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So I've been playing chess for about 7 months regularly. I learned basic movements years and years ago but tactically there was nothing. Over the 7 months tactically I've learned basic moves, beginner tactics and things. I slowed my game down and I've noticed significant improvement. I'm ready to take the next step. I have not studied any openings, mid game or end game strategies. What comes first, or does there need to be a balance?

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    Join a chess club. – Tony Ennis Oct 2 '14 at 2:43
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I heard that Russian professional players start by studying endgame, then middle game, then openings.

If you think about it, that makes sense: if you don't master winning or forcing draw with 2 pieces against 1, how can you know how to play correctly with 16 pieces against 16?

A lot of things in openings don't make sense if you don't consider things like pawn structure, which can determine win or loss in the endgame, and determine whether your advantage is in exchanging material or ensuring mobility for your pieces during the middle game. That's one example among many.

In general, if you know which endgames are good for you and which are bad, you know what to look for during the middle game. Same reasoning applies with openings.

That would be my advice. Besides, play with stronger players who can teach you things.

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Tony has it right in his comment. The only way that you're going to proceed beyond beginner level is to start playing regularly in person against people stronger than you. If you play with the same group often they will also be able to identify holes in your game which you can fix during your study time.

  • ...and they will be happy to help you. – Tony Ennis Oct 3 '14 at 3:48
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In my opinion: you need to play a lot, and you need to know what great chess looks like, as a source of inspiration. Chess isn't a school subject, it's a beautiful game.

I would get one really great chess book, of the "instructive game collection" type. So that you can replay the games, try to emulate them, and come back to them lots of times and learn a new thing each time.

For many players who started in the 70s, Fischer's "My 60 Memorable Games" was that book, but a lot of heavy competition has come out since then.

My recommendation would be Polgar's "How I Beat Fischer's Record". It's the first book of three, she wrote them as a collection of her games that are also teaching books. They got ridiculously good reviews. She wrote them together with Mihail Marin, who is one of the best instructive chess writers alive. Her story is inspiring (best female player ever, youngest GM ever at the time she became GM, etc), but most of all she's one of the most attacking players ever and attacking chess is the way most people wish they could play. Let Judit guide you!

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