Remote Chess Academy Review – Worth it?

In my pursuit of online chess learning resources, I have stumbled upon various academies, websites, and YouTube channels. One name that has a lot of presence in the online chess world is the Remote Chess Academy, founded by Grandmaster (GM) Igor Smirnov.

This academy is an online platform that offers a comprehensive and structured approach to chess education, and was established with the goal of making high-quality chess training accessible to students worldwide, regardless of their location.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into the Remote Chess Academy, presenting the content it offers and reviewing whether it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re set on taking your chess ability to the next level.

Who is GM Igor Smirnov?

Igor Smirnov is a distinguished figure in the world of chess education, renowned for his profound knowledge and exceptional teaching abilities.

As an International Grandmaster, he has achieved the highest level of chess mastery, a title earned through rigorous competition and demonstrated expertise on the chessboard.

However, what truly sets Smirnov apart is his dedication to sharing his chess wisdom with others.

With a passion for teaching, he has become a sought-after instructor, guiding countless students on their chess journeys. He has taught students from India, Russia, the United Kingdom, and even Sheikh Mohammed Al Hamed, member of the royal family of the United Arab Emirates.

Grandmaster Igor Smirnov posing with a number of trophies and accolades.

Igor’s qualifications extend beyond his title, encompassing years of practical experience, a commitment to lifelong learning, and a genuine desire to empower others with the strategic insights and tactical brilliance that have defined his own chess career.

Through his Remote Chess Academy (RCA), Grandmaster Smirnov continues to make chess accessible and approachable, ensuring that his legacy extends far beyond the grandmaster title.

Teaching Style and Methodology

Igor emphasizes the importance of having a systematic method of improving at chess; a thinking algorithm of simple and actionable ideas.

He believes that many people have a lot of chess knowledge and information, but it just ends up confusing them as they don’t exactly know what to do with this information.

In his videos, he presents the idea that it’s not so much about knowing opening theory and memorizing lines, but rather about having a “blueprint” of what moves should be prioritized, and when.

The first Remote Chess Academy video I watched was about formulating a chess study plan, and I found it extremely useful. I highly recommend that you watch it, it’s only around 10 minutes and will give you a very good idea of his teaching style.

The Free Masterclass Video

The Remote Chess Academy offers a free masterclass training video. To sign up, you just need to provide your name and email and you’re good to go.

The masterclass is a one-hour video in which Igor covers the following key points:

  • 3 main ways to improve your chess results significantly
  • The reasons why some players do not progress, even after putting a lot of efforts and studying for years
  • The answers to the general questions that students ask

I highly recommend that you sign up. It’s free, and it will help you improve your chess thinking process using simple steps. However, if you’re only interested in the gist, I’ve got you covered.

The masterclass starts with Igor explaining that everyone can achieve their chess goals if they’re equipped with a systematic, polished framework as opposed to having a bunch of disorganized chess information.

He mentions a few examples of how his students saw great success thanks to his system, and were able to realize their chess dreams whatever they might be; some students reached a rating of 1800 in a matter of months, whereas one student became the youngest International Master in Venezuela!

The video continues with Igor showcasing a number of chess games that he uses to demonstrate, in depth, what he calls the fundamental tasks of the opening:

  • Develop your pieces
  • Castle
  • Connect your rooks

In a similar manner, he explains in detail the general middlegame thinking process:

“How can I attack or capture something on the opponent’s half of the board? If there’s no way to attack right away, prepare for an attack on the next move.”

In the Q/A section of the video, Igor urges you to think of chess puzzles as you would when you’re playing a game.

When we solve puzzles, we usually have a preconceived notion that there is some sacrifice or clever idea looming. In a game, this wouldn’t be the case. For this reason, Igor tells us to apply the same systematic method when solving tactical puzzles so that any improvements we rack up actually translate to real-game improvement.

The Course Offer and Pricing

The masterclass video ends with GM Igor Smirnov extending an invitation for you to invest in a super pack containing all of the courses he has written in his career, with some very interesting additional bonuses:


  1. The Secrets of Strong Players ($99)
  2. 7 Keys to Victory ($109)
  3. Attack and Win! ($89)
  4. Your Winning Plan ($59)
  5. Winning the Middlegame ($119)
  6. An Endgame Expert ($98)
  7. The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory ($53)
  8. The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory 2 ($88)
  9. The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory 2 Bonus Pack ($25)
  10. My Thinking System ($17)
  11. The Grandmaster’s Positional Understanding ($139)
  12. Play Like Fischer ($139)
  13. Calculate Till Mate ($149)
  14. Boleslavsky Pawn Structure ($79)
  15. The Grandmaster’s Secrets ($57)
  16. How to Beat Stronger Opponents ($59)
  17. Self-taught Grandmaster ($129)


  1. Two books: “A Promoted Pawn: My Chess Journey” and “Champion Psychology – A Book for Future Chess Champions” ($89 value)
  2. All premium video lessons ($100 value)
  3. Access to exclusive mastermind groups (priceless!)

