The Chess Enthusiast: Chess improvement 1

Jun 13, 2011, 1:49 AM |

HI everyone! Smile

I have decided to do a series of blogs on how I have improved my chess over the past 2-3 years. Hopefully these set of blogs will be useful to readers who are hoovering between 1300-1500's and are looking to make the next leap to 1600's and beyond.

This blog  shall deal with the subject of openings.

The approach to chess improvement has to be systematic. I wasted at least a year hovering around 1400-1500's before finally realizing that keeping a consistent chess opening repertoire was important. So, for those of you seeking to improve your chess, be consistent with your chosen opening repertoire..classify and analyse your opening repertoire according to the following headings

1) Your first move with White.

2) Your response with Black against 1.e4

3) Your response with Black against 1.d4 2.c4

4) Your response with Black against minor 1.d4 openings (Meaning White doesn't play 2.c4)

5) Your response with Black against weird and wonderful openings.

If the above sounds crazy, don't fret! =) You don't have to do that in one sitting. Whenever you encounter a new move/opening played by your opponent, make sure you look at the game afterwards and analyse it. That's it! Once you find a good continuation, understand the moves (there's a degree of memorisation involved here) and play it out with confidence the next time you encounter the same move.

There are tons of free chess database software out there. Probably the best free  one is SCID. However, if you have some cash to spare (and are using Windows OS), try Chess Opening Wizards from Programmer Mike Healy at

Chessbase, of course is the golden standard (for those of you whereby money is no object!) but I don't believe it is truly necessary to purchase this unless one is planning to make chess is semi-professional/professional hobby. Take it from me, I purchased Chessbase a long time ago and I'm still not quite using all the features from it. I use Chess Opening Wizards alot more.

Finally, to end off this blog entry, just another reminder to enjoy chess and have fun. If one is patient and systemically organised in their approach to learning chess, one's ELO will slowly and surely improve. Look at GM Boris Gelfand, nobody thought that he would win the recent 2011 FIDE canidates tournament at the age of 40+, but he did it! He was patient and kept on perfecting his understanding about chess. You can read about his interview at

My next entry shall deal with the approach to studying chess tactics.Till then dear readers. Smile