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How to improve at chess — Prologue

How do you get better at chess?

It’s a legitimate question and one which doesn’t have any one single answer, if for no other reason than the advice a beginner needs will be different than the advice which would be useful for a grandmaster. Nevertheless, it’s the one question I see on message boards (and in my e-mail box) more than any other.

“How do I get better at chess?”

The good news is this: for most players from beginners up to about 1800 Elo (U.S.) the answer remains pretty much the same. The answer lies in a series of general, helpful suggestions which will definitely improve your game if you’re a beginner or a club-level player — at worst, the advice can’t hurt. The “short list” was a series of suggestions I first encountered many years ago in a chess publication, a list to which I’ve added (doubling the number of suggestions) and on which I’ve also elaborated at length in some of my prior writing.

Starting next week right here in ChessCentral’s blog we’ll be discussing these tips for chess improvement, tips aimed at the average player. Each post won’t be just a short tip alone but will also offer a fair bit of elaboration as to why the advice is useful and/or important. We’ll be looking at one or two of these tips each week, each blog post in the series will be dedicated to a single tip, and each post will be plainly labeled and numbered so that you won’t miss it.

I’m not just whistling in the dark with these tips, either. I struggled as a chess player for a long time until I discovered these bits of advice and, once I adopted them, I enjoyed an immediate improvement in my games. I didn’t become a world-beater but I did become a much better and more confident chess player, a fact which was reflected in my results. The tips have worked for me and I’m sure they will work for you. In any event, they definitely won’t hurt your game at all and, even if you decide not to adopt them for some reason, they will still offer some insight into the kinds of things you’ll need to do to become a better chess player (good “food for thought”, if you will).

We’ll be launching this series next week here in ChessCentral’s blog. So have a great weekend and we hope to see you here again next week!

Have fun! — Steve

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2 Responses

  1. Great to hear it Steve!
    I am looking forward to listen and read EVERYTHING what you are going to tell us :-). Your experience and great articles (anyone remeber “Intelligent mistakes”?) are greatly appreciated!
    Best regards – Tomasz

  2. i read everything of yours [that i can find -> not always an easy task.
    i am beginning to believe that my game is more correspondence chess than OTB. [if i recall correctly, CC is big with you. one of your longest series on Chessbase is about CC.] do you consider that to be a critical distinction? [i have read some who state unequivocally that they are two entirely different games, except superficially.
    where do you stand?
    will this current ‘improve’ series apply equally to both?

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