“How can I improve my chess game?”
This one of the biggest questions chess players have. Do you have an answer to this question?
In my opinion there are many answers to the question of how to improve your chess game. But this creates a problem, especially to players rated 1800 and below. The information overload makes them confused and they don’t know what to focus on.
In this article I am going to give you 3 answers that I believe will help you improve your chess game, if you learn and study them seriously.
How to improve your chess – Step 1. Do a blunder check
Many chess games at club level are lost because of mistakes or clear blunders. The logical way to win more chess games is to stop making blunders and obvious mistakes.
You must ask yourself this question before every chess move you make. How is my move a blunder? This is easier said than done, it will require you to put in serious work. You need to train your brain to think like this.
But it can be done, the more you practice thinking like this, your brain starts thinking this way automatically. When you learn to ride a bicycle, it is very hard at the beginning. After some time you will start to ride the bicycle without thinking about pedaling. This is what happens when you learn a new idea in chess, you work on it until it becomes part of your thinking process.
Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky taught me this idea in one of his chess videos. Now I try to teach it to my chess students. It will save you from many painful losses, especially ones that should be avoided e.g. blundering a queen and blundering checkmate. If you work hard at training this skill you will improve your chess for sure.
How to improve your chess – Step 2. Learn to calculate best moves
There is a famous chess quote that says, “Chess is 99% calculation.” This is an exaggeration but it is justified. The modern chess computers can beat the best chess players in the world because they calculate perfectly. Therefore it makes sense for you to work hard on calculation to win more games.
The human being cannot calculate perfectly, this is one thing you must know.
Don’t waste time trying to find the perfect move in every position but focus on finding moves that create practical problems on the board. You can even play a move that’s not the best but it gives your opponent many difficulties during the game; it increases the chances of your opponent to blunder.
Former World Champion Mikhail Tal was famous for this, some of his moves were not the best but they created complications on the chess board for his opponents.
To improve your chess calculation, this is the most important thing to remember. Never believe your opponent won’t find the best move to respond to you plan or attack. Learn to think about the best moves for yourself and the best moves for your opponent, this is the secret of strong chess players.
Many club players think too highly of their plans or attacks but lose easily when they face tough opposition, because strong chess players know how to find the best moves in defense or attack.
Do chess tactics every day for about 10 – 15 minutes. Learn to recognise tactical patterns (pins, forks, skewers etc.), this is very important and will help you see combinations very quickly. If you work seriously on your calculation skills you will improve your chess.
How to improve your chess – Step 3. Learn chess endgames
The modern chess player knows a lot of openings, knows some typical middle game plan, is very good at tactics, but is very poor at endgames. You need to make a decision to work on your chess endgames and your chess will improve so much.
The endgame is the part of the chess game where the game is decided. If you make a mistake in the opening or middle game you have a chance to recover the game. But if you make a mistake in the endgame there is no second chance. Therefore it is very important that you take learning the endgame seriously.
The two important things you want to do in the endgame, create a passed pawn and centralize your king; use it to attack the weak pawns of the opponent and to support your passed pawns advance to the promotion square. Former World Chess Champion Jose Raul Capablanca said to improve in chess you should first study the endgame.
When you study the endgame you start playing good moves in the opening and middle game because you are thinking of the endgame ahead. You won’t push too many pawns or weaken your position unnecessarily because you are thinking of the endgame ahead. You will win and draw more chess games if you study the endgame seriously.
These are my tips for how to improve your chess game this year. The real enemy to improving your chess is laziness. It is not enough to know these things but you need to make a decision to continue working on them no matter how hard it gets. If you don’t give up putting hard work into your chess game daily, you will reap the rewards.
How many chess rating points do you want to gain this year? I would like to help you achieve your chess goals and aspirations. Book your free chess improvers call with me today.
As always, keep chessing!