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Your chance to train with Jacob Aagaard and Boris Gelfand

by Sagar Shah - 06/08/2018

Training with world class GMs is quite difficult on two counts - 1. It is extremely expensive and 2. The GMs are busy and don't often have the time to train others. However, things are going to change on that front. The Quality Chess Academy has been launched by GM Jacob Aagaard and it invites players from all over the world to its first training camp that will take place in Lyttos Beach Resort, Crete in Greece from 4th to 10th of November 2018. This coaches at the camp are GM Jacob Aagaard and GM Boris Gelfand (Yes! you heard that right!). This camp will be open to only players above 2300 Elo. The next camp is also scheduled from 8th to 14th May and this will be open to players of all ratings! Check out the article and get to know more about the Quality Chess Academy. 

Jacob Aagaard and Boris Gelfand who have worked on two books together, have now joined forces for the first camp at the Quality Chess Academy

We all know about Jacob Aagaard's books. His "Grandmaster Preparation" series has created innumerable strong players all over the world. But Jacob Aagaard is also a fine trainer. Recently he became the coach of the Indian women's team. He has a number of world class players with whom he has worked. GM Sam Shankland being the most prominent one. Jacob also helped Boris Gelfand with his preparation for the World Championship match with Anand in 2012 by posing the world class GM regularly with difficult training positions to solve. Another example of Jacob's success as a trainer is his work with GM Sabino Brunello, which saw the Italian move to a rating of 2617 and also win the Tata Steel C-category with a score of 11.0/13 and a performance rating of 2764. Aagaard was also instrumental in WGM Sabina Foisor winning the US Women's Championship in 2017. Seeing that his training techniques are bearing fruit, Jacob began having training camps at his place in Scotland. Due to the paucity of space he would invite around six players who would stay at his place for a period of five days and the group would work not just on chess, but also on psychology, fitness and overall development as a player.

A typical day at Jacob's training camp in his home in Scotland

Three such camps were held in the past and the number of people applying for a spot in such camps started to grow. It was clear that Jacob would need a bigger space. That's when the idea of the Quality Chess Academy began to take shape. The Quality Chess Academy would like to replicate training sessions similar to what Jacob Aagaard has done at his place in Scotland, but on a bigger scale and also with more trainers joining in.


The first instalment of the Quality Chess Academy will be hosted at the Lyttos Resort, near Heraklion, Greece from the 4th to the 10th of November 2018. The trainers will be Grandmasters Boris Gelfand and Jacob Aagaard. As this is the first camp and they want to acquire some experience before opening up for a larger audience, the participation has been limited to the following:

1. Grandmasters

2. International Masters

3. Women Grandmasters

4. Players with a rating of 2300 on a FIDE list at some point during 2018

Who would not want to train here! The Lyttos Beach resort in Crete, Greece


1) Registration is £299 (approximately Rs.26,700). Before the 4th of September, we are offering a £50 (approximately Rs.4,500) discount on the fee. Registration for accompanying persons is £150. Before the 4th of September, we are offering a £25 discount. You can get more details about the other costs related to accommodation by clicking the "register now" link below. You can also fill in the form and show that you are interested from the link given below.

Register now

May 2019 camp:

This is what is written for the May 2019 camp on the Quality Chess Academy website:

"After our trial run November 2018 where participation is somewhat limited (giving us a chance to learn how to run a camp) we will organise a camp with free entry for players of all levels, 8-14 May 2019. Grandmasters Jacob Aagaard and RB Ramesh have confirmed their participation. QC Academy is in conversation with other famous trainers at this point. The camp will mainly consist of work in group training, based on rating. Our promise is that the camp will be designed for both grandmasters and club players. The dates are chosen to make it possible to participate in tournaments in Heraklion right before or right after the camp. More details will follow. Registration will be possible from October 12th."

Jacob Aagaard at the residence of GM R.B. Ramesh and WGM Aarthie Ramaswamy in Chennai. Ramesh will be one of the trainers in the Quality Chess Academy training camp in May 2019.


