2882 – The highest chess ranking ever attained – reached in 2014 by Magnus Carlsen

My free inquiry for EDCI 336 is called the expert challenge. My central question is: in what ways can I learn to become a better chess player and attain an expert rating? Chess is a fascinating board game with a rich history and a wealth of training resources. I have played chess since I was young, but have never undertaken serious study, of which is essential to improving to a status of expert or higher. In preparation for this challenge, I have acquired a bundle of training materials to improve my play and thought. My multi-modal resource list includes a book designed for expert-seekers, a subscription to an online chess instructor, a phone app to help me train, practice, and review, as well as a few friends who have promised to play me regularly. I have goals set with each of these resources (Eg. a chapter a week, 5 puzzles per day, etc.) to help push my progress. With the help of these resources, I hope to attain the rank of chess expert by the end of 2019.

It’s important to me to set goals that are attainable. The rank of expert is attained at 2000 elo rating, and my rating is currently around 1840. This puts me one category below expert in the “classification A” rank. Chess players are rated by an elo rating system between 1200 and 3000 points. My rating goes up as I win and down as I lose, and my rating will increase more if I defeat a higher rating, and vice versa. I think the goal of reaching expert is attainable for 3 reasons. First, I love chess, and that passion will reach keep me on this challenge. Second, my resources – especially my book – are specifically for players at my skill level who want to rise to the rank of expert. Lastly, I am already close to a 2000 rating. I have been playing without training or study and managed to reach 1800+, and hopefully with some focused study I can reach expert. 

I want to introduce my resources, because I’ll be referring to them so frequently in coming blog entries.

Resource #1 – Lichess

Lichess is a phone app that is a fantastic free chess tool. There are so many useful features that relate to my challenge. With Lichess I can play chess (strangers, friends, or with A.I.), study games (my own games as well as historical games), complete puzzles, and learn opening techniques. Of all online chess programs that I’ve tried (Yahoo chess, chess.com, chess24, etc.), Lichess by far the most useful and applicable. 


Resource #2 – Book – How to Reassess your Chess

This resource is central to my challenge. Reading the book chapter by chapter and taking the time to study and replay the scenarios in these chapters should alone vault me to the next ranking. The author, Jeremy Silman, is an established chess instructor that claims his book will improve a player of my rank to an expert. Reading the intro and the table of contents, I’m convinced this resource will be critical to my development.

Silman, Jeremy. How to Reassess Your Chess: Chess Mastery through Chess Imbalances. Los Angeles: Siles Press, 2010.

Resource #3 – Subscription to “Agadmator”

Antonio Radic – better known as Agadmator to the chess community – is an instructor who primarily creates content on Youtube and Lichess. On Youtube, he has 500,000 subscribers and releases new content each day (often several per day in fact). Agadmator instructs at a very high level – around 2000 – and as I progress through Silman’s book I should be able to better apply his techniques and strategies.


I don’t feel like I’m beginning a daunting journey. I feel like I’m building on a broad base of experience that has been growing since I was young. This a tough challenge, and I think my mindset may change as I get more immersed in this project. If I don’t succeed in attaining an expert rank, I can still consider this challenge a success if I can see a clear path to continue in 2020. I will always enjoy chess and there is definitely space for lifelong learning in the chess realm. Thanks for reading. I’m excited to share my progress as I travel towards 2000.

  • Mike