The MVP approach is contagious: taking it step by step is a wonderful idea.

By David Kramaley / On / In Chessable news, Features

MVP. We’ve thrown this acronym around here a lot. It stands for Minimum Viable Product. While we are fortunate that the days when Chessable was a bare-bones MVP are now long gone, I still remember those days fondly. The MVP idea is simple, build just enough to see if there is an interest, and then make it better. This approach allows for constant improvement without the need for substantial upfront investment. This is useful when you don’t yet know if anyone will find your creation useful.

Since the MVP approach has always been part of the Chessable culture, I was delighted to see that many of our eBook authors have embraced it. We’ve always talked about Chessable eBooks being different because they are like living, evolving organisms. The authors are free to update the variations, clarify concerns and add more content whenever they need to. This is not something you can do while publishing a traditional book! Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Even if you find an embarrassing error, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to change it. Not so in Chessable!

In the last month alone, we’ve had many authors updating their books. The co-author of GM Rafael Leitao’s Sicilian Najdorf published an exciting massive revamp of his book. In October we revamped and re-launched IM John Bartholomew’s Scandinavian. All of these updates to books are infectious, during launch month FM Marko Makaj has added nearly 20 variations and over a thousand words of instruction to his Fighting Sicilian eBook. Perhaps the most impressive update yet was announced today: GM Alex Colovic has added over 13,000 words of instruction to his Queen’s Gambit Declined eBook!

GM Colovic was one of the first masters to embrace working with Chessable when the platform was much smaller. Investing the time to write a 17,000-word book back then may have been perceived as stretch and a bit risky. We weren’t even investor backed yet! He did, however, launch a book that revealed his entire Grandmaster preparation, and annotated his lines at a high level (2000+). Many students found it useful, but this being a GM-level repertoire, it was not easy going for those lower-rated but ambitious players who dived into the deep end.

Well, over the last year GM Colovic’s students have asked many questions. I started studying the book myself, and contributed my fair share of queries. The result? GM Colovic has put pen to paper (or keyboard to screen?) and added 13,000 words worth of instruction. This is extremely useful for club level players and below! The repertoire now thoroughly explains all plans and ideas, weaknesses, opportunities, double-edged positions and much more! A true display of the MVP approach. Start small and solid, and grow into an amazing and great work. The overhaul has been so massive that we had to change the name, from a Grandmaster’s Guide to the Queen’s Gambit Declined to the new title, Queen’s Gambit Declined: A Grandmaster Explains.

Such incremental work by authors will always be what sets Chessable eBooks apart from the rest. I am thrilled to be part of a community where learning is everyone’s priority and incredibly grateful to all the hard working teachers who make it possible. I’ll see you on the leaderboards!

About David Kramaley

David is Chessable's CEO and Chief Scientist. He finished his dissertation on expertise and expert performance as part of a MSc in Psychology of Education (BPS) at the University of Bristol, and also holds a PGCert in Applied Psychology from the University of Liverpool. David's chess rating is around 1,850 FIDE.