Re: Feedback on Chess Mentor for Diamond Membership



I'm thinking of using the upgrading my account so as to be able to utilize the Chess Mentor programs. If any one can give me any feedback on their experience of Chess mentor, i'd appreciate it.


Kano995 (Kane)


I've been on this site for about a year and have done over 2400 lessons so I guess I'm qualified.  Been playing chess very casually for 50 years, but doubt if I've played 500 games in that time.  In other words, I was pretty much clueless.  Retired now and have extra time, so I decided to try actually "learning" chess.  ChessMentor was the main reason I became a diamond member and I certainly haven't regreted it.  The original module is about 80% of the courses and is a somewhat mixed bag in that not all the authors really do give you feedback as to why a response is wrong.  The newer couses are of a higher quality in that regard-the authors seem to anticipate every possible wrong answer and give a patient detailed explanation of where you went astray.  You do have to be a little careful about spending too much time on advanced topics that will go in one ear and out the other.  Not sure slogging through the"roots of positionsl understanding" was all that valuable since my board vision is still lagging.  Has it helped me?  Here is an example.  My tactics trainer rating was so low (under a 1000) that I gave up on it for 3 or 4 months and just did Chess Mentor courses instead.  When I came back to TT, I shot right up to the 1400's.   No magic elixir though.  Ive done the course on forks a dozen times.  Does seem more efficient though than digging the same material out of books and setting up positions on a chess board.  Donj't forget that a diamond membership also gets you video lessons and while a slightly mixed bag, are a wonderful educational and entertaining tool-especially r3ecommend IM Danny Rensch's live chess matches.  Hope the above helps, and yes I do plan on renewing my diamond membership.  Good luck.


I very much agree with baddogno's assessment.

Chess Mentor is a chess lesson authoring technology. As with books -- some authors are much better than others. I think in the early days of Chess Mentor, folks weren't even sure exactly what a good chess mentor lesson looked like. They've got it figured out better now, and the newer CM lessons are very good.'s IMDavid Pruess really seems to get it when it comes to Chess mentor. Chess mentor teaches more efficiently than books, and that efficiency encourages you to stay with the lesson and keep going. I only wish the chess mentor  lesson  was uniformly excellent and MUCH bigger.  



Thank you for reminding me of the benefits that diamond membership brings. I don't think my standard of chess has improved since I last played you.  So I'm going to make a lot more use of chess mentor in future months.



pstockden wrote:


Thank you for reminding me of the benefits that diamond membership brings. I don't think my standard of chess has improved since I last played you.  So I'm going to make a lot more use of chess mentor in future months.



 Hi Peter,

The positive feedback has been good enough for me to upgrade my account so as to make use of it also - as soon as my exams are over, that is.

Hopefully we can meet on the board again sometime soon :)




My main complaint against Chess Mentor is that there isn't a way to say "I give up" and have it tell you the answer. I gave good answers (CM said so) but not the one it wanted. I finally just started moving everything to everywhere to try to satisfy it, accidentally finding the "right" answer. Unfortunately, the feedback didn't tell me why it was right, and I personally think it was a dumb move. I'm not that good, so I would assume CM was right; wish it would tell me why. In general, I like it, but this is very disappointing.


There is a 'show answer' button in the box underneath the board, but it does just make the move for you. It's a shame you came across a particular move that you didn't understand, you could always post the position in the forums to ask for help.


Thanks. I did not see that "show answer" button. I'd much rather figure it out, of course, and thus learn in the process, but sometimes I just can't find the answer, and that is quite frustrating. Thanks, again.


I agree that it's a really mixed bag.  Sometimes you get stuff like "That move was good enough to win, but blah blah blah and here's why blah blah blah."  Other times you get "There is only one correct move here.  Please make the correct move."  Yeah, that's helpful.

I really hate it when you get "Alternate Correct Move!  That move is awesome and is basically the same as the move I used when I programmed the problem, but you didn't follow exactly in my footsteps, so I'm going to penalize you for not following the script exactly.  Try the other move that has the same result as the move you just played, and I'll let you progress."

Usually I don't find the "correct" move, and ultimately go on to stumble around half blind until I give up and ask to see the "correct" solution.  Usually the difference is a matter of opinion or style, and the end result is the same.

I especially hate it when you get desperate enough to click on the hints, and the 40-page historical blather about the problem ends with something like "Black is trying to move the knight to c4" and the first two layers of hints cost you points to reveal the awesome secret messages "Black is trying to move the knight to c4" and "Try to get your knight to c4 you stupid dolt.  I hate programming problems.  I hate my life.  Please kill me.  Oh, I are a sup3r 4w3s0m3 che55 h4x0r and you should worship me!"

Oh well.  Chess Mentor is still really useful on balance.


I'm doing CM, but I'm really not sure I'm learning anything. Even when the lesson is said and done, I don't feel that I know why those moves we're the moves to make. I am assuming that with time, I will either assume better vision through osmosis or a magic epiphany will happen. The exercises are vague, the clues are equally vague and the initial description only gives an approximation of the direction to take. Time. Time will tell.


Chess mentor is good, I imagine it's very helpful if you spot a particular weakness in your game, and supplemented with additional reading and videos.

If you aren't really making an effort to solve the positions and just playing moves that look good you probably wont learn much, but if you have an understanding of the principles and really try I think you can make good progress.

The videos are the main thing for me. I'm at 1500, probably playing at 1600 after a month (I did have a very basic knowledge beforehand) through gaining a basic understanding of endgame principles and having an OK knowledge of tactics.

For example I watched and a week or so later was able to use it

It really helps being able to see something played out as they talk through it.

Chess mentor allows you to focus on an area to improve, and I think has some well structured lessons. As others have said, some are better than others though.


Chess Mentor is very useful and you'll be able to choose what you want to learn and work on.


I like lessons amd wish there were more educational activities like it—but needs to update in the computer age. Eg In Anand-Ivanchuk 1996 under Roots of Positional understanding, is ranked a full point higher than the answer given, Bc2. I chose Bf5 to which the retort was “Black would like that move.”