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The Naroditsky Method

GM Daniel Naroditsky

This superb 15 hour course from prodigy GM Naroditsky reveals his method for getting better at
chess. Broken down into sections on the opening, tactics, calculation, positional play and endgames,
Daniel explains what you need to do to get real improvement in each of these areas.

In each of the 18 chapters, GM Naroditsky selects his favorite examples and talks you through his
chess philosophy and thought process, guiding you around all the common mistakes players make
and delivering you to the perfect solution.

In addition, Daniel reveals his method for training and improving in each area: how to build an
opening repertoire that suits you; the best ways to improve your tactical ability and how learn the
endgame.

As someone who has experienced phenomenal success and rapid improvement, Daniels advice on
how to apply what he teaches is invaluable and his focus on principles makes this advanced material
accessible to any determined improver.

Includes a 1 hour bonus of Daniel playing online blitz, voicing his thoughts and analysis in real time!

Chapters:

1. Laying the Groundwork


2. How to Select an Opening Repertoire
3. Punishing Opening Rebels
4. How to Study the Opening
5. Opening Preparation
6. Initiative
7. Intuition
8. Imbalances
9. Becoming a Tactical Beast
10. Calculation
11. Introduction to Positional Chess
12. Unspoken Rules of Positional Chess
13. Understanding Piece Placement
14. Introduction to the Endgame
15. Theoretical Endgames
16. Practical Endgames
17. Endgame Tactics
18. Common Themes and Concepts in the Endgame
Bonus: Live Blitz with GM Daniel Naroditsky

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Chapter 1: Laying the Groundwork
1. As we journey to becoming stronger players, we tend to move from general
opening principles (knights before bishops, control the center) to detailed
theory. Daniel argues its important to still understand our openings from a
conceptual perspective in order to cope well in unfamiliar positions.
2. One of the biggest mistakes players make in the opening is to live in a
vacuum, playing the moves they want to without properly taking into account
the moves of their opponent.
3. Principle 1: Dont just go with the flow. Daniel demonstrates an early
game in which his opponent made the mistake of just going with the flow,
playing a natural move that is actually a strategic error.
4. Another common mistake is to play a weaker move to avoid being move-
ordered into a different opening.
5. Always try to work out whats really going on in the position, what move is
crying out to be played. Dont just develop routinely.
6. If you sense you have a really good position but the variation youre analyzing
doesnt give you the major advantage youre looking for, try the moves in a
different order. In the game, instead of playing 9.a3 to prepare d6, Daniel
discovers the immediate 9.d6 (which involves a rook sac) wins on the spot.
7. Principle 2: Base your central strategy around how your opponents
pawns and pieces affect the center. Controlling the center is a major
strategic advantage, develop with this goal (and your opponents attempts
to stop it) in mind.
8. Give your opponent a chance to go into an opening theyre not comfortable
with.
9. When your opponent plays an unexpected move, dont assume its
preparation, dont assume it must be good. Look for the drawbacks.
10. Back up your intuition with analysis.

Chapter 2: How to Select an Opening Repertoire


1. Building a repertoire that suits your style of play and study time constraints
is hugely important to your development. Many players are held back for
years by not having the right repertoire.
2. Principle 3: Choose your repertoire based on the type of positions
you prefer. Do you like sharp positions with a lot of calculation or do you
prefer a more positional game, slowly building up pressure?

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3. Principle 4: The amount of time you have to study openings is critical
in your selection. If you dont have much time, youd be better studying
less theoretical openings. Also, knowing how much time you have allows you
to plan your study better.
4. Go through each of the opening moves youre likely to face (mainly 1.e4 and
1.d4 if Black) and write down what you play against them. Rate each of the
lines from 1-5 with 1 being I hate this line and 5 being this line is perfect.
Now you know which lines you need to change and what you should study
next.
5. While playing fringe openings isnt necessarily bad, it deprives you of the
valuable learning experiences you find in more mainstream openings.

Chapter 3: Punishing Opening Rebels


1. As well as someone who plays offbeat openings, an opening rebel can be
someone who doesnt take this phase of the game seriously, playing natural
moves without thinking.
2. We can find ways to punish this by asking what changed? after they play a
move.
3. Principle 4: If you make a mistake in the opening and find yourself in
a worse position, dont just blindly continue with your plan.
Reevaluate.
4. Principle 5: When you see a tempting tactic, pause, check it works
and check if there is anything even better.
5. Opening rebels who play something outlandish (like 1g5 in the game) are
generally just going for surprise value and dont have anything too scary
prepared.

