“Many have become chess masters; no one has become the master of chess.”- Siegbert Tarrasch
This quote from is yet another reminder that there is always room for improvement in our chess game. There?s nothing we do perfectly, and chess always provides us with more to learn and study.
The best way to improve at chess is similar to other subjects ? follow the path to wisdom that has been blazed by others. There are no shortcuts; to improve at chess requires high-quality lessons, professional written courses, individual work, positional training …and a bit of talent. Emanuel Lasker, World Champion for 27 years, firmly believed that anyone with normal intelligence and talent could improve at chess reaching a master level in only a few years, if they studied properly.
Ways To Improve in Chess
Analyze All The Games You Have Played.
Although this is one of the most foolproof ways to improve your chess skills, many people overlook this. It would be best if you went through the games you have already played to understand how you can play them better.
Backtracking and analyzing your previous games help you learn from mistakes you have made, where things might have gone wrong and help you minimize those same mistakes in the games in the future.
You can go about the process of analysis in any way you wish. Some people look for mistakes while others study the game in an in-depth manner so they can get the full extent of where any improvements and changes can be made.
It’s also easier to play these kinds of games because they’re shorter and hence more addictive than a regular game of chess. The Recommended amount of time for the best practice is to play games with at least a 10-minute control minimum.
That said, it’s not that these games have no benefit for you. They are helpful for now opening practices.
Practice Playing Chess Games All The Time
The saying “practice makes perfect” also works in this scenario. Every opportunity you get, try to play as many games as you can. Every game is different, so you get to build on your strategies when you experience even more.
With the introduction of online games and numerous phone apps, it’s even easier to practice playing chess all the time. Repetition is what helps you improve upon your already developed set of skills when playing chess. Whether you’re a newbie in the game or an expert, the more you practice, the better you get.
The recommended amount of times to play chess games in a day is about 10. You can play short games if you don’t have the time to spend on 10 long games. But a minimum of 2-3 per day is good practice to equip your mind with different moves and strategies.
Try To Avoid Playing Bullet Or Blitz Games.
Since these games have low time control, it contributes to poor game strategy building. You get an adrenaline rush from the games, but you are less likely to learn anything productive through them.
Understand All The Rules
As obvious as this sounds, many people need to pay more attention to the game’s rules. Especially for more experienced players, the game’s rules aren’t paid attention to in detail as they should be. It’s always a good idea to review all moves and pieces regardless of how seasoned of a player you are.
Practice Chess With Chess Puzzles
These are much different from your typical game of chess but are just as entertaining. These help you develop the skills you need to improve your chess skills but without the build-up. You only get to play the fun part of the game, which gives you a better chance at winning.
These help you develop tier chess tactics that you can use while playing with opponents.
Find Your Own Style
Everyone plays chess with different strategies. There’s no right or wrong way to play chess so if you are more of a defensive player or an offensive one, choose your style and work on it.
It’s recommended that you try all kinds of strategies and find out which are your strengths and which type helps you utilize your skills to the fullest.
This is another important part of improving your chess gaming skills. Apart from just prepping your brain to play chess, you should also study the game to understand better how it works.
Study All The Basic Endgames
Most chest games are not short. Typically, a standard game of chess takes a while to end with making tons of moves and removing a lot of the chess pieces of each other’s Calvary.
Often towards the end of the game, you’ll probably be left with just the King along with some pawns. This part of the game, where it’s almost nearing the end, is called the endgame.
The goal during this part of the match is to promote whatever pawns you have left to one Queen. This is probably the most critical part of the game, and it requires you to be very tactical about every move you make. Without a proper strategy, you could lose a match that you could have likely won with 1 or 2 moves.
Learn how to navigate through complicated endgames while studying all kinds of endgames available to you. Some websites and apps let you practice some standard endgame drills.
Some of the most basic things you have to learn about endgames are how to deduce if the opponent’s King can remove your passed pawn, which is the rule of the square or how to mate with the King and Queen or Rook pieces versus the King and how or when you can promote with two passed pawns which are connected, the King piece opposition in 2 Kings and a Pawn.
Review Your Past Games
In order to help you improve your skills while playing chess, it’s always a good idea to review all your last games.
Playing the game and practicing it is also essential but reviewing it is just as important as well. Many online applications can help you improve your game, like Retry Mistakes and Game Report.
It has been proven that regular reviewers of their own games have a high chance of improving their plays than those who don’t.
When you review, you learn from your mistakes, so you don’t repeat them again, or you can find a better way of tackling different opponents the best way that you can.
Don’t Memorize The Openings.
Many new chess players make the mistake of memorizing different chess move sequences to “study” the game. However, the problem with this tactic is that many players are unaware of the various chess openings there.