If you were to buy these courses and bonuses individually, they would cost around $1,700. However, the super pack offers a discount with a special offer of $997. But that’s not it.

If you sign up to the masterclass I referred to earlier, you are given a massive discount and the price drops to $497! This is only valid for the first 100 students who enroll after the masterclass, so act quickly if you’re interested.

If you feel like you don’t want to commit to something of this magnitude but would rather buy one or a few courses individually, you can definitely do that as well.

Keep in mind that the Remote Chess Academy offers very frequent discounts reaching up to 80% on all courses and packages.

Not only that, but they also have frequent buy-one-get-one-free deals that are not limited to a certain quantity. For example, if you buy 5 courses, you will get 5 additional courses free of charge.

If you're not sure which course is best for you, make sure to read the FAQ section at the end of this article.

The Pros

Let’s take a look at why investing in the Remote Chess Academy’s super pack can be very attractive for chess enthusiasts.

Structured Curriculum

One of the standout features of the Remote Chess Academy is its meticulously structured curriculum. The academy offers a range of courses designed for players of all levels, from novice to advanced.

These courses cover various aspects of chess, including openings, middlegame strategy, endgames, and even psychological aspects of the game.

The curriculum is divided into manageable sections, allowing students to progress at their own pace.

Psychological Aspects

In addition to chess theory and tactics, the Remote Chess Academy recognizes the importance of the psychological aspect of chess.

Courses and materials address topics such as concentration, handling pressure, and maintaining a winning mindset.

Interactive Learning

The academy employs a mix of live online classes and pre-recorded video lessons, creating an interactive and engaging learning experience.

This blend allows students to benefit from live instruction while also having access to a library of video content they can revisit at their convenience.

Live classes provide opportunities for direct interaction with instructors and fellow students, enhancing the overall learning experience.

Practical Application

The Remote Chess Academy emphasizes the practical application of chess knowledge. Students are encouraged to practice what they’ve learned through exercises, puzzles, and real-game scenarios.

This emphasis on practicality helps students develop their skills and apply them in actual games.

Community and Support

Beyond the instructional content, the academy fosters a sense of community among its students.

Discussion forums, chat groups, and online tournaments provide opportunities for students to interact, share experiences, and seek guidance.

This powerful sense of belonging to a global community of chess enthusiasts can be motivating and enriching.

Practical Results

The effectiveness of the academy’s teaching methods is evident in the practical results achieved by its students.

Many have reported significant improvements in their chess ratings and tournament performance after completing courses at the Remote Chess Academy.


The 30-day money-back guarantee is a great plus as it makes this investment risk-free.

The Cons

In my opinion, the only negative I could find is that the Remote Chess Academy website can really use some design touches. Its design is old and gives off a somewhat “salesy” vibe.

However, this is not a make-or-break feature; the value is not so much in the aesthetic, but rather in the chess.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) Is the Remote Chess Academy worth it?

This depends on your individual goals and learning style.

The academy offers a variety of courses taught by experienced chess instructors, including Grandmaster Igor Smirnov. The courses are well-structured and cover a wide range of chess topics, from beginner to advanced.

Many students have found that Remote Chess Academy has helped them improve their chess skills significantly. However, you will need to be dedicated to your studies in order to see results.

Q2) Is Igor Smirnov a good chess teacher?

Igor Smirnov is a Grandmaster with a FIDE rating of around 2500, so he definitely has the credentials.

He has been teaching chess for over 20 years and is known for his clear and concise explanations. Smirnov’s courses are highly rated by students, and he is considered to be one of the best online chess instructors available.

Q3) What are the best Remote Chess Academy courses?

The best Remote Chess Academy courses for you will depend on your current chess skill level and your goals. However, some of the most popular courses include:

  • Calculate Till Mate: This course teaches you how to calculate tactical positions quickly and accurately.
  • Your Winning Plan: This course teaches you how to develop a clear, practical planning system, particularly in the middlegame.
Q4) What Remote Chess Academy course should I start with?

The course you should start with depends on your goals and where you think your chess weak points are.

I recommend you take a look at this documentation by the Remote Chess Academy in which they outline the best courses for you depending on your chess level and goals:

Q5) How much do Remote Chess Academy courses cost?

The price of Remote Chess Academy courses varies depending on the length and level of the course. However, most courses are priced between $50 and $150.

Q6) Are there any free Remote Chess Academy courses?

Yes, there are a few free Remote Chess Academy courses available on YouTube.

However, these courses are nowhere near as comprehensive as the paid courses.

Q7) What is the refund policy for Remote Chess Academy courses?

The Remote Chess Academy offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all courses.

Q8) Can I take Remote Chess Academy courses on my mobile device?

Yes, all Remote Chess Academy courses are compatible with mobile devices.

Q9) Does Remote Chess Academy offer private chess lessons?

Yes, the Remote Chess Academy offers private chess lessons with GM Igor Smirnov and other experienced instructors.

