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For those with a yearning to really improve, identify your biggest weakness, the thing that causes most of your losses. Then come up with a plan to eliminate that weakness and stick to that plan. When it's no longer your biggest weakness, move on to the next. This involves discipline and honest introspection but if you have the determination to do this you will get good very fast. Your best coach is often yourself.
exactly how do i figure out my biggest weakness? Identifying it seems to be difficult in itself.
I would say the reason you're not sure is you probably haven't thought about it very much. It may be difficult, but I believe it's necessary for significant improvement.
I know what my biggest chess weakness is (not exactly going to advertise it), but I don't want to work on it. Why should I ?
That's up to you. The advice was targeted for those who are willing to work at it.
Opeings are my weak point. well, the weakest among all of my weak points.
My biggest weakness is that I dont know much about creating and keeping advantages in the mid game. My wins are based on spotting tactical blunders and more or less fortunate development of things, but once every piece is developed I am usually a little bit clueless about how to go on, especially if the position is still balanced.
So if anyone knows a good resource on how to get better at that I'd be happy to hear it.
if a player can improve within few days and can remember all of his/her game...is he or she very talented?
I have thought about it, but I can't figure out any weakness. The only thing I can come up with is that if I have a slight advantage I find it difficult for me to make it grow against players around my rating over the board when they play solidly. Any ideas how to improve this situation?
bigyugi9, Well let me ask you, how long did you think about it? More importantly, why did you stop thinking about it? I believe it has to do with DESIRE, which is a vast topic on its own. Our desires fluctuate. Sometimes the killer instinct is there, and sometimes it's not. Where am I at? Am I being where I need to be? For any real progress, that's what we need to be thinking about.
Quite honestly I couldn't agree more. I believe if honest introspection (and just plain being objective about your wins/losses in general) and desire to improve were more common the average ability of chess players in general would be the equivalent of many hundreds of points higher.
Too often you see as in this thread "Why should I" and everywhere else you see "look at my amazing win! (please neglect the errors and critical moments on both sides)"
Maybe you've heard this one but it's something I have found useful. "If you're unsure of what to do relocate your worst piece to a better square." Also, should you be stuck you can switch gears and think about making moves that prevent your opponent from improving his pieces. Many games have been won by those fanatically focused on this aspect. Another idea I like is from Jeremy Silman who says to conjure up a "fantasy position" of the ideal squares for your pieces, then figure out how to get them there. You could do this with just one piece for starters, do a fantasy position of where you'd like a certain piece to be. Or a fantasy position of where you'd like your opponents piece/pieces to be, then look for a way to get them there. It's also useful to think about what pieces do you want on the board versus off the board. That's something I thought more about after listening to Josh Waitzkin. ( I forgot to mention listening to Josh go over his own games on Chessmaster is a religious experience.)
Gather a bunch of games where you lost now ask yourself why did I lose or what phase of the game do I keep seeing a pattern of uncomfortable positions. If you haven't been losing at all do the same with your drawn games. If you've just been winning a lot play higher opposition and let them test your skills and jsut keep repeating.
Something I should have included in the initial post is that if you don't have enough energy to tackle your biggest weakness but you could target a smaller one that is good too, so long as you keep the ball rolling. Once you stop working on yourself you stagnate (with the exception of proper recovery time.)
It's true. Weaknesses really drag you down, and are the most depressing to improve on, because your lack of proficiency in some area may disgust you. But if you buckle down and realize the necessity of shoring up your weakness and honestly criticizing your problems, then you are taking huge steps to actually get rid of them.
Too often I would just study what came most naturally to me, but that didn't get rid of the losses I was getting from missing easy forks and checks.
If you have a weakness in tactics (most common), then it can be especially annoying because that means at any point, even if you go 40 moves with no blunders, if you blunder afterwards the hard work is wasted. Or if your endgames really suck, and you're in time pressure, you may fail to win with the extra pawn you so elegantly forced him to give up -- perhaps due to strong positional play.
I think it's more important to lack obvious weaknesses in your play than to sometimes play brilliant moves but often later on in those same games make some serious, often remarkably simple, yet overlooked, mistakes.
I think the most progress I have ever made for improvement has come from the sheer realization and submission to the inevitable necessity to augment and critique the weak points of my game.
Okay I wanna have this religious experience How do I do this? Where can I listen to Josh go over his own games on Chessmaster? Do I have to buy something? Chessmaster? Is there a link?
Dealing with tons of weaknesses, though the scariest is currently handwaving!
NM Heisman refers to this as playing "superficially" or just playing to general principles instead of rolling up your sleeves and thoroughly analyzing critical positions when they occur.
It's good to be able to identify critical (highly analytical) positions and slam the brakes. It takes more discipline to grind into them ... calculating forcing lines till quiescence when necessary! This is something I need to really work on.
Too many of you people are way too eager to improve. Who will be left for me to defeat?
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