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What aspects are 1700 generally stronger than 1600 chess player?s

I'm a 1600 chess player. I can defeat 1600 chess players, but I lose to 1700. I was wondering what makes a 1700 stronger than a 1600? What can I do as a 1600 to start winning against 1700 chess players?

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This is difficult to answer. They are generally stronger in some or all of the following areas:

  • Tactics
  • Endgames
  • Planning
  • Recognition of positional features
  • Openings

However, they may be weaker in some of those areas than a 1600. My point is that there is no well-defined set of knowledge that makes someone a 1700-level player. They have just enough of a hodge-podge of experience and maybe some studying that they can stumble into wins against those with less experience. In fact, when you get to 1700 from 1600, you probably won't feel a tangible difference in the way you think about the game or make moves. Your results will simply be just a little better.

As for how to win against them: play better chess than they do. Study the things that I mentioned above (although I would avoid openings). One piece of advice that I've heard before for generating upsets is to make the game as complicated as possible, to maximize the likelihood that your opponent misses something major.

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I agree with the answer from Cleveland, but as somebody who has gone 126 to 139 ECF (1645 to 1742 FIDE according to the official translation) over the last year I thought I'd add just a few words on what I found. I have a very direct, tactical style, and for me the main things were

  • Working HARD on my tactics (I try to do at least a problem or two each day on http://chesstempo.com/)
  • Looking more carefully at my openings, especially the more critical variations (e.g. The Austrian Attack in the Pirc, The Flick Knife Attack in the Modern Benoni)
  • Playing more and reviewing my games more carefully afterwards
  • A bit on endings - I find endings hard (they're much too complicated for my little mind, give me a nice 150 attack to face any day) so this was mostly trying to firm up on what I already thought I knew, not learning a whole lot more

But as Cleveland says it will depend on the player. If you are a schemer who declines the Morra or faces e4 with the Caro Kann I suspect your priorities might be different. But good tactics never hurts anybody except your opponent!

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