From Class B to Class A


Hello All,

I started playing last March and progressed fairly rapidly. However for the past 4 months or so I seem to have plateued in the class B rating range. What did you guys do to progress from Class B to Class A players? What advice do you guys have for overcoming a plateu?

Many thanks,



I found some weak points in my game and worked on them.  


I know you won't be satisfied with the answer.  But, this really is what you need to do.  Find what YOUR weaknesses are and work to eliminate them.  


personally I got into good positions all the time and couldn't finish them and lost positions which should have been able to be saved.  So I went through games where I was worst at some point and tried finding ways of making it harder for the opponent to get the full point.   I found games where I was better and tried finding different ways of going about with the advantage(sometimes with the assistance of a computer punishing my poor technique)


One of the major differences I find in players below 2000 is a simple unwillingness to work hard at the board. More than any knowledge, coaching, books, tactics, simple concentration makes a massive difference. Work on developing that. And be honest when analysing your games.

Both Rowson and Yermolinski have written great books on the psychological side of improvement. At class B/A you might get a lot out of Chess for Zebras.


 You must understand the game. Analyzing your games helps you know your weaknesses and thus helps you where and why did you make mistakes. What is good and bad on your play and you can gain a understanding in the game.


Thank you guys for the advice :)


The only person that knows for certain is you :D. However, a coach or stronger player/mentor could certainly aid in discovering your weakness.


From a general standpoint, there is always room to improve tactically and in your calculation. Dedicate a certain proportion of your time to studying tactics each day. In addition, focus very little on your time on openings and of that time focus on learning the resulting middlegame positions.


Lastly, (and most importantly in my opinion) analyze your games. Find out what went wrong and what you can do to improve. The most common mistake in this step is to use and engine and find out what you did wrong. This takes out a huge amount of learning that could be gained by attempting to find these mistakes first. Another large step missing from many amateur player's analysis is WHY you made a mistake. For example, you missed a tactic. The common reaction is to look at this mistake and say "I'm an idiot." This is the wrong attitude. The way to best improve is to say "I missed this because .... (I didn't understand this pin motif well enough, I was focused on this positional theme,etc. 

I hoped this helps!


Thanks for all the comments! Recently I have been reviewing my tournament games with an FM and some of my online games with an expert friend of mine.  It seems as though my main weakness is not playing precisely enough, particularly when I have a dynamic advantage. Of course when you do this your advantage disappears. So I have been trying to review my games and find the most active/accurate continuation.  I also have been studying tactics although with me sometimes Ill go through a period when I practice a ton of tactics and then Ill go through a period when I do very few. I also watch a lot of Video Lessons online (my favorite video author is Mehlik Khachayin).


Well, I must admit I'm a bit confused.  Unless I'm misreading it or something, according to your home page your rating is 770...


haha yes thats my official OTB rating but in terms of my skill level its more in the class B range.  if youre interested here is my uscf page.

also you can see all of my tournament games since i began playing chess seriously on my home page.


Afraid I only accept official USCF ratings as evidence of one's strength. Wink


A quick search of the USCF database shows that Magnus Carlsen has no USCF rating at all. Do you consider him a noob, Andy?


damn smartass ostriches


blueemu, there's a college professorship going for smart birds. All bird types welcome including ostriches.


Tactics, pawn structure plans, master games. Study these things everyday and put in hard work to improve.

linuxblue1 wrote:

blueemu, there's a college professorship going for smart birds. All bird types welcome including ostriches.

I'm already in a program for smart-ass birds.

On topic: I agree that analyzing your own games, especially losses will increase yuor playing strength. Posting them on the forum and inviting comments is probably worth the barrage of unkind remarks that it generates.


It certainly is worth it for the rest of us. Smile


Actually, blueemu was accepted for that professorship, but he had to decline (seems they had him teaching on the 2nd floor, and so there was a flight of stairs).

AndyClifton wrote:

Well, I must admit I'm a bit confused.  Unless I'm misreading it or something, according to your home page your rating is 770...

Yeah.  Honestly I don't understand ratings that low... what separates a 500 from a 700 from a 1000 besides they're old enough to sit and pay attention.  I don't see any chess related skill separating these ratings... so don't include them in adult events unless they're rated something like 1100-1200 or higher.  If they're below that just start them out as unrated.

I've seen tables with kids rated 300 (even 100).  I don't even know what that means.  Obviously the parents drive them out to sit in front of a chess board for a few hours and the kid is bored out of their mind, makes a few random moves, eats a snack, then their parents drive them home.  I don't get it...

I got paired with one girl who was rated something like 500.  Apparently she only came along for the ride, her brother was playing and rated 1800, so it was like a family trip or something.  But I basically missed a round because there was no day care option so the parents entered the sister too.  So I got to baby sit for about an hour and then wait around for round 2.


i think u still in group B