One of the most important aspects of the life of every chess player with a bit of ambition is training. Constant self-improvement has always been the engine that keeps a player going. Training, like in any other sport, requires patience, discipline, and a strong will to work hard. If you have a coach or colleague to train with, the process can become more easy-going and fun. However, this should not be an excuse not to study; there have been more Grandmasters who trained themselves than who used the help. In this article, you’ll find 10 training methods that you can use in your training routine.
Some of these methods are less known and we have learned them straight from the Grandmasters who employed them. As you will understand, we’ll skip the names to not betray their confidentiality.
Let’s begin with our list:
Solving studies is difficult, it is very difficult…
However, you would not believe how good it is for your chess abilities. It improves your visualization and imagination greatly. Most study composers were also strong players with a passion for beauty in chess and great imagination.
We learned this straight from a GM who told us that he used to read annotated games without a board when preparing for a tournament. Try the best to do it accurately, without losing your concentration and by keeping a clear picture of each position in mind. It’s quite challenging.
This is a well-known tip, but highly underrated. Your games are the black box of your chess. Everything you need to know is right there. Your mistakes, your virtues, and defects. You must learn from them and seek improvement. Here is a complete tutorial for game analysis.
For a moment let’s put the theory aside and try the practice against a partner or your coach. For example, now that you have read the theory of how to use the bishop pair, set up the board with a typical pawn structure or even the 8 pawns and play a game with the two bishops versus bishops and knight and start sharpening your skills. Try it with different endgames.
A moderated amount of blitz, online or over the board, can help you keep sharp. Be aware, an overdose of blitz can literally destroy your chess thinking and turn you into a superficial player with very little chances of survival in longer time controls.
This will help you develop your intuition. By paying attention to the decisions made and trying to understand the moves played you will be able to do the same thing in your own games.
Pick up the exercise, look at it, memorize the position and then put it aside. Try to work out the solution with no board in front of you. This is one way to improve your visualization and calculation skills. Can be done anywhere too.
Just like doing it with one’s own games, you can learn from other players as well. It may be even easier for you to be more critic and objective analyzing other’s play than your own.
Many people go over their annotations or theory manuals over and over again but they hardly ever take the time to “play them out” and check when exactly their memory will fall short. Try playing your lines by heart over the board, maybe you’ll find out that you need to memorize better.
Last but not least, we cannot do any training list without mention the importance of studying the classics. The foundations are essential if you want to build into a strong chess player.
Study the games of the World Champions, their legacy.
Do this not only with the world champions but with every GM who fought in candidates tournament back in the day. For example, can you imagine not studying Zurich ‘53? You would be missing a lot. Games collections are the best when they are also annotated by the author and mixed with stories that keep you entertained.
With this, we finish the training list and we hope you will find it useful for creating your own training plan. Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Thank you for reading!