Improving chess technique

Apr 26, 2016, 5:37 PM |

A few years ago my chess technique (the ability to convert an advantage in a chess games) was lacking every now and then, and sometimes that was frustrating and demotivating.

In the mean time things are much better. I'd like to give you some ideas for improving your chess technique in your future chess games.

Some quick hints, I just thought about :

  • Find out what chess positions you are good and not so good at, as well as what positions you are feeling comfortable with or not. When you know what you are good at, you can use that to aim for those kind of positions. And what you are not so good at, you can try to avoid, or work on it (training,study,testing). That goes for opening, middle game and endgame.
  • Learn to maneuver ! Study the games of the likes of Capablanca, Petrosian, Karpov, Rubinstein, Ulf Andersson, Bobby Fischer, Carlsen. I recommend to study the classics first, preferably annotated games by masters.
  • Learn to "do nothing" and develop patience. Lots of players want to play active and agressive all the time. Whether they are a piece up or a piece down, they will attack every piece and pawn they can attack and execute every tactic they see (even when it has drawbacks or holes). Sometimes one needs to play quiet or passive moves, in order to win a game.
  • Be aware of your concentration and "critical moments" in the game. Winning a piece and thinking that you have a won position, without developing a clear winning plan, and letting the sharp awareness of chess board slip away might cost you 1/2 and full points.
  • Analyse your own chess games. If you can, go over them with stronger players at the local chess club, or in a chess forum, or voice chat etc. Find a good balance between analysing, study and play.
  • Become a good defender, and also learn to counter attack. It may sound weird, but if you improve your tactics and your attacking skills, you probably develop better defensive skills at the same time, and that is a very useful thing in chess improvement. (Former world champion Tigran Petrosian was a positional player, and very good at defending. But he was also very good at tactics and attacking!)
  • Learn to play simple chess! If you are, like me, a player who likes to produce entertaining tactical games, you might need to learn to hold your horses at some moments, and play just efficient, simple chess, and balance the (emotional) excitement about a tactical shot with decent (rational) variation calculation. Use both brain parts if you can :)
  • Practice simplification tactics, and work more on endgames than on opening lines. Studying endgames might seem "boring" but it is just a matter of taking a good bite, and keep going. When you see the results of your endgame training in your own games, that can give chess joy and boost your chess confidence.

Today I played several games in which the technique part went pretty well. I want to share those games with you.

Game 1 - Don't give the opponent chances, and keep your own pieces working together as a team :

Game 2 - Play simple chess !

 Game 3 - Trying to stay relaxed and confident, despite earlier losses against the same opponent. "Shaking off the past".

Game 4 - Staying alert, and look at the reasons for the moves of your opponent. Create a good winning plan.

I also wanted to show some games from a few years ago where my technique was lacking every now and then, but it is hard to go through hundreds of old chess games trying to find something.

It's much easier to come up with topics to share in really fresh games.

Best of luck to all of you, enjoy your chess ! Smile

The hardest game to win is a won game
Emanuel Lasker


Later, I began to succeed in decisive games. Perhaps
because I realized a very simple truth: not only
was I worried, but also my opponent

Mikhail Tal

It is not enough to be a good player... you must also play well
Siegbert Tarrasch

    The sign of a great master is his ability to win a won game

    quickly and painlessly.
    Irving Chernev

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