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GM Swapnil Dhopade launches four online courses

by Sagar Shah - 22/04/2020

GM Swapnil Dhopade, the first GM from Vidarbha region in Maharashtra, has launched his online courses. There are four online courses - Tactical, Positional, Endgame and Opening. Each of them are closely curated by Swapnil and coaches personally trained by him will be guiding the students in a one to one coaching setup. In this article we not only tell you more about these courses, but also give you more information about Swapnil the person, the chess player and the chess coach. We also have some very instructive examples provided us by Swapnil, which we invite our readers to solve. 

From a Grandmaster to a chess trainer

Around a couple of years ago GM Swapnil Dhopade made a conscious decision of shifting his focus from being a chess player to a chess coach. He had always enjoyed training and he wanted to pursue it with complete focus and dedication. He opened his academy - Chess Pathshala. But every once in a while he play a tournament, just to satiate his hunger of moving the pieces, something he had done ever since he was a little boy! I met him at the Commonwealth Championships 2019 and he was starting off as the 10th seed. With players like Abhijeet Gupta, S.L. Narayanan, Aravindh Chithambaram in the fray, I didn't consider Swapnil to come close to those medals. But he proved me wrong! With a performance of 2580, he remained unbeaten, and won the bronze medal at the event. He made it look easy!

Swapnil with his bronze medal at the Commonwealth Championships 2019

After winning the medal, I asked Swapnil, are you going to start playing again? "No! This was just for fun! I have students waiting for me, and I have to get back to my coaching!" When you play a Commonwealth event for fun and win a bronze medal, that does speak a lot about your chess strength. Years of hardwork on the chess board has moulded Swapnil into a person who breathes chess. Being the first GM from Vidarbha region in Maharashtra, he is used to breaking the norms and taking bold decisions in his life. Hence, it didn't come as a surprise to me when he stopped playing chess competitively and began pursuing his coaching career with complete focus. "Teaching is what I enjoy", says Swapnil. "I like the process of how a student learns a concept and then tries to apply it in his games." Swapnil has already worked with strong players like Raunak Sadhwani, Sankalp Gupta and made them achieve their potential. He was the coach of the Indian women's team at the Asian Nations Cup and also part of the team that helped India at the Batumi Olympiad 2018. Now Swapnil is building up his team of trainers to impart quality education through Chess Pathshala.

Swapnil with the Indian women's team at the Asian Nations Cup 2019

Swapnil recently got married, but that hasn't slowed him down. In fact if anything it has put wind in his sails as his wife Sonakshi Rathore is also a strong chess player

A chess family - Swapnil's mother Hema playing against Sonakshi!

Swapnil's main aim as the coach is two-fold. He wants to spread chess in the rural regions of Maharashtra and he wants to create high quality content so that players all over the world can benefit from it. For the first of his aims, he has already opened centres of his training academy Chess Pathshala in Amravati, Yavatmal and Wani. For his aim of spreading high quality learning all across the world, he has come up with the concept of online courses. Swapnil has designed four online courses which people from all across the globe can learn from and improve their game. Let's have a look at these courses in more detail.

GM Swapnil Dhopade explains his courses and shows you three interesting chess positions

These are the four courses in the online academy:-

1. Tactical Course.

2. Positional Course.

3. Endgame Course.

4. Opening Course. 


All the courses in the Chess academy are based on two important aspects:-

1. A 1-1 personal online class. Now both the types of coaching i.e. the group coaching and 1-1 coaching are beneficial for a players improvement, but, the fundamental difference is that group coaching is a financially cheaper alternative but it lacks the personal touch of a coach. In 1-1 coaching the coach can clearly identify the strengths and weaknesses of the student and adapt his coaching style accordingly to provide maximum benefit for the student.


2. These courses provide homework after every class to the students of about 2 hours. There's also a Google sheet given to the student in order to keep track of whether the student is solving the homework daily or not. This motivates the student to complete the homework regularly without fail.

Swapnil and his team of trainers work around the clock and provide high quality online learning

Introduction of the courses:-

1. The tactical course (for players up to 1500 FIDE Rating)

Here's a tactical position from Swapnils game, when he beat the super solid GM from Pune - Abhijit Kunte.


Abhijit Kunte vs Swapnil Dhopade

Black to move. What would you play here?

Swapnil thought for a long time here and found the move Nfxd5! The variations that follow are quite pretty and you can play through them below:

● Duration 21 days (1 hour training, 2 hours of homework)

● Every day the work is done on different tactical patterns like Double attack, Discovered attack, Skewers, Pins, etc. "We believe that working on a specific tactical theme at a time helps in remembering useful patterns."

● A test database will be given to the students for revision after every 7 days, which helps in remembering the ideas that we learned. At the end of the course, the student will be given 4 tactical databases so that they can continue working even after the course is over.


Reviews for Tactical Course:-

1. Pramod Wankhade, father of Ashwajit (Fide rating 1144) from Maharashtra - A very nice initiative taken by Chess Pathshala by providing the Tactical Course. The coach is very friendly and Ashwajit is learning a lot in the process. (Ashwajit is currently going through the Positional Course)


2. Sachin Ranjit, father of Nikitha Ranjit from Hyderabad - Nikita started taking classes with Chess Pathshala only a couple of weeks ago and I see a tremendous improvement in her skills. Nikita is also excited about the classes as she sees a visual difference in her ability after every class. The coach is very patient and helps Nikita understand the concepts very well. Also, the homework set given by Swapnil sir is above par. It is very detailed and has helped my daughter understand various tactics very well. Though we have witnessed only 8-10 classes, we are very confident to have found the right class for our kid.

