Your questions answered

You may use the Contact me page to send me your questions. I’ll answer them here.

Hi, Majnu,
I have a some questions with regard to on-line chess lessons, do you think that it is as effective a resource as face to face tuition? If so, how is one meant to improve? repertoire suggestions? having games analysed by coach? Lastly how effective do you think such tuition could be ?

Many thanks for taking the time.

Kind regards,

PS: thanks so much for videos I have watched them many times always with pleasure.

Hi Robert,

It’s not easy to answer that question since the improvement by taking online lessons depends on different things. First of all it depends on the quality of the teacher/coach and besides that it depends on the willingness of the student to work hard on his chess study.

In my opinion a good chess teacher will go through your games explaining you what the points of improvement can be and indicating you what you could do by yourself to improve. This could be recommending you certain books and exercises that can help you fill those empty spaces in your play. Besides that a good teacher will encourage you by pointing out your strong points as well.

Unfortunately many chess teachers give online lessons because they want to earn a living. Because of this they tend to make you dependent on them by offering you discounts if you pay for a big amount of lessons at once. Remember also that a strong player is not always a good teacher. A good teacher should know how to explain things so clearly to you that you can make the next steps in your improvement.

Best wishes,


Hi Majnu,
I was really impressed with your ten minute blitz game and analysis because it was
very apparent that you were thinking in plans rather than single
moves, how can one develop this mentality?
– kind regards Robert

Hi Robert,
The step from thinking in single moves to thinking in plans is very
To develop this skills there are two things needed:
1. See how stronger players do this.
2. Having your own games reviewd by a stronger player.

For the first one you could use the following books:
– How to reassess your chess, by Jeremy Silman
– How to reassess your chess, workbook.
– Judgement and planning in chess, by Max Euwe.
– Winning chess strategies, by Jeremy Silman.

For the second one you could make use of my game analysis service. You can
see the video on my website for more information about this.

Best wishes,


Hi Majnu,
My question is to do with lines in the opening. I find these terms used in chess literature all the time with no explanation.
Main line, side line, critical line and theoretical line, who decides which is which, and how can you tell the difference between them?

Hi Dasher,
The main line is the line that is mostly played in an opening.
A side line is a line that often starts with the same moves as the main line but then follows a different path. Like a tree has a main branch and smaller branches growing from the main branch.
A critical line is a line that is still being examined without yet a clear conclusion.
A theoretical line is a line that can be seen as opening theory after being played many times in grandmaster practice.

Best wishes,


Hi Majnu,
I have really enjoyed your videos on youtube. Thank you for making and posting them.
I have a question about chess openings. I’m a novice, and I feel I need to learn something about openings. At the same time, because I’m very busy and don’t have ambitions of becoming a very good player, I don’t plan to learn all the theory about the different variations in different types of opening. This leads to the following question:
Is there a line of attack and a line of defence in which the player can make the same moves regardless of the moves played by the opponent? It’s OK if it’s suboptimal as long as it leads to reasonably decent results.
Best wishes,

Hello B.
I remember having exactly the same question when I was a novice. I felt insecure about my openings and was convinced that my opponents knew much more than I did. The most important thing is to understand what the main ideas are behind a certain opening set up, what the possible plans are etc… If you are interested in learning some opening lines without getting lost in detailed variations or having to expend to much time, you could have a look in the book Winning Chess Openings by Yasser Seirawan. In chapter 7 of this book Seirawan explains different formations that can be used with white and with black. He is in my opinion an excellent teacher who explains different opening principles very clearly.

Good luck!


2 thoughts on “Your questions answered

  1. Dear Mr. Majnu, thanks for all the videos that you post on your page. They are very informative and meaningful. I am a tyro and I would like to know the most effective method to learn chess.Where should I begin and how should I go about it? How did the GMs learn before they became GMs? How many hours of study did they put in everyday? Thanks.

  2. I am an intermediate player.I want to be a good chess player.I practice chess 8-10 hours daily.How could I practice to improve my skill.Please suggest me a daily chess practice routine.

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