DOs and DON'Ts for Improving Your Chess: 10 Life-Changing Tips

DOs and DON'Ts for Improving Your Chess: 10 Life-Changing Tips

Apr 25, 2017, 4:04 PM |

Hello, fellow chess players! Are you looking to spice up your rating? Become a Grandmaster? Or even tower above puny bygones like Magnus Carlsen? Well, I have just the solution for you! 

With these 10 tips, you'll improve your rating by leaps in bounds in NO TIME AT ALL! * That's right! This easy self-study course will turn you - yes, YOU - into a chess giant to match Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov! Just listen to these simple nuggets of wisdom...



  • DO Obsess over your rating! Your rating is the only indicator of your strength as a chess player. Remind yourself of it constantly, perhaps by writing it in large letters on a piece of paper and sticking it on the inside of your bedroom door. Also, if you're in an advantageous position against a higher-rated player and receive a draw offer, accept it immediately. After all, you were going to lose anyway.
  • DO Memorize opening theory! Games are won and lost in the opening, so you should feel completely confident of your abilities with it. Pick a deeply analyzed opening that is popular among professionals, like the Berlin Defense, and fill your brain with all of the move sequences you can find, including trivial sidelines. If you can't recite dozens of lines to move 30 in your chosen opening, why are you playing it?
  • DO Drown in self-hatred after losing! How else will you improve? Whenever you lose, be sure to wallow in despair, depression, and rage for at least 20 minutes. You'll hate the experience (and yourself) so much that you'll be motivated to do better next time!
  • DO Eat junk food during tournaments, and cram during the night before! People perform at their best when they're comfortable, and for most of us, that means shoving down a Snickers bar or the like. If you get a chance to, go to a restaurant and eat a large meal. Also, you need your precious chess knowledge to be fresh in your mind, so study as much as possible during the night before the tournament. Stay up until at least 4 in the morning memorizing opening theory.
  • DO Study strategy... and ONLY strategy! Chess players are geniuses who exist on a higher intellectual plane than non-chess-playing plebeians, so focus all of your chessic efforts on strategy. If you can identify simple mates in one more than 50% of the time, you don't need to study tactics.



  • DON'T Calculate! This, obviously, follows from the previous tip. You shouldn't be spending your valuable energy looking at all sorts of different variations. Calculating is for computers! Rely entirely on general principles and simple maxims, even in the sharpest positions.
  • DON'T Focus! Focusing during a game just makes you play worse! Allow your mind to drift, and don't make any effort to avoid meandering through the game. When it's your turn to move, halfheartedly ponder the position for 20 to 30 seconds, push some piece somewhere, press the clock, and go back to staring at the wall in front of you.
  • DON'T Study for more than 15 minutes per day! Ever! Heavy studying just depletes your mental energy and distracts you from the better things in life. By limiting your daily study time to a reasonable amount, you'll get much more value out of it. If you're trying to get the Grandmaster title, you might consider upping it to 30 minutes per day.
  • DON'T Take advice from stronger players! Whether they're 100 or 1000 points ahead of you, ignore everything that they tell you about improving in chess! If you don't get why, just ask yourself two questions: 1. Since they're so much better than I am, how could they possibly understand my struggles? 2. If they're really so good, why aren't they the world champion?
  • DON'T Respect your opponent! This is a chess tournament, not group counseling, so make sure to let your opponent know who's boss. Spend at least half of the game glaring at them menacingly, and refuse to shake their hand at any time. If they're using an electronic scorekeeper, accuse them of cheating and demand that the tournament director disqualify them.

I hope you enjoyed these helpful tips! With just a bit of luck and talent (the only things that matter in chess, by the way), you'll be climbing up that rating ladder in no time!


* Not guaranteed in all states. Offer void where prohibited, except on working hours between Saturday and Tuesday.