I have been playing chess (sometimes a lot, sometimes none) for a very long time. I want to become an international master in 4 years, or have a rating of 2000. I am 15 right now and have a rating of 1300. What is the best way to spend 30 minutes a day doing "chess stuff" to maximize improvement? Thanks

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    You'll realise that if you really want to reach 2000 Elo points you'd need to devote much more than half an hour of your day to chess. Jan 5 at 8:26
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    How can I become a master in ballet spending 30 mins a day? Please - think before ask - if you want to become a master in any subject - you must devote time to it asking how to become master without working is empty question that has no value neither to asker nor people answering - because there is no way you can master anything without working on it.
    – Drako
    Jan 5 at 9:52
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    I think that you underestimate chess players. You should not think that reach IM or even ~2100 elo in chess is an easy task because otherwise everybody would be. Reality is not like in The Queen Gambit when she beat everybody in her first official tournament.
    – LittleBig
    Jan 5 at 9:58

In theory, you need 10,000 hours of (good) study to master any subject. A four year goal would require about seven hours per day. GM Donaldson, quoted some time ago, studies five hours a day before a tournament just to stay at his level.

The most effective improvement is in tactics. Tactics is said to be 99% of chess (various authors) and most games are decided by tactics.

Capablanca is often quoted as saying that you should study the endgame first, but a basic knowledge (pawn endgames, simple rook endgames, and mates) should provide you with enough skill to achieve you goal.

The opening should only be deep enough for you to get to a playable middlegame. You should understand the moves behind three openings (one as white, and one against both common white openings) along with common middlegame strategies.

Positional chess is the most difficult element to master. Although Nimosvitch provides the basics definitions in My System, it's still hard for most people to understand. However, without this knowledge, at the higher level, you'll lose game after game without understanding why.

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