Sports & Games

Garry's Chess Fundamentals

Garry Kasparov

Lesson time 17:54 min

Learn how a World Chess Champion thinks as Garry shares the tenets of his chess philosophy.

Garry Kasparov
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Garry Kasparov teaches you advanced strategy, tactics, and theory in 29 exclusive video lessons.
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I like an old chess saying that goes, tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do, while strategy is knowing what to do when there's nothing to do. Of course, it's a bit of an exaggeration. Because there's always something to do. But while we are looking at the tactical solutions, it's something immediate, something almost instantaneous. We assume it's sharp. When I say sharp, it maybe involves sacrifices, something that disturbs the balance of the position. And you could see an immediate outcome, it goes one way or another. Strategy, of course is more long term. So strategy is actually seeing the outcome of slow maneuvers, and also anticipating what you can do to disturb opponent's plans. There were some great positional players from the past that you may even call inaction heroes. Because they knew exactly how to paralyze the opponent's activities and, by doing so, of course, building up, step by step, slowly their own advantages. So that's why, when you look at the position, you have to identify, first of all, whether this position requires tactical solutions. Or you have to forget about the tactics for a while, not to push too hard, not to rush, and to start playing, positionally building it up, and, of course, watching for some opportunities, if your opponent gives you such a chance. There is no general strategy for the game of chess. Because it depends very much on who you are and who your opponent is. We're all different. We could be more comfortable making aggressive decisions, playing with the big picture, with dynamic style-- that's more like myself. We could be more cautious, very vigilant, playing a slower game, gaining small advantages, and waiting for opponent's mistakes, more like Karpov's chess. There's nothing wrong with either approach. It's very important to realize that, no matter what you do, it should fit your personality. Don't try to play the game that goes against your natural instincts. That's the most important lesson from the game of chess. Remember that at the end of the day, game of chess is about making decisions, as anything in life. Trying to force yourself to play the game that doesn't fit your natural instincts, your personality, it's counterproductive, I would say, in many cases, suicidal. And decision making, when you play chess, is as unique as your fingerprints or DNA. And unless you know who you are, it's very difficult to identify what is the best strategy for you, whether it be chessboard or elsewhere. And of course, when you know who you are, when you understand what kind of game you want to play, you should also look at the opponent. Because your opponent, that's more difficult to actually understand. Because you have to look at the games your opponent played, certain decisions he or she made before. But if you can get the best of this knowledge, recognizing the strengths a...

Elevate your game

At age 22, Garry Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion. After beating Bobby Fischer’s peak rating, he outranked his fiercest competitors for over twenty years. Now, Garry is ready to share the chess strategy that made him a six-time world champion. Through detailed lessons, including his favorite openings and advanced tactics, you will develop the instincts and philosophy to become a stronger player.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

We learned many tactics and strategies. Also, we learned about mental toughness. This was an excellent course!

I woke my interest in chess again, Now I will teach my son chess.

Thanks Garry for such incredible journey! I've learned important things that I used to overlook when playing chess. Planning to keep using this material for constant study! Thanks a lot for this series!

Really insightful. Well worth doing this course.


Marsha W.

I like what he said about making your opponent uncomfortable, also about allowing your opponent to make mistakes

Paul K.

Though about chess, this section has great lessons about business and lifestyle decisions.


absolutely useless..having played chess for years and then listening to his views and not watching his play is poor teaching.I didn't want a talk fest, I wanted information on particularly openings

Josiah R.

Watching this to become a better MMA and chess player. This lesson was perfect for both 👌🏽


I think the most common mistake (besides blunders) one can make, is to become so enwrapped in your own exciting idea of what you will do--even in a single pattern--that you forget that your opponent has a plan of their own (or...may have one...). An excellent reminder. Let us take a moment to "think about the other guys' greed"[quote from Brian DePalmas' movie Scarface].

Vickie R.

I can't figure out how I was so good at chess as a kid (playing vs my dad and WINNING!) yet now I can't remember it so well anymore. GUess it just takes practice and to do it over and over and over again.

David B.

Hey everyone! i don't understand how to read the analysis of Bottivnik games' on the website given in the pdf? Could anybody explain me please? Thank youu

A fellow student

Quick question, I’m not really sure what kind of a chess player I am. Is there a good way to tell or a list of categories I could look at? Or will I just figure it out over time? I’m about a 1350 by the way. Thanks!

Kyle W.

I've known of Garry Kasparov since he was the wunderkind beating masters. After two decades of tournament chess I gave up the game to make a living, raise a family, etc. Now, thirty years later, Kasparov is stirring within me the desire to get back into the game I used to love so much. I'm reminded of those ideas (e.g., games have key moments where you have to focus and spend some time) that I'd forgotten. This course is reacquainting me with an old friend that I didn't realize I missed.

Greg K.

Tonight I ordered a magnetic chess set, 6 day delivery because they are out of the set I chose. Lesson 2 completed and reviewed. Portions of L3 studied.