Chess improvement part 1
Now it begins.
As a FIDE instructor, I feel an obligation to make sure that my blog posts are of a higher content and beneficial to the larger chess community. I do sincerely hope that whoever is reading my chess blog posts from now on will gain some useful insight into how to go about improving one’s chess.
To digress a little, I guess it was only natural that I became a FIDE instructor given that I have been involved in playing chess and following chess tournament games for well over a decade. This continued strong interest in the game shows my interest is not waning and will likely to be lifelong.
I would like to begin by stating that this past year (2016-2017) has been my most productive year chess-wise. In the past 1 year, I’ve participated in my first 2 OTB tournaments with varying success (some good games and some horrendous blunders). I’ve also had the fortuitous pleasure of being given lessons by 3 different master level players (1 GM and 2 very strong IM’s) These lessons gave me a unique insight into how their thinking process/approach to the game of chess differed (or what was common). Combined with my recent FIDE trainer course, I can now say with some certainly what it takes to improve in chess.
So, what’s the secret to chess success? The short answer is ‘hard work’.
That’s right. You heard me, hard grueling work. No pain, no gain. To excel in chess (or in life for that matter), there is no substitute for hard work. You may think you’re gifted in chess, but without discipline or a methodical way of self-analysis, others will eventually catch up. My lessons with master level players revealed to me the amount of time/energy/personal sacrifice they put into the game in order to be where they are today. If you’re not going to put in those hours, forget about being good in chess. (By good, I mean ELO 2100 and above) Watch current world champion GM Magnus Carlsen documentary ‘Magnus’ and you will see that he sacrificed a huge part of his childhood to be where he is today. Let us stop deluding ourselves that knowing a few trappy opening lines and doing chess tactical puzzles is enough. It is not.
The good news? Hard work if channeled in the right manner can yield positive results in a short amount of time. This is where one needs to learn a systematic method of self-analysis, finding out one’s weakness and strengths and improving on both aspects. I will elaborate more on this in future posts.
For now, I will just end here with a question to individual readers of my chess blog, ‘how much time can you invest in chess and what is your goal?’ This is important, because it determines your end point. For me, I have always desired to reach FIDE 2000 in standard time controls (the so called expert range) and then I will happily retire. I am a working adult with 1 kid (and another on the way) so I’m going to have to use my time welll. If you’re an adult with limited time and seeking to improve, feel free to join me on this incredible journey.
Till the next post,