Reviews: The 10-Day Chess Challenge

On this page you can read how other chess players experienced the 10-Day Chess Challenge.

Note: Feel free to read the reviews below. Unfortunately the comment section is now closed since the page became way too long. Thank you for the wonderful responses!

Feel free to contact me via email (louis@chessfox.com) if you want to send me your feedback.

Feedback/Reviews: The 10-Day Chess Challenge

Gilbert says

The 10 day challenge harmonized my thinking. I know a lot of chess tips but it was confusing to know when to apply what. This course cleared up how to think. Now I won’t feel so lost when it comes to knowing what steps to take to make a move. This is a great help and appreciated. You should have a donation button for those that aren’t ready to buy or not planning on buying but want to encourage you to continue being a blessing to the chess community.

Louis says

You’re welcome. I’m glad to hear you found it useful. Thank you also for the suggestion.

Pierre says

Thanks Chess Fox,
Cool challenge I think I improved a lot in tactics now I can easily
take a tactic a book and solve the problems more easily
and especially my problem was to make a decision.

And of course visualisation is I think one of the most important
skill to have.
Hope you do a second part of the challenge.

Edimilson Ferreira says

Excellent stuff. I had never learned so much so fast. The information given here is really valuable.

Eddie

Louis says

Thank you Eddie. I appreciate your feedback.

Tunero says

This 10-day challenge reminds me of the old proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I had tears in my eyes after I completed the challenge, for I was so very grateful. I hope this generosity brings you fortune, Louis. You deserve it!!

Ian says

Excellent course. You understand our level well. The repetitive element of it ensures that one remembers it!

Louis says

Thank you!

CheckAttack says

Amazing i’m wining like mad.i even came back in one of my 3 day games with a queen down. can’t believe what i been missing . I’m so glad i found this site Thank You so very much.
Evaluation process and Calculation process is simply amazing .and seems one out of the five steps aways works. Calculation process finds them tactics. and when there is none i improve my position with the Evaluation process ;]

Louis says

That’s great to hear. Of course there will always be ups and downs but these two thinking methods will help you keep moving in the right direction – excuse the pun

marc adams says

Incredibly helpful to me. Can you make more of these evaluation exercises?

Louis says

Thank you. I am working on exercise sets where I mix tactical/calculation exercises with evaluation/planning exercises.

Ian says

Downright fun way to improve chess. Really gets your brain going. The free material is extensive. Thank you very much.

Louis says

You are welcome, I’m glad you enjoy it.

Bill Upton says

Very well presented course

Louis says

Thank you

Gregory Charles says

A very enjoyable and informative course, my rating is currently 1250, and I struggled a bit with some of the Visualwize exercises.
However I feel it was worth my time and effort and I intend to do the course again to further embed the thinking technique into my thought processes.
For most people in the intended rating range, just paying attention to the first part of the thinking process (What is my opponent’s threat?) will significantly improve their game.

Louis says

Thank you. And yes, going over the course again is a good idea.
Asking yourself this one question on ever move – “What is my opponent’s threat?” is very useful.

Surin says

Thanks a lot for your great contribution for the improvement of our game. This is wonderful and I had an improvement instantly after following this.
Meanwhile appreciate if you can tell us when to use calculation thinking and when to use evaluation thinking.

Louis says

Thank you, you are welcome. The two thinking methods are both important but you will mainly focus on calculation for forced variations and evaluation for non-forcing moves.

jose Alexis Arias Mejias says

Really nice!! thanks for your work,

Louis says

You are welcome, thank you!

Anonymous says

Really enjoying the 10-day course, Louis.
Also pleased to have bought the Tactics: Motifs videos and they, too, are clear and informative.
Many thanks.
Chris

Louis says

Hi Chris, I’m glad you enjoy it! And thank you for your support.

Andy Couchman says

Totally brilliant. For the first time in my return to chess, I can start to see real progress. Your ten day programme in superb, You need to put your methodology into a book Louis.

Louis says

Thank you! I’m glad to hear about your progress.

Dan Pohl says

Say goodbye to reactionary chess and hello to attacking chess! I just completed the 10-Day Chess Challenge and I am already seeing improvements in my rating. More importantly, I am enjoying chess more than ever before. Louis Holtzhausen presents two easy to learn thinking methods that will put any beginner in control of their own games.

GJM Robin Crowley says

It is an amazing experience, the 10 days challenge completely changed my view of chess strategy to the point that my rating went 200 points up in less than a week!, that had never ever happened before with any other training methods. Louis is great at knowing howvto help you understand both, the calculation thinking and the position evaluation methods. I highly recommend it!

GJM Robin Crowley says

Update:
I can live without the visualwise kind of exercises, they are ok if you want to become some kind of blindfolded ♔♕ showman, but that’s not my thing. Simply by learning and putting into practice the thinking (calculation/evaluation) methods alone is enough to be able to find great attacking combinations in your games.
I have tried lots of other chess programs: Dan Heisman’s, books, Igor Smirnov’s, Ginger Williams, ichess.com tutorials, Mato’s King Hunt, etc… but none of them have really made a noticeable improvement in my game level as Louis Holtzhausen’s thinking methods have. That’s for sure.

Brett says

This was a wonderful exercise! It heavily improved my thinking and evaluation processes and I have gone up many rating points! Very, very good program. I heavily agree with your idea at the end, that one needs to establish a good thinking process before learning tons of theory. YES.

Surface says

Awesome! Thanks so much for doing this. Very instructive and a great way to methodically train your mind to think about tactics and positions.

Kjell Kalén says

Thank you for puttningen this together, very very nice.
I will now implement it in my chessgames in the club.
I have already told som friends about your site.
/from Sweden

chris says

Very good instruction- helpful.

RAVI KUMAR says

Awsome. wonderful way to tell students what they should think.

Carlos says

This is my third time going through the challenge. I must say the more I apply the thinking method the more automatic and faster I get. This has even been translated to faster thinking in my blitz games. My advice to the beginner is to apply it when solving all puzzles. Even if the answer is obvious. It has become second nature.

Rahim says

I am 5 days into the chess challenge and am enjoying it a lot already! Louis has done a great job of breaking down chess thinking into a systematic, easy to follow approach! I’ve noticed my performance in correspondence games improving already!

Louis, a few quick questions for you: going through both the evaluation and calculation process tends to take quite a bit of time for me (~5-10min if I am being thorough). For example, for the sake of practice, I am applying this thinking process every time I move in any of my correspondence games. For correspondence, this approach is, obviously, not a problem. However, I would like to be able to translate this into games with time control (even for 30min games, 5-10min is far too long to spend on a move!). As such, I have a few questions:

1. How much time should I be spending evaluating a position?
2. Will I simply get faster with time or are there specific suggest/strategies you have to get faster?
3. Should I expect my improvement to translate over into bullet chess, or are there other exercises I will have to do to see improvement under these faster time controls?

Stan Wojnowski says

This was a refreshing perspective on how to improve/develop our chess thinking. The problem that it has, just like books or videos, is that there is no way around innate mental laziness where one has the attitude, “why should I do the thinking when someone else does the thinking for me?” That is my largest obstacle in “learning” chess. I can not seem to summon the motivation to “use” my own mind when I am staring at the chess board. Any suggestions?

Louis says

Good point and very true. I assume you refer to times when you are training, or do you refer to the mental laziness when you are playing too? I think it is important to be aware of this issue and then try to do exercises that require active thinking. That is actually what I try to achieve when I ask to pause the video and think about it.Hunter says

Hi! Love the videos so fast! Just a quick comment. On the 2nd example in the day 2 video, you say O-O is a mistake because of Nd6, but I believe that loses to Rxd6 Rxd6 Qxa1. Am I missing something? Again, thanks for the awesome videos!

Reply
Louis says

January 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm

(Edit)

Thank you! And yes you are right, well spotted..

Reply

Greg says

January 12, 2016 at 2:24 pm

(Edit)

This was an excellent tool for practicing methodical thinking; the feedback (in the videos) allowed one to correct thinking flaws immediately so in many ways, the 10 day course was very close to having a personal coach. I have already caught a few blunders that I’m not sure I would have caught otherwise.

Thank you!

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Louis says

January 28, 2016 at 3:30 pm

(Edit)

Thank you!

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Ellril says

November 28, 2015 at 2:53 pm

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This was a fantastic exercise. I did them in 2 days. I also agree with your point at the end of the last evaluation exercise to not focus too much on theory. These 2 methods to evaluate strength of moves i found incredibly beneficial. The theory of targets and why something is a target most improved my game personally. The visualwize exercises were also fun and added another layer of difficulty. My question to you is other than practicing these 2 methods what are other high-yield exercises?
Really great job compiling this senpai. 10/10 -thoroughly enjoyable and informative.
May i suggest another series like this but more so focused on end game positions?

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Louis says

January 12, 2016 at 2:04 pm

(Edit)

I’m glad you enjoyed it and thank you for the good suggestion. I’ll definitely keep it in mind for future additions to the site.

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Terry says

November 25, 2015 at 10:48 am

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Louis I am spending too much time on the calculation and evaluation during a match. Can I solve this? And how? Many thanks and good luck!!

P.S Is the course designed for any time limit
P.P.S Thank you for making this course free!!!

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Louis says

November 25, 2015 at 11:37 am

(Edit)

Hi Terry,

Good question. These exercises are intended as a “workout” to help you understand the 2 most important thinking processes. You can’t do all of this on every move – it’s not practical. First ask yourself – what is the needs of the position? In some positions you will focus on the calculation (if there are lots of possible threats and captures), but in most cases you will be looking for a way to simply improve your position.

I recommend to do the course in a shorter amount of time, but spreading it over more days is fine too. As others have mentioned – repeating the course is a great idea.

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GJM Robin Crowley says

January 14, 2017 at 7:55 pm

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I agree, I will watch the videos all over again, it helps to anchor  the principles

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Robbie says

November 24, 2015 at 5:47 am

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Amazing video Louis! I have improved a lot and I will use your strategies in a tournament later this week! By the way are you South African?

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Louis says

November 24, 2015 at 7:36 pm

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Thanks, hope it goes well! And yes, I am from Cape Town

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Yuval says

November 18, 2015 at 6:59 pm

(Edit)

Amazing content! I personally can’t restrict myself to 1 challenge per day. I do 1 challenge, plus the questions, then I play a few chess games using what I learned, and go on to the next challenge

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Anonymous says

November 5, 2015 at 11:58 am

(Edit)

Does it work for people a bit over 1400

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Louis says

November 5, 2015 at 12:09 pm

(Edit)

I’m sure it will be helpful. I’ve received positive feedback from players rated well over 2000. The ideas in the 10-Day Chess Challenge are pretty advanced, but they are presented in a way that is easier to digest. Try it and let me know how it goes.

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AnveshJ says

October 30, 2015 at 6:52 am

(Edit)

Thanks for the chess challenge! It significantly improved my game. Cheers!!

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Louis says

November 13, 2015 at 1:29 pm

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You are welcome! I’m glad it helped you.

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Mike says

September 26, 2015 at 7:45 pm

(Edit)

Thanks for your very concise and to-the-point concepts of Calculation and Evaluation. I also appreciate your easy to understand voice. So many of the chess people are difficult for me to understand.

Cheers,
Mike

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Louis says

November 26, 2015 at 3:56 pm

(Edit)

Thanks!

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bluze7 says

September 22, 2015 at 6:36 pm

(Edit)

Thank you for the 10 Day Chess Challenge. It was very useful in both clarifying and solidifying the concepts of evaluation and calculation.

The course was recommended to me by “Robbie” of MSK Chess who highly praised the teaching methods of Louis Holtzhausen. I can clearly understand why now that I’ve completed this video course.

Thanks again. I am looking forward to learning more from the chessfox site and Mr. Holtzhausen.

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Louis says

November 26, 2015 at 3:57 pm

(Edit)

You’re welcome. Thank you!

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Kris says

September 15, 2015 at 7:43 pm

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I am at the halfway point of the Ten Day Chess Challenge, and I am really looking forward to the next 5 days! I live in a place where there is not much chess, and no classes or teachers, so this is a wonderful experience for me. I am also very short on reserves at the moment, so I am very thankful that you are making this professional grade course available for free. Thank you!

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Louis says

November 26, 2015 at 3:58 pm

(Edit)

Glad you like it.

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Beck says

August 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm

(Edit)

Great tutorial. I’ve just finished Day 2 and feel like it’s going to improve my game significantly. Thank you so much!

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Brian says

August 13, 2015 at 2:57 am

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Thanks a bunch for the instructions. I especially took note of how you repeated the reminder of “5 step evaluation” prior to every scenario. Eventually that sank in and I went from just taking guesses at calculation to actually applying those steps. My calculations got better thanks to the hearing it over and over and over.

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Brett says

August 6, 2015 at 7:31 am

(Edit)

I found the course very enjoyable and helpful.

Well done, Louis! We could use more free lessons like this to help out the chess community!

