How to Improve at Chess. Tip 1 - Know your weakness and eliminate it!

Jul 1, 2007, 9:16 AM |

Most chess players wonder how they can improve. There are many articles that have been written on how to improve at Chess, how to train etc. Here is one more tip: Know your weakness and eliminate it!

You may have several weaknesses, but pick one! It is easier to deal with one thing at a time that it is to deal with multiple things. Let's say the weakness is your lack of knowledge in opening theory. I think this would be the worst of weaknesses as you can lose a game in the opening because of inaccurate play. How would you go about eliminating this? Several ways:

1) Study all openings! That's a hard one, but that is what Fischer did. You need to have time on your hands to do this. The benefit of this is that there will be no surprises in the Opening. You will have seen it all, at least once. I did not do this, so I would not tell you to do it.

2. Choose a few openings and focus on those. Which few? I am not sure. But the easiest way to do this is to think about what you are trying to achieve. If you have a weakness in the opening, your goals are: avoiding weaknesses in the opening, avoid checkmate in the opening, the ability to avoid a cramped middle game, etc. Openings like King's Indian Attack for white help you achieve this. Here is a link:

May be as Black, you may want the King's Indian Defence or the French Defence. There is no guarantee that you are going to win - but what I am trying to say is you could solve this problem by playing an opening that can be employed against everything that White or Black does. Study that and stick to it. You learn, not by quitting, but by hanging on and learning from your mistakes.

Benefits of eliminating your weakness one at a time:

a) You play your game with confidence, knowing that all your work in other areas will not be undone by this particular weakness.

b) You become a well-rounded player. People make the mistake of focusing on their strongest parts. Chess, like life, offers you stages of development (childhood and adolescence=opening, younge adult & middle age = middle game, old age = ending) - you cannot just live/know one stage very well and ignore the rest. Unlike in Life whereby a messed up childhood may not be fixable, in Chess you can correct those weaknesses.

c) You learn that you can improve in other areas of your choice. The sky is the limit. What a feeling! 

This was not meant to be a lengthy treatise on eliminating weaknesses, but I will be glad to answer any specific questions on your weaknesses. If I cannot answer them, I am sure other Chess players will offer insights on what you can do.

For tip#2 click here.