Here are some of the testimonials from some of the players that Jacob has trained. I have never been personally trained by Jacob, but I travelled with him for nearly a month to five cities in India and six countries in Asia on his book tour as his manager. One thing that really stood out was Jacob's dedication as a trainer. The class timings would be something like 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. but the session would go on until 3 p.m. The focus was more on whether students understood the concept that he was trying to teach rather than ending the class on time.

GM Iván Salgado López (2643), Spain

I have read most of Jacob Aagaard’s books. I always enjoyed them and thought it would be interesting to have training sessions with him. I learned a lot about myself at the July camp, about how I think. Most importantly, Jacob showed me a path to improvement. Now it is all up to me! GM Mads Andersen (2601), Denmark I have participated in Jacob Aagaard’s training camps twice – 2017 and 2018. Every day of both camps have been filled with great training that has not only sharpened my chess and given valuable input on places where I could improve, but also inspired me to work just as hard once I returned home. All participants (and the coach ) were friendly as well as strong chess players. Spending a week in such company, offered me a great time, as well as a chance to learn something and to improve.

GM Sabino Brunello (2555), Italy

I was Jacob’s student for many years (2006 till 2012). He is a great coach as well as a friend and I’m very thankful for all of his lessons both in and out of the chessboard. Ironically my greatest achievements of winning the Wjik Aan Zee C-group with 11/13, achieving a 2600+ rating and soon after qualification to the World Cup, happened right after we stopped working together, it was obvious that they were the fruit of our previous efforts. Thank you Jacob!

IM G.A. Stany (2494), Trickystan

The chess camp organized by Mr Aagaard was a mirror for me to understand my strengths and weaknesses. The group was a mix of strong GMs and IMs and I found it really interesting to see how players of different strengths think and react to different situations. Jacob is a man of wisdom and a task master. The amount of analysis he has done on many chess positions is mind boggling. He was always ahead of us in the chess analysis, but I did manage to beat him once in badminton – a great consolation for me! Special mention goes to Kallia who worked really hard to make our stay comfortable. She is an excellent cook, which was a bonus of the camp.

IM Koen Leenhouts (2475), Netherlands

In July 2018 I visited Jacob’s training camp in Glasgow. It was a wonderful experience where I met some great people. I would whole-heartily recommend Jacob as a trainer. He really pushes you to reach your potential. His preparation is meticulous and his organisation quite strict. On the first day with all the tough training material I felt like such a lousy chess player, but day after day I felt my chess muscles growing. The camp was very motivating for me to keep working on chess in a consistent manner and to try to improve slowly, but surely. What I did not expect to be so instructive, was working in a group. We were eight people and I learned a lot from the other players’ inputs. If I can get the days off of work, I will surely visit his camps again.

IM Swayams Mishra (2467), India

The July 2018 camp was intensive and high quality training with strong players from all over the world. It was a super friendly atmosphere with everyone coming together as a group. Jacob has already proved that he is one of the best trainers in the world. His methods were quite unique and I am sure the training has helped me improve as a player.

IM Fenil Shah (2412), India

Jacob’s training methods are truly unique, which made the camp intense and fun. The difficulty of the training positions was exorbitant, forcing you to push yourself. Working with other strong players during the camp was a great opportunity to interact and learn from them as well. I would strongly recommend attending Jacob’s training camps to understand how one should work to become a chess professional.

Visit the Quality Chess Academy website


You can follow the trip of Jacob Aagaard in India and Asia through the links of the articles given below:

Jacob Aagaard and the magic of Mumbai

Aagaard and the amazing Ahmedabad

Delhi and 48 hours of fun with Jacob

Jacob and joy in the city of joy

Why Chennai is the chess capital of India

Jacob Aagaard and the Asian Adventure - Part I

Jacob Aagaard and the Asian Adventure - Part II

Jacob Aagaard and the Asian Adventure - Part III

Good news for chess book lovers! Quality Chess has shipped over 3000 books to India and they will be available in the ChessBase India online shop in a month from now! We already have 55 Quality Chess titles. That number will increase to somewhere around 80 titles. We apologize that some of the titles have been out of stock for a while. Soon they will be back in stock!

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