The Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess MasterClass was so much fun. I haven’t played chess in many years. Back in my university days, I would play day and night – often to the detriment of my coursework. I truly fell in love with the game. Since I stopped playing, I often wondered when I would ever get back into it.
Then… Boom. Right there in my MasterClass student area as part of my All Access Pass: Garry Kasparov himself, one of the greatest chess players of all time, was there, ready, waiting, willing to mentor me in the fine art of history’s most beautiful game.
How could I resist?
Finally it was time to get back into chess!
This Garry Kasparov MasterClass review is likely to be one of many. I want to give my quick overall impression of the course as a product in this review. Then in later reviews, I want to track my chess ranking as I continue to put Garry’s teachings into practice. Also note that, yes, I’m an affiliate for MasterClass and this review contains referral links. I love the company so much that I decided to promote them officially.
Now let’s get into the review.
Two things struck me early on in the Garry Kasparov Masterclass:
- Garry is a superb teacher
- This is course is great for beginners and intermediates alike
I know what you’re thinking…
Those two things should be a given, right?
A masterclass isn’t the same thing as a course. A masterclass is a unique insight into the mind and work processes of someone who is world class in their field. Going into Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess, I was not expecting “Chess 101”, so to speak.
But, man, I got such a schooling in the craft of chess.
Just because someone is world class in a field does not mean they are automatically qualified to teach that which now comes naturally to them.
But Garry is a rigorous, inspiring, and thoroughly gifted teacher.
The course is produced so brilliantly that it feels like we’re sitting across the table from Garry as he walks us through the different aspects of the game.
It’s also clear that Garry put A LOT of thought in exactly how to structure the masterclass so that everyone can benefit from it.
If you want a glimpse of just how much thought Garry clearly put into his class, check out this interview with chess.com:
When looking at different principles and strategies near the beginning (40 mins after looking at double attacks), I love the fact that Garry apologises to more advanced players before doing a scenario that they are familiar with and says ‘don’t worry’ because there are complicated tactics coming up.
So what do you get in the Garry Kasparov MasterClass?
A lot. The Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess MasterClass has 7+ hours of video content, making it one of the longest MasterClasses in the company’s catalogue.
You also get access to the office hours where Garry answers student questions, the student hub, and an 86-page booklet filled with puzzles expanding upon Garry’s video lessons and directions for improving your game further.
The Garry Kasparov Masterclass is split into theory, practical hands on demonstrations, studies (these are really fun – I particularly enjoyed Torres’ windmill), actual match analyses (both ones Gary played himself and famous ones throughout history), and it’s all broken into themes.
Garry splits up the lessons by giving you a problem and asking you to figure it out first before going and demonstrating it himself and feeding that into different principles.
I love the different options you have for viewing a computerised board alongside Garry’s real board. It really helps make the principles easy to understand.
Have your chess.com account open alongside Garry’s Masterclass
The real joy for me was having my chess.com account fired up as I was learning from the Masterclass.
This has been such a nice way for me to relax in the evenings the last few weeks.
After a hard day’s work, I sink into my beanbag and I go through ONE Garry Kasparov chess lesson. It could be openings, it could be deflection, it could be skewers.
I go through one lesson, absorb everything, and then I start putting it into focused practice and WINNING against other players on chess.com.
It’s pretty damn fun and I look forward to it all day.
This class would be a great shared experience
I couldn’t help but think of my good buddy from my Oxford University days when I went through this course. I also thought about my dad.
Those were the two guys I had routinely played chess with and they both taught me so much.
I wish I’d had this masterclass back in my university days. Me and my friend would have really enjoyed watching the tutorials and then putting them into practice against each other. Same deal with my dad. I could totally see this as being a great father-son course.
Favourite parts so far?
I haven’t finished every lesson yet. Like I said, there’s a lot to get through. And when you’re spending time putting the principles into practice, it takes a while to get through the course.
This is one of those courses that you live with for a while and you come back to again and again.
Garry goes into pretty much everything that you might expect (and a lot of welcome stuff that you wouldn’t expect like life advice and philosophy). Just check out the syllabus.
Want to learn endgames? There’s an hour’s worth of material and three lessons.
Want to learn openings? It’s all here.
Want to improve you double attacks? No problem.
Personally I loved the drama of the endgame segment and I really loved the chapter on discovered attacks because that changed the way I view the chessboard – after that lesson, I went from losing game after game to winning most games with beautiful combinations and elegant outcomes (at least for an amateur like me).
There was one part of the masterclass that went over my head – a 60-minute game with Garry playing three people in silence. I personally found that quite hard to follow but maybe advanced players would get something out of it. I’ll get there one day!
Should you get the Garry Kasparov MasterClass?
If $90 isn’t too much for you to spend on something that will enhance your enjoyment of chess – yes!
It’s not a huge amount to spend on a hobby that makes you happy.
Bodybuilders will easily drop that amount on protein powder in a week. Audiophiles will spend that on a vinyl haul. And that’s not even a fraction of what bookworms like myself spend on paperbacks each year.
For me, it was worth it. I don’t drink or spend any money at the club on the weekend. But I do like to sit down, learn some new stuff like the geek that I am, and play a little bit of chess to unwind.
If that’s you too, I recommend you enrol.
I also recommend you play me!
Let us know how you’re enjoying the course and anytime you want to have a battle, I’m up for it.