The Verdict

All in all, this is what I have to say about the Remote Chess Academy super pack:

  • Description: 17 high-quality courses, 2 books, 5 premium videos, and exclusive mastermind groups
  • Price: $497 (Sign up to the masterclass to unlock this offer)
  • Guarantee: Risk-free satisfaction – 100% money back within 30 days
  • Overall Rating: 9/10
Note: You can choose to pay for the super pack in installments over 6 months.

However, the monthly price will be $97 and so the total amount would increase to $582. I don't recommend this option.

The super pack is a great choice for someone who wants to elevate their thinking process and overall chess game in a systematic manner, but again, if you’re only interested in improving a few areas of your game, you can choose individual courses to purchase.

If you have any questions about the Remote Chess Academy, or any other topic, please feel free to leave me a comment below. I’d love to have a chat with you.

14 thoughts on “Remote Chess Academy Review – Worth it?”

  1. Hey there!

    Just read through your deep dive on the Remote Chess Academy. It’s fascinating how GM Igor Smirnov has structured his courses to focus not just on chess tactics but also on the psychological aspects of the game. I’ve always believed that mindset plays a huge role in chess, and it’s great to see an academy emphasizing this. Your point about the website’s design is spot on. While the content is gold, a little design revamp could make it even more appealing. But hey, it’s the content that truly matters, right? I’m curious if you think this systematic approach to chess learning is suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced players.

    Thanks for the detailed review! It’s given me a lot to think about.

    Warm regards,

    • Hi Makhsud,

      Thank you for your comment. The psychological side is indeed very important; chess is a very human game after all.

      Yes, I do think such a systematic approach caters to chess players of all levels. A beginner may only take away the key points and general tactical themes, while a more established player can dig deeper into the intricacies.

  2. Wow, I didn’t know that you had credible chess lessons online! So, this is why I’m very grateful for specialized websites like yours. Igor Smirnov is one of these Grandmasters that would bill thousands of dollars if he was giving onsite training. So, I guess that his Chess Academy online is rather “cheap” though I also smell lots of salesy tactics behind. He doesn’t give you much information in the free masterclass and this pushes you to get interested in the paying classes if you want to evolve. But it seems that this program is quite serious, so this is good for many chess players who want to upgrade their game!

    • I agree – he does say himself that private lessons would be way too expensive, so the online academy is definitely a cheaper option.

      The free masterclass does offer a lot of useful information, but of course, 1 hour is not enough to transform your chess game.

  3. The emphasis on GM Igor Smirnov’s teaching methodology is a highlight, providing clarity on how this academy can benefit chess enthusiasts. The pricing options and the 31-day money-back guarantee make it an attractive choice for those looking to enhance their chess skills. Overall, a valuable resource for chess players seeking structured and interactive learning. Thanks for sharing this insightful review!

  4. The Remote Chess Academy is invaluable for chess enthusiasts at all skill levels.

    This website provides a comprehensive and engaging platform for learning and mastering the game of chess remotely. With a variety of courses, tutorials, and interactive content, it caters to beginners looking to grasp the fundamentals and to advanced players aiming to refine their skills. The quality of instruction and the clear, structured lessons make it a standout choice for anyone serious about improving their chess game.

    There is excellent value in terms of knowledge gained and skill enhancement makes it well worth the investment. If you’re passionate about chess and eager to elevate your gameplay, the Remote Chess Academy is undoubtedly worth considering.


  5. This article was an eye-opener for me as a long-time chess fan and player. Over the past 5 decades, I have only learned through actual experiences (winning and more often, losing!), through watching my opponents’ approaches to the game, and by catching tournaments online or on TV when possible. 

    The Remote Chess Academy is something I had no idea existed, but it makes so much sense, and I am sure that the founder, Igor Smirnov (a great name for a chess player), is having huge success, as evidenced in your review of the training academy and the man.

    It is easy to see that this guy is the real deal, and I have no doubt that I could improve my game by leaps and bounds if I tried that academy. Since the first lesson is free, I will sign up and see for myself. Most definitely this article and review information has been helpful. Thanks so much! 

    • You’re very welcome Dave.

      Yes, I definitely encourage you to sign up for the free masterclass and let me know how you fare. GM Igor Smirnov’s teaching style is smooth and easy to follow.

      Always glad to hear from an experienced chess enthusiast like yourself.

      Stay tuned and keep those great comments coming!

  6. Thank you so much for this comprehensive post explaining the teaching of Igor Smirnov! I’ve been wanting to amp up my chess game for quite some time, and I’ve searched through plenty of information, but this seams really interesting!

    I’ll definitely watch the master class, and I’m pretty sure I’ll go forth with the course! Thank you again for a very well written post !

  7. Hey Yusuf, totally with you on the importance of mindset in chess. It’s fascinating to see how GM Igor Smirnov incorporates that into his teaching. And yeah, while a website makeover might be nice, it’s all about the content in the end, right? The systematic approach he offers sounds like it could be a game-changer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🤔🔍👍🏼


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