JberrHTX's Novice Study Plan


Day 0:

Ready to go.  So much out there, I'm glad I found a place with a plan for improvement.  Below are my current stats:

  • clock.png Rapid: 535
  • blitz.png Blitz: 833 (12 games, 3 wins)
  • daily.png Daily: 1,054 
  • tactics.png Puzzles: 925 (969 peak)

I HATE losing at anything, so the goal is to not get emotional, not get anxious about losing and just learn as I go.  Hoping to work my way up closer to 1000 Rapid and depending on how the plan goes, move up to the Beginner Plan. 


Looking forward to your updates!


Day 1&2:

Learning to take time with puzzles and do some puzzle rush to warm up.

I've lost both of my 15 minute games, 1 here and 1 testing out lichess.  Think I'll stick to 

First match played black, good opening, protected pieces, was up 2 pieces in middle game and then accidentally let go of the mouse and lost a rook to a pawn and was downhill from there.  Second game....completely outclassed, first game on lichess and went up against a true 1,400.

I'm enjoying the dailies and did win one I had started a couple days before the plan.  Amazing what can be done with time.

I'm taking every loss as a learning opportunity.  I'm playing as best as I can for my level and will focus on learning and enjoying the process.  One thing I keep hearing about chess, is that you lose a lot of games before you start having the rating start notching up.  

This game is probably the most humbling game created.


W1 D3:

Unrealistic to update daily (goal is weekly), but had some time on my hands.


tactics.png votechess.pngNeed to take more time to calculate.  Found weakness in discovered attacks and capturing material when pieces are even.

blitz.pngvotechess.pngWon 1/4 and had one played close, down 7 pieces before missing a tactic to go up by 3


I played 23. Rd1 O-O which eventually led to my demise.  Should have played 23. Qxh8 Qe7 24. Qxa8 to go up 3

I did a basic analysis (really need help on how to analyze for beginners) to find some areas to work on.

Overall feeling more confident, identifying gaps and trying to learn from my mistakes.  Hoping more wins follow.


Update...I don't know how to post specific positions from PGN or embed, so any help there would be great.


Week 2:

Below are my stats after one week:

  • clock.png Rapid: 528
  • blitz.png Blitz: 817
  • daily.png Daily: 1,099
  • tactics.png Puzzles: 942

Week 1 was an eye opener.  I ended the week disappointed with performance and disillusioned.  I took yesterday to clear my mind, do dailies and puzzles, but that was it.  Big lesson of the week...there is benefit in analyzing your games.  I've started to realize that I run into the same situations and do not react differently.  I really need to work on more tactics and more importantly, making sure that I do not blunder in the midgame.  Often times I am not calculating past my move, or I hyper focus on a plan and ignore the threats.  I'm traveling for work this week and may not be able to work through Logical Chess Move by Move, so I may repeat Week 1.  I'm looking forward to working through this book to help get me into good middle game positions and help see the board better.  


This week may have not gone how I wanted, but I've learned and I am persevering.  Only way to get better, is to keep playing!


Below are my stats after one week:

Week 2 ?

  • clock.png Rapid: 528
  • blitz.png Blitz: 817
  • daily.png Daily: 1,018
  • tactics.png Puzzles: 1006

Not much chess work this past week.  I had to travel for work all week and time did not allow.  I did get do do puzzles and have pushed above a 1000 puzzle rating!  One of my colleagues is a club player and did get to play a couple of OTB on a flight.  Results from the two games and from my dailies confirm that I need to watch my one move blunders and not get tunnel vision, which seems to be a real problem of mine.  

Other than that, not much to report, but want to keep the posting habit going.


I had another week last week of obligations keeping me from studying, but got back on track with Week 2.  Blitz games are tough, I clearly have issues with time pressure and blundering due to that.  I have decided to take advice given on other updates and focus on Rapid games.  I personally enjoy Rapid more and I also feel I can make more improvement there, which will encourage continued studying and playing.  


Restart Required

After a few weeks of craziness at work, in-laws at the house, parents at the house and having to bear all kid and house duties since my wife came down with a bad case of COVID.  I have decided to restart my plan from Week 1.  

I am sticking to the plan with a couple variations as follows:

  1. Play at least 5 daily games.  I have found I do get on time crunches given business, so I will possibly move to 2 day controls on these
  2. Play the Ruy Lopez as white.  I don't have a plan for black.  I have tried the Caro Kann, but I feel it develops too slowly.  I will look towards a King's Indian Setup as suggested by Gotham Chess, but I think I will start with just basic development with black.
  3. Play Rapid games during Blitz weeks until I feel comfortable with the speed of the Rapid games slowing down.  I had a lot of stress during the first plan attempt on playing 5 games of Blitz and analyzing.  I feel the longer time control will help in managing the time I have to study. ie. actually being able to analyze post game and spend time learning.

I hope restarting and modifying will help me enjoy the game more and improve my playing.  As far as beginning stats, here's where I'm at.

Puzzles: 1009 (peaked at 1055 at beginning of July)

Daily: 1000 (should be better here, but this crazy month forced me to make moves in order not to forfeit on time)

Rapid: 556

Here's to the next 12 weeks and improving! trophies.png



This looks great. Looking forward to your updates!


