"Seven Habits of Highly Effective Chess Students" (Summary)

"Seven Habits of Highly Effective Chess Students" (Summary)

Jan 10, 2016, 12:17 PM |

"Seven Habits of Highly Effective Chess Students" (Summary)

The most important reason that people play chess is "because it's fun." If you're not having fun there are only two reasonable choices: 1) "Quit playing and do something you enjoy," or 2) "Learn how to make chess fun!"  The following seven "habits" will help you to improve your game, and increase your fun!  This does not mean that it is "easy."  Habits require discipline and regular practice to acquire.  This material has been distilled from many sources and will be expanded on in individual articles.

Habit 1) Practice Regularly. “The will to win” means nothing without “the will to prepare.

Regular practice is the foundation for all of the other "Habits." By "regular" practice we mean setting a "goal" and maintaining a schedule that keeps one from constantly "forgetting" to play.

Habit 2) Learn, and then apply the opening theory represented by the "Three Opening Goals" and further detailed by the "Seven Things To Do in the First Ten Moves."

An expanded summary of these strategies is found on our website, and at
http://www.shatranj.us/files/3Goals%207ThingsSum.pdf  There is also a wealth of opening information on Chess.com and other internet and print sources.

Habit 3) Learn to recognize the "The Ten Bad Moves" (from my basic curriculum), and always ask the "Key Questions" that will help avoid "Moving Too Fast" (Bad Move No.1).

An expanded summary of these may also be found on our website, and at
http://www.shatranj.us/files/10BadSumKeyQuest.pdf  Of course, many other "bad moves" exist, as well. Learn to avoid them in your play and exploit them in your opponents’. Motivated students will seek out further information on strategic, tactical, and other player errors and bad habits.

Habit 4) Practice endgames!

Understand both offense and defense for the "Three Basic Checkmates" (Two Rook Mate, King & Queen Mate, and King & Rook Mate) and basic Pawn play and structure.  Pawn promotion (or the threat of promotion) in the endgame is a powerful weapon that often wins games. There are numerous sources on endgame play, including articles and videos here on Chess.com

Habit 5) Learn and practice Tactics!

The "Four Basic Tactics" I begin with are 1) Pins, 2) Forks, 3) Skewers, and 4) Discovered Attacks. But there many, many more. Learn to recognize them, set them up, and defend against them.

Habit 6) Reviewing your own games, and others' for mistakes and new ideas.

In addition to your own games, there are many available resources for others (website databases, videos, printed materials, etc.)

Habit 7) Improve your ability to "visualize" upcoming moves (both yours and your opponents’) before they are made.

“Visualization” is a “skill,” like any other, that may be improved with “practice.” 

 “See it in your head before you do it on the board!”