Thanks,
Brett

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Peter says

July 31, 2015 at 12:51 am

(Edit)

Louis is certainly a gifted chess teacher.

I appreciate the effort he has put into the course,and feel that many players can benefit considerably if they apply his chess methodology.

Many thanks Louis,

take care,

Peter

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patrick says

July 19, 2015 at 8:51 am

(Edit)

This is the third time I am doing these exercises, and I am still learning from it!
The point is that in these 10 days there are so many valuable and essential information to become a better player that repetition is needed to automate our “chess thinking system” effectively.
Thanks again dear Chess Coach.

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GJM Robin Crowley says

January 14, 2017 at 7:57 pm

(Edit)

Hey! , he is mine! (My coach)

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Cory says

July 13, 2015 at 5:33 am

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Nice tutorial! It’s very helpful to have a consistent method to evaluate the position and to prioritize calculations. It’s a great way to develop your thinking process.

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Phil says

July 9, 2015 at 12:56 am

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Just finished the course and it has made me much more comfortable with calculation and evaluation. I’d been informally and inconsistently applying similar techniques, but this course frames that process in a logically structured way.

I’m sure eventually players don’t use such a rigid approach, but as a relative beginner I found it very helpful. My eyes no longer dart around the board erratically, sometimes calculating checks but ignoring threats, other times calculating captures but missing obvious checks — now if I don’t immediately see a strong move I have a more methodical approach to fall back on.

Thanks a lot for creating the course and offering it for free!

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Jean L. Chavannes says

July 5, 2015 at 3:14 am

(Edit)

The ten day challenge provides great insights in a pedagogical way that is inimitable to my knowledge.

After the ten days are over, I will use Louis’s course’Visualiwize’ to do the calculation and visualization exercises. I think my game will improve afterwards.

My question for you, Louis, is which moment during a chess game do we evaluate the position?

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Louis Holtzhausen says

July 5, 2015 at 1:44 pm

(Edit)

Hi Jean, the evaluation of the position is something you should consider as a consequence of every move. Ie. How will this move impact my evaluation of the position. Of course, you can’t follow the complete process on every move but if you spend some time to practice that way, then you will over time become intuitively aware how your intended move affects the evaluation.

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Owen says

July 3, 2015 at 10:50 pm

(Edit)

Fantastic tutorial. Exactly what I was looking for. Very clear, professional and helpful. Looking forward to trying out the techniques in my matches to come. Thank you!!

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Louis Holtzhausen says

July 5, 2015 at 1:44 pm

(Edit)

You’re welcome, let me know how it goes!

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michael says

July 3, 2015 at 7:12 am

(Edit)

thank you for the course it shows me important lines of thinking. i win 1st place in blitz 5 min untill 1600
2nd p[lace in tournament untill 1700 of 20 minutes per game
and until 2800 i have 2 of 6 there was masters and grand master i win 33 of 40 in 20 minute game

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Peps says

July 1, 2015 at 12:23 am

(Edit)

Loving the program so far! Even after only two days, I can appreciate the methodology. However, I do have a quick question:

Day 2, Video 1, Example 2 (around the 9 minute mark), why is castling better than moving the rook to d8?

1. … Rd8
2. Nd6+ RxNd6
3. RxRd6 QxRa1+
4. Qd1 or Rd1 Qf6

Black’s queen still defends d8, and black can castle next move. Black has traded (undeveloped) rook for (developed) rook and knight.

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Louis says

July 1, 2015 at 8:55 am

(Edit)

You are right. Well spotted. 1… Rd8 is actually playable due to the tactic 2… Rxd6 as you pointed out. I missed that in my initial recording. Of course if the tactic wasn’t there then Rd8 fails. Either way, I believe 0-0 is the more principled move in the position.

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Anonymous says

July 4, 2015 at 9:56 pm

(Edit)

White doesn’t need to play Nd6+ if he sees the continuation of the line. Rd8 would certainly be a nice trap and many (most?) human players would fall for it, but chess engines suggest Ne5 as a good reply for White, while Black is certainly in a better position after castling.

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Dave says

June 30, 2015 at 11:39 pm

(Edit)

I found the course interesting, and everything was clearly explained. I like the style with which the courses were presented, and Louis puts the ideas across in his commentary effectively, making the key points easy to understand. What I also thought was good was that Louis did not over complicate things, or try and explain too much, instead he focused on the most important aspects of evaluating and calculating.
Now it’s just a matter of applying the thought processes in real games, which should come naturally with practice.
Thanks Louis, and hopefully, there may be more to come. Nice work !

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Louis says

July 1, 2015 at 8:58 am

(Edit)

Thanks! Indeed, it’s a matter of applying. You will notice that by simply trying to apply it, you will eventually do it naturally in positions where it’s required.

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David freeder says

June 30, 2015 at 7:29 am

(Edit)

Thanks Louis for this enjoyable course. I’m just picking up chess again after several years and found the suggested approach interesting and helpful. It has helped me to think through my game in new ways and I can see how it works for all abilities.

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Louis says

July 1, 2015 at 8:57 am

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Thanks for your feedback, I’m glad you find it useful. In time I’m sure you will find it grows on you!

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Tom says

June 28, 2015 at 8:57 pm

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I was pretty skeptical when he told me about his program on chess.com fourms, however after the very first day I already new that this was the program for me, im able to see things I never could before. One thing that this has really helped me with is seeing my oppositions threats and remembering that they are just as real as my own. 5/5 Great job Louis.

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Louis says

June 29, 2015 at 8:22 am

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Thank you! Yes, you must think about your opponent’s threats. In fact, it makes your tasks at the board much easier when you know what you’re dealing with.

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Dave says

June 27, 2015 at 4:48 pm

(Edit)

I found the course very enjoyable because the calculation and evaluation examples are very similiar to a personal checklist I use when playing over the board games or puzzles. The examples were easy to solve and evaluate, but that is not a bad thing because simple examples are better to illustrate the concepts of what you are teaching. Thus, the material was just right, and I will recommend the 10-Day Challenge to my grandsons.

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Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 8:44 pm

(Edit)

Thank you for your feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed it .

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Dave Kolacz says

June 27, 2015 at 9:04 am

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The thing I liked the most about the 10 day Challenge was providing a short check list for the evaluation and calculation processes. -With so much to keep track of on the board, my mind can get overwhelmed and miss a lot. The check list helps me focus in a systematic manner.

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Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 8:46 pm

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Indeed. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the board with the clock ticking. Practicing the process is key.