Chapter 4: How to Study the Opening


1. Principle 6: Store your opening work. Whether on the computer or in a
notebook, its important to be able to reference and revise what youve
learned.
2. This process helps you pick out the most useful lines as well as helping you
remember them.
3. Daniel writes down many of his discoveries from all sorts of positions, not just
in the opening. This gave rise to the publication of his books they were
expanded versions of his notes.

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4. Principle 7: Find a strong GM who regularly plays the opening youre
studying and analyze as many of their games in that opening as
possible.
5. Look at critical points in those games. If the GM lost, why did they lose? How
did they react to a surprise move? What moves or attacks do they like to
play?
6. You can practice your openings by playing through the moves without seeing
whats next. You can do this easily in ChessBase or by covering up your notes.
7. If, when practicing, you play a move thats not in the file, work out why the
move in your notes is better or, if it isnt, look at adding that line.

Chapter 5: Opening Preparation


1. If your opponent plays many different openings then try to predict what they
might play based on them preparing for you.
2. When you have an idea what your opponent will play, look at your (and their)
old games in that line. Find improvements and take them on!
3. Make sure you understand the ideas for each side and how to counter them.
4. Principle 8: Put in the time to work out all the what ifs. Even if you
dont get to show your discoveries in this game, they will repay you
handsomely over the years.
5. Before a tournament, look at areas of the opening youre struggling with and
then review these lines before the game.

Chapter 6: Initiative
1. Principle 9: The initiative is a temporary advantage in piece
placement.
2. Examine how your opponents move differs from the on you were expecting.
Can you and should you still make your intended move?
3. Seizing the initiative is a matter of recognizing your opponents inaccuracy
and pouncing on it in the appropriate way.
4. When your opponent prepares a threat, look for a way to counter with a threat
of your own. If they have to react to your threat instead of continuing with
their own, youll be calling the shots.
5. Principle 10: When you have the initiative, feel the urgency. Dont
allow your opponent time to consolidate.
6. When you push the initiative, your opponent will often have to give up some
material, maybe a pawn. Do your best to keep the position as uncomfortable
as possible for them. Dont allow them to get the initiative.

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Chapter 7: Intuition
1. Principle 11: Your intuition will suggest ideas based on your
experience. In the Onischuk game, White plays 37.c5!!, sacrificing a pawn
to lock in Blacks bishop. Onischuks intuition told him the out-of-play Bishop
negated the material advantage.
2. Many times youll find it near impossible to calculate a forced winning line but
you can be guided by your intuition, your sense of who is better.
3. Intuition is not a substitute for calculation. Its a supplement, suggesting ideas
to analyze or evaluate.
4. Looking for potential weaknesses and asking what if is a good way to find
resources. See Blacks missed sacrifice in the Tal Baron game.
5. Intuition can come into play when you assess the level of counterplay for each
side. If your opponent has a strong threat that takes 6 moves to play out, you
know you need to act quickly.

Chapter 8: Imbalances
1. Principle 12: Creating imbalances and playing your side well gives
you great winning chances.
2. An imbalance could be material such as a knight for 3 pawns or positional
such as doubled pawns in return for control of an outpost.
3. Be prepared to make concessions in returns for the advantage youre seeking.
4. We see a classic example from Vishy Anand as he chooses to double his
pawns in the opening. The deep strategy behind this move is that Anand can
force exchanges, bring his King to e6 then advance his pawns, gaining a
passed pawn and winning.
5. When you sacrifice you should have a sense of urgency. Look to prove your
compensation before your opponent consolidates.

Chapter 9: Becoming a Tactical Beast


1. Tactics is anything concerned with winning material or delivering checkmate.
2. Principle 13: You need to do more than just solve puzzles to make
real progress in your tactics training.
3. You can improve your tactical ability by trying to solve puzzles in blitz mode,
recognizing patterns and using your intuition.
4. Tactics can be split into simple requiring 3-4 moves and involving common
themes to complex, which are usually deeper and more obscure.

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5. During tactics training, emulate a real game situation as closely as possible
using a clock and forcing yourself to make a decision.
6. To test your calculation, spend all your time on the first move. You still have
to work out the whole line(s) of course but, once youve found it, play the
subsequent moves quickly. If you make a mistake and fail the puzzle, go back
to the starting position and try and find out why.

