How I Prepare Before A Big Chess Tournament | Using Chessbase, Study, Play Practise Games | JTGM #20

Hi all, welcome back to my JTGM series. Shortly after I accidentally got my 1st GM Norm in the Sydney International Open. My first major successful Open tournament win, I decided to take the next step and pursue my remaining norms. This meant a lot of preparation, study and analysis before I would be ready to play in my next big events overseas.

Here I will point you through some helpful tips on what I did to study and using some different tools as well to improve at this level of play. Once again I think free tools like Lichess, OpeningTree, Chess Tempo, are all great and would work well for most people. For those who are looking for more advanced tools then Chessbase would be the next step and I show some ways to use it.

🔥🔥 ChessMood are having a 1 week promotion (20-27th July 2022) for their online content. If you were thinking of checking it out then using the link below to get 20% OFF DISCOUNT. This would also help support this channel.

📚 50 Moves Magazine (Old Chess Magazine I used to work on which no is longer in circulation): 🔥 You can download 2 FREE past copies at:

If you enjoy my content and want to support the channel. 😋 You can consider buying me a drink using the links below to boost my sugar levels! 🙂 Thanks!


  1. This is really specific and helpful. Chessbase seems really useful. Should I get it at my level? or is it too early? In regards to the video content, I would like to see your calculation training as well. I hope you put it in your list. Thank you always for good contents.

  2. Hi Molton! I bought Chessbase/megabase package about 2 months ago, it is great! but I am still learning how to practically use it so you video help me a lot thank you!

  3. Great video. There is so much knowledge for beginner or intermediate player to learn. Could you recomment priorities for various elo levels, for example 1200 to 1500, 1500 to 1800, 1800 to 2100, 2100 +? Tactics, repertoire, middle game, endgame, pawn structures etc.

  4. Will chessbase be really helpful at my level? (2200ish) Right now, I am only using lichess.

  5. I really like the tips you give on this channel, and the reasoning you give seems very fair and objective. So I really feel like I'm not being given any false promises as to what to expect. I particularly like the advice about the use of stem games when preparing openings; it's an idea that I've started having lately myself as I thought about it a bit more. In the past I have of course looked up stem games, but I think that it's important to actually go over them in a lot more detail than I have done in the past. I think this also applies to stem games that are already commented on by someone else. It's very easy to fall for the trap of just reading those notes and feel like you've gained a lot of understanding of the position, but the fact is often that there are details left out in the analysis and there will always be points that seem obvious to the annotator that are far from obvious to you.

    Another point on analyzing games, there is so much knowledge and understanding one can gain from analyzing one's own games. I have neglected this a lot in the past, but it is so obvious that the games we play contain almost all the information we need about what can be improved in our own chess. This has become particularly clear to me after a recent tournament, where I realized mid-tournament that I have a fundamental weakness when it comes to the decision to trade down pieces after looking through one of the games trying to figure out what went wrong. It feels like a major breakthrough in my general chess understanding, and I'm a bit bothered by the fact that I have so many other things in my life to deal with at the moment that chess gets a bit pushed to the side. I feel like people often underestimate how big a role an understanding of oneself can have on one's improvement, and they often go for more broad-strokes methods of improving which work until they hit a plateau uncertain of what to do next.

    Finally, a few questions that I've had some issues with in the past. What are your criteria for picking what games to use as stem games? I've often avoided blitz games in the past as I've been afraid that there is a lot of mistakes that affect the overall 'quality' of the games. Is this fear unfounded (after all, if I put in the hard work analyzing the game I will find out where mistakes were made), or do you think it's generally better to use (say) standard time control games in favour of rapid/blitz games when looking for good stem games? Also, I've noticed that I tend to have a bias toward picking games that have the result I want them to have (for instance, I play the King's Indian Defence a lot, and notice that I often look for black wins when picking stem games to consider). How harmful can this be?

  6. interested in seeing the book recomendations, great video!

  7. Hi Molton, thank you for your video. I have used different software and sites before all of which are good for compiling openings and analysing specific aspects of a game. However, I was wondering how, on your path to GM, did you identify the key areas that needed to be improved in your games including gaps in your knowledge that you targeted, and is there any such approaches to these gaps (apart from general practice of topics of calculation and analysis) that helped you improve? Thank you

  8. Yes, please make a video about your favorite chess books.

  9. Thanks, the video had some great tips in it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *