Improve Your Chess Now #1- Climbing the ELO Ladder, 1200+
Improve Your Chess Now #1
In my last 2-3 post I've told the tale of where I'm coming from in chess and what has happened. This to give you, the reader, a story that hopefully will make you feel like it could apply to you.
My basic disclaimer is that I'm not a titled player, nor famous and I will not tell you that what I say is the the right way to do things or even the best way, just a way and a way that worked for me!
After analysis of some 50-75 of my games when I was around 1200-1400ELO I concluded the following.
The 3 biggest reasons for me losing a game was;
- Making a mess of my game/position in the opening
- Straight blunders
- Short of time
How I attacked my top 3 problems!
1, The opening.
There are several ways to do this. I'd think that the way most people think of first is to actually learn opening theory (this is why opening books are so popular). If you're very good at remember lines and have a strong feeling about what openings to play (not too many), then this may very well be the way to success.
I´we honestly never been very good at memorizing huge amounts of lines and that I know now is partly because I do not play enough to use them.
So, to get somewhere with only a small amount of work I tried a way of doing it suggested by Simon WIlliams (GingerGM). Ping as few openings as possible (I picked one for white and one for black that can be played against anything) and learn the ideas behind the opening rather than the lines. Some lines is a must to learn but then the ideas plus playing will get you far.
This change alone helped me blunder in the first 15 moves as well as gave me a middle game that was playable in most games.
The easy way to fix this is to, stop making them :-)
A lot of blunders, I believe at least, comes from bad practices and/or time pressure.
Bad practices like evaluating your position for weaknesses, threats, hanging pieces and more. Look at what your opponent did and check if there are any more or less direct threats. All before making your move.
Start consciously do this checks at every move and they will come without think at some point.
Add tactics training to see more tactics and recognize possibilities for both you and your opponent.
3. Time Pressure
Don't get into time pressure!
If you chose 1-3 minute games you most likely find time pressure as an exiting part of the game. I do not think these shorter time limits adds to your chess improvements as there's just not enough time to apply the basic good rules for how to play.
My advice would be to not play shorter time than 5 minute games for training (fast only for fun).
Be conscious about your time spent and make sure you spend time according to the need of the position.
Rating Jump No 1
These changes alone took me from 1200+ to around 1500 in just weeks.
Might be worth it to try them out!
Good Luck and more to come.