And even if they know a lot of chess openings, there is very little chance that your opponent will be playing the chess opening that they know.
The easy way out of this is to learn the general opening principles, and don’t worry about me memorizing tons of sequences that are basically just “book moves,” which not many people use anyway.
Learn Common Black Defenses Against White Openings
If you’re playing with black, you know that you have a little more chance of accurately predicting the white’s opening move.
A good strategy against this type of match is to search up the last few good games and study the 5 mainline moves that the opponent makes at the beginning. Or you can go through a whole list of games and check out which moves you come across the most.
With this information at hand, you should be able to apply this to the game and get a good head start on your game. The beginning moves are just as important as any other part of the game, so after learning this standard information about the game, you can get a decent upper hand going into the midpoint of the game.
Bear in mind that knowing these moves alone will not help you win the match. Sometimes the opponent might also have some tricks up their sleeves that can catch you off guard but consider it a learning step and study it later so that you can counter it if you ever come across this same play again.
Tactics During Gameplay
In chess, being calculative refers to the next 4 to 5 steps where you already have it all planned out.
When moving one chess piece, the goal is to look ahead and see where that piece will go. So every step is calculated, and your next few steps are all figured out. This way, you will be ready with a counterattack if necessary.
This is a skill that takes a lot of practice, so it’s imperative that you practice playing a lot of games with different opponents.
Try To Understand Why Your Opponent Is Making Every Move They Make.
Having a set strategy to follow during every one of your games is important to the game’s outcome. However, it is equally important to keep an eye on what the opponent is playing.
When it’s time to start attacking the opponent, it is likely that the opponent might also start using their tricks to attack your pawns. So even if you’re trying to stick to your gameplay, keep a watchful eye on where you think the opponent is going with their moves.
Keep track of each move and try to determine why the opponent might be moving it in that particular position. You might not always be right but analyzing their moves through each step helps you get a sense of the bigger picture.
Try to ask yourself, “why is she/he moving this way?” “Where are they going after this?” This will allow you to make your own moves very tactically, staying one step ahead at all times.
Always Double-Check All Your Moves.
A chess match’s most critical aspect is making sure you make no wrong moves. The goal is to keep your King safe while also making sure you don’t kill off your pawns unnecessarily.
With chess, one wrong move can make or break the game. So before you actually lift your pieces to move them from one location to the other, double and triple-check the move. Make sure that it does not risk any of your other chess pieces.
Have Control Of The Center
Every seasoned chess player knows the importance of the four squares on a chess board. These are the four places where you have the most control. Hence, try your best to get control of the center.
This is the place from where you can move your pieces virtually anywhere you wish, giving you more control over what attack you can place on your opponent.
However, there’s one thing you need to be careful of leaving the King piece at the center for a long duration. It is the most important piece, so leaving it exposed to your opponent can be a risk for your entire gameplay.
Keep A Look Out For Your Queen.
If you’re an avid chess player, you probably already know that the Queen piece is the most powerful one you have. Some players might find it the easy way out to use the Queen as soon as possible and start the attacks on the opponent.
However, this turns out to be a rookie mistake most of the time. Instead, it’s better if you wait for your opponent to start developing their strategy and making the play before you start with your Queen. This way, you’ll have a better chance of using the Queen to your advantage.
Develop All The Pieces
Newbies typically start pushing all their pawns to the front and focus on that instead of using all the pieces for a full-force arsenal. All the pieces have a purpose and role, so make sure you use each of them to their fullest potential to get the best ply out of each chess piece.
Scout For Weakness On The Board
Many people struggle to work their way around the chessboard with all the pieces at the beginning. Whether you are playing with an expert or a newbie, you need to know the opponent’s weaknesses to attack more efficiently.
Check if any pieces in the board are left unprotected, so you can plan your next attack.
Learn The Primary Opening With White And Stick To It
When you start playing chess seriously, you’ll learn about more types of openings, like the Italian game, the Queen’s gambit, and The Blackman Diemer Gambit, but it’s better to stick to the basics.
Learn a good opening with white and learn it very well so that you can become a master at it. This is much better than being average at multiple types of openings.
Don’t Pin Yourself
You might think it is better to block checks as they come insured of moving the King elsewhere. But it’s best to avoid doing this. When the game moves on, your pin will turn into a liability that your opponent can easily catch on to and take advantage of.
Vice versa, if your opponent takes the same strategy of pinning themselves, try to make your next moves around the same King so that your opponent cannot defend the piece.
Psychological Tips During Gameplay
Never Give Up
Chess is usually a long, drawn-out game. So you might even be down by a couple of points in the middle of the game, but don’t give up. In chess, every move you make is a chance for a new mistake or a blunder that can change the course of the game.
