Biggest Keys to Improvement in 2 Years of Chess
Hey! A couple of years ago I joined a site named pogo.com. This site gave ratings, and had every game to play a person could think of. I improved my ratings in most games, then eyed the game of chess. I played a few matches and quickly realized I had NO chance against even the weakest of opponents... This game of chess was different... People really knew how to play... And from then forward, it was on!!
I have been playing for a couple years now, and have entered one OTB tournament. These are the 3 biggest keys that have taken me from 1300s seeming superhuman, to a rating of 1450 (standard time, chess.com) ..And with that being said Im clearly no master, so take my comments with a grain of salt :)
1) What to look for EVERY move. Your opponents pieces come 1st!
When I was completely new to chess, I looked at my pieces, and where they could go.. This is wrong! I now follow, and suggest for a beginner:
a) Look at your OPPONENTS pieces, and where they can go next.
b) Where you WANT your pieces to be.
C) Then finally, where you can actually move your pieces.
How can you possibly find a move if you havent studied your opponents pieces first! We arent playing solitare here :)
2) Weak Squares & Holes.. Pawn Pushing
After an opening, a beginner typically doesnt know what to do next! I found over time, pushing pawns quick is almost ALWAYS weak.. This creates holes in your camp, and when a square can no longer be guarded or attacked by a pawn, it becomes very important! If this is hard to understand, I highly suggest learning all about weak squares (holes) created by pushed pawns!
Better all your pieces first! Pawn pushes early, are often bad!
3) How to Study
This is going to seem extremely obvious to many.. but none the less, I did not pick up on this for a few months of playing chess..
There are a million ways to improve, and to be a master you must eventually tackle nearly everything! But improvement for a beginner can be very simple if you are willing to try hard and focus on areas that really do improve your chess. From what I have read and practiced, this is what I believe helps most.
a) PLAY CHESS: Dont play 10 blitz games.. This will re-enforce your bad habits in chess, and become harder and harder to break. Play one slow, long game and really think about each move!
b) Analyze: Look over these long games you have played, and figure out what went wrong! Or right :) Dont accept a loss... Figure out why it happened! And if your answer is (I made one silly blunder) then you arent taking enough time! Slow down :)
c) Tactics: Make a chesstempo.com account, and do tactics daily. Dont rush! Do them slow, and make sure you have the right answer. The odd tactic you get wrong, really figure out why. Dont let it fool you again!
Thanks for reading!
P.S. I never mentioned Forcing Moves! These are extremely important as well. Look up an article on these.
Here is one quick puzzle of a move a saw recently (due to searching forcing moves) that I feel even 6 months ago I would never have seen!