Sorry for the long delay, I'm caught in the middle of revising my approach.
(Not the tools that I use, just some of my opening selections that I had chosen to play.
I will expand some more on the features that Jim mentioned us using while reviewing some of his games.)
BTW This is a work in progress. :)
I reserve the right to modify or make adjustments anytime I find something faster and more efficient. This holds true for things I discover on my own, or stuff that is pointed out to me by those who happen to know.
I have started taking lessons from IM Predrag Trajkovic. I wasn't in the market for a chess teacher it just kind of happened.
One day while watching the FIDE World Championship matches on ICC. [I actually think FIDE got it right this time, with the double-round robin format. Now whether or not they follow through with anything remains to be seen. P.S. Congratulations to GM Topalov on his outstanding performance, the word amazing is an understatement. 6 wins, 0 losses, 10/14 points]
There was an announcement made about an open lesson from an IM, and all interested parties were welcome to watch. I had a few moments to spend before I had to head out for dinner with my wife so I decided to drop by and check out the lesson.
It turned out to be one of the most instructive events that I have witnessed. IM Trajkovic had a seemingly equal position setup on the board. He then asked for opinions on how to proceed from the given position. He then played through the suggestions move by move covering the pros and cons of each of the suggested ideas. You learned why the idea might not be as good as some of the kibitzers had hoped, by his solid explanations. He didn't slam the door on any of the audience’s ideas, or act like any suggestion wasn’t worth covering. (Like I have seen some Titled players do in the past.) He then proceeded to explain the best method to exploit the slightest of all weakness. It was something that a tactically minded individual such as yours truly would have never found in a million years. Had I encountered that position OTB, I would still be there trying to use dynamite when something as simple as pouring water would be enough to win. Unfortunately I had to take off for dinner before the lesson ended but I had seen enough from Predrag to be impressed with him as a teacher.
So much in fact that I decided to do my own research and check into the feedback reports left by his students, apparently the lesson I witnessed was just his standard approach to teaching, informative and straight to the point. So I decided to ask him about providing lessons for me. He had me email him some of my games to get a feel of where I was strength wise a few days prior to the lesson. During the lesson we started with some endgame basics which I thought I knew cold, but didn’t. He then explained the key themes in such a manner that I do know them now. More importantly I know them at a glance without have to waste anytime calculating line after line of move orders. He simplified the positions into their absolute basic elements. It feels like a load has been lifted when I think about those types of positions.
Now that I’m back from my mini-vacation I can hardly wait for the next lesson to begin!
All of those interested in finding a really great teacher should ask him about lessons.
His handle on ICC is PTrajkovic.
PS You can’t beat his rates!