How to get NM - Top Tips!
1) Enjoy Chess
Most of the people who play chess enjoy it, but theres a surprising amount of kids who dislike chess, but their parents force them to play. You will NEVER improve if you belong in this category of players. Either quit or start liking it.
It is important to enjoy it since your passion will motivate you to study.
2) Lessons do not guarentee improvement
Many people I know take lessons but hardly improve at all. It is important to know that you can't just take lessons and hope to improve. You must study in addition to the lesson, or it would be wasted.
3) Find your playing style and change up your openings to follow it.
It took me a long while to find how effective this tip is. Surprisingly, I believe my playing strength and general chess knowledge today at NM is not at all better than I was when I was rated 2000. The difference is all in my openings! Back when I was 2000, I remember I used to play the Kings Indian a lot and even played 1. e4 as my main opening as white! While these openings are perfectly playable, my tactics and overall attacking skills are terrible! Knowing this, these openings are not suited for me. I switched my openings and my rating gone up very quickly! For those with strategic playing styles, I would recommend 1.d4 and the Slav, 2 openings which I enjoy very much!
4) Practice your tactics in bullet
Many people say that bullet harms your chess.. This is probably true IF you do it incorrectly. It is important to know that you cannot rely on time playing in bullet, or your overall strength may decrease. In bullet, I practice my tactics - seeing if I can find tactics with limited time. Also, its fun! But don't play too much..
5) Study the basic endgames
Admittedly, I didn't know such basic rook endgames until just last month! However, it is important to know them, such as pawn+rook vs rook - and when they are won and when they are drawn. There may always be instances where this would be critical in deciding the result of the game!
6) Before playing each move, ask yourself: Why is this a blunder?
This may seem pretty strange, but it works! Imagine yourself after the game blaming the current move as the blunder that made you lose the game. This will help you not blunder ever! This applies to all levels! Ironically, in the exact tournament I got my NM title, I blundered a bishop in a won position and ended up losing terribly from being too careless! Be careful!
7) Find a top GM who shares your playing style, and learn about him!
One of my favorite GMs of today is Akobian as I believe he is a very strong player and I can relate to his playing style. I studied his games sometimes, which has helped me improve a lot in my opinion! Of course, everyone's player will be different - Don't choose players just because they are #1 or something.. It is more important to find one you can relate to
8) Move to your opponent's side of the board to see his perspective
This is a strategy which has benefited me a lot! During the tournament, you go stand behind your opponent to see the position form his side. Many times, this can lead you to find a good move or for you to realize that the move you intended was bad! Try it!
Good luck on getting to NM! Thanks!