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

Level 4. Rating: 1200 – 1400

Knowledge needed to graduate to next level

Finding simple decoy, deflection and interference combinations. Finding forced mates in 2 moves. Main principles of playing rook+pawn vs rook. Occupying open lines. The center. The names and first moves of all main openings.

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 Combinations Encyclopedia;
Advanced Defense;
CT-ART. Mating Combinations;
Complete Chess Course;
Chess Tactics Level 2;
Attack on the King I;
How to Win Miniatures at Chess;
Elementary Chess Combinations;
CT-ART 4.0;
Chess: From Beginners to Club;
Opening Lab;

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

Alexandra Kosteniuk Commented Games Videos (for players Rated 800 to 2200 ELO)

Chess Opening Ideas Video DVD
CHESS BLITZ FEVER by Alexandra Kosteniuk

The DVD from Women’s World Chess Champion and Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk about Blitz Chess. Alexandra gives many tips on how to play better blitz chess and shows 8 of her sensational wins from the 2009 World Blitz Championship, where she beat World #1 Rated Magnus Carlsen, World Champion Vishy Anand, and super Grandmasters Gashimov, Aronian, Morozevich, Grischuk, Judith Polgar, and Naiditsch. All games are fully commented with simultaneous live screens and and 2D boards.


Exclusive DVD with over 3 hours of commented games and movies by the 12th World Chess Champion in the history of Chess Alexandra Kosteniuk. Every single game she played in Nalchik to win the World Title commented in detail in her own voice. Includes an exclusive full-length documentary of the 2008 Women’s World Championship narrated by Alexandra.


Alexandra comments in detail the 10 best games of her career, and mentions why she thinks they were important for her development as a chess player.

$49.95, zone-free video DVD for PC or Mac or video DVD, suitable for players Rated 800 – 2200 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

Chess Tactics Art: Mate Theory (1200-1800)

04 Chess Tactics Art Mate Theory
CT-ART Mating Combinations program is the unique due to two causes: the high quality of the theoretical material and a new technology of giving the studying material, the iBook technology that uses hyperlinks and additional windows for comfortable usage of the studying material. The course is prepared by the famous coach Victor Khenkin and includes 1200 instructive examples on 14 themes, each of them illustrates the peculiarities of using certain pieces for mating combinations and 700 exercises for you to solve.

Free download, in-app purchases, suitable for players 1200-1800 ELO

Chess Combinations Vol. 1 (1200-2000)

05 Chess Combinations Vol. 1
The fundamental chess program for club players. The first part includes more than 1300 exercises (more than 200 examples to explore and 1100 to solve), classified in 40 tactical methods and motifs. The program allows you to study the theoretical material and test your knowledge, see changes in your rating and keep track of your progress.

Free download, in-app purchases, suitable for players 1200-2000 ELO

Chess Combinations Vol. 2 (1200-2000)

07 Chess Combinations Vol. 2
The fundamental chess program for club players. The second part includes more than 2600 exercises (more than 400 examples to explore and 2200 to solve), classified in 60 tactical methods and motifs. The program allows you to study the theoretical material and test your knowledge, see changes in your rating and keep track of your progress.

Free download, in-app purchases, suitable for players 1200-2000 ELO

Mate in 2. Chess Puzzles (1200-1400)

17 Mate in 2 (Chess Puzzles)
The best way to improve your game is to train yourself on your computer in solving problems from practical games. If you a beginner but already know how to mate in 1 move, you have to move on and learn how to attack a king and give mate in 2 moves! This course includes 31 000 exercises from masters games. In every exercise you will have to find a best continuation for an attack against the king. All the exercises are taken from practical games and arranged according to the names of pieces and difficulty levels. A great number of exercises makes the course an excellent tool for quick training both beginners and club players.

Free download, in-app purchases, suitable for players 1200-1400 ELO

Complete Chess Course (1000-1600)

19 Complete Chess Course
This course is an interactive tutorial for those unexperienced players, both children and adults, who have already learnt the rules of chess and now wish to become players of intermediate strength. This course covers a wide range of opening, middlegame and endgame subjects. It starts off by teaching you how to checkmate the lone king and proceeds to more advanced topics, such as utilizing a material or positional advantage. This program includes 55 lessons with more than 1200 instructive examples and exercises.

Free download, in-app purchases, suitable for players 1000-1600 ELO

CT-ART 4.0 (Chess Tactics) (1200-2400)

20 CT-ART 4.0 (Chess Tactics)
The legendary tactics course that has been voted more than once by chess experts as the best chess training program in the world. This version includes 2,200 basic exercises and 1,800 auxiliary exercises, divided into 50 topics. The course is based on the bestselling book Combination Motifs by a renowned trainer grandmaster Maxim Blokh. All positions have been hand-picked over the course of 20 years of training practice and come in the order that ensures most efficient learning.

Free download, in-app purchases, suitable for players 1200-2400 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 + 8 Peshka Courses Level 4

– Chess King Platinum Pro (new for 2017)
– From Beginner to Club Player
– Elementary Chess Combinations
– Attack on the King I
– Advanced Defense
– Complete Chess Course
– CT-ART. Mating Combinations
– CT-ART 4.0
– Opening Lab

Price: $199.99       buy now

Complete Chess Course + Chess King Guide to Opening Ideas + Kosteniuk Combo (9 DVD)

– Complete Chess Course Combo 3 DVD
– Chess Opening Ideas 3 DVD
– Kosteniuk 3 Video DVD COMBO

Price: $109.99       buy now