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patrick says

June 27, 2015 at 8:31 am

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I am a beginner and also club player. I tried many courses and I do feel I am getting better.
Your course is simply excellent and I enjoy learning from you. You explain calm and easily understandable, giving us insights into the mind of the experienced strong player. I love that and hope I could ever attain such high level of understanding.
For the moment I am caught in a web of opening learning. I do not seem to get out of it!
During tournament players are prepared for my e5 move, and I am not. Many times getting me into trouble right from the opening. So I want to learn about it but its very hard. If you could manage to give us advice concerning that “opening repertoire” I would be very happy. To be honest I spend so much time learning and memorizing I do not have time to improve my thinking system. Which should be the more important phase of studies. As I said stuck in that web now sadly.

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Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 9:06 am

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Thank you for sharing your experience! I’ve send you mail with some suggestions on the opening and will be adding more material about the opening on the website too.

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Cdowis says

June 26, 2015 at 11:13 pm

(Edit)

“Piece development” — while important in the opening, during the middle game need to go beyond development to “piece coordination” — knights on outposts, bishops on good diagonals. Are the pieces scattered about or do they have excellent positions.

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Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 8:53 am

(Edit)

Thanks for bring up the point. It could be a little confusing so let me just clarify:
By “development” I’m not referring to the opening only. Instead, development is a continuous process of improving the position and role of your pieces. Even when a piece is already developed, there are still things you can do to improve the role of the piece even further.

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Mark says

June 26, 2015 at 7:33 pm

(Edit)

I cannot recommend The Chess Fox highly enough. The Ten Day Chess Challenge gave me a systematic way of thinking through chess moves and helped me start playing chess instead of just making random moves for no reason. Of course, when you play better that opens the door to playing better as you understand what you’re doing and why. The Chess Fox’s material has really helped me up my game. Thanks so very much!

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Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 8:47 pm

(Edit)

Thanks for your review. Yes, that’s a main point of the course – to help you improve in future too. Glad you liked it.

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Jonathon says

June 26, 2015 at 6:26 pm

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I am writing to you because I have recently completed the 10 day chess challenge and would like to give you feedback on the course. As a regular club player I have always looked for different ways to improve my game. I feel that studying the material in the 10 day chess challenge has taught me how to properly evaluate and calculate positions and variations. From the 5th and 6th days I could see a rise of approximately 50-70 rating points on the tactics trainer that is on chess.com. Your challenge has been well designed and it is clear that you have put a lot of effort into making up this course for which I would like to applaud you for. I feel that The material in the course is just the right difficulty for the majority of chess players and I felt that the material got progressively harder as you continued through the course. The lessons are a perfect length as it is rather easy to take 30 minutes out of your daily routine to study chess. I feel that you have manufactured a top notch course to improve your chess and I have definitely noticed an improvement in my ability to calculate tactics and evaluate positions. I must also add that the inclusion of the visualwise program was very helpful and I would imagine it would make a big difference to a newer players ability to visualize a few moves ahead. I can only hope that your course will be noticed by other chess players and coaches throughout the world. I am currently the captain of my school chess team and coach the players of the team on a regular basis. I would not hesitate to recommend your course to all of my students as I feel that it could make a substantial improvement to their game. I wish you all the best in promoting your 10 day chess challenge and I would be interested in taking part in any courses you may come up with in the future.

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Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 8:49 pm

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Thank you for your detailed review! That’s a great improvement in your tactics rating. Good luck with your team and thanks for recommending the 10-Day Chess Challenge

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Robert says

June 26, 2015 at 2:33 pm

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Having diligently read and studied many chess books and courses over the years I can say with full conviction and sincerity that The ten day chess challenge was not only the most enjoyable but the most practical. If you will apply the thinking techniques you will instantly be aware of your opponent’s threats and you will find ways to exploit the dynamics in the position. Louis treatment of targets is excellent and by providing a sound basis for evaluating the resultant positions you can play with confidence knowing that the thinking methods themselves are founded on bona fide principles. It was one of the few courses where I actually felt that I was being coached by a chess professional. My only regret was that the chess course lasted only ten days! Perhaps if we are lucky Louis may extend the course or make more illustrative videos of the study plan outlined at chessfox.com. Here’s hoping!

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Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 8:51 pm

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I much appreciate you sharing your experience, particularly in knowing you’re a strong player yourself. I’ll be adding more content for sure – thanks for your support!

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Antal says

June 26, 2015 at 2:06 pm

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First of all a big THANK YOU for the 10-Day Chess Challenge, I will recommend it to my friends!

I enjoyed the course very much, the length of the lessons is all right. I would like to think that my tactic vision has improved. Unfortunately, the material was little too easy to me – I’ve been solving tactical exercises on chesscademy.com for quite some time. I like solving them because they are so sharp, double edged – that almost never happens in my own games! What makes your approach unique is that you gave us students a formalized method, a checklist to follow!

The real novelty I think is the concept of TARGETS! I now try to find those targets in my exercises. My first suggestion is about them: maybe you could define the concept of finding targets in a more formal way and show the difference between real and false targets.

My main problem were blunders. Hopefully I am better now, but I am still easily carried away in solving tactical exercises: I can see a simple fork, a pin or skewer, but I don’t see a hidden smothered mate 5 moves away. The opposite also happens: the opponent’s king is soooooo exposed and I am trying to give a checkmate, but the solution of the exercise is only a small material advantage. So my second suggestion would be to ask you to give us students some advice how to eliminate false paths.

My exercises do not finish with the first move, more that often, I have to make two, three or even more moves. You can guess: very, very often my first n-1 moves are correct and I make a mistake on the final move. But I am persistent, I am trying to learn from my mistakes, trying to improve slowly and trying to have fun! Chess still fascinates me, like it did in the early sixties, when I learned this incredible game…

Once again, thanks for your course!

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Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 8:54 pm

(Edit)

Thank you for your detailed review! Indeed, blunders are a problem many chess players face. Often, you can reduce blunders significantly by taking the time to find your opponent’s threats. I’ll be sharing more content on how to avoid blunders soon.

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Keith says

June 26, 2015 at 1:18 pm

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I can not believe how much I have learned! More amazing is how it was possible in such small increments. The thinking methods are showing up in my games OFTEN, you have completely transformed the way I play.

I took private lessons for 6 months from a FM and those lesson were no where near as impact full as your 10 day challenge. I just wanted to say thank you, I took the game up as an adult and have struggled to find real improvement in my game, largely due to time constraints. My lack of progress was a bit frustrating, but my enjoyment of the game made that acceptable. Now I get to enjoy the satisfaction of getting better and enjoy the game! I have you to thank for that.

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Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 8:57 pm

(Edit)

Thank you for you compliments! You obviously did the course the way it should be done – which is why the thinking methods appear in your games. Keep at it! Thanks for your support.

