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5 Tips for Improving Your Chess E-mail
Written by Yury Markushin   
Monday, 09 January 2017 00:00

improving chessSeems like you are doing everything correctly, but you still struggle improving at chess? That's not something unusual and happens to the best of us. There are few typical things that chess players are doing (or not doing) which are responsible for most failures. Simply by adding those things to your routine, you can possibly avoid many disappointments and hopefully reach new heights in your chess career. And the best thing? It will only take couple minutes of your time!

1. Strengths or Weaknesses?

One of the most common questions chess players are asking is whether to focus on developing strengths or weaknesses? Imagine you are in the mountains hanging on a cliff. The only thing that prevents you from falling is a thin rope. In this situation, it is obvious that you want the weakness (i.e. the rope) to be stronger and not to break. It works the same way in chess.

For instance, if your tactics is your weakness, you will constantly run into trouble losing material and ending up forked, pinned and checkmated. Therefore, the quickest way to fix your game is to take care of the biggest problems first. You shouldn’t worry too much about the color of your water bucket if it’s missing a bottom. Fix a bottom, and it will make the greatest difference in your game.

2. Planning Your Time

Most players don’t do any planning at all. They simply work on what they feel like and enjoy the results most players have. Being stuck on the same level for months if not years isn’t something uncommon. Another extreme case is spending a lot of time on planning what exactly to train, how much time to spend, what resources to use, etc., etc. Those theoreticians plan each detail, including 5-10 minute breaks in their training routines. It is good to be organized, but spending all available time on planning is counter-productive. Ideally, you should already have an idea what you need to work on the most. Based on that, you develop a plan of your training sessions.

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3. Looking in the Mirror

For most club players, it is very difficult to correctly evaluate where their biggest weakness is. They may feel that their opening is weak, but in fact, they lose games because thinking process is incorrect. This is one of the cases when looking in the mirror is not an option.  The most effective approach is showing some of the games you lose to a chess coach. He will evaluate 3-5 of your games and tell you what areas of chess you need to especially focus on. If hiring a professional isn’t an option, you can find a strong chess player and ask him to do the same. You can do it both in your local chess club or online.

4. The rule of 33%

Do you want to enjoy constant and steady improvement at chess? Then, you should consider using the rule of 33%. That is, you should spend 33% of your time with chess players much stronger than yourself, 33% of the time with players of your level and 33% with those lower rated.

We learn a lot from those stronger chess players. It maybe not obvious how and when you will learn from them, but it is a fact that if you interact with higher rated players you will have many of those “Aha!” moments. By spending time with players of your own level, you stay motivated and continue your steady improvement. Why do you need to spend time with those lower rated? It is known that by giving something to others you always receive something back. If you teach something, you will learn the subject better, and will constantly grow as a player.

5. Visualize your success

As I was writing previously, motivation is a huge part of success. I suggest doing the following self-motivating exercise. Imagine that you already reached your chess goals. Possibly you became a strong chess player, won many tournaments, got trophies and prizes. You can visualize yourself winning against a very strong player, possibly a Master or a GM, in a decisive game. There are many spectators in the room and you’re about to make a game winning move. Maybe this move will totally change your life, you will obtain a FIDE title and win money. It is all possible tomorrow if you start training today. Will you find that game winning move, that can possibly change your life? There is no way to know for sure, but if you try hard you will certainly achieve your dreams!

If you want to improve your chess level, you need to have a clear study plan. If you aim for a dramatic improvement at chess you need to work on all of the elements of the game in a systematic way:

  • tactics
  • positional play
  • attacking skills
  • endgame technique
  • classical games analysis
  • psychological preparation
  • and much more

That seems to be like a lot of things, and that is. But no worries, we have made it easy for you. Our comprehensive training course covers it all and much more. Sign up for 21 Day Training right now!

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Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2017 12:13

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