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This question may seem vain, since I'll talk about my improvement on chess, but I really want to have a measure of my learning curve and a notion of whether it is bad, regular, good or excellent, how to improve it if it's not excellent and how to keep it excellent if it is. So this is all about chess learning.

I know the rules of chess since the age of 4, but never played it often. I probably played around ten games from the time I was four to the time I was 21 (never even had a chessboard at my home), when I really started playing (this was June past year, so ten months ago).

I really started playing as I said on June 2019. I created a Lichess account and was rated 1100 on Classical chess. Ten months later, I am rated above 2200, so I gained over 1100 rating points in less than a year. I'm proud of this improvement, but I don't really have any comparison standards, so maybe it's a regular rate. I don't really know.

On the other hand, my Blitz rating is still quite low in comparison to Classic: a little bit above 1600. So my improvement has not been the same when it comes to thinking fast or mere intuition, since clearly I need to have a fair amount of time to find the right moves.

I'm really invested at becoming a CM, so analyzing and understanding my learning-curve and improvement rate is very important for me. I dedicate a lot of time to chess (studying and playing), and I want to know how much that's paying off.

If my improvement is below good (since let's face it, at Blitz I'm still simply weak), how can I accelerate it, specially on fast time formats? If my improvement is decent, how can I keep pushing further? Because now that I'm above 2200 Classic elo I'm beginning to face very strong players (I played my first titled opponent recently) and I want to keep up with them.

Sorry if my question is vague, I hope you can appreciate how important it is to me to understand myself in regards to my chess learning.

  • This is good progress for sure. I'm not sure exactly what it would correspond to in terms of classical Elo rating, but it's a clear indication that your approach to improving your overall chess strength has worked well for you. – Scounged Apr 28 at 0:01
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    I believe Lichess classical elo can be translated to FIDE rating by substracting around 200/300 points (I was told this by a fellow chess player from my university, I have no other source to validate it). If he is right and this is true, I should be somewhere between 1900/2000 FIDE (?), but there's a huge question mark on that because I really doubt that extrapolation. It sounds too high for me. – lafinur Apr 28 at 0:14
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    @lafinur 200/300 from which rating? In my experience, skill between the different time control pools differs quite a bit, too (Rapid is several hundreds of points "weaker" than Blitz, for example). – Annatar Apr 28 at 6:23
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    Classical rating on lichess is especially dangerous as there are (were, due to Covid numbers are rising!) very few players actually playing classical. Right now, there are ~400 Players rated 2200+ in classical which makes it hard to reliably compare to FIDE. 2200 is most certainly impressive - but I fear the only way to really find out, how strong you are, is to get out there and try on some club players / tournaments. (Classical Rating Distribution: lichess.org/stat/rating/distribution/classical) – Benjamin Raabe Apr 28 at 12:24
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    your classical rating improvement is crazy fast improvement, you're probably already an ~1900 FIDE, ~~2000 USCF. Strange that your blitz is so weak, roughtly 98 percentile in classical but 50 percentile in blitz, I've never seen that before. But classical rating is what's important, and I gues if you rarely play blitz games, then that can happen – CognisMantis Apr 29 at 3:52
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Going from a beginner to being rated 2200 on Lichess in a year is a very good rate of improvement. Would you mind elaborating on what you did to get there?

Still, a Lichess rating isn't always an accurate representation of strength, and it's possible you could be somewhere between 1600-1800 ELO over the board. The only way to find out is to play rated games OTB and see. This could be useful in figuring out how to continue your training.

For continuing, it seems like whatever you're doing is working well (I wouldn't worry about trying to accelerate your progress, if anything it will start to decelerate soon). If you really are 2000-2200 strength, you could consider getting the GM Preparation books from Quality Chess. The Great Predecessors series by Kasparov is also recommended. In addition, you should put together a solid opening repertoire, perhaps using Chessbase. You can buy opening books to do this, or research on your own (you might need help at first if you've never done it before). A good endgame book would be useful as well. I assume you're already doing this, but solving online tactics is important for sharpening your tactical intuition. You could also consider finding a coach in your area, but this depends on how much you want to spend to reach your goals.

Most titled players took years to get where they are, so I wouldn't give yourself the pressure of reaching their level so quickly. For example, I only got my FM title after playing for roughly 12 years. Building up a good intuition (which helps in blitz) comes from lots of practice, and isn't really something that can be gained very quickly.

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    Hi Inertial Ignorance, thank you for answering the question. To elaborate on what I did to get here: I simply dedicated a lot of hours to Classic books and playing, I don't think I did anything special. My System, Pachman's Modern Chess Strategy, a 3 volume chess treatise by an Argentine master named Roberto Grau, an endgame book whose author I don't recall (this was not a classic, just another book), and many others. I am an avid reader (not only of chess but of many things) since a young age so I'm capable of reading a lot without getting tired or bored I suppose – lafinur Apr 28 at 15:12
  • Of course there was a LOT of playing involved; I joined a Chess Club in my University which is filled with very strong players (being around and playing against players so above my league helped me a lot to improve I think, even though they beat the hell out of me each time haha). I did put aside my studies quite a bit since I started studying chess, so I really prioritized the game. – lafinur Apr 28 at 15:13
  • To finish, thank you for answering my question, I will take a look at the GM preparation series for I did not know about it. I only recently started reading opening books (on the QGD and French defense) and really memorizing lines and I'm currently reading My great predecessors, so that's a nice coincidence :) Are there any other particular books you could recommend me on any of this topics? – lafinur Apr 28 at 15:15
  • @lafinur Alright, that all sounds great. For the most part just continue what you're doing. For the QGD there's a recent book by Damian Lemos with Everyman (in the Opening Repertoire series). For the French Defense you could check out the two volume Grandmaster Repertoire work by Berg, which requires work to go through (this series has a lot of theory), but it seems that you're capable of this. – Inertial Ignorance Apr 28 at 18:08
  • @lafinur For endgames, if don't already have it, Seirawan's Winning Chess Endings is good; also Endgame Strategy by Shereshevsky. It's great you're reading the Great Predecessors series - I liked it as much for the stories as the games and annotations. It's how I gained a large portion of my chess history knowledge. For your White openings, what do you play? – Inertial Ignorance Apr 28 at 18:14

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