A Few Tips to Help You Get Better at Chess

A Few Tips to Help You Get Better at Chess

Oct 26, 2016, 8:12 PM |

Over the course of several years I have been trying to get better at chess. Along the way I have picked up a few things that have really helped me grow as a chess player. While my USCF rating is only 1679, I think that these ideas can be valuable to a lot of players. There was a time when I felt that everyone was speed reading through chess books and getting so much better. Well, I tried that and failed. 


I learned to take the process of getting better at chess at a slower pace. While my growth has been slower, my rating and playing strength has continued to climb. Meanwhile, those that I thought were so much better than me are still stuck where they were 5 years ago. Below are some of my methods. 




1. Slow down. 
You can't just speed read through chess books or articles. Stop and think. There are times the author will ask questions, don't just move past those questions. Pretend that the author is actually asking you. The more you can understand the less you will need to memorize. 


2. Do the exercises and take notes.
Something I picked up from the Yusupov series is actually writing down my own analysis to the exercises. Then comparing my thoughts/moves with the answer. This allows you to see weaknesses in your calculation ability and even just how you miss certain ideas and why. 


3. Drink water. 
Stay hydrated. This not only helps your chess but your overall health.


4. Talk to someone about it.
Try to explain what you have learned to someone else. It's best if you can find someone around your strength to bounce ideas off. This will help uncover ideas you may not have thought of by yourself.  


5. Play slow chess.
Now you need to apply what you have been learning. This is the experience you need, not just the exercises in a book. Slow chess is best as it gives you time to actually slow down and think. Afterwards, you should go over your game with your opponent or by yourself to understand the positions and see how you could have improved.