General Advice for Chess Improvement

General Advice for Chess Improvement

Mouselip
Mouselip
Aug 17, 2017, 10:17 AM |
0
All I can give is general advice. Though there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to improve I can say in all seriousness that it all hinges on tactical ability. Richard Teichmann is attributed with having said that "Chess is 99% tactics" and I think he was one unit off. 
 
Chess is 100% tactics.
 
It does not matter what your plan (strategy) is if you cannot make it happen (tactics). So-called "positional" chess is really just a process of giving your pieces superior tactical possibilities over your opponent. So I would recommend that you do lots of tactics problems. Learn those patterns for winning material or checkmating -- learn  stalemating tactical patterns (so that maybe you will not lose even when it looks hopeless). To me, tactical exercises -- solving tactical problems -- is the funnest part of chess!
 
Don't worry too much about the openings. There is no silver bullet opening. Just know the basic ideas behind the openings and learn to follow general opening principles. Follow those opening principles until you learn when, how and why you can violate them. Move a center pawn (KP or QP) two squares to open your position. Then develop your minor pieces first, usually knights before bishops. Castle early to connect your rooks. Don't move the same piece twice (unless you must) until you have moved or improved the position of every piece. Don't lose your pieces for nothing -- and don't lose them to tactical patterns. Keep your army coordinated. Don't lose control of the center. Don't go off on tangents.
 
Learn from your mistakes. That is a big one. Human chess is ultimately a game of mistakes. If (when?) silicon beasts ever solve chess it will likely be discovered that the game is a draw unless one side makes a mistake. We are not silicon beasts, though, and chess has not been solved. Even Magnus Carlsen makes mistakes.
 
Well, that pretty much sums up generalities. :-)