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How to become a strong chess player

Updated on April 14, 2010

How to become a good (strong) chess player

Are you like the vast majority of chess players who lose so many chess games despite tonnes and tonnes of practice with both real human opponents and computers as well, perhaps you have taken it a step further by obeying the supposed rules of chess strategy such as development, castling, forming solid pawn formations among others and yet no progress seems to have been made. I have an answer to your question which is how can I become a strong chess player?

A good chess player in my opinion is one who not only has a respectable rating due to his impressive performance against numerous opponents but also has solid knowledge about chess positions and the subtleties therein.

For instance it is not uncommon to find really strong chess players who can practically tell when the right moment is to embark on a mating attack, or even predict likely opponent’s next 5 or more moves. The secret to being a really good chess player can be summarized in three words only. Study master games.

What! Is that all there is to it. Why then are there so few really strong players and what about strong grandmasters who have coaches and analysts to help them out with their games? The answer is basically the same. The answer to the question of being a really strong club, tournament or even chess professional has overtime been proven to be in master games.

For instance, Aron nimzovitch in his book “my system” said over a period of 20 years he gathered knowledge that made him one of the world’s strongest players how did such knowledge come to him? From master games of course that explains why all his illustrations about the subtleties of solid chess were gotten from actual master games.

Mikhail Botvinnik three time world chess champion and teacher to three other world champions (Gary Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov and Vladmir Kramnik) understudied master games especially those of Capablanca and Rubinstein. His depth in analyzing chess positions is legendary how did he become world champion? He achieved this by being very thorough and focused about his study of master games, taking time to assess the motif of every move and which positions demanded such moves. The motif of every move is to arrive at a winning plan for the given position.

How then does one obtain winning chess plans, ideas and insights from master games? That is not a question for another day because evidence has shown over time the connection between strong chess players and their playing abilities lies in their understanding of chess positions which doesn’t come from mere playing games with friends and so on but with actual analysis of master games.

In a nutshell all I have said is that the bottom line of chess mastery is to understand chess positions, find the right plan that favours you in that position and play it out only after thoroughly examining it with its implications and the way to go about it is through master games.


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    • onlinecashdigest profile image


      8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Nice tip on chess improvement.

      I just would like to add that for chess fanatics, they should also study all tactical motifs again and again in order to have immediate and instantaneous recognition of similar tactical positions in actual games.

      During the time that I did not played for 2 years, I noticed that my game was off when I played again. However, when I studied different tactics in Total Chess Training 2 which is composed of many tactical combinations about more than 1,000 positions, my game was back in less than 2 weeks.


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