Chess is an ancient game that continues to fascinate and challenge millions of people across the world. Learning how to be a better chess player is a lifetime obsession for many of them. One of the truly great chess players is Russian superstar Gary Kasparov, with many rating him as the greatest player the game has ever seen. Now, he is teaching a Masterclass course in chess, and you can sign up on it for just £85.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at the Gary Kasparov Masterclass course, and show you that it is a legitimate and worthwhile online programme. Whether or not it can turn you into a grandmaster of the chequered board is another question entirely, of course
Who Is Gary Kasparov?
Gary Kasparov was born in the USSR as Garik Kimovich Weinstein in 1963, in Baku, in the republic of Azerbaijan. His father was Azerbaijani Jewish and his mother was Armenian. Kasparov identifies as a Russian, though. His father died of leukaemia when Kasparov was just seven years old. His name, Kasparov, is his mother’s maiden name, and he took it at the age of 12 to avoid anti-Semitic prejudice in the USSR.
After solving a chess problem that had been left on a board by his parents when he was young, Kasparov’s future was sealed. At the age of 10, he began training at Mikhail Botvinnik’s chess school, under the tutelage of Vladimir Makogonov. In 1976, at the age of just 13, he won the USSR championship, and then repeated the feat the following year.
Kasparov himself pinpoints one particular success as the time that he decided on chess as a career. It came in 1978, when he won the Sokolsky Memorial tournament in Minsk. As a youngster, he had been invited to the tournament as an exception, but his victory meant that he became a chess master. He later wrote: “I will remember the Sokolsky Memorial as long as I live.”
Also in 1978, he qualified for the Soviet Chess Championship, at just 15 years of age, becoming the youngest player to qualify at that level. He won a grandmaster tournament in Yugoslavia the next year, and in 1980, he won the World Junior Chess Championship in Dortmund, West Germany. He officially became a Grandmaster when he debuted as second reserve for the Soviet Union at the Chess Olympiad at Valletta, Malta.
In 1984, he became the youngster ever world number one in chess, and would face Anatoly Karpov in the World Chess Championship later that year too. That match became famous as the first World Championship match to be abandoned without a result. In November, 1985 he would be KArpov to claim his first world title. Karpov would be his opponent time and again in the 1980s in world championship matches. After winning dozens of titles, Kasparov retired from competitive chess in 2005, after being victorious in the Linares tournament for the ninth time.
Kasparov’s achievements have not been all about winning chess matches, though. In 1997, he was the first world chess champion to lose a match to a computer when playing under standard time control rules. The IBM supercomputer Deep Blue was the victor in that encounter.
In addition to his chess career, Kasparov has also been a political activist, and he continues to comment publicly on political matters in Russia. He is a vocal opponent of Vladimir Putin, and is the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation.
Now that you know just who Gary Kasparov is and what he has achieved, it is time to see what is on offer in his Masterclass course.
How Long Is The Gary Kasparov Masterclass Course?
So how long does Gary Kasparov think it will take to improve your chess? There are 29 lessons in total on this course, each about 12 minutes long. While that does not look like a particularly arduous time commitment, you do need to remember that in chess, as with anything else, you will need to reflect on the concepts that Kasparov has taught you. You will also need to practice them. When it comes to chess, learning does not end when the Masterclass video finishes.
A downloadable workbook is included in the course’s resources, and, of course, you can view all the course content on your mobile device. You can learn at your own pace in your own time, and in your own choice of venue. The good thing about the course is that it is aimed at all ability levels, so even chess beginners will find something of value in it.
Gary Kasparpov Masterclass: Course Content
Kasparov’s 29 lessons cover plenty of topic areas. He begins by introducing himself and his style of play, before outlining some of his philosophy of chess. The third lesson is where the real tactical instruction begins, with Kasparov spending the next eight lessons covering topics like double attacks, skewers, pins and overloading. All of which is intended to make you better at spotting opponents’ weaknesses and exploiting them.
As the course progresses, Kasparov also covers how you can make trading pieces work for you, weakening your opponent ready for the endgame. As well as endgames, openings are covered in a couple of lessons. Kasparov also spends several lessons in the second half of the course on case studies, examining the details of several chess matches to provide learners with key insights. This is done by Kasparov himself playing three matches against three separate opponents, and it’s fascinating to watch his subsequent analysis.
The last few lessons deal with more esoteric subjects. Kasparov muses on his defeat to Deep Blue, and how computers can help with training for chess players. His discussion on mental toughness is very interesting, particularly when it comes to coping with the pain of defeat.
The course’s final lesson is a special bonus where Kasparov reveals a variation that he devised following one of his defeats to Karpov. Kasparov never used this variation in competitive matches. This gives you a real chance to try it out on one of your future opponents. Touches like this are what make Masterclass such a high-quality choice when it comes to course providers.
Summary & Conclusion
As you can see, the Gary Kasparov Masterclass course is a good one. The opportunity for chess players to learn from a Grandmaster like him does not come round very often. To be able to access his expertise and experience on your mobile device or computer should have every chess player’s mouth watering in anticipation. We have to say that the course content is of very high quality too, and Kasparov is an engaging and charismatic tutor.
The course can be accessed on its own for a flat fee of £85, or you can access it as part of the Masterclass £14.17 subscription deal. We think that is exceptionally good value in this case of the Kasparov course. There are thousands of chess experts out there delivering their own brand of wisdom on the internet, but few have Kasparov’s credentials. Anyone with any aspirations to be a better chess player, whatever age they are, would find a great deal to appreciate in this course. We recommend that you have a look as soon as possible.