Review

Too advanced

10 Jul 2020

The Magnus Touch has been advertised by Chessable as a landmark and the new gold standard in chess training. Jop Delemarre loves the content as a player. From the perspective of a coach he finds the strategy course lacking accessibility and didactics.

Magnus Touch is presented by the world champion together with Chessable co-founder John Bartholomew.
Magnus Touch is presented by the world champion together with Chessable co-founder John Bartholomew.

„Listening to Magnus Carlsen’s explanations is something I admire as a player. International masters like myself, even grandmasters can benefit from The Magnus Touch: Chess Strategy, which is going through some of the world champion’s master pieces and addressing issues like strategy in tactical positions or how to use pawns to restrict your opponent’s play. **It shows what heights top chess has reached.

But the level of this course is too advanced for amateurs below 2300 rating. Next to Magnus you see Chessable co-founder John Bartolomew, but he seems too overwhelmed to ask questions that make the insights accessible. Good summaries would have helped, but what John says in that respect only touches the surface. Magnus’ monotonous delivery doesn’t help either.

Would you have found Kb1-a1 here? A prophylaxis even other world class players couldn’t grasp.
Would you have found Kb1-a1 here? A prophylaxis even other world class players couldn’t grasp.

At one point he explains how he came to a prophylactic Kb1-a1 move in a game against Nakamura. Not through calculations but out of considerations that are all very subtle, so subtle that Alexander Grischuk could not grasp it. Now why not assemble ten positions from Carlsen’s games where a prophylactic king move needs to be evaluated, and in half the cases it is strong and in the other half it is superfluous or even bad? As a coach I would have loved to see that and give it to my best students. But The Magnus Touch is not really didactic.

For this review I looked up what I bought from Chessable earlier. It irritated me that I was forced to browse many new products before I found what I had paid for. The salesmanship is going too far. Having said that I liked the Chessable editions of Mark Dvoretski or Jesús de la Villa and that they let you rehearse what you learn. But their method is not flexible enough.

Jop Delemarre is an International Master, coach and owner of a [chess academy][1]. 


  [1]: https://schaaktrainer.nl/
Jop Delemarre is an International Master, coach and owner of a chess academy. (photo: private)

They prompt you to rehearse a move on three occassions, but they should give more responsibility to the learner. You may feel that rook endings come quite easily too you, and one repetition is enough, whereas you keep forgetting your lines in the Queen’s Indian and you would rather repeat it more often. **Rehearsing moves in The Magnus Touch borders on preparing for a world championship match against him. If I could make such moves I would not need this product.

In summary: Amazing player, great games, but not an optimal product to help me get better at chess.“

As told to Stefan Löffler

The Magnus Touch: Chess Strategy. MoveTrainer™ Strategy/Tactics course by Peter Heine Nielsen, Christoph Sielecki, John Bartholomew and Magnus Carlsen. € 31,99 (ebook), € 63,98 (ebook and video).

Jop Delemarre will, together with Jesper Hall and Judit Polgar, run an Online Chess Camp for 9–16 year olds on 8 and 9 August.