Road to GM: Week 3 "An hour of tactics a day keeps the pesky blunders away"

Road to GM: Week 3 "An hour of tactics a day keeps the pesky blunders away"

May 6, 2016, 7:27 PM |



      Hello everyone, welcome back to the Road to GM series. The past seven days has been full of intensive chess training. I went down to my public library and i checked out three books covering the three different stages of chess. ("Endgame Strategy" By Bill Robertie, "Positional Chess Handbook" by Israel Gelfer,  "Standard Chess Openings" by Eric Schiller) I've been studying these books, taking notes and following the principles in my games. I haven't practiced any new openings, although i did learn some traps in the Ruy Lopez Berlin Defence and also in the Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation. Here's some links for you to check out.

Berlin Trap 

Exchange variation trap


I'll show you a game that i'm quite proud of. I didn't make a single mistake in this game and it really showed. After that I'll share some chess advice that I've picked up over the past two weeks.

This is probably the best game i've ever played. It's certainly very aesthetic. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the other player so I'll just call him "Some guy" 

I have to say, i'm really proud of this game.
Anyways, let's get to the advice i wanted to share with you. 
Over the past 14 days, i've gathered up some useful tips and tricks for improving in chess. I follow this guideline and it serves me well. Here's my three tip-guideline. 
  1. Study without interruptions 
    Chess is really complicated and it requires your full attention. By turning off your facebook, instagram, and/or twitter notifications during your studying session, you can focus and stay on track much easier. Cleaning your work environment can also help you concentrate. 
           I don't recommend listening to music while you study, but some people find it helpful. I find that music with words can be distracting so when i do listen to music while studying chess, i always listen to instrumental music. 

            You might be wondering on what exactly you should be studying. I'm not a professional by any means but i'll give my best suggestions: 
    • Endgame technique
    • Middle Game strategies
    • Positional Strategies 
    • Tactics 
    • Analysing games of Grandmasters

  2. Practice your tactics

    I went to a chess club the other day and one chess player told me his motto. "An hour of tactics a day keeps the pesky blunders away."  This is not only true, but catchy. I've found that after studying on tactic trainer, my blunder to game ratio has been less frequent. There's plenty of websites and apps that gives you a lot of tactic puzzles. A website that i know has tactic puzzles is They have a lot of other neat things you can learn as well. An app that i found in the apple store is called "Chess Tactics Pro (Puzzles)". It's a pretty neat app with a lot of good puzzles, and it's free. I'm sure you can find some tactic trainer app for Android or Windows too. 

  3. Exercise and Posture
    Sitting down for long periods of time can destroy your body which slowly destroys your mind. The more blood that can flow into your brain, the more information it can process accurately. You don't have to exercise much, just every hour or two take a short break. Get up, stretch, walk around, and maybe do some jumping jacks. If you sit with a curved back, feet crossed, and head forward, then you're depriving yourself of oxygen and blood flow. Here's a youtube video to help with posture. 

I hope this three tip-guideline was helpful for you. If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to leave a comment. 


 Goals for Week 3: 

  • Reach a standard rating of 1450 
  • Study a game played by two Grandmasters  


I'll post again on the first day of Week 4 and I will share what I've learned in the previous week. Hopefully I've met my goals by then.

Take care. 





This is the daily schedule that i've been following for Week 2 and it will be the daily schedule for Week 3. 

1 hour of Tactics Trainer
15 minute break 
5 lessons on

1 game with a level 6 computer 

15 minute break 

Read "Positional Chess Handbook" by Israel Gelfer Or "Endgame Strategy" By Bill Robert for 15 minutes.