Why I don't improve in chess? (I'm 1100 in rapid/2304 in puzzles)


1.  castle.

2.  control the center.

3.  use your entire army.

4.  watch out for threats.

5.  be efficient & forceful.

6.  use every move wisely!


One advice stop playing chess and try to observe top player games 

Duckfest wrote:
Pouchkine75 wrote:

Hey Duckfest, thank you so much for your message and support. I haven't analysed the last few games I played and just had a look at move 28, terrible indeed! I didn't know what to do so I decided not to waste any time, I'll just apply the first principle that comes to mind and play a move.  


This is where you can improve. You don't even need to improve your chess, you just need to train yourself in staying focused and playing better.  

Feel free to send me message if you are looking for feedback on specific games

Thank you Duckfest I will definitely get in touch!

blueemu wrote:
Pouchkine75 wrote:
pfren wrote:

To cut a very long story short, you don't improve because you don't play well.

And this happens because you do not work on your game: Analyse all your non-blitz & bullet games, to find out what has gone wrong.

Thanks for the feedback and honesty, i really appreciate it!

I do analyse my rapid games mostly at 26/30 depth, and have found some repeated mistake, I have a tendency to attack the king even if I haven't fully developped because I read/heard that if the king is in the centre I should take advantage of it (I may have misunderstood maybe).

If the opponent's King is in the center AND the center is open (or can be opened) AND you have a lead in developed pieces, then you should attack the King, yes. But you should do it with as much of your army as you can gather together. Attacks by one or two pieces will almost always fail.

There is a very common misconception that attacking will give you the advantage. Exactly the opposite is true: when you have the advantage, you should attack. Attacking is a way (and not the only way) to convert an advantage from one form into a more readily usable form... to convert an advantage in development into an advantage in material, for example.

The advantage is gained by maneuver. You cash it in by attacking.

Thank you Blueemu for the reminder, I have to say I didn't always castle because I thought 'I need to attack now and surprise my opponent' but I will apply these steps for my next games and see how it goes, will share my feedback!

technical_knockout wrote:

lessons, puzzles & endgames.

focus on improving your weaknesses.

keep asking for help & direction.

Sound and solid advice too technical_knockout, thank you for sharing, I know it sounds like obvious to more experienced players but it is quite overwhelming to try to keep in mind to play 'solid' principled moves and attack when you have all your army ready, oh and not blunder, and see the threats, and see the tactics,..etc I do enjoy 30 minutes games for that reason even if i am still fghting that bad habit from starting last year playing 10 minutes games and blitz but this is also helpful to remind me to work on end games a little bit, I 'naturally' love them, no queen to bother me, no knights to fork me, no bishop 'sleeping' quietly on A2 and grabing my rook because I forgot about it! It's all very exciting to see how much there is to learn and explore so this is all positive, no pressure (or should I say, less pressure than before I started this thread, so thanks to eveyrone who's been involved in the conversation sharing their opinion, ideas, difficulties and straight forward brutal honesty, as a French that is music to my ear!haha).

ucuf123 wrote:
I’ll bet there’s some “game anxiety” going on as well. I do well against the bots because I’m playing outside my capabilities, expecting to lose, just to learn. I can’t seem to bring that attitude to rated games. That’s when I make every bad move in the book.

That is a really good point ucuf123, I used to be very stressed and hyper agressive agains tlower rated players because loosing against them means -13points or whatever, and it is so hard to gan rating and progressing, I would be more relaxed against a higher rated player. Now I am a bit less worried about my rating (yes i want to gain points of course) but I prefer to have a look at my game and if I loose with no blunder, very little innaccuries and no mistakes, then I am equally happy, I am breaking down my task as a player, but I also have to watch my emotionnal reaction, sometimes playres would mock me, or say something offensive then I'm thinking 'ok, I'll beat you!' and then I loose and get an other annoying 'pity' or something like that I had in a game. I have watched many top players and emotions and the ability to stay calm in any given position (advantage or loosing) is crucial, Magnus Carlsen squizzing his opponent with no hope, or saving a lost game by drawing it...etc always very composed, yes he does have his humor here and there but that is an incredible athlete mindset that I find inspiring, I have to learn how to detach my self from the game and just be 'cold, analytical and precise'. I don't know if I make any sense, again i am just sharing in honesty how I feel during games and how my temper sometimes pushes me towards ridiculous decisions and self sabotage. Work in progress!

Pouchkine75 wrote:

Hi chess community,


I hope this finds you well.


I have started playing chess last year after watching The Queen's Gambit and enjoying the game very much! At first I was just playing by intuition and just watching few videos of famous youtube channels.


I have difficulties to play slowly, for some reason I like to play fast which at my level is not very smart! After  months struggling at 1000-1100 I managed to get to 1225 about 3 weeks ago and now back to 1100. I have lost many points playing tournaments against 500's/800's I don't want to think that everyone is a cheater online, I certainly took those games a bit too lightly and blundered like a 400.haha I also won few really good games against 1300+ to 1600+ and keep finding brilliant moves regularly (rarely by calculation but mostly by instinct).


