How to get really good at Chess?


I`m trying to improve my chess abilities, but for some reason I`m not able to transform the knowledge I got from Chess mentor and other learning tools at into my live and online games. What to do?

I figured I could post it at this forum since some of you guys/ girls here are pretty good at chess. You have all been poor once, then developed into strong chessplayers.

My question is how is the way to climb the ladder without spending money on a IRL coach?


Any answers would be much appriciated:)


Kind Regards



Study endgames Sirawan's book is good. Once you have basic endgame knowledge learn a couple of openings, then study tactics. Always analyze your games, both wins and especially loses. 


You can also look at my chess games for beginners and go over the games and articles there. Bob


One of the best ways to see ideas in practice is to watch the games of stronger players.  This way you can see a large variety of moves in different situations, what works and what doesn't, and ask yourself "why did they make that move instead of the one I would have made?"  You use what you've learned elsewhere (tactics, chess mentor, videos) to help answer this question and give you what you might be able to call "artificial experience".   


Thanks for reply Bobbymac310:)

My problem is that I`m past the beginners stage. I know a lot of openings and variations, have studied mid- and endgames, but still struggle to see the opportunities when beeing in a game. I`m cappable of playing a safe boring game of chess, but I rarely see mates in the midgame. Sometimes I just know its a mate closely but I`m unable to spot it.

But your suggestion of Sirawans book is something I`ll follow up on:)

Thanks again for taking your time to answer me:)


Kind Regards



Thanks "kytan" I will watch some of the topgames for inspiration. Its a good tips:) I hope it will make me a better mate-spoter:)

I will look at some of your games for inspiration, you seem to be a strong player:)


That's right, in chess there is a difference between what you know and how well you can apply it.  It's very important to play many games (long games where you have plenty of time to think through your moves) and attempt to apply anything new you've learned.  Then analyse the games later for mistakes.  You'll see very little improvement though exercises alone.

Lets say you read a whole book without playing any games at all.  When you come back your performance will probably go down for a while as you try to incorporate the new knowledge into your games.


There are two levels of knowledge.
1. The first is, when you just know something, you read or heard about it.
2. The second level is, when you use this knowledge autmatically, you have a good thinking process to realize this knowledge in the game.

The second level is the real knowledge. It is not important to know 1000 rules about chess, but it is important to know less rules, but they should tell you how to apply it in your games, how to think in a game to realize given tactics for example.
So for example if we are speaking about tactics, they should not only tell that there are pins, forks, and so on. They should tell you how to think in a practical game, to spot the tactical motifs. Because a knowledge is nothing, if they do not know how to do it.
It is something like if someone would tell you that, in a middlegame you should compose a plan. Yes, ok, but when? How? What to attack? What should I do with my opponents plans when I doing my plan, and how?

The answer for such when and how questions is not always clear. And this is the problem with a knowledge. You may know something, but if you do not know how to think in a real game, it is useless.
So try to find really good stuff about a certain topic, if you have membership, or you can pay for other materials.

Secondly, you should not learn the thing haphazardly. Concentrate on a certain topic (for example tactics) and learn them well. After you learnt it, you should go to other topic, etc.


hi we should become study buddies and learn the game better, play games and help analyze our games. helps when you have someone to keep you accountable when your feeling lazy or even burned out. i don't get to play much in real life so i've turned to internet now. would be fun!


Do something I never do, study your losses to see where you screwed up. And that's one thing we hate to do, study our losses to see where our fault lies. I know why I screw up though most of the time, chess blindness sux. :(


Waffllemaster; Thats excastely how I feel. Its like I`m feeling embarresed when playing a game becouse sometimes as mentioned earlier I know its a mate nearby, but I`m just not seeing it. The irony in this is when solving puzzles and doing Chess Mentor I very often finds it. I guess it might has something to do with the fact that when solving these Chess Mentor tasks and other learning tools you KNOW that its something there to spot, but in the game I`m afraid of pushing through queen sacrifices and loosing other important pieces. Grow some balls might be the answer I guess:P

Thanks for good feedback from all of you:) I`ll look into your feedback and hopefully become a better chessplayer:)






I see from your profile that you've been a member since April of 2011--nearly two years. AND you are a Diamond member!! In that time you've attempted 466 tactics problems--about one every two days. Yet I can't think of anything that improves board vision and pattern recognition better than studying tactics.

Maybe setting a goal of attempting 20+ problems a day might make a big difference in your play.

KnightsRuleTheGame wrote:

I`m trying to improve my chess abilities, but for some reason I`m not able to transform the knowledge I got from Chess mentor and other learning tools at into my live and online games. What to do

Getting better is a combination of working on your game interactively, studying chess in a structured and organized way, paying your dues playing good players with skills who've got guts heart and fighting spirit that's the kind of player you should look for challenge online or at any chess club they'll make you better you'll get experience and their good habits and discipline at the board will rub off on you in time.

If they beat you pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes and keep working at it.

waffllemaster wrote:

...Lets say you read a whole book without playing any games at all.  When you come back your performance will probably go down for a while as you try to incorporate the new knowledge into your games.

This was the perfect thing for me to read right now. I've been overdosing on Mato Jelic's youtube channel (along with my daily freebies from and my Silman book) and watching some super chess matches. Sadly, at the same time, my game has gone to pieces. This gives me hope. Thanks for this, Mr. Master.

I have no advice to give to this thread creator in that I am in the same boat. Good study to us both!


I grew stronger by playing against computers. Try playing about 2-3 games a day 15 min each and then analyse the whole game... where u made mistakes, where u misplayed a tactic, etc. The point is that computers are ruthless and never spare you. Once u make a mistake, u can learn from it .


MSteen; I have indeed been a member since april of 11, but I havent been a diamond member for very long. But I see your point about the training part. I think training is the dull part of the game and that might be the reason I`ve neglected it for so long. I`ll do as you say and practise 20+ every dag and hopefully grow some deeper understandig of the game. Believe me, its needed:)

_36darshan; Good point. Doing mistakes against computers are ruthlessly punished and are a excelent way of become more aware of possible threaths when making your move. Very good suggestion I have to say:)

Thanks everybody for wonderful feedback:)


The comp are useful to teach you to have a "tactical eye", but (unless you set them in mode 'brutal' in which case you have no chance) they are also very bad at punishing bad plans or lack of plans. So you need to play against humans too !

Otherwise, practice, practice, practice... And be patient.

A 1529 rating is already good stuff if you started playing chess when you joined which is around 2 years ago.


Honestly, study endgames, a lot of club players can't figure out endgames.


i know that studying endgames is the proper way to study chess, but unfortunately for people who play blitz, it is completely useless knowledge. a knowledge of openings and tactics and traps is far more useful.

i know blitz is not chess, just a variant, but endgame knowledge does not come useful in blitz. that is the truth.