How To Quickly Gain Rating Points
This is the secret to see your rating go up fast.

How To Quickly Gain Rating Points

Gserper
GM Gserper
Jan 14, 2018, 12:00 AM |
147 | Tactics

In one of my recent articles, I asked readers to share their goals for 2018. Despite my explicit warning that the goal of gaining rating points can be counterproductive, this is exactly what majority of our members wish.

Well, your wish is my command. Today we will talk about what you can do in order to gain a lot of rating points as quickly as possible. 

I bet you've all heard the famous cliche that "chess is 90 percent tactics." While this saying is a bit overused, it correctly underlines the importance of the tactical skills. (As a side note, Yogi Berra would probably add that "the other 50 percent is strategy," which is also true, but it is a totally different subject.)

stairs rising

So, if you want to get better in chess and push your rating, you definitely need to work on your tactics! There are many ways to do it. As a matter of fact, you can start doing it here without even leaving Chess.com!  You can use books, videos, online lessons, etc. No matter what you choose as your main learning tool, you should remember one simple thing: It is all about pattern recognition!

I wrote a series of articles about typical tactical patterns where you can learn more about it. But what if your favorite way to practice chess is to analyze the games of super grandmasters, or just follow those games online? Well, that is also an excellent way to improve your chess! Unfortunately, some less experienced players underestimate the instructive value of such games. Here is the comment by one of them:

I never got the point of analyzing master games when I'm still firmly in patzer territory. Is the idea to imprint the patterns in my subconscious so I'll know what to do if the time comes? Like, who cares about pawn tension and minor piece endgames when I can't win material unless the opponent hangs it out for me?

We already discussed how to study games of great chess players and in one of my recent articles I recommended this strategy: "analyze the games played by the world's best players the same way. Try to find their favorite ideas, trademark patterns, tricks, etc. You will see how quickly it will improve your chess!"

So, let me sum up: it is all about patterns and whenever you see a new pattern, try to remember it, because most probably you'll be able to use it in one of your own games!

level up keyboard

When experienced players look at any position, they immediately see some familiar patterns. Let's look at some critical positions from recent tournaments and compare what we see.

When I watched the following game, I couldn't help but notice a familiar pattern. Can you find the best move for Black?

I bet it was not that difficult for most of you since the exact same pattern happened in a very high-profile game not so long ago.  Do you know what game I am talking about?

And if you know typical mating patterns really well, then you'll remember this game:

Many years ago I learned this pattern from a book of tactics where this game was shown:

I bet it was easy for you to solve the last puzzles after you've learned this pattern from the first position. And that's the power of the ability to recognize chess patterns! The actual game Gelfand-Artemiev ended with a similar combination:

Here is one more beauty from a recent tournament:

I hope the readers of my column easily recognized the pattern from a game which was featured in my old article:

I want to reiterate that if your rating is below USCF 1600, nothing will advance your chess (and rating!) faster than improving your tactical skills and ability to recognize familiar patterns in your games. I hope all of you will achieve your goals in 2018!

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