How to progress in chess (One million dollar question)?
Understanding Chess

How to progress in chess (One million dollar question)?

FM michechess89

Well, that is a hard one. The answer I give at this post in my opinion works mostly for all players from beginner level up to a rating around 2000. Those who have more than that (between 2000 and 2300), could make some of those things below, and I am sure it is going to help them, but maybe there are other things that will help them a little more.

It is also very important to be aware that some people need to work more with some aspects than others.  We are all different players, so, this is like a general idea which should be adapted to the characteristics of each one.  Also, this is just my opinion, based on what I have learned during my years as chess player and trainer. There might be different approaches about this.

I will give you two answers, a short one, summarized in only one word, and a long one, getting into the details. You pick your favorite. 

Short answer:



Long answer:

  • Read chess books: I think it is a good idea to read general content books as part of a training program. I could recommend some of my favorites:

          “My System”, Nimzowitch

          “ Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4”, Grau

          “Last Lectures”, Capablanca

  • Hire a Coach: For any subject you want to progress at, it will help you to listen to someone who has dedicated many years of his life to that field. You could hire a coach at, where you can find many prepared and professional teachers. The ones listed at this website are certified to be real professionals, it means that anyone can’t go there and be listed. Of course I am one of them (you have my link at the right side of the post). With a coach, you could get a personalized version of this or other training programs adapted to you. All the advices listed below will work better if you have a coach guiding you.


  • Work with Tactics: Many games are decided by a tactical trap you did not see and you lost, or by a tactical idea you created and you won. Your tactical skills are a big percent of your level. There is an option for tactic training at ( ), where you receive rating as you solve exercises. I suggest you to work hard with this. You can also study the games of strong tactical players, like the greatest, also world champion, Mikhail Tal.


  • Work with Openings: You should play openings you enjoy, and they should be in concordance with your style, so you feel comfortable with them. At the beginning is not essential, but, its importance raises as you improve your rating.


  • Work with Endings: Work with basic endings. There are many books, with different approaches. I will mention a good one:

          “Basic Chess Endings”, Fine 

            And some other good and very instructive stuff: 

           - Practical Endgames

           - An Endgame Expert

  • Play games and analyze them: This is a great exercise, and it works for all levels. Play games and analyze them later with a coach or an engine. The more time the game is played with, the better the results will be. Someone said “All you need to progress is in your own games”, so, analyze them. This is a great stuff created by GM Smirnov about how to analyze your games.
  • Create your own training schedule: If you have available time, create a schedule where you organize the time you are investing at chess training. If you want to progress, you will need discipline, and a schedule will help you with this. 
  • Have fun: Last, but not least, don´t forget it is just a game, a very interesting, addictive, healthy and challenging game. Try to progress, but do not forget to enjoy it!

If you liked this post leave a comment and let me know it. And if you think it is going to be helpful for your friends, share it.

More stuff for beginners and intermediate players:

7 keys to victory

Middlegame Expert

Beginners Great Package

Opening master