“How to improve chess playing skills?” Whether he’s eating, watching chess games online, doing his daily chores, and everything else in between, this question is lingering at the back of an Extreme chess amateur’s head…eagerly waiting for answers.
Unfortunately, the RIGHT answer doesn’t come by. Well, if that describes your situation, READ ON! I will show you 2 training tips that will help you improve in chess SIGNIFICANTLY. While these chess improvement and training tips won’t magically make you a master-level player, it will make your current training regimen twice or even three times MORE effective!
Check these out:
How To Improve Chess Skills Tip 1 – Don’t Just Be A Spectator!
When we are reading annotated game collections, studying openings, learning chess strategies, etc., we tend to…well, just read! This is a perfect example of being a spectator. Many chess amateurs are just spectators of the variations.
If that’s describes how you train, get this: chess is NOT a spectator sport! If you want to improve in chess, you better learn how to get your hands dirty and participate. You better learn how to make your training active NOT passive as I have described above.
“How exactly do I do that?” you might ask.
Let me show you some examples:
Passive Chess Improvement Training: Reading annotated games – you are just simply playing through the moves on the board and the variations. And when there are verbal comments, you stop for a while and read it.
Active Chess Improvement Training: Reading and learning from annotated chess games the ACTIVE way (a.k.a. Solitaire Chess) – play through the opening moves. After that, cover the moves and try to predict the moves of the winner. Along with that, write down your train of thought as well as the lines you have seen. When you’re done, compare it with the annotator’s analysis.
And that’s just one EXAMPLE! You can do the same for studying openings. Instead of just memorizing variations and evaluations of different opening lines, comment on the opening moves.
Why is this move better and why is that move worse?
Why is this move made instead of the other?
After forming your own ‘opinions’, check the notes and see how close or far your assessment is.
Active chess improvement training means involving YOURSELF, doing the thinking and the analysis yourself before checking the notes. This makes it easier for you to remember ESSENTIAL chess lessons and makes it easier for you to apply these ideas in your games.
GM Smirnov says in his course The Grandmaster’s Secrets – “With passive learning, you only retain 10-20 percent of what you have read. With active learning, though, you get to retain 70-90 percent.”
I don’t know about you BUT I’m going for better retention!
How To Improve Chess Skills Tip 2 – Think RIGHT And You Will Play Chess RIGHT!
This is another essential chess improvement tip! Being a thinking man’s game, it’s NOT your hand speed that counts in chess (which is what blitz denizens probably believe). It’s how you think.
Learn how to think like a strong chess player – see your opponent’s threats and parry them, look for moves that activate your whole army, find the weaknesses in your opponent’s camp and more importantly, realize how you are going to pounce them.