Chess Habits and The big rating gain by Top-10 program students

Hello Readers,

I have always believed in the concept that you have to build a habit for chess training. When you build a good habit and stick to it with discipline, it’s bound to give rewards in the long run.

To give you an example, I believe it’s more valuable to do 5 minutes of training every day instead of 1 session of weekly training. In this example, even though we would have worked only for 35 minutes in a week, the impact of the learning would be higher than the 1 session of 1 hour per week.

This was one of the underlying concepts when I designed the Top-10 program, which was the most ambitious program at Chess Gaja to date, with weekly 4 hours of classes delivered by GrandMasters and International Masters, for 50 hours of sessions over three months time period. The program aimed at consistent learning, and building habits in the students’ learning process.

The program was ambitious as it was for a 3 months duration, and the students had to solve homework positions that were curated with increasing levels of difficulty, and the lessons were delivered by strong IM and GM. I believed this intensity of learning would truly help an ambitious player to improve the game. We delivered so much value for students in this program, where it cost only $15 per student/per class for the entire program.

Now that the program has just concluded, I am going to share what my learnings were from this program/experiment 🙂

Let’s dive into some statistics to get the context of this program when we started in November 2022.

Average USCF rating of the 10 students – 1769.20

Lowest Rated player – 1563

Highest Rated player – 1999

At the conclusion of the program, when we take the stats of the students of their ratings on Feb 1, 2023

Average USCF rating of the 10 students – 1814.4

Lowest Rated player – 1577

Highest Rated player – 2048

When I designed the program I was hoping for an average gain of 50 rating points, and the program came close to achieving the rating outcomes, as the cumulative rating gain of the group was 452 rating points, which averages to 45.2 rating points per student.

The dedicated learning by the students, combined with the chess habits being built, would further reflect in their tournament results in the coming months, and I am sure the 10 students who attended the class will show some further rating jump in the coming months.

The feedback from the parents was also very positive regarding the camp, and this has given us more confidence to experiment with more group class ideas in the coming months, bringing in a variety of instructors with curated chess learning content.

So remember to build your chess learning habits and become a stronger player.

Before I wrap up the article, I also wanted to share the rating performances of our two-month group class program on the topic of “How to Attack” which was aimed at players rated from 1100-1500.

In the 1st Batch, which was on Monday evenings US time, the students started the group with an average rating of 1215.5 and ended the camp with an average rating of 1324.75!! Which is a whopping 109.25 average rating gain.

In the 2nd Batch, which was on Tuesday evenings US time, the students started the group with an average rating of 1166.75 and ended the camp with an average rating of 1202!! Which is also a solid gain of 35.25 average rating gain.

As our group classes continue to produce great results, we are planning to offer more programs in 2023, so if you have some ideas on what you would like to learn in a group class setting, let me know, and Chess Gaja will create programs that cater to your chess learning needs.


GrandMaster and FIDE Trainer Priyadharshan Kannappan

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GM Priyadharshan Kannappan "Center (Former World Champion GM Susan Polgar - mentor of Priyadharshan) and to left GM Ray Robson (Priyadharshan teammate in Webster University)"