How to improve at Chess
I like getting connected to chess players around the world! One way to do it is by playing online on this famous chess site. In this way, I realised there are many amateurs who want to know how they can improve their skills at chess. Yesterday I had a conversation on this theme with one of my students who is about to play in a tournament and who would like to increase his performance level. I told him about a while ago (maybe about 20 years back) when I wanted to do the same and, though I was training the best I could I didn't seem to know how to transport what was in my head on the chess board. I had a lot of knowledge but you couldn't see it in my actual games so... what is the best thing to do? Well, I believe it is all a process of learning by acquiring information, understanding the concepts and putting them into practice. And this takes time so we should exercise patience all along. I used to have a pupil whom I trained but since his father didn't see the results very soon he gave up on it, and this unfortunately because the boy got many prizes before. Talking about the process, it is one in 3 phases. Reading the Book of Proverbs in the Bible, there we find a recurrent trio mentioned over and over again: knowledge, understanding and wisdom. And we all want the three of them in order to have success. This relates to chess as well. How? Well, let's take as an example the process of eating: first, we have the ingestion, then, the digestion and ultimately, the assimilation. So, the first thing to do to improve our chess performance should be to gain more knowledge, acquiring information by studying the application of strategic principles, openings, endgames, tactics and so on. This would be the 'ingestion' part. Then 'digestion' must take place when we actually start to understand those principles, the structures, the logic of the game and how to play orderly. Still there is a certain amount of time between this and actually being able to play according to want you now know, and that is the 'assimilation' part. It happened to me to get a bit frustrated at first but suddenly I realised that with practice I reached a point when those principles were a part of my thinking structure and I could use them as natural as it can be, just as the assimilated nutrients become part of your physical structure. So don't get discouraged if you don't see sudden results: just persevere in your study so you can get it and then practice it until you obtain the quality leap you are looking for right now. You can have it!