We’re rewarding the question askers & reputations are being recalculated! Read more.
48

Analyzing your own games is the best and fastest way to improve in my opinion. As soon as possible after the game, write down the variations that you were thinking about during the game, especially the ones that were not played. This will be useful when you come back to the game after days, months, or even years. As you improve, it will be helpful to ...


45

Avoid the trap of studying openings, they don't improve your game. Say, at most 10% of your training time before you start making IM norms. They can be addictive and maybe even improve your results in the short term, but in the long term they just don't improve your chess playing. The basis of improvement: playing serious, slow games (say at least half an ...


44

I will write from the perspective of my home country, USA. If you are in a different country, you can likely find parallels. Is it too late for me to be ambitious? It is never too late to learn more. I am aiming for a GM title in 5 years time. I don't doubt my learning abilities or memory, as is usually the case for the older aspirants, since I ...


42

Depending on several factors, the age to start teaching a child to play chess can vary. The mere fact that she asked you how she can play chess is a good sign that she is interested in learning. Interest is one of the key factors because we don't want to force-feed them the game. If I had to pick an age, I would say 4 is a good age, but it depends also on ...


37

It depends what you mean by 'professional'. If you want to support yourself solely by playing tournaments, the answer is definitely no. At the very least that would require being in the top 50 in the world which takes a lifetime of work starting at a very young age. If you want to support yourself by playing and teaching, that is much more feasible. ...


37

Although I agree that chess is 90% tactics when actually playing at the board, it really depends on where you are strenght-wise as to how much time you spend on tactics. By the way, when they use the word "tactics" there, I would say "tactics and calculation". When you are beginning, I firmly believe that spending 90% of your time on tactics will be the ...


36

There are many people who want to play chess with you. You can play chess online! Online sites such as chess.com and lichess.org will match you with opponents of similar rating so you should win about 50 percent of the time. Furthermore, playing online as well as studying chess will immensely improve your chess, and maybe you'll play your friend again and ...


35

Very simple. Join a chess club and play people face-to-face.


33

There are lots of ways to play with a handicap in chess. One way is to give one player a starting material advantage, where the weaker player starts with an extra queen, or the stronger player replaces their queen with a bishop/rook, or starts with some of their pawns missing - anything that weakens one player's starting position can be used to even the odds....


31

Getting too used to playing with takebacks could be somewhat detrimental if you were to transition to tournament chess at some point, since it downplays the importance of keeping your guard up and being vigilant about tactical possibilities in positions. Nevertheless, I think that in the setting you indicate playing with occasional takebacks (especially for ...


29

It seems that Nunn (who is undoubtedly a stronger player than Chernev was) is correct in his criticisms of certain instances of analysis in Chernev's book, and also correct in pointing out that Chernev is sometimes too quick to dogmatically conclude an overarching general principle that doesn't properly allow for exceptions. But I don't believe this should ...


29

Here is a quick an dirty analysis based on the "Million Base" PGN database. I did this in a bit of a rush, so there may well be errors in my programming or logic. Please don't use it for anything too serious. Update - Note: Actually, I've just noticed I made a mistake with the data set, and limited it to the first 1 million records. I'll post an update ...


28

In principle, the middlegame is indeed just raw calculation. In principle, the entire game of chess boils down to only that. But since the space of possible move sequences is so vast, chess is of course too complex from the standpoint of pure calculation for that to be all that we do when we play. And after all, even our computational superiors (chess ...


27

If you want to avoid "dumb blunders" - i.e. just dropping a piece you've left hanging on the other side of the board - a simple method is to take an inventory of the position before you do anything else on each move. Checking which of your pieces are attacked and which of your pieces are hanging would be a good start. The brain will catalogue this ...


27

I think there is only one reasonable answer: You're too old. Learning chess is like learning a language. And that's not a metaphor. You learn "chunks" of piece constellations, just like you would learn typical turns of phrase. You get a feeling which phrases and expressions go together and which don't. One day you just know where to put your pieces in ...


