I have created a separate page about my chess training. Writing about the training helps me to keep the focus and to organize all the material that I have in mind. There is much information available about chess improvement and it’s tempting to try something new, better. I can conclude though that it comes down to just a few basic tips that you need to follow:
- Play serious (long) games, at least G30, against strong opponents. Beating weaker players is good for the ego but doesn’t help your chess much. On ICC look at the maximum rating of your opponent and check how many games have been played. There are some very active players and you will learn a lot when you play against them, even if their rating is lower. They might lose because of time trouble or becaused they missed a tactics but you will be suprised about the positional understanding and the resistance.
- Analyse your games. First look at them without a computer, try to find better moves or alternatives. Write down what your plan was or why you have played a certain move. Once you have done this, check your analysis with the computer. Try to understand why the computer proposes a better move (and with better move I mean a difference in the score of at least 0.3 to 0.5, not less!): what kind of advantages does it give you? Sometimes it’s just a crazy tactical line that you will never play, sometimes it’s a different plan that is as good as your own. Try to understand why you have missed better moves and fix your thought process. This is not easy and here a trainings partner (or a trainer) can really help if you are unable to do it on your own.
- Annotate master games deeply. Guess the move of the winning side, calculate the variations, take your time and make a lot of notes. If you are done in less than 2 hours then you won’t benefit! The idea is to absorb the strategic ideas of the masters, to make them part of your own chess. Return to the games after some time (at least 1 month) and go through the game again.
I already to 1+2 but not 3. That’s a very time consuming task and hard work, I need to be in the right mood to do this.