Climbing the Rating Ladder: 1000-1200

This is a series where I play lower-rated players and comment on optimal chess strategy both broadly and specifically to the rating level in question. Here we rise another rung and tackle players in the 1000-1200 rating range on

Part 1 (Up to 1000):

Links to games:
Game 1 vs. thunderryan:

Game 2 vs. tonygual:

Game 3 vs. aqa57:

Game 4 vs. lenard_austin:

Game 5 vs. geox:

Game 6 vs. Penix888:


  1. This is amazing. Very instructional, helpful, and generous of Mr.Bartholomew.

  2. Love ur vids great explanation I hate the fact that while im watching u I can pick up on things even around the same time as u start explaining bt when I get into a game i miss so much an i can seem to get around that lol ur set ups are amazing bc of that tho bc even a rk600 like my self can see stuff in ur set up while still outclassing ur opponent it's simply beautiful lol

  3. why did I just find this video, it's really interesting and it's making me want to play chess

  4. Thanks John! This series was the most helpful that I've ever found and was the #1 key to my exceeding 1000 rating. I make climbing the rating ladder videos for those under 500 rating on my channel and any support would be awesome!

  5. The one thing I've learned from John that's elevated my skill the most is that you can take your time. In about all of his videos he takes his time, and even wastes minutes of his time talking, but finds himself comfortably on top. I'm naturally a fast player, that's how I've always gotten the upper hand, but he's shown me that there are most certainly times to pause and think.

  6. These are just as binge watchable as Stranger Things.

  7. Every time I start a chess game it’s a questionable decision.

  8. so you're saying don't play the hippopotamus? ): lol

  9. JB, it's been 4 years since you started this series, but I cannot thank you enough for showing such respect and dedication to taking these low level games seriously.

    I was the guy who thought he was a chess god because he always beat his friends…then online play smacked me back into reality. I was unconsciously using SOME basic strategies and openings (I was a big fan of using the Karo Kan without even knowing what it was), but it's all surface level. You've given me such practical, simple, yet detailed information that I can see myself improving even in the games that I end up losing.

    From the bottom of my heart, my friend, thank you so much for these videos. I love your content!

  10. LOL. How come all my 1100-1200 opponents seem to play like Caruana but these guys hang pieces and blunder every other move.

  11. 32 days in and at 960 from 600. Yours vids have been a big part of that, thank you.

  12. I think most of my blunders yet is because I focus too much on what I'm doing or planning and might forget to double check the board (im only still 800 on

  13. That’s the craziest 1187, allowing an IM to play the fried liver, an incredibly sharp and well studied line.

  14. these videos – your commentary specifically are top notch

  15. This is the best channel in the world. John tells you a reason for all moves. Invaluable!

  16. Awesome video for beginners like me. Thankyou very much.

  17. I think a sign that a player is more confident is that if you play them regularly they can handle a variety of openings. It shows they may have studied World Championship games from different eras etc, they are beginning to appreciate the finer points of the game, rather than just supporting MUFC or Bayetn or Celtic as an analogy.

  18. These videos helped me a lot. For anyone on please add me (Mjafson) so we can play. Also put your usernames down for others.

  19. At 22:59, why didn't white play Queen to h5? It looks okay to me. I really don't get this game though. I swear I lack the chess part of the brain.

  20. You explaining you're thought process is even easier to understand than Agad! (I'm a lower player and the way you explain is super helpful)

  21. I'm stuck at 1200 it's taking me a lot to go up.

  22. LOL my first rating was 1800 if you're 1000-1200 QUIT and find something you're good at, and don't buy cheap opening tricks that won't do crap for your game. To get better? STOP HANGING STUFF. Seriously don't build one story of a house on another. to build a SKYSCRAPER, build large steel beams and frame your GM game. That means try for 3000+ play in the opening, middlegme etc. then put the fragments together. This approach ensures mediocrity, which of course is more profitable for coaches.

  23. I'd lost my YT account if I uploaded video of my commentary on the play of those with a 1000 chess rating. Suffice it to say it's like what others must experience when they watch me sing my cover of "Pacify Her." Find what you're good at and stop making fools of yourselves, 1000s. Guess I'm not a very supportve coach.

  24. GREAT VIDS! I was watching the " up to 1000" video only a few weeks ago. It feels good to be able to make the progress! Rapid 10+0. Thanks for the info and examples.

  25. i loved this video. can you make others about this rating? 1100-1200

  26. I come back here every few months to try and get some of his calm demeanor to rub off on me

  27. I'm a 1600 player and I still enjoyed this for the reinforcement of opening principles. I don't have a professional chess channel but I've posted many puzzle rush videos and 4 player chess videos if anyone is interested.

  28. i just need 30 more ratings and i'll be a 1200 rated player

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  31. Great content but please change your profile photo its so off-putting

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  33. He reading the first opponent like a book. Damn

  34. 32:40 Those seconds after the clacking sound you can guarantee Lenard was tilted.

  35. The unnatural broccoli descriptively open because quarter pharmacodynamically open besides a annoying shelf. lush, teeny-tiny giant

  36. Do you address the Sicilian as white in any videos?

  37. Curious, why do you choose the Italian vs Ruy in this video and others? I'm guessing the opponent skill level??

  38. Still a great video in 2021! 😀
    Your video series for beginners are some of the best on youtube.

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