The Road To ELO 2000: recap on improvement advice
Lately, I've been most pleased with my recent internet chess games. I've managed to mantain a 1600 ELO Blitz rating on playchess.com without much trouble. Occasionally I've even been able to hold a 1700 ELO rating for a while which gives me great hope that my next ELO breakthrough is due any time soon.
Objectively I think that I'm playing better because of a greater understanding and experience in my chosen openings. All that results in an increased confidence in my over-the-board play.
So for those of you out there who are like me trying to be a better chess player, I repeat again the following lessons that I've acquired over the past year or so.
1) Be patient. Don't make ANY move without first calculating your opponent's best reply. In an equal position it is important to keep playing well: keep improving one's position and wait for your opponent to make a mistake.
2) Be consistent in one's opening repertoire. Choose opening lines which suits your style of play and don't give up on it. (Unless of course it is objectively VERY unsound) Enstein use to say that 'insanity is doing the same thing over but expecting different results each time'. Get very familiar with middle game (or endgame) positions that arises from your chosen openings. That way, in terms of strategy, you'll always have a rough idea of finding the right plan. Better still, you'll be constantly building up your own opening tree.
3) Tactics. Practice as much as you can a day. 2 benefits arise from this: A) You will be able to spot tactics for yourself and B) spot tactics against yourself.
4) Analysis your games. Use a computer programe to replay back the game. Be objectively critical of both your moves and your opponents. Even better, find a friend which you can analyse with. You can trade opening 'secrets' which can be fun.
5) Control your emotions. Chess is an objective game. Not an emotional one. Don't let your feelings start to dictate the moves that one plays. In chess, all that matters is finding the best move.