Topic Suggestions


A course that deals in opening principles (rather than specific openings) would be helpful to us lower rated players.

Also a course in how to use pawns would be great.

A course that deals with opponents threats, both real and imagined, and how to defend against them.

Minor piece endings

Chess Mentor is the reason I joined


got it. thanks for the help.


An exhasutive lesson on the life and career of IM David Pruess, complete with pictures and diagrams!

David I'd love to see a course on playing the French defence properly. Also, for players around my level (circa 1500) I'd like to see how to take advantage of my opponent's mistakes in various openings. I regularly study lines from Grandmaster games, but of course players at my level are much less accurate, and I feel like i often don't punish them for it.

haha, rainbow.

campione, you are not the first to want something about taking advantage of the mistakes of players at your level. i'm keeping that topic in mind.


I am a Guess the Move Junkie and would love to see more Master games as Mentor lessons


I support the aforementioned exploiting mistakes, and a course on inventive and imaginitive combinations by masters would also be nice.


if you don't mind helping a litle more: how does the course on tal's combinations compare to your image of a course on inventive and imaginative combinations?


that's a one million-lesson course to get to move 10, i would guess. (think of all the books written on variations of the sicilian defense). i think there are two diff directions i think this could go:

either a) a course that goes to move 5 talking about the ideas behind all possible moves up to that.

or b) a course on a particular variation, starting at move 5 or 6, that tries to cover all moves from move 6 to move 10. (of course we could do a few of these to cover a few sicilians, but it would take a long long time to cover them all).

which sounds better?

Robert1838 wrote:

A course that deals in opening principles (rather than specific openings) would be helpful to us lower rated players.


FWIW, I second this one.


I think some more rook and pawn endgame lessons starting slightly further back would be useful.  Say positions where you cant just transpose into a lucena position for example, but where there are lots of pawns still on the board with both sides having active rooks capturing each other's pawns, that sort of thing. 

A short course for white on the gambit line in the Alapin variation of the sicilian would also be cool, where black trades queens on d1. 

I've not been able to find these.  If they exist already then I thing grouping them would be nice. - Courses on the endgame checkmates.  The K+Q vs K and K+R vs K probably already exist.  Maybe even KBB vs K, but I'd be more interested in KBN vs K (active and passive defense) and also a couple of different K+Q vs K+R lessons.  An easy one where the rook is separated already and a more general one where it's as awkward as possible for the winning side.  I think currently if I had either of these in a game I wouldn't be able to win.


There really aren't all that many overlaps. I mean in the open Sicilians alone, you've got the Najdorf, the Dragon, the Classical, accelerated dragons, Schevennigens, 2...e6 lines, all of which have many subvariations which usually don't overlap, and these lines, with the exception of some Schevnigans (my apologies to the Dutch of the town, but I can never seem to remember its spelling) with the Najdorfs, these different variations don't converge. Then you've got the closed sicilians, the early c3 variations (Alapins), Bb5 variations, the Wing Gambit, the Grand Prix attack, and various other sidelines, and these don't converge either. Furthermore, in these positions, move order is very important. So your approach doens't really work; you can cover the plans white and black hae in the opens against the closeds, c3s, Bb5s, Grand Prix, or you can analyse say one of the open variations, though even that is tricky. For example, in the Najdorf, you have a bunch of options on the 6th move for white: f4, f3, Be3, Bg5, Bc4, h3, Be2, and sidelines. For the most part, these don't converge - each different move has a bit of a different plan for white - so it's pretty hard to cover even just The Najdorf in one video. Actually, with all the deep theory, it would be hard to even cover just one of th variations given; I mean you could spend literal days going over the Poisoned Pawn.

dpruess wrote:


Anyone out there have any suggestions for topics for future Chess Mentor courses?

Pawn's pawns pawns pawns pawns... a course on pawn play!

I'd love to do the material in Soltis' Pawn Structure Chess in chess mentor form (typical plans accompanying typical opening pawn formations) and I'd love to know how strong players visualize pawn endings,  pawn chain vs pawn chain encounters... pawn tension in the opening.... how to create holes, how to restrain pawns, all the issues with IQPs,... basically, 1000 lessons or so spread out over 10 courses ought to do the trick... but seriously... anything that helps me with my pawn play, I'm there. (I'm trying with the Soltis book right now, but the descriptive notation is a slog...and the algebraic edition is hard to find/veryexpensive).

Currently there are many pawn lessons that are all endgame lessons. I suppose I could learn a bunch going thru those. There's more to the pawns than the endings though.


I think that it is quite hard to make up Chess Mentor courses on openings. If you start at early moves, there are too many possible options and the user will be pissed off choosing a sound, playable line only to be told that it is wrong. If you start later on it's not quite a course on openings, but on strategy. In my opinion, by far the worse courses in CM are the opening courses of E. Schiller, closely followed by those by N. Davies. 

I also don't like courses on tactics. There is TT and there is another tactics trainer available on the web, in addition to tens of good tactics books. I know, tactics lessons are the easiest for you to design :)

So, what I would like? I think there are far too few endgames in CM. For instance, there are a couple of lessons on Philidor position in rook endings. But I would like to see a longer sequence, say you are in an inferior endgame and transpose to the Philidor drawing position. I would also like to see longer lessons on strategy, in which the user is required to develop and execute a complex plan (like 5-6 moves).


lots of good suggestions. thanks!


How about more on "color complex analysis"?  I often look at a game and think
I control the white squares for example, yet it turns out I did not control them
at all.


How about "what to do in a worse position"?

  • Early middlegame play (in the spirit of now what ?)
  • Practical endgame play (beyond standard positions, though they are of course very important too)
  • Famous positions from famous players games - key beautiful moves
  • Dealing with counterplay when attacking (I don't think you have this theme covered, though it's an important feature of practical play) : ie. shall I attack now or play a prophylactic move first ? Assess your opponent counterplay...

I'm not too fond of opening study in chess mentor (at least not in a tree of variations format) : I think Chess Mentor is not the right tool for it, but it could be interesting to have series on typical thrusts / manoeuvres in a given opening/variation.

zankfrappa wrote:

How about more on "color complex analysis"?  I often look at a game and think
I control the white squares for example, yet it turns out I did not control them
at all.

I second this one. 


How to evaluate a position - almost nowhere actually teaches this to the novice.