So never give up when you feel the opponent has the advantage over you. Instead, have an optimistic outlook and look forward to winning the match even when you have the odds stacked against you. Perhaps you might have the winning move.
Don’t Punish Yourself For Not Winning A Game
Everyone likes to win, but not everyone can be a winner at all the games. Sometimes you have to lose some games, but that’s okay.
In fact, losing a match in chess has benefits because you can learn a lot from mistakes and blunders. The wrong moves made in the game can be thoroughly studied and reviewed, which helps you understand where you went wrong the first time and then avoid these mistakes when you play your next game.
If You’re Unsure Which Move To Make, Wait A While.
It happens pretty often in chess. You might reach a point where you need help understanding what to do with your next move. If you are in such a predicament, it is best to wait.
Try to be relaxed about what your next move will be. This will only put pressure on you to make a move that’s pretty much fatal to the game. The best thing to do in such a situation is to improve your current position, move the chess pieces little by little, and wait for your opponent to make their moves.
Apart from these methods, you can also join a chess club where you get to interact with like-minded colleagues. You can share your ideas and thoughts on the subject matter and have debates or study sessions aimed at improving your gameplay.
Some people are also taking up online chess lessons. These can come in the form of videos, software, or books. So if it’s impossible for you to join a physical chess club or play at tournaments, you can use online classes to help you learn about this game.
You’ll get to learn more through professionals and experts who know their way around the game better than anyone. So with their years of experience and expertise, you can get a good amount of information needed to improve your skills when it comes to playing chess.
How Much Do Chess Lessons Help
IchessU is one of the best places one can improve at chess: the approach studying chess is based on the developed by our chess school curriculum, delivered by experienced coaches and proven in the field by many years of coaching, just read what our students say.
Our lessons implement a continuous method of chess study, adjusted to a student or a group level. In IchessU, our coaches make sure you get a solid understanding of the basics before moving on to more advanced concepts. Learning the basics first creates a framework around which you we integrate the future knowledge. IchessU chess lessons will master your tactics, openings and endings principles, studying positional play and strategy in the middlegame, bringing it all together by playing chess tournaments and chess matches. Chess is NOT hard, but complex, which makes it so beautiful.
IchessU can accompany the journey to improve your chess and make it more enjoyable.
Ways to Improve in Chess
Learning chess on your own can be challenging. For beginners and intermediate players, the information on different openings, strategies, and tactics could become overwhelming. That said, here are some essential tips to help you improve in chess more effectively:
- Sign up for lessons Consider signing up for chess lessons online where you can learn conveniently anytime, anywhere, while being guided by a professional and experienced coach. Their guidance will help you analyze your moves and understand chess openings and other essential factors to help you improve.
- Learn chess openings The opening encompasses the first moves. It is where you and your opponent must work to develop your respective forces with the goal of overpowering the other’s defenses. There are many different openings, which greatly vary in their character. You will find that some are aggressive, and some are focused on quiet, positional play. The Encyclopedia of Chess Openings have classified all openings, and to improve in chess, you may also want to look into it. Even professional players continue to learn openings throughout their careers because opening theory keeps evolving.
- Stay up-to-date with chess strategies and tactics Both are dependent on each other, as strategy is concerned with setting and achieving your long-term goals in the game and tactics are the means on how to execute them with moves. Tactical opportunities occur according to the previous strategy, and strategic goals are achieved with tactics. Chess lessons and consistent practice can help you improve in chess on this aspect.
- Play with others Online chess platforms offer a safe and secure environment where players of every level can challenge others and play on a virtual board. You could even play with someone whose level is more advanced than yours to see how you would fare.
Practice Practice makes perfect, and that also applies if you want to improve in chess. So, keep playing versus a computer or virtually with other players, including your coach.
Why Improving in Chess Affects Other Aspects of Life
Critical thinking is an important skill that can help you with almost everything in life. For this reason, it is taught early to kids as a means to improve their IQ and help them become independent thinkers in the long run. Thinking skills can be improved through certain activities, like playing chess. Studies and research have proven time and again the benefits of chess in developing and improving thinking skills. That said, you may want to improve in chess whether you are a novice or an advanced player, regardless of your age, so you can boost your problem solving and abstract reasoning skills.
You may be wondering why it makes sense to improve in chess, even as a grown adult or a teen? Learning is an on-going process, and it is not just for kids. Even seniors and learners with special needs can learn chess, and it is never too late to start. Chess is pretty much like real life where you have the option to aimlessly do your part and hope for the best, or set goals with careful thinking and planning, so you can achieve them. That said, chess teaches us to have a goal, so you have a better way to overcome obstacles and plan efficiently to achieve it.
