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7 Reasons You‘re Not a Grandmaster – Yet E-mail
Written by Yury Markushin   
Wednesday, 31 August 2016 00:00

7 reasons you are not a grandmaster yetEvery chess player’s dream is to make it to grandmaster one day. Everyone wants to cross that 2500 elo mark associated with the most prestigious FIDE title.  Everyone sees the fame and glory that come with the “GM” next to their name but they miss the most important aspect of it. They only see the top of an iceberg, but not the enormous amount of work that needs to be done to become a GM. Today we will talk about 5 reasons why you’re still not a Grandmaster.

1. You have no good mentor

A lot of chess players want to become Grandmasters one day. Sadly enough without a good mentor guiding you in the right direction it is very hard to make it to the GM level.  There are indeed GMs who claim to be self-taught, they may not have had a formal coach but they most likely did have many strong players surrounding them, advising and pointing out the mistakes. In any case it is very helpful to have a mentor, who can both motivate you and help growing as a chess player.

That person does not necessarily have to be a GM or even an NM. What’s important is that he should be motivated enough to help you, and you should feel comfortable getting help from him. A good mentor should be higher rated than you, but it is great if you can outgrow him some day.

2. You not ready to do what it takes

Many chess players want to be successful, but they aren’t willing to fully commit to chess. Playing high level chess is a hard work. You need to spend time working on those tactic drills every week. On top of that you need to study important middlegame and endgame positions. You also have to build and keep updating your opening repertoire while staying informed about the theoretical novelties. Finally, you need to play just enough chess to stay in your top form and perform at your best.

Last but not least, you need to take your time to analyze those games you have played, catch the mistakes, make corrections in your opening preparation and training process in general.  It is hard to say how many hours per day you need to spend on chess. But for many GMs it is a full time, 8 hour per day job.

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3. You are not developing your strengths

Most players think that they should work on their weaknesses to improve at chess. This is only true if you have some very serious weaknesses. For example, if you oftentimes end up in a dead lost position straight out of the opening, it probably makes sense to do something about it. However, if the opening is not your strong side, but you are able to keep the position more or less balanced, there is no immediate need to invest time here.

Instead focus on building your strengths. For example, if attacking chess is your strength, you should work more on improving it. That way you will still get more or less equal position out of the opening, but then you will be able to deliver a devastating attack totally crashing your opponent. It makes much more sense to invest time here, rather than spend months figuring out how to get that +0.5 out of the opening (if you are preparing for an upcoming World Championship Match please disregard my previous advice).

Every chess player has strengths. That maybe anything from endgame technique, to positional play or even pawn structure preference. Once you know what your strengths are, you can spend time to truly master them and use as a primary weapon to win games.

4. You have a wrong kind of surrounding

We already talked about the importance of having a good chess mentor and surrounding yourself with the right people.  What do I mean by that? If you want to succeed at chess you should surround yourself with positive and optimistic people who will support you during the journey. The road to becoming a grandmaster (or a national master) is not an easy one.  You should focus 100% on the goal, and not spend your mental and physical energy on those who doubt you.

Believing in yourself is already half of the success. By staying in contact with those who constantly reminds you that “you can’t”, “it’s not possible”, or “no one have done it” is not the most productive thing in the world.   Let me repeat this very important point once again. If you truly want to reach your chess goal, surround yourself with positive people who will push you towards achieving your chess dream, not dragging you back and setting up for a failure.

5. You don’t track your progress

If you want to achieve something big, you should start small. At first it will be very hard to even notice any signs of improvement. After starting your chess training, you won’t turn into a game winning machine overnight. That’s why it is very important to track your progress. You need to show to yourself that your actions lead to a positive outcome. It doesn’t matter how small it is. You need to constantly monitor that something is improving.

It doesn’t mean that you should print a poster size board of you elo chart and put it in your bedroom wall. What you should do, is start a training journal and indicate any progress you have made. Let me give you a simple example. Let’s assume on day 1 you have attempted 20 tactics problems, and solved correctly 4 of them. On day 5 you have attempted 20 problems and solved correctly 6. On day 7 you have attempted 20 problems, solved correctly 6 as well, but it took you 10 minutes less to complete this task. That’s a clear indication of progress, which should be recorded in your daily log.

This journal would both motivate you and push you towards the improvement. It is a small first step that will eventually lead to a big outcome!

If you want to improve your chess level, you need to have a clear study plan. If you aim for a dramatic improvement at chess you need to work on all of the elements of the game in a systematic way:

  • tactics
  • positional play
  • attacking skills
  • endgame technique
  • classical games analysis
  • psychological preparation
  • and much more

That seems to be like a lot of things, and that is. But no worries, we have made it easy for you. Our comprehensive training course covers it all and much more. Sign up for 21 Day Training right now!

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 August 2016 10:31

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