Best of CLO 2011 #3- Kostya Kavutskiy on Breaking 2366
February 1, 2012
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Kostya Kavutskiy, Photo Bailey Massey
The #3 article in Best of CLO 2011 is Kostya Kavutksiy on Breaking 2366 by Kostya Kavutskiy. Judges praised Kostya's insightful advice on overcoming a rating plateau.

All these things, along with my small natural talent for chess helped me jump from an expert to a master in a little less than a year. What I failed to realize, and I'm sure this is a common mistake made by just about anyone in any level of any activity, is that as you get better at chess, or tennis, or swing dancing, or marine biology, it becomes more and more difficult to continue your pace of improvement. I was a cocky 17-year-old (currently I'm a cocky 18-year-old) with a flashy new rating. So even though I started to face master-level competition I failed to adjust my training regimen accordingly and for a full year made very little progress in terms of rating and actual playing ability.

After a year of bouncing between 2230 and 2260 I finally figured out that if I ever wanted to pass 2300, or 2400, or just get better, I would need to amp up my training at home. This would consist of a couple of things: Critically analyze and reflect on any games that I played, study my openings deeply, read many many chess books, and in general work harder at home and especially at the board.


Kostya Kavutskiy is a member of the Los Angeles Vibe Us Chess League team. In 2010 and 2011, he contributed weekly reports on US Chess League action for CLO. He has also reported for CLO on the 2011 US Amateur Team West, the 2011 National Open and most recently, the 2012 Northern California International. 

The Judges Sound Off
Read more about the judges here.
A very fine article and a great life lesson too. Kostya gives some very useful insights and advice, in a very sincere way, analyzing many different aspect of what working on chess is about. A very lucid article with a formidable added value: the passion that permeates the whole article. Not sure it’s by the author, but I’ve appreciated the funny title too.—Janis Nisii

I think everyone wants to improve.  This is why we’re here after all:  we have an interest in chess and a desire to best our neighbours and our younger selves.  This article deals directly with the question of how to do that in a straightforward, practical way.   I also liked the example game and feel it is something many readers could follow.  My quality for judging were honesty, perspective, compelling ideas, thoughtfulness, concision, and mass appeal to CLO readers, and this article ranked all the way up there!—Jessica Era Prescott

I liked hearing the author's suggestions about how to improve at chess. I appreciated the author's emphasis on learning to take risks at the chessboard and analyzing every tournament game you play- Galen Pyle

An excellent article for those players who want to improve. Mr. Kavutskiy provides an honest evaluation of what has made his game stall and what must be done to improve—Myron Lieberman

Mr. Kavutskiy describes himself as a cocky 18 year old and his self confidence is evident. He offers some very intelligent suggestions for improving one's game. This article could be helpful to many people.- Rachel Lieberman

Best of CLO 2011 Countdown
#3- Kostya Kavutskiy on Breaking 2366 by Kostya Kavutskiy
#4- Tale of a Winter Rating Spike by Jennifer Shahade (Judging article)
#5-Shankland on Making the Most of Luck by GM Sam Shankland (Judging article)
#6- Hilton on Chess Cosmopolitanism by Jonathan Hilton (Judging article)
#7- Dreams and Local Heroes by Chad Schneider (Judging article)
#8- An Amateur Invades the World Amateur Team by the US Chess Scoop (Judging article)
#9- Keep the Draw--Fix the Flaw by Tom Braunlich (Judging article)
#10- Nakamura in Brazil: From Fighting Anand to Miss USA by GM Ian Rogers  (Judging article)