As you improve in chess, you are likely to realize that you are more effective at conquering any complex situation, even outside the game. You can apply your better thinking skills in personal life or at work. Besides developing your critical thinking skills, chess also enhances your mental capabilities and makes you more academically proficient, especially when it teaches you to patience, the ability to rationally think, and enhance your communication skills. Playing chess is also known to increase thoughtfulness, focus, concentration, patience, and improve your ability to recognize patterns and visualize more effectively.
Chess lessons can help you improve in chess and develop your thinking skills. Get started with online lessons with a seasoned coach and a platform that lets you play chess anytime, anywhere. Everyone is welcome to learn, no matter how young or how old you are, and regardless of your skills.
Have You Reached A Plateau? – Habits of Top Players
Having the right mindset is a key to playing better chess. If your goal is to improve in chess, how you think in the context of a game plays a crucial role in the quality of moves you make, the strategies you use, and the tactics you put to play. The chess mindset leads to a more logical way of constructing moves and plans during a match. Breaking down your preparation for each move into several steps is one way to get into a better technical thinking process that results in better moves and a significant reduction of mistakes and blunders due to random picking of pieces and placements. Below is a 4-step technical thinking process that can definitely help you improve in chess:
- Ask yourself, what your opponent’s plan may be. Out of all the moves on the board he could’ve played, why did he choose this move and position? Getting into the other player’s head is critical in analyzing the goals and motives behind their move. This way, you can be on the top of their possible plans and create good counter attacks or defensive moves so that your positions be threatened.
- What forcing moves are available to your opponent? Always check for captures, checks, and other major threats. See what kinds of forcing moves are available for yourself. This is important so as not to miss any available tactical move. If none of the possible forcing moves appear to work out well, move on to your next best step.
- What are your short and long-term goals? It is always important to have a plan in a game of chess. Do you want to develop pieces? Put your rooks on an open file? Control the center? Defend your king? Threaten your opponent’s pieces. Plans don’t have to be overly complex. In fact, sometimes the simplest strategic plans are the strongest.
- Finally, which move should you play? Once you have analyzed everything, it’s time to decide on the best move to play in the position.
How to See Significant Improvement
Your goal in chess improvement should not be to be better than outs but to advance your own skills. Consider the following tips if you want to improve your chess:
- Remember that there are no shortcuts The best way to improve at the game is to look for opportunities for continuous learning. This means finding and signing up for high-quality lessons, and working with reputable and seasoned mentors. You can find those at established online chess schools that are known for their superb curriculum.
- Find a good and trustworthy coach You can improve your chess skills if you enjoy the game and the process of learning. It makes sense to find a reputable and friendly coach with whom you can get along. You want to be relaxed, not anxious during lessons. A good coach can answer your questions and address your challenges and mistakes with their guidance and wisdom.
- Know the basics first Learning and mastering the basics will create the framework where future knowledge can be integrated as you continue to improve your chess in the long run. Through your classes, you can master openings and ending principles, tactics, positional play, and mid-game strategies.
- Join matches and tournaments The road to improving requires challenging yourself once in a while, and this means playing against those who might be your equal or greater than you. Consider joining tournaments and matches. You can learn from your opponents and be driven to improve further as you meet other players who are doing their best to win the game. Only by playing with others can you understand how strategies are applied and how certain moves can result in certain events.
The best way to learn chess and improve your game is to play it. However, chess is a two-player game, and if you typically have no one to play with, you can either play against a computer or with another person online. Some of the best chess schools offer online learning to teens, kids, and adults who want to improve their game conveniently. Online learning is typically easier because it lets you have your lessons anywhere at any time. You can schedule classes at a time that is convenient to you and start enjoying lessons and training games with a professional chess instructor.
There may be a lot of resources and learning materials that can teach you to play chess and improve your game online, but nothing beats being coached by professionals and highly experienced and skilled players. Using a unique online chess platform, learners and coaches are able to share a similar chessboard, and qualified mentors can offer proper guidance through online games. Online learning has allowed even the most seasoned players to hone their strategies, and beginners and average players can experience that, too. Online chess lessons and games can help you learn through instructional videos that make learning entertaining and more interesting.
Reputable online chess schools offer many different lessons that can enhance your game and skills. They use unique technology that is specifically developed to aid any type of learner. In fact, some of the best online chess schools are able to work with students with special needs, too. Chess is taught in a private online classroom or in group setting, whatever works for you. Coaches and students can easily communicate via online video chat (i.e. Skype). On average, online classes are typically 50 percent cheaper than chess lessons that are held in an actual classroom setting, even with an equivalent level coach.