The main question: how to become a stronger player?

The main question: how to become a stronger player?

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To start playing chess is probably the most difficult part in the life of a chess player. Why? Because you cannot play against strong opponents without loosing in less than 10 moves! But the problem that you will find while the first few weeks will come again and again while your whole training. Beginners, intermediate, advanced and professional (titled) players do always have the difficulty on improving their chess skills. No one does want to stay on a same level 1 year and to see a rating decreasing is not obligatory worse. Indeed, a level does only help you to play against opponents that play like you.

Sometimes, it’s good to change a point of view and to play against stronger players or against players with a lower rating. In this article, I will show you how to create a good training (you will see you ignore a few things about the difficulties that do wait on you!) and how to come up to the next level!

1. Motivation!

Let’s start with the beginning: find a way to motivate yourself!

“First, I thought chess would be easy: only need to be logical and not to lose my queen… but in reality, the game is much more complicated, and I cannot stay concentrated on the chess board without thinking on doing something else!” The beginner

Indeed, it’s not easy to find a way to stay concentrated on specific tactics: nobody can understand something by reading or hearing it for the first time and it’s probably the most important to beat this difficulty first.
You will need to find a reason to play the game! Find a goal and share it with your friends! Write it in your profile, tell it yourself everyday and make a list of the possibility that are open to you if you have achieved your goal: for example, by hitting 1000 in rapid, you have made the half of the way for 2000! Then, find someone to play with to share with him your progress and have a reason to train regularly. Chess is not an easy game: you will have to be motivated to hit your goal, and I think you have surely one, because you are reading this blog on how to become a stronger player! Moreover, you need to write it down somewhere every time you have 100 points more than the last time you had written it down.
This does open the door to the second difficulty: to progress regularly.

2. Progress!

“I don’t know what I should train first: opening, middlegames, endgames, tactic, strategy, or… they are too many possibilities!!” The motivated beginner

It’s true that chess is complex and there is not a real begin for that… By learning only openings, you cannot play correctly middlegames. By learning middlegames, tactic and strategy, you still don’t use them, because you fell in a trap of the opening. And endgames are useless at the beginning, because the most of your games will end with a checkmate for you or your opponent (!!)
The solution is to learn a little bit of everything: learn 1 opening with White and 1 opening with Black. Play many games to develop your tactic feeling and watch games of titled players when you’re tired to watch how to play endgames.
Do not try to play everything perfect: it’s not possible (still with 2000 points you make blunders)
Surprise your opponent by playing the move that seems to you the most logical and wait that your opponent does make a mistake or blunders. You will need to be patient until you hit 1000 point, but I promise you it’s amazing to see all the progress you can make every day! A last tip about progress: do never stop playing chess! Practice makes perfect and you need to practice everyday to not forget what you had discovered the day before!

3. Progression after having passed the beginner-level

“I have hit the 1000 points in rapid, and I’m proud of it, but I’m stuck there and have a 50% win/loose. How can I continue my training to hope to hit 2000?” The motivated intermediate player

That’s excellent to hit the 1000 points, and now does come the longest but easiest part of the training: what you have learned as beginner a little, you will have to learn it completely without playing anymore the mistake you did before, that the opponent only didn’t see. The 999-1499 players are much more complicated to beat, because they know how to take the advantage in a game if their opponent blunders.
The first step in your training will be to learn 4 opening: 2 with Black and 2 with White, but this time to know them perfectly. That means to know by heart all the variants of these, all the traps, all the mistakes not to do and all of them which the opponent can possibly do. For that, you can find on Internet many good videos (Youtube, Twitch, etc…) or buy a book about an opening in a store. My personal advice for openings at this level are The Scotch Game, The Mora Gambit, The Modern Defense and The Italian Game. Naturally, this is an opinion, and everyone is free to choose his own openings: more games you play, easier you will find a good opening for yourself.
Secondly, you will have to train your capacity to attack the opponent’s king and to protect yours. For that, again the most essential is to play many games every day. Furthermore, does propose many good puzzles and I encourage to solve as many as you can each time you go online.
Third and last step is the endgame: you will be confronted always more to positions with less pieces or only pawns and you need to know how not to blunder and to know when you can win a position, when you need to propose a draw or to draw a position. To learn them, continue watching titled players games. For a personal training, start the pawn endgames (1 pawn against a king, then the 1 pawn and king against 1 pawn and king, then the most important rules of an endgame) and the easiest checkmates.
Remember that theory and practice are the 2 most important points of a good training. Learn as much as you play!

4. Find your weakness

“I have now a cool level, but I feel I have missed something in my training… but impossible for me to find exactly what! My opponents do always get the advantage, I don’t know how…” The motivated advanced player

Everyone (me too) has some difficulties in a specific part of the chess game and it’s important to find these and to know how to overpass them.
First, how to find them?
My advice is to analyze like 20 of your games in the week and to compare the curves to know at which move you generally blunder. Normally, it shouldn’t be in the opening, or would not be an advanced player. In a middlegame, it can have 3 different reasons: a bad defense, a not enough strong attack or the development of your pieces. In the endgames, you can have a problem with your pawn structure or a problem with bad/good bishops/knights.
This weakness does need to be in the center of your training, and it need to be the main points of all your games! By practicing the endgames for example if you have a problem in your pawn structure, and by watching titled players games, you will get easily better and beat your worst opponent: the weakness. This will help you to get at least 1800 points and later, be playing (too) many games the 2000!

With all these advices, you should (normally) have a good idea on how to increase your rating and I’m sure that the high-level players will remember that they still need to train, if they want to get always stronger!

You’re now ready for my future blogs! Exactly, I will start now a road to top blogger and I hope you will appreciate them, and they can help you!
Have fun in playing chess and good luck for your training!