Chapter 10: Calculation


1. GM Alexander Kotov was the first to formalize calculation into a method but
his process isnt easy to remember or always practical.
2. Kotov suggests that we often see the best move but choose another because
we made the mistake of analyzing one move deeper than the other.
3. Principle 14: Dont stop your line of calculation too soon.
4. Principle 15: Apply the concept of candidate moves to your
opponents moves as well as your own.
5. Just because you can find a win against your opponents most challenging
counter, dont assume your move wins against every defense.
6. Principle 16: Calculation is about persistence, discipline and the
ability to not be troubled if a line doesnt work.
7. Principle 17: When calculating, never judge a position based on its
appearance. Be objective.
8. When youre calculating well, you put tremendous psychological pressure on
your opponent, increasing the likelihood of them making a mistake.
9. Principle 18: Falsification. When you see a move that looks good,
that you like, do everything you can to try and refute it before
playing it.

Chapter 11: Introduction to Positional Chess


1. Principle 19: Positional chess is the ability to feel the pieces and
how they should be placed.
2. Talk to your pieces. How do they feel about where they stand or being traded?
3. Be prepared to interweave high-level positional thinking with short-term
tactical thinking. Your long-term goal must work tactically!
4. Playing like a GM doesnt have to mean concealing your intentions. You can
be upfront and direct if your opponent has trouble defending.
5. At every move ask yourself what does my opponent want? This doesnt just
mean what are they attacking? It can also mean which pieces they want to

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trade, which pawns they want to move and so on.

Chapter 12: Unspoken Rules of Positional Chess


1. Take note of your positional intuition. For instance, if youre opponent has the
bishop pair, beware of ways they can open up the position.
2. A square is only weak if it can be accessed and made use of.
3. Through experience, GMs are able to sense the critical moment when the
advantage has disappeared or changed hands and we should look carefully
for these moments in our own games.
4. Principle 20: Positional chess is not a passive body of knowledge. You
can find your own ideas by noticing things about the position.

Chapter 13: Understanding Piece Placement


1. Principle 21: Piece placement is about finding the best squares for
your pieces and how to coordinate them effectively. It is perhaps the
most important element of positional chess.
2. Equal to putting your pieces on good squares is forcing your opponents to
bad squares.
3. Be aware of the difference between genuine activity and pseudo-activity
pieces that look active but arent really effecting the game.
4. Principle 22: Dont be satisfied with getting one of your pieces to a
great square. Improve the rest.
5. Principle 23: Be willing to give up one of your well-placed pieces for
a different type of advantage such as material.
6. Kasparovs 23Re7!! is an example of moving a piece to a seemingly bad
square in anticipation of the position changing in the next few moves.

Chapter 14: Introduction to the Endgame


1. Endgames fall into 2 categories: theoretical, which are very precise and the
outcome is known, and practical, which are decided by the strength of
calculation and positional feel.
2. Endgames are 99% tactics. They are concrete and require accurate
calculation.

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Chapter 15: Theoretical Endgames
1. You only have to learn theoretical endgames once to reap the rewards for the
rest of the time you play chess.
2. Every improver should begin learning the key endgames as soon as possible.
3. Principle 24: You need to be able to recognize when a theoretical
endgame is reached and know the winning/drawing method.
4. When training endgames, question why one move works and another doesnt
or what the difference would be if the pawn was on a different square. The
questioning process will help you understand and remember the winning
method.

Chapter 16: Practical Endgames


1. Principle 25: Practical endgames require many of the same
approaches used in the middlegame.
2. Calculate as much and as far as you can. This should be much easier than in
the middlegame due to the reduced pieces.
3. If your opponent is able to meet your threats, look for waiting moves that
interrupt your opponents rhythm.
4. Principle 26: The goal of any chess move is just to make your position
better than your opponents. It doesnt have to be perfect.

Chapter 17: Endgame Tactics


1. Pawn promotion becomes a common theme in the endgame and should be
looked out for.
2. When your opponent is tied to passive defense, look for ways to improve your
other pieces (often the King) and breakthrough either by pawn break,
shouldering or some other method.

Chapter 18: Common Themes and Concepts in


the Endgame
1. Principle 27: The key themes in the endgame can be summed up by
the acronym PPCK: Piece activity, passed pawns, calculation and
King activity.
2. When thinking about piece activity, ask yourself what role that piece is

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playing. If it isnt performing a role then it shouldnt be considered truly
active.
3. Passed pawns can be either a curse or blessing, depending on how well
supported they are.
4. Tactics play a large role in the endgame and improvers need to calculate as
deeply as possible.
5. With less pieces on the board, the King is safer from mating threats and
should be used to put pressure on your opponents pieces and pawns as well
as control squares.