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Additional Details


I have been coaching for over 5 years in Ukraine and now for over 13 years in United States. Throughout  my coaching career, I have been working with pupils of all levels, from beginners to Grandmasters. Typical coaching process - is a perpetual circle.


    Evaluation   ------>  Training Plan ------->Tournament Participation ------> Re-evaluation


With the Evaluation been the most challenging and time consuming step in the process. I often compare coach to a doctor. The doctor is being taught how to help with your problem, but the toughest challenge is to identify what it is. At his disposal, the doctor has various tests that can compare where you stand with other people. Through the test, abnormalities will be displayed and the doctor will know what to focus on.


Well, the same idea here. I have collected answers from thousands of chess players of all levels (my students, friends, web site visitors etc...) to 100 exercises. The dataset I obtained is significant enough to provide credible answers. You get overall result and a breakdown into the 12 sub-reports - Opening, Middlegame, Endgame, Attack, Defense, Counterattack, Tactics, Strategy, Calculations, Standard Positions (Endgame), Sacrifices, Recognizing Threats.

Now you and/or your coach has at his fingertips complete summary of your chess skills in the most important aspects of the game. What can you or he do next? Here are just a few options


Ø      Identify weaknesses,

Ø      Prioritize needs,

Ø      Correct the problems,

Ø      Check the progress.  


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Comments from Experts

Here are the comments from few world renown players, writers, coaches and just fans: 

“Western players, even those who become quite strong, often have holes in their game because they didn't develop systematically. Exactly how to fix these problems and build a strong foundation isn't so easy. Until now there was no diagnostic tool, but IM Igor Khmelnitsky, who learned the fundamentals in his native Ukraine, has filled this gap with his new book Chess Exam and Training Guide. I believe this book will prove helpful for students and teachers who want to get an objective idea of their strengths and weaknesses and how to correct them.” - John Donaldson, international master, director of Mechanics' Institute Chess Club

Chess Exam and Training Guide is ideal book for chess players of all levels. Those who like the serious and scientific approach will focus on evaluating their skills via special testing. Others who prefer the lighter approach to studying chess will enjoy the no-nonsense explanations and excellent selection of problems. I am strongly recommending this book to my students.” -  Lev Alburt, Grandmaster, former US Champion, Best-Selling author, Renown coach.

 “I have often met Igor Khmelnitsky over the chess board throughout the last decade. He always impressed me with his understanding of the fine intricacies of the game. Now the secret is revealed. Read this book and learn how the different aspects of the game - strategy and tactics and knowledge of the endgame - come together to make a good all-around player. With patience and dedication you can travel down the same road.” - Alex Yermolinsky, grandmaster, former US champion and a member of US Olympic team.

“…Chess Exam and Training Guide offers you an exciting opportunity to accurately check your chess level using an amazing collection of classical and modern examples. Great explanations help you to improve your tactic and strategic understanding while your work your way through the Test part of the book. The Training Guide part is your golden opportunity of getting the most useful and practical advices…training and book recommendations” – Boris Alterman, Grandmaster, former advisor to Garry Kasparov, 13th World Chess Champion, advisor to DeepJunior program.

Chess Exam and Training Guide is a puzzle book with a twist. All significant aspects of the game are tested in a clear and systematic way. The training ideas and book recommendations are right on the money!” - Alex Shabalov, grandmaster, 3-times US Champion

“Take this book seriously and you will get honest answers to your most crucial chess questions – where at you are now and what directions you should be going to!” - Igor Foygel, international master, 30+ years of chess coaching in Ukraine and Massachusetts.


"I would like to nominate Igor Khmelnitsky’s book, “Chess Exam and Training Guide” to be 2004 Chess Book of the Year on three counts: (1) As a reader of chess literature I found the book thoroughly entertaining and instructive. (2) As a chess trainer I found the material in it and the methods used extremely useful for a wide range of students. (3) As a retailer it was the biggest selling book we had in 2004 by a large margin, even outselling the entire “Predecessors” series by Kasparov." - Chris Depasquale, coach, owner of www.chessworld.com.au


“What sets this book apart from other chess quiz books or multiple choice books is both the varied level of difficulty of the positions and also the informative statistics showing the distribution of answers by players at all levels. With this data you can immediately spot if a student does not have the required knowledge that others at his level (or the level above!) do. Also, many of the problems are what I would call “indicative” problems which represent some special piece of chess knowledge, and not just “play and win” or “play and draw” situations. In that sense Igor’s book is comparable to Lev Alburt’s excellent Chess Training Pocket Book.” -  Dan Heisman, Coach, Author of A Parent’s Guide to Chess, host of The Renaissance Man on Chess.fm


“An invaluable book for improvement and probably the best of its kind--no one else is even close. Why? Because Igor places positions and questions on his website and gets thousands of answers. So his stats for your rating are quite good (almost the same as OTB), so his recommendations can carry the weight of a private tutor but at much less expense. Igor will be with us at our Chess Festival IV in November.” – Bob Long, Chessco International


“This book clearly shows what parts of the game you may want to improve and then tells you how to do that. I recommend this book to all my students!” - Jaan Ehlvest, Grandmaster, former World Championship candidate, president of Ehlvest Chess-Gates LLC


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Comments from Readers

Here are the comments from players like you who took the test:


(new) "I come back to a chess open to CANNES. I have win the tournament section B ! with 8.5/9 and perf elo to 2426 !! i win a cup and 500 € ! my best tournament of my life :) it is because i have red your book ! and i have a good trainer you ;) If you want see me with my cup of Cannes you can visit site web of my club" - Eric Lelong, France


