@dave : playing in an agressive style is the easiest road to 1800 level, as you can expect a lot of defensive mistakes from lower-rated players. Still possible to reach 2000 this way, but you'll probably need a larger set of skills to get there.
I always thought that chess improvement is kinda like playing an rpg where you need to level up separate stats.So if you are weak at endgames then study that or your opening needs some tweaking then study that.Then you dont need to worry about ratings anymore.
I try to think of every way I could possibly sacrifice any / all of my pieces on every move. 95% of the time, of course, it's not on; 3% of the time it looks good but nothing comes of it. The 2% of the time where it's on + works, though, wins me the game. To me, those are good odds considering how great the rewards are. My $0.02.
@ItsEoin; that makes sense.
@Hicetnunc: 'Playing aggressive = easier to 1800' That's good to know. What larger set of skills are you talking about??
@Turtle: Thanks for that input. Nice to know one can get to 2000 without great tactics, only real solid positional play and not giving opponent counterplay opportunities and not much sac play.
You have to keep winning OTB tournament games until your rating hits 1800 . It's easier if you play stronger opponents...
@dave : the usual stuff - openings, endgames, time management...
I know turtle very well and I can show you plenty of his games where he lost to tactical play!!!! Do all tactics!! I also hit 2000 faster than Turtle doing tactical puzzles. (I am a good personal friend of Turtle btw)
Get'em Turtle! :-) i'm doing everything right now. Studying sac books - reading Tal, tactics every day, studying positional play, and learning openings. It's all good.
A reason I didn't study tactics was that it felt too mundane. If you got the correct answer, then "Yeah I got it right", if you made a mistake, "Oh, who cares?, chess is all about strategy anyways..." My friends recently recommended Chess Tempo which made solving tactics more fun. In my first week, I was a miserable 1550 tac rating. I was missing simple forks and pins, etc. Now I'm at 1750 tac. It really opened my eyes. It felt like I was driving without my glasses on.
For an honest answer, for drastic improvement you should study what you're weakest at. Most players begin weak at tactics due to a lack of pattern recognition (analgous to someone learning a language and not knowing any vocabulary). This is why so many people suggest you study alot of tactics.
If you feel comfortable with your tactical acumen, you need to diagnose where you are most weak. Are you coming out of the opening battle with a disadvantage continuously? Are you having trouble converting winning positions? Weak endgame skills? Trouble defending? Errors in calculation or thought process? The list goes on... You have to find out what's wrong and fix it.
Irritating as it may be; the part of the game you dislike the most? Is probably the aspect you need to work on.