As with most activities, it takes intentional practice and mastery of key aspects of the activities to see improvement. It’s no different in chess. Our goal at Elevate My Chess is to see every player improve so below are some of the suggested areas we encourage new and fairly new chess players to focus on to see improvement in their games:
- Learn the Fundamentals – It is always a great idea to start with a strong foundation of the game as this will enable you master the good habits and build upon strong chess fundamental knowledge. This includes learning how to visualize the chess board; developing your pieces to active squares; logical thinking process; the importance of taking control of the center and centralizing your pieces; pawn structures and the associated weaknesses or strengths these structures create; mastering various tactical concepts such as pins, forks, etc.
- Learn One Opening as White and Learn a few opening lines as Black to respond to e4; d4 or any other opening played by White – Once you’re familiar with some of the fundamental concepts, it is critical to spend time studying a particular opening line and the various ideas associated with that line. This will deepen your understanding of various positions that can arise and give you an edge as you will likely know the tricks and tactics associated with that position better than your opponent. The more time you spend studying a particular opening and using it in actual games, the better you will be and the more games you will win.
- Solve Tactics Regularly – Spending time doing a lot of tactical puzzles is a fantastic way to develop your tactical abilities and crush your opponents when you come across familiar themes in your games. The goal of the tactical exercises is not to solve all of them correctly but to learn and understand various positions that call for use of tactical ideas. With regular practice solving puzzles, you develop the ability to recognize a variety of different chess patterns, tactical motifs, strategic ideas and end game positions. At the end of the day, chess is 90% pattern recognition, so this is important. Spending time daily to solve puzzles will significantly enhance your tactical abilities and improve your game.
- Practice, Practice, Practice – This is the only way you will get the chance to put into practice what you’ve been learning. The more games you play, the more opportunities you will have to put into practice the fundamental concepts and tactics you’ve learned. Nothing can replace spending a lot of time playing as many games as you can. Where possible, always look for ways to learn from your games by either using the computer to analyze your game or getting a coach to help you analyze your games.
That’s it. Four simple steps that you can implement to improve your game. If you’re a member of a local club, you will have more opportunities to implement these steps. If you don’t belong to any club, we encourage you to find one close to your home. If you live in Oakville or Waterdown or the surrounding areas, click here for clubs close to you.
Best of luck as you implement these steps to elevate your chess!