"...I have just finished your book and took great pleasure from it. It is highly motivating to solve the tasks when one gets graded, and I feel I learned a lot of chess in the process. I also see that European chess shops now have it in stock. That is good, because the book deserves to be read by many!" - Erik Stillum, class B, Norway


 “…Thanks to the reports I got upon completing the test, it is easy to see where to place my precious chess study time. Now that I know the road to improvement, I'll try to convince my chess students to take this test…” - Bob Lynch, US class B, elementary school chess coach


 “I can say without exaggeration that if I had to give up all but one chess book of the dozens and dozens in my collection, your book would be the one I would keep, because it provides the most useful learning in the shortest amount of time. .. As a currently unrated player who has been away from tournament chess for more than 30 years, I am using your book to assess my game prior returning soon to active play. It is proving to be a very important tool and is saving me hours and hours of time by quickly zeroing in on the things I need to work on most.” -  Bob Newell, Unrated, US


“…. In addition to showing my weaker areas, also very helpful was a list of specific books and software products to use to help me improve. I highly recommend taking the test….”- Paul Clift, class A


Igor Khmelnitsky has a unique ability to take complex chess positions and make them easy to understand”Joseph Casey Jr., class C.


"The Book is fantastic. I own 100s of chess books and this def. makes the top 10. Maybe top for problem books. … I finished the book. It predicted my rating to within about 30 points and I learned that I am much better at strategy than I had realized but much worse at calculation and tactics than I thought. So now I’m working my weaknesses and researching strategic openings. "- Brian Karen, Expert, admin @ Internet Chess Club (ICC) 


"I am enjoying your book, I use it as an instructional book more so than a test. The explanations are great. Probably one of the most instructive books I have - very "meaty"..." - Mark Knerr, class B

“Excellent work. … Your book has encouraged me to look so much deeper into each position than I normally did…. I think your format of dual questions for each problem has motivated me to look deeper and get a clearer understanding of what exactly is going on in the position. These problems would not be half as worthwhile if not for your excellent explanations. Short, concise and exactly to the point. There is nothing wasted, nothing added that is not necessary to completely understand each and every problem…. I have an extensive chess library and I feel this book is the best and most cost effective addition I've made. I have gained so much for so little. Thanks so much for your effort.” Earl Wutt, Class C.

“I love this book. I may not be a highly rated player but I am a very experienced consumer of chess improvement books … I know the book is primarily intended to evaluate a players week spots and offer training suggestions, but for me, the test alone has another positive affect. The test problems induce me to analyze deeper than I ever have before.… I am impressed with the problem selection. They are interesting and varied, but most are within my capability to understand. … I have never played in a rated tournament but I am very close in skill to my friend who has a rating of 1500 USCF … I really do like this book. I hope you are able to get it out to a wider audience” Greg Fiegen, Unrated

“…I fulfilled, the most seriously I could, the 200 questions and was very impressed by my results. (I must add that I give this test great importance because I have always worked on chess alone through many books.) "Chess Exam" gave me an average Elo between Master-Expert (which is exactly my current French Elo rating) but detected a very weak spot in calculation: here I obtained just middle-class C score. I was not surprised because I suspected this weakness in my play but till this day I had no tools to measure how important it was. Now I know. Therefore the next months to come I want to work very hard to eradicate this weakness which is very awful… Congratulations for "Chess Exam". I possess more than thousand chess books and I can say that, for the first time, I have read one from cover to cover.” Jean-Marie Robiolle, Expert, France


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Published Reviews (links and pdf format)


Baldomero Garcia writes for ChessCafe.com (06/17/05): "If you are in the under-2200 category and would like to know how to economize your limited training time, then Chess Exam and Training Guide is for you. It’s simply one of the best instructional books I’ve read in years. It’s a labor of love, so don’t let this one pass you by." read the full article here


GM  Kavalek writes in Washington Post (02/14/2005) "Khmelnitsky's book  is a delightful surprise...." read the full article here


GM Jonathan Rowson book reviews for "New in Chess" #1, 2005:  "I am happy to add my endorsement..." read the full review here


  IM Andrew Martin (renown writer and coach) for "Chess":

"Chess books, as you know, fall on us like snowflakes out of a wintry sky. One which helped me recently and which I enjoyed very much, is 'The Chess Exam' by IM Igor Khmelnitsky.


On the face of it, the format is a simple one. The reader is asked to solve 100 multiple choice test positions and at the end of the course will receive an estimate of his or her rating. But the positions are brilliantly chosen, double-checked by Alex Yermolinsky to ensure the highest quality analysis, and very clearly explained so that even battered old IM's like me can learn something. In fact, I reckon I put 5-10 points on my ELO rating by carefully studying this book ! So I can strongly recommend 'The Chess Exam' from my own personal experience!

Igor is a great coach!


Going on to this month's game from the 4NCL, Khmelnitsky book was the only one that I had with me that rainy weekend in Birmingham. I had to warm up for the following epic encounter by trying to solve 10 or so positions from the book.

Igor would probably have had a heart attack after the opening moves; however I managed to put the combinative training to good use later on."


Chess Today - review #1 by Don Aldrich

Chess Today - review #2 by Andy Ansel

More comments from the readers (View Here


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Sample Pages (pdf format)


The Exam consists of 100 diagrams and 200 questions of various difficulty. Also you get 12 detailed reports with training recommendations. 


Table of Contents - (View Now

About the Author (View Now

Examples of the Diagram / Questions / Answers : (One of the Easier) & (One of the Tougher)



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