Reply
Mayank Jain says

June 26, 2015 at 1:09 pm

(Edit)

It was indeed a wonderful chess lesson. I always wanted to learn chess by some professional and I think you are the one. The Material was quite good and time for each lesson is very much appropriate. I would be happy to join many more such short courses in future.
Hope you will keep sharing such exercises in future.

Reply
Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 8:58 pm

(Edit)

Thank you for commenting on the course. I hope to create more useful content in the future. I will let you know when I add it to the website.

Reply
Dick Myhill says

June 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm

(Edit)

Firstly I would say that despite early scepticism, I did enjoy the course. I found the difficulty just about right for my level (1600 ELO).

I am a strong believer in the Silman method of thinking based upon imbalances. However, I would say that whilst your evaluation/calculation approach is simpler, it is probably easier for weaker players to absorb and could help them to improve up to a certain level. Don’t ask me to guess what that level might be! The Silman method, if you apply yourself to its thorough study, certainly gives you a good understanding of the game. I expect that your method will yield better results for less effort but only up to a certain level.

There are countless books and courses making absurd claims about turning us into IMs or GMs. This is of course complete fantasy. Everybody has an intelligence threshold and once that is reached no amount of study is going to push them beyond that level. I do accept that with a lot of hard work it is possible to reach that threshold, and how close you get to it depends upon your own ambition and work rate.

Thankfully, you have made no such wild claims about your product Visualwize, which I presume is what are ultimately trying to sell. You have introduced it but not tried to push it during the 10-day course, and you should be applauded for that.

As regards your question about what I would like to see in future courses, that is a difficult one to answer. There is software available, free and paid, for just about every aspect of chess you care to mention. Most players are looking for that magical solution that will make them a master without having to slip the brain into gear. It doesn’t exist and never will. All you can do as a developer is to try to produce something that is more effective than the competition and at a price the consumer is prepared to pay.

One final and quite important comment about openings. We all know, but don’t follow, the advice that we should not spend too much time on opening study, especially at lower grades. The main programmes aimed at repertoire study are Bookup (now Chess Openings Wizard) and Chess Position Trainer. Both these products have serious flaws so there is still a niche there to be filled.

If someone can come up with an opening repertoire programme that is simple, effective and realistically priced, I predict that it would be a winner. It needs to train both understanding AND memorization in a really effective manner that would free up more time to the important aspects of chess study. Now that really would be something!

Thanks for a great course and good luck with the site.

Reply
Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 9:04 pm

(Edit)

Thank you for your informative comments. I agree completely on what you said on countless books and courses making absurd claims.. I’ve also come to the conclusion that they are often, at best, not very user friendly. To really become an IM or GM you need 1. the intelligence, 2. a strong will to persevere in training and 3. the opportunity to regularly play against strong players. There are some other things you can do that helps but generally there just aren’t any shortcuts.

Reply
Jeff says

June 26, 2015 at 12:37 pm

(Edit)

On Day 7 of your course and I am loving it! I definitely feel like it’s going to change the way I play and encourage a lot more THOUGHT behind every move.

Keep up the good work and I hope your site does well.

Thanks Louis!!

Reply
Louis says

June 27, 2015 at 9:05 pm

(Edit)

Thanks! Yes, that is what its about – helping you know what you need to think about. Good luck with the rest of the 10-day chess challenge.

108 thoughts on “Reviews: The 10-Day Chess Challenge

  1. The 10 day challenge harmonized my thinking. I know a lot of chess tips but it was confusing to know when to apply what. This course cleared up how to think. Now I won’t feel so lost when it comes to knowing what steps to take to make a move. This is a great help and appreciated. You should have a donation button for those that aren’t ready to buy or not planning on buying but want to encourage you to continue being a blessing to the chess community.

    • Thanks Chess Fox,
      Cool challenge I think I improved a lot in tactics now I can easily
      take a tactic a book and solve the problems more easily
      and especially my problem was to make a decision.

      And of course visualisation is I think one of the most important
      skill to have.
      Hope you do a second part of the challenge.

  2. This 10-day challenge reminds me of the old proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I had tears in my eyes after I completed the challenge, for I was so very grateful. I hope this generosity brings you fortune, Louis. You deserve it!!

  3. Amazing i’m wining like mad.i even came back in one of my 3 day games with a queen down. can’t believe what i been missing . I’m so glad i found this site Thank You so very much.
    Evaluation process and Calculation process is simply amazing .and seems one out of the five steps aways works. Calculation process finds them tactics. and when there is none i improve my position with the Evaluation process ;]

    • That’s great to hear. Of course there will always be ups and downs but these two thinking methods will help you keep moving in the right direction – excuse the pun 🙂

  4. A very enjoyable and informative course, my rating is currently 1250, and I struggled a bit with some of the Visualwize exercises.
    However I feel it was worth my time and effort and I intend to do the course again to further embed the thinking technique into my thought processes.
    For most people in the intended rating range, just paying attention to the first part of the thinking process (What is my opponent’s threat?) will significantly improve their game.

    • Thank you. And yes, going over the course again is a good idea.
      Asking yourself this one question on ever move – “What is my opponent’s threat?” is very useful.

  5. Thanks a lot for your great contribution for the improvement of our game. This is wonderful and I had an improvement instantly after following this.
    Meanwhile appreciate if you can tell us when to use calculation thinking and when to use evaluation thinking.

    • Thank you, you are welcome. The two thinking methods are both important but you will mainly focus on calculation for forced variations and evaluation for non-forcing moves.

  6. Really enjoying the 10-day course, Louis.
    Also pleased to have bought the Tactics: Motifs videos and they, too, are clear and informative.
    Many thanks.
    Chris

  7. Totally brilliant. For the first time in my return to chess, I can start to see real progress. Your ten day programme in superb, You need to put your methodology into a book Louis.

  8. Say goodbye to reactionary chess and hello to attacking chess! I just completed the 10-Day Chess Challenge and I am already seeing improvements in my rating. More importantly, I am enjoying chess more than ever before. Louis Holtzhausen presents two easy to learn thinking methods that will put any beginner in control of their own games.

  9. It is an amazing experience, the 10 days challenge completely changed my view of chess strategy to the point that my rating went 200 points up in less than a week!, that had never ever happened before with any other training methods. Louis is great at knowing howvto help you understand both, the calculation thinking and the position evaluation methods. I highly recommend it!

    • Update:
      I can live without the visualwise kind of exercises, they are ok if you want to become some kind of blindfolded ♔♕ showman, but that’s not my thing. Simply by learning and putting into practice the thinking (calculation/evaluation) methods alone is enough to be able to find great attacking combinations in your games.
      I have tried lots of other chess programs: Dan Heisman’s, books, Igor Smirnov’s, Ginger Williams, ichess.com tutorials, Mato’s King Hunt, etc… but none of them have really made a noticeable improvement in my game level as Louis Holtzhausen’s thinking methods have. That’s for sure.

  10. This was a wonderful exercise! It heavily improved my thinking and evaluation processes and I have gone up many rating points! Very, very good program. I heavily agree with your idea at the end, that one needs to establish a good thinking process before learning tons of theory. YES.

  11. Awesome! Thanks so much for doing this. Very instructive and a great way to methodically train your mind to think about tactics and positions.

  12. This is my third time going through the challenge. I must say the more I apply the thinking method the more automatic and faster I get. This has even been translated to faster thinking in my blitz games. My advice to the beginner is to apply it when solving all puzzles. Even if the answer is obvious. It has become second nature.

  13. I am 5 days into the chess challenge and am enjoying it a lot already! Louis has done a great job of breaking down chess thinking into a systematic, easy to follow approach! I’ve noticed my performance in correspondence games improving already!

    Louis, a few quick questions for you: going through both the evaluation and calculation process tends to take quite a bit of time for me (~5-10min if I am being thorough). For example, for the sake of practice, I am applying this thinking process every time I move in any of my correspondence games. For correspondence, this approach is, obviously, not a problem. However, I would like to be able to translate this into games with time control (even for 30min games, 5-10min is far too long to spend on a move!). As such, I have a few questions:

    1. How much time should I be spending evaluating a position?
    2. Will I simply get faster with time or are there specific suggest/strategies you have to get faster?
    3. Should I expect my improvement to translate over into bullet chess, or are there other exercises I will have to do to see improvement under these faster time controls?

  14. This was a refreshing perspective on how to improve/develop our chess thinking. The problem that it has, just like books or videos, is that there is no way around innate mental laziness where one has the attitude, “why should I do the thinking when someone else does the thinking for me?” That is my largest obstacle in “learning” chess. I can not seem to summon the motivation to “use” my own mind when I am staring at the chess board. Any suggestions?

    • Good point and very true. I assume you refer to times when you are training, or do you refer to the mental laziness when you are playing too? I think it is important to be aware of this issue and then try to do exercises that require active thinking. That is actually what I try to achieve when I ask to pause the video and think about it.

  15. Hi! Love the videos so fast! Just a quick comment. On the 2nd example in the day 2 video, you say O-O is a mistake because of Nd6, but I believe that loses to Rxd6 Rxd6 Qxa1. Am I missing something? Again, thanks for the awesome videos!

  16. This was an excellent tool for practicing methodical thinking; the feedback (in the videos) allowed one to correct thinking flaws immediately so in many ways, the 10 day course was very close to having a personal coach. I have already caught a few blunders that I’m not sure I would have caught otherwise.

    Thank you!

  17. This was a fantastic exercise. I did them in 2 days. I also agree with your point at the end of the last evaluation exercise to not focus too much on theory. These 2 methods to evaluate strength of moves i found incredibly beneficial. The theory of targets and why something is a target most improved my game personally. The visualwize exercises were also fun and added another layer of difficulty. My question to you is other than practicing these 2 methods what are other high-yield exercises?
    Really great job compiling this senpai. 10/10 -thoroughly enjoyable and informative.
    May i suggest another series like this but more so focused on end game positions?

  18. Louis I am spending too much time on the calculation and evaluation during a match. Can I solve this? And how? Many thanks and good luck!!

    P.S Is the course designed for any time limit
    P.P.S Thank you for making this course free!!!

    • Hi Terry,

      Good question. These exercises are intended as a “workout” to help you understand the 2 most important thinking processes. You can’t do all of this on every move – it’s not practical. First ask yourself – what is the needs of the position? In some positions you will focus on the calculation (if there are lots of possible threats and captures), but in most cases you will be looking for a way to simply improve your position.

      I recommend to do the course in a shorter amount of time, but spreading it over more days is fine too. As others have mentioned – repeating the course is a great idea.

  19. Amazing video Louis! I have improved a lot and I will use your strategies in a tournament later this week! By the way are you South African?

  20. Amazing content! I personally can’t restrict myself to 1 challenge per day. I do 1 challenge, plus the questions, then I play a few chess games using what I learned, and go on to the next challenge 😀

    • I’m sure it will be helpful. I’ve received positive feedback from players rated well over 2000. The ideas in the 10-Day Chess Challenge are pretty advanced, but they are presented in a way that is easier to digest. Try it and let me know how it goes.

  21. Thanks for your very concise and to-the-point concepts of Calculation and Evaluation. I also appreciate your easy to understand voice. So many of the chess people are difficult for me to understand.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  22. Thank you for the 10 Day Chess Challenge. It was very useful in both clarifying and solidifying the concepts of evaluation and calculation.

    The course was recommended to me by “Robbie” of MSK Chess who highly praised the teaching methods of Louis Holtzhausen. I can clearly understand why now that I’ve completed this video course.

    Thanks again. I am looking forward to learning more from the chessfox site and Mr. Holtzhausen.

  23. I am at the halfway point of the Ten Day Chess Challenge, and I am really looking forward to the next 5 days! I live in a place where there is not much chess, and no classes or teachers, so this is a wonderful experience for me. I am also very short on reserves at the moment, so I am very thankful that you are making this professional grade course available for free. Thank you!

  24. Thanks a bunch for the instructions. I especially took note of how you repeated the reminder of “5 step evaluation” prior to every scenario. Eventually that sank in and I went from just taking guesses at calculation to actually applying those steps. My calculations got better thanks to the hearing it over and over and over.

  25. I found the course very enjoyable and helpful.

    Well done, Louis! We could use more free lessons like this to help out the chess community!

    Thanks,
    Brett

  26. Louis is certainly a gifted chess teacher.

    I appreciate the effort he has put into the course,and feel that many players can benefit considerably if they apply his chess methodology.

    Many thanks Louis,

    take care,

    Peter

  27. This is the third time I am doing these exercises, and I am still learning from it!
    The point is that in these 10 days there are so many valuable and essential information to become a better player that repetition is needed to automate our “chess thinking system” effectively.
    Thanks again dear Chess Coach.

  28. Nice tutorial! It’s very helpful to have a consistent method to evaluate the position and to prioritize calculations. It’s a great way to develop your thinking process.

