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How to Improve Your Chess Game?

Updated on January 30, 2020
Reese Wisdom profile image

Reese Wisdom is a 3 Time Greater Philadelphia Chess Champion, and a 2nd place winner at the Phoenix Rising Chess Tournament.

Killer Dutch
Killer Dutch | Source

Choose Your Opening Repertoire And Master It

It is imperative that you choose at least 2 openings repertoire for white and black pieces only and master that. Once you master that you will have a strong foundation in the beginning of your games and have a clear understanding and clear concept of how to play your opening. Many chess players make the mistake of jumping from 1 opening repertoire to the other without mastering the other. This is one of the reason why chess players blunder early in the game and another reason why chess players keep getting defeated because of lack of knowledge of the opening repertoire they're playing. That's why it is so important to stick to an opening you have more knowledge of and master it. Once you master it then you can study another opening repertoire of your choice.

Many chess players make the mistake of jumping from 1 opening reportoire to the other without mastering the other.

Mastering The MiddleGame

Middlegame, no doubt, is the KEY part of chess because the majority of the games are won or lost on this territory. Perfecting your middlegame would definitely lead to much better RESULTS regardless of the level you’re on.

Studying this part of chess is essential to understanding concepts such as weak squares, a strong center, open files, the art of exchanging pieces, etc. One has to be aware of how to evaluate the position and create a plan. All of this is a must-know for an improving player.

The middlegame has two main aspects. Strategy and Tactics.


Perfecting your middlegame would definitely lead to much better RESULTS regardless of the level you’re on.

Chess
Chess | Source

Chess Strategy

Strategy implies positional understanding, knowing how to evaluate the position and form a plan. The must read book on strategy is "Chess Strategy for Tournament Player". It's simple and easy to understand and great memorable principles that's easy to remember. Another book that really helped me in my chess journey is "The Shereshevsky Method to Improve in Chess: From Club Player to Master". Definitely a great book that will help you on chess strategies.

Chess Strategy
Chess Strategy | Source

Strategy implies positional understanding, knowing how to evaluate the position and form a plan.

Chess Tactics
Chess Tactics | Source

Chess Tactics

Tactics

By “tactics” we mean chess combinations with sacrifices involved. Tactics don’t appear out of nowhere (unless someone blunders), they are based on strategic principles. However, the underlying factors in strategy and tactics (pins, destroying the defense, deflection, X-ray, etc.) are different. There are tons of books on tactics for people of any chess level, as well as computer programs. You may want to buy both guides (which teach you about different types of tactics) and actual books with chess problems. Don’t forget about the classics, such as the games of Alekhine and Tal. Just like with strategy, try to find sources with the underlying ideas written out, not just wordless lines of obscure variations.

IM Mark Dvoretzky’s books are excellent in terms of studying the middlegame. The only drawback is that these are intended for strong, master level players.

Another idea you should know is pay attention to games annotated by top players. Try to understand how they think and why they pick each move.

Find the right balance between tactics and strategy. You may try to study them simultaneously, e.g. first review how to take advantage of weak squares (strategic concept) and then solve a few tactical positions exploiting these weaknesses. Keep in mind that “an hour of tactics a day keeps the patzer away!” (even half an hour can do miracles sometimes).

There are many chess tactics puzzles book out there that can help you better your tactical abilities; such as "Tactics Time: 1001 Chess Tactics" and "Improve Your Chess Tactics". Great tactical puzzles to read and very entertaining and it will improve your tactical abilities.

Tactics don’t appear out of nowhere (unless someone blunders), they are based on strategic principles.

Winning Endgame
Winning Endgame | Source

Master Chess Endgames

Endgames happens when a few pieces are left on the chessboard. The endgame is the final stage that can either make you or break you. It is imperative to study the endgame. Most masters and above even recommend studying the endgames first before you study the openings. I've personally been in many lost positions but in the endgame I've manage to win because my opponent lack knowledge of specific endgame principles. Make Sure you know your King and Pawn Endings, Knight and Bishop Endings, Rook vs Rook Endings, Queen Endings etc. Remember the patterns and always talk to yourself while playing against your opponent. It will prevent a lot of mistakes.

I recommend only a few endgame books that really help me increase my endgame skills.

1. Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual

2. Van Perlo Endgame Tactics

3. Winning Chess Endgames: Just The Facts

4. Fundamental Chess Endings - This is the book that GM Magnus Carlsen had read.

The endgame is the final stage that can either make you or break you.

Fundamental Chess Endings
Fundamental Chess Endings | Source

Follow These Steps And Take Action

Master your opening repertoire, middlegame, and endgame and your chess skills will gradually increase. To many chess players who work 9 to 5 jobs and have a family to care for it can take years to master or maybe shorter if you have a good study plan. It definitely helps if you have a training partner. I always believe having a good training partner is beneficial to developing your chess skills and can take you very far in the chess world. Again if you work a 9 to 5 job and have a family like me to take care of then I do recommend a chess course by GM Simon Williams called the "GingerGM Method. It's entertaining, easy to comprehend, and the training plan is very well organized. I hope this helps you on your chess journey. Good Luck!

Highly Recommended Chess Course

iChess.net Master Method - The GingerGM Method – GM Simon Williams - Over 15 Hours of Content!
iChess.net Master Method - The GingerGM Method – GM Simon Williams - Over 15 Hours of Content!

Want to realize your chess potential but don’t have much time to study? “GingerGM” Simon Williams has you covered. In this comprehensive 15 hour course, Simon reveals the training secrets and shortcuts that helped him become a GM with a fraction of the time and effort it takes most people.

 

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