Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess

By Garry Kasparov

Rating:

Media type: video

Why

Garry Kasparov needs no introduction so why would I watch his masterclass is as simple as “It’s Kasparov teaching chess for a few hours”.

What

Before I move to the actual content, I want to spend some words on Kasparov’s presentation style. There are a few notable things about the way he presents this masterclass:

  • The order in which the information is presented is peculiar. Most people would either start with endgame or openings, but Kasparov chose tactics. I find it interesting because I think it works great with the intended audience (the masterclass is targeted to inexperienced players).
  • The duality between the physical board he uses while speaking and the digital diagrams is very well executed. Every position is clear and easy to grasp.
  • Sometimes Kasparov uses some of his games to explain a concept. It’s not too little, not too much. It keeps you engaged with the content. It makes ideas more concrete and some concepts will be easier to retain that way.
  • Kasparov explains everything with great enthusiasm for the game, his enthusiasm is strong enough to give a note of happiness to the whole masterclass.

After a general introduction, the masterclass goes over many important chess tactics. Kasparov presents the following tactics:

  • double attacks (two videos)
  • skewers
  • discovered attacks
  • pins
  • deflection & attraction
  • interference
  • overload
  • winning trades

Each tactic is explained with beautiful examples that Kasparov sets up on the fly (it does makes you think about him coming up with them on the spot!). Sometimes you are asked to stop the video and try to solve a puzzle. They’re always instructive and you feel you’re applying what you just learned. That’s a great way to retain information, so I appreciated that aspect a lot.

After tactics, Kasparov spends three videos on endgames. I appreciated this part as much as the previous one, but I wished the positions would be named in the diagrams. That way, it would be easier to associate, say, the concept of triangulation with an actual example. It’s just a detail though, if you’re new to the game these three videos are going to be of great help.

The last part of the masterclass is the reason why I gave the masterclass 4 stars out of 5. The content is still great, but the three videos about openings didn’t feel particularly useful, I also got tired of the content for the first time in the whole series. I would have loved hearing Kasparov go over opening principles and maybe also suggest how to approach openings when you know nothing like new players do. This is also the only section of the masterclass where it’s not clear who’s the intended audience. Kasparov spends some time explaining how he spent most of his career playing e4 as white and how he had d4 detours. Sure it’s interesting listening to him talking about it, but I feel like I would appreciate it more if I already knew much more about openings. So what I’m trying to say is that the content is still very good, but it feels out of place with the rest of the masterclass.

Toward the end of the masterclass, there are a few videos about chess-related topics. I particularly appreciated “mental toughness” and “computers and chess”, but there other interesting topics like Kasparov’s own career and how to analyze chess positions. It’s always a pleasure to listen such a master talking about interesting topics and I definitely appreciated the whole section.

How

I suggest you watch the whole masterclass over a few days. Maybe taking notes of the concepts you find most difficult and then watch those videos again. Probably going back to it after a few months maybe also be helpful. It’s a lot of content so it’s kind of easy to miss important details.