Another method to reach 2000 USCF, Part 1

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By Andre Harding

USCF Expert since 2008, USCF Candidate Master since 2011.

2009 U.S. Expert Class Champion

This is my first blog post, though I have been on for years. There will be at least a couple of more parts to this series, but I'm not yet sure how many in total. I am motivated by positive feedback, just like anyone else...

Reaching 2000 ambitious goal for 98% of chess players, isn’t it? But I believe anyone can do it.

Let me state from the beginning that I will NOT be advocating a “tactics above all else” approach. While I believe that this can work, much has already been written about it, perhaps most famously in Michael de la Maza’s Rapid Chess Improvement.

One might call my approach “knowledge above all else.”

You see, 2000 is a level where the skill of players is still low enough that knowledge (even with little else!) can take you a long, long way.

If you want the cliff notes version, here it is:

Know your openings thoroughly. Know the most important middlegame plans that arise from your openings. Know your technical (book) endings cold. Play through lots and lots of multi-piece endings until some typical playing methods “stick.” Try not to blunder too much. Pick the right tournaments for your playing style/temperament.

I didn’t say the method was exciting! I will warn you that this method requires something of an obsession about chess, or maybe a chip on your shoulder. But the point is, even a person with no talent, like me, can overcome their talented peers. You might become a robot, but at least you’ll have a 2000 rating.

Before you send me hate mail, think of that hopeless chess-lover you know who just can’t seem to improve their rating or results no matter what they try. Maybe it’s you. If Caissa won’t lend a hand, I will.

In Part 2 (coming soon!) I will discuss choosing an opening repertoire.