  29. Just finished the course and it has made me much more comfortable with calculation and evaluation. I’d been informally and inconsistently applying similar techniques, but this course frames that process in a logically structured way.

    I’m sure eventually players don’t use such a rigid approach, but as a relative beginner I found it very helpful. My eyes no longer dart around the board erratically, sometimes calculating checks but ignoring threats, other times calculating captures but missing obvious checks — now if I don’t immediately see a strong move I have a more methodical approach to fall back on.

    Thanks a lot for creating the course and offering it for free!

  30. The ten day challenge provides great insights in a pedagogical way that is inimitable to my knowledge.

    After the ten days are over, I will use Louis’s course’Visualiwize’ to do the calculation and visualization exercises. I think my game will improve afterwards.

    My question for you, Louis, is which moment during a chess game do we evaluate the position?

    • Hi Jean, the evaluation of the position is something you should consider as a consequence of every move. Ie. How will this move impact my evaluation of the position. Of course, you can’t follow the complete process on every move but if you spend some time to practice that way, then you will over time become intuitively aware how your intended move affects the evaluation.

  31. Fantastic tutorial. Exactly what I was looking for. Very clear, professional and helpful. Looking forward to trying out the techniques in my matches to come. Thank you!!

  32. thank you for the course it shows me important lines of thinking. i win 1st place in blitz 5 min untill 1600
    2nd p[lace in tournament untill 1700 of 20 minutes per game
    and until 2800 i have 2 of 6 there was masters and grand master i win 33 of 40 in 20 minute game

  33. Loving the program so far! Even after only two days, I can appreciate the methodology. However, I do have a quick question:

    Day 2, Video 1, Example 2 (around the 9 minute mark), why is castling better than moving the rook to d8?

    1. … Rd8
    2. Nd6+ RxNd6
    3. RxRd6 QxRa1+
    4. Qd1 or Rd1 Qf6

    Black’s queen still defends d8, and black can castle next move. Black has traded (undeveloped) rook for (developed) rook and knight.

    • You are right. Well spotted. 1… Rd8 is actually playable due to the tactic 2… Rxd6 as you pointed out. I missed that in my initial recording. Of course if the tactic wasn’t there then Rd8 fails. Either way, I believe 0-0 is the more principled move in the position.

    • White doesn’t need to play Nd6+ if he sees the continuation of the line. Rd8 would certainly be a nice trap and many (most?) human players would fall for it, but chess engines suggest Ne5 as a good reply for White, while Black is certainly in a better position after castling.

  34. I found the course interesting, and everything was clearly explained. I like the style with which the courses were presented, and Louis puts the ideas across in his commentary effectively, making the key points easy to understand. What I also thought was good was that Louis did not over complicate things, or try and explain too much, instead he focused on the most important aspects of evaluating and calculating.
    Now it’s just a matter of applying the thought processes in real games, which should come naturally with practice.
    Thanks Louis, and hopefully, there may be more to come. Nice work !

    • Thanks! Indeed, it’s a matter of applying. You will notice that by simply trying to apply it, you will eventually do it naturally in positions where it’s required.

  35. Thanks Louis for this enjoyable course. I’m just picking up chess again after several years and found the suggested approach interesting and helpful. It has helped me to think through my game in new ways and I can see how it works for all abilities.

  36. I was pretty skeptical when he told me about his program on chess.com fourms, however after the very first day I already new that this was the program for me, im able to see things I never could before. One thing that this has really helped me with is seeing my oppositions threats and remembering that they are just as real as my own. 5/5 Great job Louis.

    • Thank you! Yes, you must think about your opponent’s threats. In fact, it makes your tasks at the board much easier when you know what you’re dealing with.

  37. I found the course very enjoyable because the calculation and evaluation examples are very similiar to a personal checklist I use when playing over the board games or puzzles. The examples were easy to solve and evaluate, but that is not a bad thing because simple examples are better to illustrate the concepts of what you are teaching. Thus, the material was just right, and I will recommend the 10-Day Challenge to my grandsons.

  38. The thing I liked the most about the 10 day Challenge was providing a short check list for the evaluation and calculation processes. -With so much to keep track of on the board, my mind can get overwhelmed and miss a lot. The check list helps me focus in a systematic manner.

  39. I am a beginner and also club player. I tried many courses and I do feel I am getting better.
    Your course is simply excellent and I enjoy learning from you. You explain calm and easily understandable, giving us insights into the mind of the experienced strong player. I love that and hope I could ever attain such high level of understanding.
    For the moment I am caught in a web of opening learning. I do not seem to get out of it!
    During tournament players are prepared for my e5 move, and I am not. Many times getting me into trouble right from the opening. So I want to learn about it but its very hard. If you could manage to give us advice concerning that “opening repertoire” I would be very happy. To be honest I spend so much time learning and memorizing I do not have time to improve my thinking system. Which should be the more important phase of studies. As I said stuck in that web now sadly.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience! I’ve send you mail with some suggestions on the opening and will be adding more material about the opening on the website too.

  40. “Piece development” — while important in the opening, during the middle game need to go beyond development to “piece coordination” — knights on outposts, bishops on good diagonals. Are the pieces scattered about or do they have excellent positions.

    • Thanks for bring up the point. It could be a little confusing so let me just clarify:
      By “development” I’m not referring to the opening only. Instead, development is a continuous process of improving the position and role of your pieces. Even when a piece is already developed, there are still things you can do to improve the role of the piece even further.

  41. I cannot recommend The Chess Fox highly enough. The Ten Day Chess Challenge gave me a systematic way of thinking through chess moves and helped me start playing chess instead of just making random moves for no reason. Of course, when you play better that opens the door to playing better as you understand what you’re doing and why. The Chess Fox’s material has really helped me up my game. Thanks so very much!

  42. I am writing to you because I have recently completed the 10 day chess challenge and would like to give you feedback on the course. As a regular club player I have always looked for different ways to improve my game. I feel that studying the material in the 10 day chess challenge has taught me how to properly evaluate and calculate positions and variations. From the 5th and 6th days I could see a rise of approximately 50-70 rating points on the tactics trainer that is on chess.com. Your challenge has been well designed and it is clear that you have put a lot of effort into making up this course for which I would like to applaud you for. I feel that The material in the course is just the right difficulty for the majority of chess players and I felt that the material got progressively harder as you continued through the course. The lessons are a perfect length as it is rather easy to take 30 minutes out of your daily routine to study chess. I feel that you have manufactured a top notch course to improve your chess and I have definitely noticed an improvement in my ability to calculate tactics and evaluate positions. I must also add that the inclusion of the visualwise program was very helpful and I would imagine it would make a big difference to a newer players ability to visualize a few moves ahead. I can only hope that your course will be noticed by other chess players and coaches throughout the world. I am currently the captain of my school chess team and coach the players of the team on a regular basis. I would not hesitate to recommend your course to all of my students as I feel that it could make a substantial improvement to their game. I wish you all the best in promoting your 10 day chess challenge and I would be interested in taking part in any courses you may come up with in the future.

