How NOT To Improve At Chess

How NOT To Improve At Chess

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Disclaimer: This post is written by a chess coach and streamer who has not improved at chess in a long time. What does he know?!

  • Play exclusively bullet and hyperbullet

Chess is a game of pattern recognition! The more patterns you see, the faster you improve. An exclusive diet of one-minute—or better yet, 30 or 15 second—games allows you to maximize the patterns you see every day; just punch that seek button and let the power of osmosis drive your chess learning!

  • Don't review your games

You KNOW why you lost that game, why would you need some stupid computer or long-since-past-his-prime chess expert rubbing your face in it. Sure, you were in huge trouble on the board and the clock, but really this game was lost due to a simple one-move blunder. No need to waste time thinking about it. Heck, you've already forgotten the game ever happened.

  • Only play weaker opponents

The surest sign of improvement is winning, and you ALWAYS win against your friends and your co-workers. Like the great Paul Morphy, you are just honing your smashing attacks for the day that you make a world tour and destroy everyone with your patented 1.h4 and 2.Rh3 attacks.

what a typical victory looks like
  • Hire a coach and don't do what they say

You're paying this guy $50 an hour, and he wants YOU to do all the work?! Endgames, openings, middlegames, master games, manage your clock, etc. etc. etc. Exhausting! What kind of a scam is this!

Really, you just need him to show you a few opening traps and tell you that you are clearly a good player and the wins will come soon enough. Anyway, you don't think you'll be taking too many more lessons; you've done three of these sessions, and your rating is going DOWN!

  • Don't study endgames

That king and pawn endgame looked awfully familiar... Didn't you lose exactly like that last month? Must be a coincidence 😕

  • Play by rote

1.d4, 2.Nf3, 3.e3, 4.Bd3, 5.c3, 6.0-0 for the win! At some point, you'll just sac on h7 or h6, and it'll either work or it won't. Same old, same old 👍

  • Don't study master games

Study some 100-year-old games from Capablanca? What a waste of time! Besides the computer just pokes holes in all those old games anyway. Play, play, play - that's where it's at! Just check out these ideas you are playing for the very first time! ...Rxc3 sacing the exchange in the Sicilian?! What an idea! Nd2-f1-g3-f5 in the Ruy Lopez? Whodathunkit?! Best reinvented wheel ever.

  • Never play classical

Two hours per game?! Boooooooooooooring! You tried a chess tournament once, and you are damn sure never doing that again! All those old players never would have beat you if you hadn't been falling asleep at the board waiting for them to make a gosh-darned move. Geeez!

  • Never use engines

You did like that one time said you were "brilliant," but that "blunder" annotation... what a buzzkill. And who is this "Stockfish" saying "missed win"? You won, didn't you?! You didn't miss a darn thing.

  • Only use engines

Why are all these ignorant chess "masters" even bothering to think for themself anymore?!?! If there's one thing you hate, it's some grandmaster commenting on a chess tournament without a chess engine. Could they BE anymore wrong?! You certainly would never turn off the engine and think for yourself. Heck, you've already been banned from every major chess site for doing just that.

Second Disclaimer: You don't NEED to improve at chess. You can have fun and enjoy the game in any way you like! If you are focused on improvement, maybe be wary of some of these traps.

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NM Sam Copeland

I'm the VP of Chess and Community for I earned the National Master title in 2012, and in 2014, I returned to my home state of South Carolina to start Strategery: Chess and Games. In late 2014, I began working for and haven't looked back since.

You can find my personal content on Twitch , Twitter , and YouTube where I further indulge my love of chess.

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