What does it take to get to a solid 1800 level?


For standard chess and blitz?

In terms of things like:

Opening knowledge, tactical and stategic understanding, end game play etc.

I know that tactics should be the predominant study pre-1800 level, but also, are there any recommendations for defenses to d4 and e4 that the 'intermediate beginner' (I'm somewhere between 1300-1500) can quickly run with without having to get bogged down in complex opening jungles like the sicillian? I think I prefer semi-open positions.



Just play the double king pawn defense as black and maybe even a petroff. Against 1.d4, play the tartakower variation of the QGD.


"I know that tactics should be the predominant study pre-1800 level"

I've been told this, and studying master games. I wouldn't even really worry too much about memorizing lines until you hit your 1800 goal. Try to meet any opponent threats two moves ahead, and you should be on your way.


Probably a chess coach can guide u. 


A far stronger interest than I have, in chess.


have a narrow repritore which you know very well while below 1800 (systems are recommended ) and practice basic tactics and endings. look over annotated master games (preferably one with your openings. Study your black openings more than your whites.


I think it's much more important to study positional understanding, practice tactics, and avoid blunders.  I've found Silman's material about imbalances very helpful for understanding what's going on positionally.


Thanks for the suggestions. At the moment I am mainly doing tactics and following games with commentary for strategy, with the likes of Silman and the ChessNetwork blitz videos on Youtube. 

In the past I have read through books like My System and The Art of Attack in Chess, FCO but these got me a little bogged down and took my time away from tactics so I have left them aside until later (I did read them all through but too much info I think).

I'm wondering whether I need a good endgame book as well, as I have nothing on endings. It's the openings that are bothering me though. I like the idea of focusing on black and defences. I will try sticking to e5 in reponse to e4 and perhaps a Slav sort of set-up against d4?

I'm also thinking about joining a local club as this would surely help. I would be starting a rock bottom rating though, but it would be good experience I suppose. I am certainly willing to put the effort in in terms of study because I really want to reach that level of play. It's just a goal.

Edit: oh the tartakower I'll look up that, thanks.


To d4 you can do semi-slav stuff or old indian stuff without having to know much.  Vs e4 the scandinavian and petroff don't need much memorization.

Because 1800 player aren't GMs, IMO it's almost impossible to say what it takes exactly... because there should be different ways to get there.  What if someone asked you how to get from 1200 to 1500?  The most reliable reply is, you know a little more openings, tactics, endgames, and experience.  There's no magic formula.  Go over your games, look at master games to see what the correct opening moves / middlegame themes are and then try not to make the same mistakes again.

In the case of blitz improvement, you only have enough time in blitz to play what you already know really well.  Any time spent finessing (unless it's mate or massive material gain) means you'll lose on time.  So to get better at blitz, play longer time control games and study.  Once you get comfortable with some new patterns and ideas you can translate them to blitz.


The trick is, it's difficult to become good at quick chess (Internet chess) without either playing slow games, or having a systematic training method adapted to quick chess.

Most strong quick chess players are either good OTB long-time control players or experienced chess hustlers Smile

As a starting point, I would suggest a very systematic training of tactics and defence.


Yeah, My System and The Art of Attack are a little deep for our level, although FCO is a great reference for learning the ideas behind each opening.  Silman's Complete Endgame Course is recommended even by those who hate his other books.  Quite comprehensive but divided into skill appropriate sections so you don't have to chew on the whole thing at once.


Great, I was thinking about that Silman endgame book today I'll order that.

hicetnunc, what do you mean exactly by 'systematic training of tactics and defence?' For tactics training I use a mixture of tactics trainer on here and puzzles from books at various difficulties. I now also go over and over the same puzzles as well to help fix patterns. Do you think this is a good system. By defence to you mean focusing on the avoidance of blunder in particular?

Thanks for your time.

Edit: oh thanks again Wafflemaster.


1800 level OTB requires a healthy thought process and board visualization skills + good tactics + being familiar with your opening repertoire (=> practice) + some attacking skills.


And always keep in mind:

1200's think 1500's are solid, 2100's think 1800's suck.

Solid is a relative term :)


I've been doing tactics practice plus studying the games of Paul Morphy and analyzing my own games. Watching videos helps also. Not yet up to 1800's but trying to get there!


studying endgames and tactics. its possible to get by studying other things but this is the quickest way


take note that the method i use has so far gotten me to 1784 so I can't gurantee it'll take you to 1800 since it hasnt taken me thereSmile but my rating has continued to  gain and hasn't stopped yet so I'm excited about reaching 1800.


OK, new question connected to my OP:

How 'doable' is achieving 1800 at the end of the year, from my current rating of about 1450-1500?

Yes, it depends on the amout of work and what I am doing in that etc.

Yes, 1800 is just an artifical rating and it doesn't necessarily mean anything, however it is just one of three targets I have set myself this year. (The other two are not chess related and much easier to do!)

I think this is achievable with the said hard work and commitment - 300 points, but I don't know. Of course if I fail and hover at 1600 maybe, while still really enjoying my chess as I do it is still a win, but I want to know if my target is realistic or not. Yes, maybe or no chance.

(Also if there is anyone else who as a similar target and wishes to join my very sexy 1800 target group then please have a look on my profile and sign up. This is if you are a nice chap and not nasty, as I don't want any of those smelly types.)



try positions against houdini where you are up a pawn, lets say b+k+3 pawns, vs. b+k+4 pawns, symmetrical, same coloured bishops.

In general, see if you convert advantages to wins.

DaBigOne wrote:

try positions against houdini where you are up a pawn, lets say b+k+3 pawns, vs. b+k+4 pawns, symmetrical, same coloured bishops.

In general, see if you convert advantages to wins.

Wow, thanks. That's virtually what I have been doing this week and just what I have been thinking...that I need to win these 'won' endgames. For example I have battled with the computer workout:


My point is that there are plenty of things out there on tactics, positions, great games etc, but converting small advantages not so much, or so it seems. Yours is a great idea that confirms my thinking, thanks a lot!