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How to Improve at Chess – Part 7

So far in this series we’ve considered way to improve your chess skills. But how will you know that you’re actually improving? The short answer is to say that you’ll be winning more games; in most cases this will certainly be true.

I had a somewhat different experience. When I got “serious” about chess in my late twenties, most of my opponents were far better players than I. It took a while (years, in fact) before I was regularly able to give these guys a run for their money. My “opponent base” did expand (that is, my circle of regular opponents expanded) and I did find several players who were much closer to my own skill level.

But the main way I knew I was improving was by going back over my old games and seeing the kind of mistakes I made. As I improved, I still lost plenty of games but I was able to see progress simply by going over games I’d played weeks or months before: “At least I’m not making those horrible blunders anymore…”

That brings us to today’s improvement tip:

7. Write down the moves to every game you play, and save your scoresheets

This tip will link directly to a later one, but for now we’ll leave it at that. Write down the moves to your games. If you don’t know chess notation, it’s easily learned with this online tutorial. Scribble the moves down on notebook paper or even scrap paper. Later you can transcribe them into a notebook or a chess score pad so that they’ll all be gathered together in one place. Make sure you include the date the game was played.

Later you can go back and replay your games. You will see definite progress;  you’ll sometimes even cringe and say “Man! Why did I play that?” You’ll be able to see instantly that a move you made in an old game was an obvious mistake. Yes, obvious now, but not so obvious at the time the game was played.

And that’s how you’ll know you’re improving as a chessplayer —  you’ll not only see those old mistakes, but your newfound knowledge from your chess studies will tell you why they were mistakes.

7. Write down the moves to every game you play, and save your scoresheets

There are other reasons why you should do this, and we’ll talk about those as this series continues. For now, just be aware that your chess games are part of your personal chess history. While they might not be important in the grand scope of overall chess history, they absolutely should be personally important to you. And they will serve another valuable purpose as we’ll soon see…

ChessCentral offers many, many chess items at great prices, including low-cost chess scorebooks which are perfect for recording your games.

Have fun! — Steve

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2 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ChessCentral. ChessCentral said: Not an April Fool – we've just posted another #chess improvement tip! http://wp.me/pAdpb-5X […]

  2. […] That’s why today’s tip goes hand in glove with our previous tip (#7). […]

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