I  seem to be much better at chess puzzles as I have reached 2304 today for the first time! Youhou!

I would love some insight on what improved your chess play the most if you have any tips for a beginner like me who after 1 year is realizing that I was playing by intuition and very little understanding of positions/checkmate patterns and turning an advantage into a win (I've had games with 3 or more missed wins that I lost which is a bit frustrating!haha).


I used to enjoy traps and gambits but because I thought that was an easy way to win a lot, my mindset has now completly changed, I love the depth of the game and it's complexity, also understanding what the other player is doing instead of just playing moves I saw on a video for an opening or think it's good and how end games are incredibly important ( I've stalemated so many times!haha).

 I hope to open a new discusion here for players like me who want to better at chess, chess puzzles and hopefully not just get points but achieve a good level of understanding a game, recognizing an advantage, a bad position...etc

Thank you for the support and stay safe.


PS : If you want to play against me it would be my pleasure, I never cheat (yes, I NEVER cheat, even when someone is rude to me or is clearly having some help, I am old school, I value hard work and if I win i want to win because I outplayed my opponent not because of an engine!)


I think I can relate.  Currently, though these numbers fluctuate, on I am rated 1241 in rapid and 2062 in puzzles.  I feel like my "real" rating, or where my skill level really is, is probably somewhere in between those two numbers.  It seems like I'm smarter in puzzles, like I see the tactics quickly when I'm doing them, but when I'm actually playing a game, I just don't see tactics that I can play.  At least not as easily as when I'm working on puzzles.


But I highly recommend working on puzzles to improve your chess.  It just can be almost confusing having such a huge gap between your rapid rating and your puzzle rating.


One advice stop playing chess and try to observe top player games 

Thanks for your message TRAP4MOUSE, you have a good point and I actually stopped playing for few days maybe a couple of weeks, mostly because I was exhausted by my shift job, long hours and i wanted to play chess so badly that i would end up coming home at midnight and forcing myself to play until 1 or 2am and loose a lot, feeling terrible. I do watch top players regularly, Agadmator is one of my favorite youtube channel, I love the old games too Spassky, Tal, Capablanca, Morphy...etc sometimes I find the move when Agadmator stops the videos and asks us to find the only winning move or the only move that doesn't loose the game. Sometimes I pause the game and try to find the next move and I do find it. I am a pretty average player more on the 'bad' player spectrum but I do have some moments or really good chess moves that I totally meant to do, not by chance. I try sometimes to remember some top players opening and Hikaru's b2 opening as white led me to 1145 very quickly before i went back to 1000 loosing all the time changing openings not knowing more than 3 book moves on each...etc So know I stopped trying to play like aSuper GM (I know how ridiculous this sound, trust me, my rating speaks for it), but It did help me a little bit understand that a manoeuvre of a knight that requires 3 moves to be bette rplaced is not a waste of time or that a4 a5 can be very annoying...etc But you are right, sometimes it's maybe better to sit and watch, take notes, analyse games and maybe not play for a few days or more to reset the brain and start fresh again. happy.png


Hello everyone!

I hope you are all well and starting the week nicely!

A few minutes ago, I have reached 2405 in puzzles (that wasn't even a goal!! how funny, we get what we don't want and we struggle to get what we are obsessed by, life!). Breaking 2337 today was already a lot since I've been stuck around between 1850 and 2100 for the last month.

This is not to show of or to say that I am a better player! but rather a massive thank you to the community in here who made this thread alive with very good and helpful tips (for everyone else who need it too!), advices and sharing your own struggles and journey with honesty.

I just wanted to show how these forums can really help and make a difference in sometimes a lonely journey of chess improvement. My little victory today in puzzles against myself is due to you and all the advices I received here, particularly puzzle rush in survival mode to really force me to calculate and not rush! When I got 11 puzzles in a row all correct and rated 2200+ (including one at 2587 that lead me to 2405) I thought to myself that I can really achieve my goal of becoming a better player, small victories like this one will certainly give me lots of confidence for my games and help me spot tactics and use my bishops better, my rooks,...etc

This hasn't been translating in my games yet (quite the opposite actually, not very proud of that but I'm trying to be kind to myself and accept that it will take many months before I can see a real improvement in my games, slowly adding all I'm learning plus what people have kindly shared in this thread (and all the lovely support I received in my inbox!).


I will keep sharing my journey in here and tips or things that seemed to help me. I am aware hat this is just a tiny drop of water in the ocean, I'll probably drop that rating very quickly as it happened when I first opened this thread the 24th of Novembre where I was so ecstatic to reach 2304, but not knowing that it wasn't that unusual for aan 1100 player or that it means anything if I can't implement that in my games.

Well, to be continued... happy.png