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10 ways to improve in chess

10 ways to improve in chess

GM_Igor_Smirnov
Jan 8, 2017, 9:44 PM 0

There are thousands of the chess tutorials including chess books, DVDs, courses, video lessons, etc. As I often say, it is practically impossible to follow them all to make an improvement in your game. Remember, ‘Less is more’ – that’s why I’m going to keep it short and simple for you. :)


10 tips to improve in chess

 

Today, I’ll give you 10 best tips to follow in order to make your training simple and yet achieve better results. Let’s get started!

 

1. Set a GOAL

 

You will never be able to hit a target that you cannot see. Yes, setting a target/goal is the first thing you have to do. It can be the target of attaining a norm, increasing ‘X’ ELO points within ‘Y’ time, beating titled players, or even becoming the World Champion! :)

 

Be aware: set and work for one goal at a time. Overloading yourself will not be productive.

 

Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.” – Bo Jackson

 

2. Play against the stronger opponents

 

Please, don’t get this in a wrong way that I’m scaring you. :) You cannot make an improvement unless you increase the benchmarks and fight for it.


weak vs strong

 

Of course, you could keep winning against the weaker opponents but, honestly, will that help to improve your progress? It can be fun – everyone likes to keep winning without being afraid to lose or to face a stronger opponents.

 

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

 

3. Prepare an opening repertoire

 

The exact definition of an “opening repertoire” is the set of openings a player is specialized in.  This might be a bit boring because there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of opening variations today – thanks to ECO code for making it easier for us to identify them.

 

Suggestion: You may like to read about “Best chess openings and how to pick one for you“!

 

You may go through the games of top GMs who play your opening line, check the short games in your opening to know and to avoid the mistakes in the early stage of the game.

 

You can learn more about the opening stage, opening repertoire from our opening courses.

 

4. Analyze your own games

 

analyze chess games

 

It is very important to know yourself. For this, you have to study yourself – you should analyse your own games to know your strengths and weaknesses. In fact, I’d insist that you analyze your lost games first. It can be hard for you to do so but I believe no ‘medicine’ that cures the disease is ‘sweet’. :)

 

Only if you analyze your lost games, you will be able to find your mistakes so you will correct them and avoid repeating them. Although, you can keep analyzing your won games (to know your strengths) as secondary while, analyzing the lost games is PRIMARY.

 

Defeat should never be a source of discouragement, but rather a fresh stimulus.” – Robert South

 

5. Have a training plan

 

Planning is one of the most important skills in chess. Having a neat and effective training plan (or training schedule) will boost your training, and you will make a steady progress.

 

If your question is “What to study?”, “How to train?”, and “How to get the best out of your training?”, you can find answers to all those question in my FREE mini-course “Chess Training Plan for Rapid Improvement.

 

6. Blindfold chess

blindfold chess

 

Imagination (the inner vision) plays a vital role in the game of chess. In simple words, imagination makes it possible to experience a whole world inside the mind. But how can this skill help you? Well, calculation and visualisation plays a major role in chess, too, right?

 

You can achieve this through the blindfold exercises – solve puzzles without a board, go through drills, and even play a game without a chessboard. It might be hard in the beginning but, remember, practise makes a man perfect!

 

A strong memory, concentration, imagination, and a strong will is required to become a great chess player.” – Bobby Fischer

 

7. Flip the board

 

This is quite similar to the previous tip. Flipping the board (reverse) helps you to think as your opponent. This way, you will virtually play against yourself and this improves your calculation/visualization skills as well.


flip chessboard

 

You may even solve chess puzzles by flipping the board. For instance, you can try to solve the puzzle from the Black side if it’s White’s turn. Additionally, an advanced training of this method would be having an ‘imaginary flip’ – trying to think from the opposite side without literally flipping the board. You usually do this as the “Anti-blunder check” when playing a game. :)

 

8. ‘E’ for Explore!

 

Every chess player has his/her own playing style. A player might like to play attacking chess (like Tal/Fischer) and some have the style of playing positional chess (like Kramnik/Karpov). I’d advise you not to limit yourself to one particular style or the way of approaching a game.

 

Try playing different openings, different style of playing the game – just explore. This is something the World Champion Magnus Carlsen recommends, too! :) If you stick to one particular opening or style, you will not learn much.

 

The essence of chess is thinking about what chess is.” – David Bronstein

 

9. Cut yourself some slack

 

cut slack

 

Too much of something is not too good. Don’t dump yourself with loads and loads of training materials. Remember, it’s not about the quantity; it’s about the QUALITY.

 

Relax, practise yoga or meditation, warm yourself up by solving simple chess puzzles, have your favourite drink/food when playing a tournament/game. Take regular breaks, get enough sleep (8-9 hours) – you may even do physical training.

 

Your body has to be in top condition. Your chess deteriorates as your body does. You can’t separate body from mind.” – Bobby Fischer

 

10. Never Give Up

 

If you gave up, it means you never wanted it. When you feel like quitting, think about WHY you have started (your goal in tip 1).


never give up

 

Always fight till the end and no matter whether it is playing for a win or fighting for a draw!

 

Winners are not those who never failed but those who never quitted.” – Edward Louis

 

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