    • Thank you for your detailed review! That’s a great improvement in your tactics rating. Good luck with your team and thanks for recommending the 10-Day Chess Challenge

  43. Having diligently read and studied many chess books and courses over the years I can say with full conviction and sincerity that The ten day chess challenge was not only the most enjoyable but the most practical. If you will apply the thinking techniques you will instantly be aware of your opponent’s threats and you will find ways to exploit the dynamics in the position. Louis treatment of targets is excellent and by providing a sound basis for evaluating the resultant positions you can play with confidence knowing that the thinking methods themselves are founded on bona fide principles. It was one of the few courses where I actually felt that I was being coached by a chess professional. My only regret was that the chess course lasted only ten days! Perhaps if we are lucky Louis may extend the course or make more illustrative videos of the study plan outlined at chessfox.com. Here’s hoping!

    • I much appreciate you sharing your experience, particularly in knowing you’re a strong player yourself. I’ll be adding more content for sure – thanks for your support!

  44. First of all a big THANK YOU for the 10-Day Chess Challenge, I will recommend it to my friends!

    I enjoyed the course very much, the length of the lessons is all right. I would like to think that my tactic vision has improved. Unfortunately, the material was little too easy to me – I’ve been solving tactical exercises on chesscademy.com for quite some time. I like solving them because they are so sharp, double edged – that almost never happens in my own games! What makes your approach unique is that you gave us students a formalized method, a checklist to follow!

    The real novelty I think is the concept of TARGETS! I now try to find those targets in my exercises. My first suggestion is about them: maybe you could define the concept of finding targets in a more formal way and show the difference between real and false targets.

    My main problem were blunders. Hopefully I am better now, but I am still easily carried away in solving tactical exercises: I can see a simple fork, a pin or skewer, but I don’t see a hidden smothered mate 5 moves away. The opposite also happens: the opponent’s king is soooooo exposed and I am trying to give a checkmate, but the solution of the exercise is only a small material advantage. So my second suggestion would be to ask you to give us students some advice how to eliminate false paths.

    My exercises do not finish with the first move, more that often, I have to make two, three or even more moves. You can guess: very, very often my first n-1 moves are correct and I make a mistake on the final move. But I am persistent, I am trying to learn from my mistakes, trying to improve slowly and trying to have fun! Chess still fascinates me, like it did in the early sixties, when I learned this incredible game…

    Once again, thanks for your course!

    • Thank you for your detailed review! Indeed, blunders are a problem many chess players face. Often, you can reduce blunders significantly by taking the time to find your opponent’s threats. I’ll be sharing more content on how to avoid blunders soon.

  45. I can not believe how much I have learned! More amazing is how it was possible in such small increments. The thinking methods are showing up in my games OFTEN, you have completely transformed the way I play.

    I took private lessons for 6 months from a FM and those lesson were no where near as impact full as your 10 day challenge. I just wanted to say thank you, I took the game up as an adult and have struggled to find real improvement in my game, largely due to time constraints. My lack of progress was a bit frustrating, but my enjoyment of the game made that acceptable. Now I get to enjoy the satisfaction of getting better and enjoy the game! I have you to thank for that.

    • Thank you for you compliments! You obviously did the course the way it should be done – which is why the thinking methods appear in your games. Keep at it! Thanks for your support.

  46. It was indeed a wonderful chess lesson. I always wanted to learn chess by some professional and I think you are the one. The Material was quite good and time for each lesson is very much appropriate. I would be happy to join many more such short courses in future.
    Hope you will keep sharing such exercises in future.

    • Thank you for commenting on the course. I hope to create more useful content in the future. I will let you know when I add it to the website.

  47. Firstly I would say that despite early scepticism, I did enjoy the course. I found the difficulty just about right for my level (1600 ELO).

    I am a strong believer in the Silman method of thinking based upon imbalances. However, I would say that whilst your evaluation/calculation approach is simpler, it is probably easier for weaker players to absorb and could help them to improve up to a certain level. Don’t ask me to guess what that level might be! The Silman method, if you apply yourself to its thorough study, certainly gives you a good understanding of the game. I expect that your method will yield better results for less effort but only up to a certain level.

    There are countless books and courses making absurd claims about turning us into IMs or GMs. This is of course complete fantasy. Everybody has an intelligence threshold and once that is reached no amount of study is going to push them beyond that level. I do accept that with a lot of hard work it is possible to reach that threshold, and how close you get to it depends upon your own ambition and work rate.

    Thankfully, you have made no such wild claims about your product Visualwize, which I presume is what are ultimately trying to sell. You have introduced it but not tried to push it during the 10-day course, and you should be applauded for that.

    As regards your question about what I would like to see in future courses, that is a difficult one to answer. There is software available, free and paid, for just about every aspect of chess you care to mention. Most players are looking for that magical solution that will make them a master without having to slip the brain into gear. It doesn’t exist and never will. All you can do as a developer is to try to produce something that is more effective than the competition and at a price the consumer is prepared to pay.

    One final and quite important comment about openings. We all know, but don’t follow, the advice that we should not spend too much time on opening study, especially at lower grades. The main programmes aimed at repertoire study are Bookup (now Chess Openings Wizard) and Chess Position Trainer. Both these products have serious flaws so there is still a niche there to be filled.

    If someone can come up with an opening repertoire programme that is simple, effective and realistically priced, I predict that it would be a winner. It needs to train both understanding AND memorization in a really effective manner that would free up more time to the important aspects of chess study. Now that really would be something!

    Thanks for a great course and good luck with the site.

    • Thank you for your informative comments. I agree completely on what you said on countless books and courses making absurd claims.. I’ve also come to the conclusion that they are often, at best, not very user friendly. To really become an IM or GM you need 1. the intelligence, 2. a strong will to persevere in training and 3. the opportunity to regularly play against strong players. There are some other things you can do that helps but generally there just aren’t any shortcuts.

  48. On Day 7 of your course and I am loving it! I definitely feel like it’s going to change the way I play and encourage a lot more THOUGHT behind every move.

    Keep up the good work and I hope your site does well.

    Thanks Louis!!

    • Thanks! Yes, that is what its about – helping you know what you need to think about. Good luck with the rest of the 10-day chess challenge.

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