Chess is a unique game where there is always something to improve. Even the likes of Carlsen and Kasparov can find something to work on in their chess arsenal. Once we go down the chess hierarchy ladder from GMs to IM’s to FM’s and to the untitled players the number of things to be improved grows exponentially.
Yes, it is hard to change things drastically in the short period of time, but with a proper plan, everything can be achieved!
1. Too much chess playing
If your goal is to improve in chess you must play chess, since this is the only way to test what you have learned previously. However, this is where things can go wrong. However, playing too much chess is not a good way of achieving your goal. This may sound counter-intuitive but making the same mistakes many times does not make you a better chess player.
As Albert Einstein has stated: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
Conclusion: playing less chess and dedicating more time to studying is what will give you the results you want.
2. Using wrong chess resources
There are many chess books and other educational materials available nowadays. Anyone can go to the bookstore and buy 10 different chess books written by the top grandmasters to study.
The main question to ask is how much will your chess strength (or rating ELO) increase after you read/study one of these books? That maybe the best chess book in the world, written by the strongest grandmasters, but it will do no good for your own chess improvement. Why?
Imitating a professional chess player’s training system is not a good idea since they are on different levels with you and therefore need to focus on many different aspects of chess. Just imagine if you just starting out with a bodybuilding, would you try to stick to the Schwarzenegger’s training routine? Probably not. The chess is no different.
Conclusion: pick the study materials wisely and do not base your decision solely on the rating or name of the author.
3. Have a study plan
Always plan what and how you going to study. Write down your chess goals on a piece of paper or in a notebook. Then you will be more likely to actually follow it. Track your chess improvement progress. That will both motivate you to work harder and also will show you what to focus on the most.
Work on different aspects of chess during your training periods. Like I mentioned in 10 Chess Improvement Rules Most Players Forget do not just focus on one area of chess (like endgames) for weeks and don’t work on anything else. You will be much better of splitting your time between endgame, tactics, and openings proportionally depending to you ELO. The higher ELO you have the more emphasis on the opening you should make.
4.Using chess software adequately
Chess software is an amazing tool that can lead to a fast progress if used in the right way. Strong chess programs is one of the main reasons why we have 13-14-year-old grandmasters. However, solely relying on computer analysis is not what you should do to improve at chess. You need to play chess on a real chess board with real chess players, not on the computer screen.
5. Stop worrying about rating too much
Of course it is nice to have a high ELO rating. it makes you feel accomplished and more confident playing against other players. But, the rating should not be the main goal of playing chess. In fact, many chess players that worry about their rating points too much perform worse than their counterparts who don’t focus on ELO as much.
Game of chess has enough stress factors, there is no need to introduce another one.
Read more about chess improvement: