How do I create a balance between chess study and play?

KingSideInvasion

I have a question that could perhaps be complex. It would be nice if some people 1800+ could answer, but anybody is welcome to answer and I will listen even if you're 200 rated tongue.png

My question is how I should balance playing chess games and studying chess. By this, I mean how much time should I spend playing compared to studying. Should I play practice games every day? Only on weekends on tournaments, only daily games and then tournament games, etc. Is there an amount of time that I should study before I should play a practice game? And things such as those. Any replies are greatly appreciated.

MGT88
According to ICS, you shouldn’t allocate more than 25% of your chess-time to playing games and you shouldn’t play any time control less than 10-25 minutes when you do play a game, if you want to maximize your progress. I think the general recommendation from most instructors/high-level players would be to spend the majority of your time studying/hammering exercises (e.g., books and tactics puzzles) and a small amount of your time playing high-quality games (e.g., hard two hour games or a bunch of 25 min games).
KingSideInvasion
MGT88 wrote:
According to ICS, you shouldn’t allocate more than 25% of your chess-time to playing games and you shouldn’t play any time control less than 10-25 minutes when you do play a game, if you want to maximize your progress. I think the general recommendation from most instructors/high-level players would be to spend the majority of your time studying/hammering exercises (e.g., books and tactics puzzles) and a small amount of your time playing high-quality games (e.g., hard two hour games or a bunch of 25 min games).

Thanks, great advice.

BattleDuck

Unless you are going professional and plan to make money from chess whats the point of studying more than playing? Unless you enjoy doing puzzles and reading books more than playing , well then of cause, do what gives you most joy.

MGT88
Some people are interested in improving/gaining playing strength (like myself), others just play for fun; it sounds like the OP is asking what the best study/play split is for optimal improvement, which guided my answer.
KingSideInvasion
BattleDuck wrote:

Unless you are going professional and plan to make money from chess whats the point of studying more than playing? Unless you enjoy doing puzzles and reading books more than playing , well then of cause, do what gives you most joy.

Let's just say that I am serious about chess.

KingSideInvasion
IMBacon wrote:

Easy....I dont study, and play twice a year.

xDD

KingSideInvasion
IMBacon wrote:
KingSideInvasion wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

Easy....I dont study, and play twice a year.

xDD

Im 56.

I have a job i love.

I volunteer my time working with kids.

I enjoy my down time.

My twice a year tournaments/vacations are when i play.

Now i have to tell our team captain i wont be playing in the team tournament next year.  Or maybe i will....I dont know...

Keep doing what you love but I'm impressed that you're 1800.

ghost_of_pushwood

The International Chess Society?

And I don't agree.  I think you should play at least as much as you study (and probably more).

MGT88
ICS = International Chess School. ICS is a program for achieving an ELO of 2000 and above.
kindaspongey

"... the kind of thinking it takes to plan, evaluate, play long endgames, and find deep combinations is just not possible in quick chess. … for serious improvement ... consistently play many slow games to practice good thinking habits. ... there is a strong case for at least augmenting internet play with some OTB play, whether in a club or, better yet, a tournament. ... I would guess that players who have never played OTB usually gain 50-100 points of playing strength just from competing in their first long weekend tournament, assuming they play five or more rounds of very slow chess. ... Don't have two day? Try a one-day quad (a round-robin among four similarly rated players). … about 100 slow games a year is a reasonable foundation for ongoing improvement. ... Can't make 100? Then try for 60. If you only play three or fewer tournaments a year and do not play slow chess regularly at a club (or on-line, where G/90 and slower play is relatively rare), then do not be surprised that you are not really improving. ..." - NM Dan Heisman (2002)

https://web.archive.org/web/20140627052239/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman16.pdf

btickler

The answer is:

Study as much as you can but without turning the whole process into a chore for yourself.  That ratio is entirely up to you to figure out, but if you study too much, for too long, you'll burn out on chess and stop playing for a significant chunk of time...wasting your efforts entirely.

2Late4Work

I play 4-6 games per week with 15+15 timecontrol on Lichess. Every three week a 2100 OTB player will go through 4-5 of the games with me through Skype. We will NOT analyze games where me or the opponent drops a piece on move 10, but mainly when there is a topic like: The bishop became a monster, lost rook endgame, the opening went so bad, the power of the open C file and etc. Out of all things I study in books, courses, videoes and etc I would say this helps me the most. I would mainly say that pawnplay and understanding of good and bad pieces helps most. Not too focused about missed tactics. He cost around 12 dollars for 2 hours.

ghost_of_pushwood
MGT88 wrote:
ICS = International Chess School. ICS is a program for achieving an ELO of 2000 and above.

grin.png  There's some doubletalk for ya...

chessroboto

Study with an experienced coach/trainer. The experience will quickly teach you how to self-study. 

ghost_of_pushwood

Or self-study from the get-go.

Ronbo710

I never study.  I either win or learn wink.png .

gf3

tf needs balance

Rubicon0367
When learning a musical instrument one is advised to play the instrument for a short time every day and to practice parts of the piece that are more difficult to master. Music theory is usually planned in as part of that time and equally bite sized and targeted on concepts that require repetition to conceptualise.

I would be a better player if I followed that advice. I recently stumbled across John Bartholomew’s YouTube/Chess.com Chess Fundamentals video series. I knew what Chess coordination is and how to achieve it but The Chess Coordination video helped me realise I need to really focus on it in the course of the game. I Made immediate progress from that video.

In later vides he talks about putting the queen’s pawn in front of the queens knight in the opening and also looking out for the opponent’s undefended pieces and targeting them. What he says makes sense but I found it harder to implement the ideas into my own games without weakening my own position.

I found my chess play which is not great anyway was weaker after studying the videos. I might have been cross with myself had I also not also been reading a book about psychology. It had a section discussing how new learning disrupts old learning. I can relate to this when trying to unlearn poor technique at the piano.

I also read Brain Rules by John Medina. The book discusses how the brain learns and how to best maximise learning.

For me it is not just about what I learn but also understanding how I learn - which is important because learning is not easy for me.
chessroboto
Rubicon0367 wrote:
For me it is not just about what I learn but also understanding how I learn - which is important because learning is not easy for me.

For people who struggle with learning, I determined that the best approach was to work with a good chess coach/instructor. Keep working with one until you become confident that you can improve on your own.

While working with a coach, the student quickly realizes whether one has what it takes to become stronger in chess, such as the ability for hard work and the attitude to overcome defeats in tournaments. Should one quit early, he/she saves all the money, time and resources on books, videos, interactive sites, databases, engines, and miscellaneous fees and memberships.