Week 1: Day 1

Rough start to the week.

Puzzles: 7/12...need to work on end game puzzles and skewers

Daily:  I have 5 going and taking time to find the right move.  

Rapid 15/10:

Well, after weeks of zero Rapid play, I have played my first game...and it was completely terrible.

My first mistake was thinking I was going for a Kings Indian type of setup using the Pirc Defense, but I had instead played 1...nf6, which is the Kings Indian.   I ended up doing okay opening, just playing in reaction to white and looks like it's a type of Alekhine's Defense.  7. Qa4+ began my demise since I panicked and was completely reactive.  Not the way I wanted to start, but there are lessons learned.


  • Not really any positives I could find here. If I were to name one, it was the opening 6 moves that I chose well given I was lost.


  • Do not try an opening if I do not know what I'm doing. It's better to just develop by principle than wing it.
  • Do not be afraid to bring out the queen if it can capture and setup for good play or if it forces trading queens. There were numerous times where the queen could have made a big difference.

General Comments

A lot to learn here.  Namely, stick with what you know and don't be afraid to use the queen.

I know it's too early to tell given my rating, but it seems that maybe I am more of a "positional" player than tactical.  I will attempt a Kings Indian type setup again when black, but if that fails, I may look to just go back to the Caro Kann, where even though not as exciting as others, it gets me into better positions and it could be more of the type of player I am.  Any thoughts and tips are welcome! 

Here's to a better game tomorrow!


I think a bit more positional, but it's hard for me to tell. Here are a few thoughts!

- Keep training puzzles. Most games are decided by tactics

- Be aware of material count throughout the game

- Keep watching for attacks and threats for both sides

- Develop pieces quickly in the opening and get castled. Don't worry too much about which opening systems you're playing. It's more about the fundamentals and the above tips at this point.


Hope that helps


Certainly listen to SmarterChess, but if I may add my $0.05?

I've found the hardest thing is my ego getting in the way, and from what I read you (and probably everybody that has had a go at chess) feels the same.  That is one's "rating" being way short of some arbitrarily-defined "rating+x".  Your rating is a measure of your chess ability: nothing more (I am writing this for myself, really).  It may improve, and it may not.  All we can do is try.

As for swallowing losses, I know you know you will get over them and look for the lesson.  I've started looking for them in my games with as little engine as possible.  Just find a move that you think could have been better-played and go from there.  As you (and I) get more experienced you can start thinking along positional themes.  As SmarterChess says, there certainly will be tactics.  If you answer all the tactical queries and still lose, then you don't need me.

With openings do look for what little sequence you get good results, or even better the most agreeable middle games, with.  For example I know I do very well as White with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6: while we all know that is the Morphy defense of the Ruy Lopez, I will push for it in competitive games and don't care that it is common as salt.  If you have a bent for numbers, you can use a database program with your PGN-files to find these trends efficiently.  Note I'm only going 6-ply deep with the opening "family": no doubt long-term I could be looking for a novelty at move 13 or whatever, but that would be silly when anything can happen at move 3!

Sorry if I'm rambling.  Good luck!


@SmarterChess @WonkaEight  Thank you for the time to read this!  I will stick to the basics of developing quickly and looking for threats and protecting pieces! 

I am in business development and formerly finance, so I am an analyst by training, trade and nature...which can lead to paralysis by analysis and couple that with hating to lose and competitiveness....well, makes it so tough on these shorter games!


I would think temperamentally (naturally) you'd have the right stuff, though I don't know whether there be room for AP given a clock?  But openings are a great way to let loose with the data analysis.  I'm hinting at looking at your own openings to figure out what middlegames you can play well, but of course data with the many professional games is captured and cheap to access.  Do you have the scope for a database program?  Personally I haven't regretted using ChessBase, though you would be in bounds to query the sunk expense.  scid and their family is open source, and in some ways surpasses the proprietary version as long as you can organise PGNs and such well.

I am finding if and when I lose to my silly blunder I can compartmentalize this as carelessness and move on.  If you know you are losing with something more subtle than hanging a piece, and you are AP-prone, then it might be harder for you?  The tonic may be a lot more quick games, and trying to treat chess as the lighthearted fun (and social occasion) it really is!


Week 1: Day 2


Puzzles: 5/5 today.  Took time to solve non back rank puzzles and was rewarded with good progress

Daily: 5 still going.  Focusing on quick development and not hanging pieces.

Rapid 15/10:



  • Pivoted off Ruy Lopez and stuck to developing quickly and castling.
  • Capitalized on opponents mistakes
  • One blunder!


  • Work with what is counter played in the opening. First 2 moves stuck to Ruy Lopez. Luckily opponent was sticking to opening moves of KID for the first 5 moves and didn't take an early advantage. I noticed my error and transitioned to following basic opening principles.
  • Look for easier captures of hanging pieces. There was knight and bishop out there and at one point
  • Always look for tactics. 29. d7, could have played 29. be6 to fork rooks.


Not a bad game tonight. I think I'm going to try and do some more in-depth analysis on this one given there is a lot to learn even though I won. Missed tactics, missed free pieces, etc.