Stuck Overall


Hey, I used to play a lot of chess and had improvements and motivation. I ended up taking a break for about 6 months and recently have wanted to get back into it. I'm starting to play games but I don't know where to start to make progress. And I feel like half of the games are dull. Any tips to help? Thanks in advance.


See, the single thing that will take you to 1000 or 1200 or even higher is just fundamentals and NOT BLUNDERING before your opponent. If you blunder less than your opponent, you will get out of 800 rating range. Now you would ask how to stop blundering?


I was high 900 elo and then took a break of 8 months. Came back again and did a lot of tactics. By a lot, i mean a lot. Combined it with some opening study and endgame study and reached 1400. Might get higher just by doing tactics.


Thanks Man! I'm starting to try puzzles a lot more and watching for blunders and hanging pieces.


Try as much puzzles as you can

I have found that doing puzzles really helps.

I plateaued at around 1600 on puzzles and felt that I couldn’t play games any better. I felt that I had reached my full potential and that my mind wasn’t capable of getting above 900 (for daily chess which I mostly play). I felt satisfied that I had learnt how chess works, but didn’t think I had any more capability myself.

I took a break for maybe over 6 months then happened to get back into it. I’m now knocking on the door of 2000 in puzzles and feeling much more confident at being able to find tactics in daily games.

Just yesterday I amazed myself by finding a brilliant knight fork on the king and queen, which I almost missed for a capture of a hanging pawn. Had it not been for the discipline that doing puzzles teaches you, I would never have kept looking for better moves. I would have just made what I thought was a good move.

Doing puzzles has helped me to practice visualising the moves required to get checkmate (or win a piece etc). It doesn’t allow you to use the analysis tool before you make your move so it all has to be in your head - which is a very important skill to practice.

I am formulating a procedure to go through for each move to analysis the board and find the best move (and hoping to write it down as a checklist at some point - because at our level it’s all about minimising mistakes and making sure you find the best move)

Also, I would advise you to:

1. Thoroughly analyse each puzzle you get wrong. Make sure you understand the principle of each puzzle. What is the theme? Why do you have to make each move in that way? Properly understand it. That way you will learn the principle which you can look out for in the future, rather than just the move in that particular setup.

2. Name the theme of every puzzle you do. Eg back rank checkmate, double check, revealed check, fork, passed pawn etc This helps you to mentally categorise tactics and be able to look out for them in games easier.

3. Don’t make a move until you:
(a) see the pull path to checkmate (or whatever gain it’s getting at), and
(b) you have checked that every move you plan is not leaving your piece hanging or allowing some other block.
It is better to gain only 5 points for each success and improve your accuracy than it is to be quick.

It is this mental discipline that I think is required to get good at chess. For some people it comes naturally. For me it doesn’t - but I have learnt that I can practice and get better, even if I know I’ll never be a great player. I am now really enjoying chess more than I ever have done!

Good luck, I hope you find this useful.

…. work out the reason for the moves and the principles, which allow you to spot them easier in other situations.

2. Name the theme of every puzzle you do (eg back rank checkmate, revealed mate, double attach etc)

3. Plan every move right through to checkmate (or whatever the win condition is). Do not move until you see the whole sequence.

4. For each and every move you make, double check that your pieces cannot be captured or blocked before you make the move for real. This encourages the mental discipline that is really important.

Hope this helps.
I don’t know why it removed all my formatting from the first post - as well as half my most!



Puzzles are useful because you have all sort of tactics in them from basic checkmates to endgame study, so working on them is the best thing to do


Keep the enjoyment factor alive. Play casual games, experiment with new openings and don't put too much pressure on yourself. Fun and enjoyment are crucial for long-term engagement.


Thank you @ChessMasteryOfficial. Recently I found my games dull -you also mention the enjoyment factor as well- and I realized that I'm focusing too much on being better instead of enjoying the game for what it is. I've been trying some slower time controls like 30 min rapids and also trying to take more time with these moves as well. I find that the CCA method from Gotham comes in handy for an easy way to not blunder. Puzzles and Chessable Tactics training are suoer important too as they train the brain to recognize these things better and more natural in games. Anyways, thanks again for the comment. Good luck in games to come!