Alexandra Kosteniuk’s Guide on How to Improve at Chess in the 21st Century

Level 1. Rating from 200 to 600

Knowledge needed to graduate to next level

Mating in 1 move in positions with few pieces on the board. Finding unprotected pieces and picking best captures. Mating a bare king with two major pieces. Chess notation. Scholar’s mate and how to counter it.

Improvement Guide Articles

Here are some articles by GM Alexandra Kosteniuk and chess guru Steve Lopez on how best to improve at chess from different levels. You can come back to this main page anytime.

Recommendations Playing – Analysis – Database Software


Chess King Software (for players 200 to 1600 ELO)

Chess King is a complete chess package and very easy to use, suitable for a wide range of players, from beginners to intermediate players. There are lots of modes, from solving puzzles and quest games, playing Classical Chess, Analyzing games with the engine Houdini, a huge GigaKing game database, and complete Chess Opening Tree.

From $39.95 to $109.95, 4 activations for PC and Mac, suitable for players 200-1600 ELO

Chess King Software

Recommendations Peshka Interactive Courses Software

Chess Tactics for Beginners;
Chess: From Beginners to Club;
Chess School for Beginners;
Elementary Checkmates I;
Easy Ways of Taking Pawns and Pieces;
Chess Tactics Level 1;

Recommendations Video Instruction

level0 It would be a good review to watch the Complete Chess Course 3 DVD combo and the Chess Opening Ideas video DVD’s.

Complete Chess Course (for players Unrated to 1400 ELO)

Complete Chess Course Video DVD
The Chess King’s Complete Chess Course is the quickest and easiest way to learn the chess basics, the patterns, tips, strategies, techniques which will turn you from a beginner into an accomplished chess player. The DVD video format makes it simple to improve your chess. Just watch, listen and learn. This Course is a fountain of knowledge for parents and coaches. The set contains close to 5 hours of structured instruction with over 100 ready-to-use examples of sound chess fundamentals. Recommended for players Unrated to 1500 Elo. Disk 1: Opening Principles disk. It demonstrates that you don’t need to try to memorize hundreds of opening variations as long as you play the opening by following common basic ideas. You’ll learn all about fast development, centralization, mobility, and defense, all of which will help you get a good position which will lead directly into a playable middle game. Disk 2: Tactics and Strategy disk. You’ll discover a variety of tactical weapons that you could use over and over to win material and gain an advantage over your opponents. You’ll also learn all about chess strategy, plans and formations that will provide you with a lasting edge. Disk 3: Endgames disk. When few pieces are left on the board, knowing the proper procedures can spell the difference between victory and defeat. In this DVD, you will be introduced to the most common chess endgames. Knowing these key concepts and positions will increase your success in your tournament practice and will allow you to convert a material advantage into a win. You will learn about opposition, triangulation, Philidor and Lucena positions, and more.

$39.95, zone-free video DVD for PC or Mac or video DVD, suitable for players Unrated – 1400 ELO

Chess King Guide to Opening Ideas (for players Rated 200 to 1600 ELO)

Chess Opening Ideas Video DVD
Don’t be surprised in the opening! Chess King’s Opening Ideas DVD Course is the quickest way to learn the ideas, plans and goals behind the major chess openings. Just watch the moves and listen to their explanations. Over 8 hours of instruction in over 90 chapters in this amazing openings video encyclopedia! Recommended for players Unrated to 1700 Elo. There are 3 volumes in the series: Volume 1: Open Games 1.e4 e5. King’s Gambit, Italian, Evans, Scotch, Two Knight’s, Philidor, Petroff, Ruy Lopez, Marshall and many more. 32 chapters, 145 minutes. Volume 2: Semi-Open Games 1. e4 others. French, Caro-Cann, Pirc, Scandinaviam Alekhine, Sicilian defense (Dragon, Sveshnikov, Najdorf, Closed, Alapin, Smit-Morra), etc. 27 chapters, 160 minutes. Volume 3: Closed Games 1.d4 or 1.Nf3. Queen’s Gambit, Reti, Benko, Grünfeld, Dutch, Slav, English Opening and several Indian Defenses (Bogo-Indian, Nimzo-Indian, King’s Indian). 33 chapters, 170 minutes. Over 8 hours of instruction in this amazing video chess openings encyclopedia. The course is masterfully presented by chess computer guru Steve Lopez. Features Chess QueenTM Alexandra Kosteniuk.

$49.95, zone-free video DVD for PC or Mac or video DVD, suitable for players Rated 200 – 1600 ELO

Recommendations Android apps

level0 Check out our Chess King Android Apps on the Play Store.
We have more than 20 Android Chess apps and more come out every week. Already more than 1 million downloads. All courses are free downloads and provide sample theory and exercises. If you like the course, you can buy the full course.

Chess Tactics for Beginners (200-1400)

01 Chess Tactics for Beginners
This course is based on a bestseller by the experienced coach Sergey Ivashchenko which became a sort of chess publishing sensation and sold over 200,000 copies. More than 1300 training exercises are intended for beginners, both children and adults. Elementary and simple tasks (1-, 2- and 3-way) are used as teaching material. The program allows you to test your knowledge, see changes in your rating and keep track of your progress.

Free download, in-app purchases, suitable for players 200-1400 ELO

Chess: From Beginners to Club (200-1600)

02 Chess From Beginners to Club
This teaching program is a kind of guide. It will introduce you to the rules and laws of chess and let you work your way of improvement from the level of Beginner to the one of Club Player. In the course 100 chess topics are considered including rules of chess game; methods of playing in opening, middle game and ending; combinational techniques and basic elements of strategy. All in all, the course contains 500 teaching examples and 700 exercises useful for consolidation of acquired knowledge.

Free download, in-app purchases, suitable for players 200-1600 ELO

Mate in 1. Chess Puzzles (400-800)

16 Mate in 1 (Chess Puzzles)
If you are a beginner, you should practice much to mate in one move. This course provides excellent material for this training. The big number of exercises (2500) covers different methods of mating. Many of them is an excellent tool for speed training even for stronger players. This is a rare course that is intended even for players with USCF rating of 600. Even if you only study and solve 10% of the exercises, you will learn a huge number of mating patterns and probably never miss a mate in one again!

Free download, in-app purchases, suitable for players 400-800 ELO

Recommendations Chess King Learn

level0 For a limited time all Chess King Learn web-based Courses are free!
Check out our courses. We are adding more every week. Select the language you want and the course.


Chess King Gold + 4 Peshka Courses

– Chess King Platinum Pro (new for 2017)
– Easy Ways of Taking Pawns and Pieces
– Elementary Checkmates I
– From Beginner to Club Player
– Chess Tactics for Beginners 2.0

Price: $149.99       buy now

Complete Chess Course + Chess King Guide to Opening Ideas (6 DVD)

– Complete Chess Course Combo 3 DVD
– Chess Opening Ideas 3 DVD

Price: $69.99       buy now