2. The Positional Course (for players up to 2000 FIDE Rating)

Ismael Alshameary vs Swapnil Dhopade

Have a crack at this one! Not easy. Black to move. What would you play here?

The White king on g1 is short on pieces around it. Swapnil decided to launch a dangerous attack on the white king. He played ...Rd5! with the idea of transferring his rook to g5. While this move looks obvious once you see it, finding it during the game is not at all easy!

● Duration 21 days

● The positional the course is divided into two parts. Part one is dedicated to studying the games of legends in Positional play like Rubinstein, Capablanca, Karpov and Kramnik. Studying the game of positional legends can help us learn many interesting positional patterns. Part two is dedicated to studying positional themes like how to exploit an open file, exploiting weak squares in opponents camp, restricting opponents pieces, etc.

● A test database will be given to the students for revision after every 7 days, which helps in remembering the ideas that we learned. At the end of the course, the student will be given a lot of positional work so that they can continue working even after the course is over.


Reviews for Positional Course:-

1. Yashasvi Gupta (FIDE rating - 1389):- Honestly speaking the positional course is mind-blowing. It teaches you how to improve step by step and helps you deal with a variety of situations. The coach teaches everything slowly and steadily, no doubt is left inside your mind and every move and manoeuvre is taken care of. Needless to say, your skills are definitely going to improve if you opt for this course. I am loving it. (Yashasvi is also going through the tactical course right now)

2. Sachin Rathi, father of Medhansh Rathi (Fide rating - 1313) from Banglore:- Medhansh underwent positional course online at Chess Pathshala with GM Swapnil. The course content including all the games was very informative and the coaching by both the coaches was good. It included homework which helped Medhansh apply what he learnt in the class. Looking forward to more courses from him. Thanks.

3. The Endgame Course (for players up to FIDE Rating 2000)

Ivan Popov vs Swapnil Dhopade

The endgame is quite complex and Swapnil shows you how to play it. Question to you - It's Black to move, what do you think Black should play and what is your assessment of the position?

● Duration 21 days

● Endgame course is divided into two parts. Part one is dedicated to learning theoretical endgames and the second part is focused on studying the important endgame principles like activating your king in the endgame, the power of double bishops in the endgame, etc.

● A test database will be given to the students for revision after every 7 days, which helps in remembering the ideas that we learned. At the end of the course, the student will be given a lot of material will be provided on endgame training so that they can continue working even after the course is over.

4. The Opening course (for players up to FIDE Rating 2000)

● In the opening course, you can choose one opening. A complete repertoire with white can be provided with 1.e4 as well as with 1.d4.

● From the black side, the preference is to go deep into any particular opening the students want to learn. Against 1.e4 you can learn Sicilian Najdorf as a dynamic option and the Caro-Kann defence as a solid option. Against 1.d4 you have the Benoni Defence or the Benko Gambit as a dynamic option and the Queen’s Gambit declined as a solid option. The duration of the opening course depends on the opening that the student chooses to learn. A repertoire once set in the opening course can be helpful for the player for years to come. You can also contact Swapnil on the email id given below if you would like to learn any other opening like the Scandinavian, Reti or Dragon!

Swapnil's book on the Petroff for Quality Chess will be released soon! 

The best way to take benefit from the courses is to enrol for two courses at the same time. For example, a student can opt for the Tactical course as well as the Positional course. In this way, he gets two hours of online classes with the coach, one hour in tactics and one hour in positional chess. Plus at the end of the class, you get 4 hours of homework at home. This makes it a total of 6 hours of chess training regularly, which will surely benefit the player to improve his chess knowledge and skills.

Personal training

If someone doesn't want to opt for these four courses mentioned above and wants to just have regular online training, that is also possible. All you have to do is write to the email id given at the end of this article.

Fees of the training

The fees of the first three courses (tactical, positional and endgame) are fixed. It is Rs.600 per hour and it comes to Rs.12,600 for 21 days. For the Opening course the fees remain the same i.e Rs.600 per hour. But it can differ based on the opening you want to learn. For eg. if you choose the Benko Gambit course, it may take much less time to cover the opening than a complete repertoire for White with 1.e4. So based on the number of hours you learn the opening, the fees would be charged.

Special offer

When Swapnil started the courses 3 months back, the students were required to pay the fees for the whole course in advance. But now they have kept the option for the students to just book and pay for the first two classes (Rs.1200), experience the quality of the coaching we provide and then decide for yourselves based on your own experience whether you would like to enrol for the entire course or not.

Payment and contact:

In order to pay the fees, you can do so from Chess Pathshala's Google Pay ID: 9860394603. If you live outside India and would like to pay for the courses, you can do so via paypal - Swapnil's Paypal id is The cost for people living outside India is USD 15 per hour. So the cost of the courses would be US$ 315. Those who would like to get in touch with GM Swapnil Dhopade can do so from his email id: Alternatively you can even fill in the google form given below and Chess Pathshala will contact you.