My journey to 1800 ELO: chess pointers
I decided to write a blog post detailing how I came to finally reach 1800 ELO. This post will hopefully instruct other chess players looking to improve their game.
1) Stick to a consistent opening repertoire
This may sound obvious so I shall elaborate:
Choose openings which result in positions that you feel comfortable in. With White it may be 1.e4 or 1.d4, it doesn't really matter. What really matters is that your openings that you have chosen are sound and results in middlegame positions which you are comfortable in playing. I think i really hindered my chess development at one stage when i was playing gambit lines against every defence, only to realize that in most gambit lines my opponent could always give back material to equalise or worst, leave me in a defensive position.
Stick to main openings if you have the time (your opening repertoire will build up eventually, don't worry about memorising lines but just concentrate on the ideas) but if you're busy, then opt for universal systems which will give you plenty of options in the middlegame and endgame.
2) Analyze all your games
You should use a computer programme to guide you but always try to see for yourself where you could improve. Win or lose, see where you can always improve. I've been humbled many times before after running my 'victories' through a computer programme.
You should also try to understand why a computer recommended a move in order to discover it's overall thinking strategy.
3) Strategy vs tactics
In general, knowing some tactical motiffs is beneficial but practicing TOO much chess tactics can actually be bad for one's game as I've discovered for myself. It's important to remember that tactics often arise from a superior position. That's where chess strategy comes into play.
Go thru annotated games (preferably of the same openings one is using) either via videos or thru books and understand the reasons why moves were played. Understand how to identify and recognise strategical themes when one's playing is crucial to helping one locate the best move to play.
4) Development a system of thinking before each move.*
This point is key. If you're system of thinking is more objective and complete than that of your opponent you will win the game. It's that simple.
Hope this post will help all you chess fans out there.