25

There are two broad-brush categories of players: positional and tactical. Positional players' styles tend to lead them to play moves that choke out their opponents. They are patient and bide their time. There's no better proponent of this type of play than Tigran Petrosian. He's recognized as one of the hardest players to defeat. A more recent example ...


25

Napoleon put it succinctly: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon. Just a couple of points: It is the same reason that students love getting "gold stars," and why there are so many badges on StackExchange itself. There have been volumes written on the power of peer recognition. In particular, chess titles (for the most part) are ...


23

In essence, you are asking- Can memory (or other brain functions) be improved or is it a natural trait? The answer is yes to both. While it is true that one's memory can be improved, it is also commonly observed that some people are more "gifted" when it comes to memory (and other brain functions) than others. To play blindfold chess, you need three ...


22

EDIT ( edited on January 8th, 2014 ): Some of the other excellent answers pointed out a flaw in mine: I have failed to mention the importance of analyzing one's own games. This is corrected below, for the sake of completeness. I apologize to the OP and others who found my post useful. First off, let me say Happy New Year and Marry Christmas to you! Second,...


22

The first thing to learn once you know how the pieces move is basic tactics and general strategy. Tactics: In certain positions it is possible to gain an advantage doing a certain move or sequence of moves. This is referred to as tactical motif/pattern and for a list of all kinds of motifs take a look here. You don't need to start learning all of them at ...


21

I think you partially answered your question. The main fact that you can "...execute tactics now without thinking..." is definitely a good start. Also that fact that you said, it "feels right" is also a good start although you don't really want to play a tactic just because it "feels right". Information on tactics can be found from Louis Holtzhausen site ...


21

After you blunder, it's incredibly common to blunder a second time over the next few moves. The most important thing you can do is to avoid this second blunder. In order to do that, you should take a few deep breaths and even get up and walk around. Although it's nice if your opponent doesn't know that you blundered (i.e. your "blunder" could be part of a ...


20

Depending on exactly what you mean by "playing chess against yourself," I would say it can be extremely beneficial, and that yes, strong players do this quite a lot. Consider what you do when you have to decide what move to make when you're playing a normal game against an opponent distinct from yourself: you analyze the position as best as you can in your ...


20

I think aiming for GM is really unrealistic. Aiming for the GM title is something that players do who are IM, have improved since, and feel they want to push further. I think that amount of preparation time could work, but it's not the most important thing. Most important is playing serious tournament games. Chess is not about knowledge, it's about skill, ...


20

The answer from SmallChess is good. There's also an illustrative tweet from Garry Kasparov on the subject: For beginning chess players, studying a Carlsen game is like wanting to be an electrical engineer & beginning with studying an iPhone.


20

I will go back to what Artur Yusupov, three-time World Championship Candidate, former top-10 player, and one of the greatest living trainers recommends in the first book of his 10-volume series. In volume one, "Boost Your Chess - Build Up Your Chess", chapter 9, which is two-move mates, including composed problems: The aim of this lesson is to improve ...


19

Each player has a white square on their near right corner. The queen goes on the square of her own color; as a result, the kings and queens face each other. rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1


19

As I have said before, this requires physical fitness and strong memory. In order to play blindfolded chess properly you need to master the following: Having always clear vision of the board. Properly move and capture pieces. Properly update the overall position on the board after the move is played. Now it is time to implement solutions for the above ...


18

I'd have to disagree with @andrew about analyzing ones' own games. The reason is, I'm a B-player. I make B-player moves. I perform B-player analysis. That's insufficient. Spending precious time to produce weak analysis is inefficient. This may offend people. But consider - if you had to make a home repair and you didn't know how, would you just figure it ...


18

This position is a draw with White to move. However, the same position would lead you to win if it was black to move (Zugzwang). The basic theory for you to promote the pawn when the opponent king is having the opposition is you need to have your king in front of your pawn 2 ranks ahead of the pawn, (i.e. if pawn's on e3 King needs to be on e5) (opposition ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible