How to get better at chess...
Usually it's not my wish to do any public posts since I really don't want to spent my time on; but this one is a topic which really make my head shake. In advance, probably I won't appear here often, so it doesn't make any sence to argue with me; it's just my opinion you don't need to agree with. My own opinion is based on my own training for myself, my training for my students, my co-work with an educated soviet chess-trainer and the communication to her husband, who's a very famous non-opening-book author. (I don't want to mention any names for privacy reasons)
Well, what I am talking about- this are such statements like "Please give me advice, how to improve my game. Please, i play not very good and i do wanna to be upgraded." I'm pretty sure everyone of you have heard them, whether here or in real life.
Firstly there is NO EASY one. It is and stays a hard work. If you look rationally on the problem there are 2 basic ressources and many additional conditions.
The basic ressources are: TIME and MONEY. I don't say you need money to get better, but it can save a lot of time. Simultaneously, if you don't have or want to spent your time, there is no possibility to get better than your basical potential at the moment is.
Now- how does it work: you spent time to analyse your game. You can also afford an engine, which can find your mistakes easier (what will also help you if you STILL analyse your game also by yourself, it doesn't mean you don't need to put ANY your time any more at stake), you can afford opening books for better understanding your game or a database to search for similar games... This is equal for every chess player.
Now the 2nd point, which is way more interesting since it is basicly different for everyone. What I mean is personal stats: intellegence, age, possibility to memorize, and many, many more. These are the points which limit your possible talent.
e.g. for most of us it is just impossible to play as good as carlsen, but it is still possible we have the potential to play like a GM if you just use all of your talent optimal. Now that's the hard side- to reach this you need to know how good you can attack, defend, calculate, think strategically (e.g. what's seems the best move for you in the position, what are the consequences etc.), do you like endgames; -should you rather study endgames or opening theory;
What is the best training method for yourself (books, databeses, onlinechess, blitz?!), All this questions are surely hard to answer, you need experience, that means TIME. Even if you decide to get a coach, you have to still think and learn by yourself (also think about whether is he teaching you the way you understand chess?...) -How you see this is a question only very experienced people (not players!) have to answer
Nethertheless I still think I can give you a very usefull hint. Please differ between play better chess and be good (at chess). What does it mean for you to be better?
If you want to PLAY better chess you may rather get an opening book and try to copy it's moves on the board. Or you have to work on your weakest part, to tell it easier- you have to be pure rational/mechanic (I can't describe it better) on your work at chess.
If you want to GET better at chess, it means you have to be more experienced as a person. You have to develop your character as a person (e.g. through chess) as you like. You have then to play chess as YOU think is right (not "the book says that...), you stand behind YOUR dicision (whether it is on the board on in your life) and you have a clue thereafter what you could have done better. It means also e.g. to play your game, even if everybody says it is wrong- just defend your opinion or change it by yourself! Even if it means losing (-That is the difference to the first method-)
You may still study books or GM-games, as long as you explain it to yourself (e.g. I don't play the sacrifice because Carlsen played it, but much more because I trust/calculated/analysed the move by myself and am ready to play/risk and watch the consequences in the situation in the situation [the "gambling" at chess]). Another example is that I love to study openings, If I would study smth. else I would surely get faster better, but I don't have the motivation or the need to get better that way. I rather study my openings on and have fun that way
Sorry for the long blog, but I couldn't make it shorter. I really hope I could show up the importance of chess and the elements behind it. Stop watching on your rating and start think just about the game!