way of treating a position or else. Real chess is, of course, far less rigid.

    As an example, I remember doing a lesson on the Two Knights Defense from white's perspective. While I don't remember the exact line it suggested (as I don't generally play 1.e4,e5 2.Nf3,Nc6 3.Bc4,Nf6 games as white), the lesson basically was attempting to steer the white player toward a known line that potentially gives black very strong attacking chances. Granted, the lesson was aimed at newer players and it's true that most newer players wouldn't know how to use that attacking initiative as black to their full advantage, but why mislead newer players into embracing known dangerous lines like that? All that does is cause problems for them in the future when they start playing against stronger, more knowing opposition.

    Bottom line is while I think it's some neat software, it's no substitute to feedback from a strong, knowledgeable player.


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