If you are reading this, you are probably one of those players who wish to become a better chess player and to win games (or at least not to lose). I’m sure that there is no need to tell you that becoming a better chess player is a huge job, which requires many things such as:
Desire (you really must want to become a better chess player, no matter what it takes )
Time (you must have a free time for your chess education)
Appropriate Training Program (it’s a lot better to have some training program than none, if you’re serious about chess)
Money (it is useful to have some sort of recourses you can invest to hire a coach, buy books and other chess supplies)
Okay, what if you already understand that chess isn’t an easy sport and maybe you already invested some of your time looking through my previous guides: How to Get Better at Chess and Chess Self Improvement Guide. It seems like you doing everything correctly but the progress is not there or it is extremely slow or ambiguous. If you feel like that’s you, read on. In this article my main objective is to systematize these very common and extremely negative chess habits which slow down player’s chess development. Here they are:
- Not studying any chess whatsoever (Believe it or not but this is a very common and a very bad chess habit which is common to millions of chess players who play chess on regular basis. They “just play” and don’t get any better. Don’t get me wrong, they get better, but their rate of development is very slow and it’s almost impossible to take track of it. If you are serious about chess and want to become a better player just playing isn’t enough, you need to learn some chess fundamentals. Trying to get everything in chess through experience is like trying to build an airplane from the Stone Age technologies. It’s a lot better to open a book and to see the current progress.)
- Playing a lot of blitz games (Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against blitz, but it’s not exactly chess. By playing dozens of Blitz games against opponents you’re not going to improve much. Maybe you will train you intuition somewhat, but your calculation technique, strategy and endgame will not improve at all. You cannot get better without long time control chess. Have you ever observed a “very good blitz player” playing a long time control game? If you have you know why they don’t play it: calculating two moves ahead and playing 2 moves per second isn’t very necessary in long chess.)
- Not analyzing your own games (For some weird reason many chess players believe that analyzing your chess games is a waste of time. They would rather play another blitz game than sit down and look at the game they just played. It is very important to analyze your own games, especially the games you have lost. By doing so you will see your weaknesses and will improve your chess.)
- Dedicating too much time to openings (Of course an opening is a very important stage of the game which literally dictates the way at which the game will progress. But most people spend too much time studying openings, memorizing variations they will probably never face in their games. These players of course know what to play on 14th move in Queen’s Gambit Accepted/Classical Variation, but since their opponents do not know what to play on move 7 and change the route their knowledge is useless. They would be so much stronger players if they just focused on tactics and endgames. )
- Not solving any tactics problems (Tactics is the key element of chess. Majority of games are being won or lost because of tactics. Forks, skewers, double attacks, sacrifices are basic elements of tactics. In order to spot them, regular training is required. A chess player needs to spend a lot of time solving tactics problems/studies in order to improve and keep the tactical vision sharp.)
- Ignoring endgames (This is another common misconception that endgames are boring and useless and that all the games are being won beforehand. Maybe some endgames are boring, but every little mistake counts in the endgame, every wrong move and a lost tempo is what separates winner from loser. In order to be able the endgames when you are up a pawn from the middle game regular practice is required. Spend some time on endgames and you will be amused how your what used-to-be loses will change to draws and draws will become wins. )
- Playing too much online chess (I have already talked about the differences between real and online chess, so here I would just say that over the board experience is what teaches you to become a better player, while online chess is just fun time spending. In order to get better at chess you need to play over the board, the sooner you realize it the faster you will become your improvement.)
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