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Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to raise your chess rating by 100 points!

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Here is some great advice from a talented chess player who gained a 100 rating points in a year. We talk about Kostya Kavutskiy. Here is an excerpt from his nice article on the US Chess Federation website. Advice - worth its weight in elo points - should be good help to everyone out there trying to improve at the club level and above.

Analyzing Your Own Games
Analyze every tournament game you play. First, review the opening. If you played a wrong move in the opening you need to figure out the move you should have played. Now at least you are prepared if someone ever repeats the exact same opening moves against you. Secondly, ask yourself if you were able to find a good plan over the board once you reached the middlegame. If not, then obviously your understanding of the opening is lacking and you need to play through a bunch of high level games to increase your knowledge of the position.

Next, you need to find all of the mistakes you made in the rest of the game. More importantly, you need to understand WHY you made each and every mistake. Was it a tactical error or a positional misjudgment? Did you miscalculate something or poorly assess the resulting position? Did you miss an opportunity for yourself, or for your opponent? Ask yourself these basic questions and the answers will give you a hint of what you need to work on for the future. If you didn't miss any tactics but made several anti-positional moves then obviously you would need to work on your understanding of the game. If you played all the right positional moves but made a lot of calculation errors then you'll want to focus on solving tactical puzzles during your training. It's rarely as simple or straightforward as that—in most games you'll probably make several tactical and positional mistakes, but at least it gives you an idea of what to work on for the future.

Psychological MistakesIn my opinion, deep psychological deficiencies are usually the main culprit of any chess slump. In my case, I relied too heavily on my intuition. This was because of two reasons. First, I have had a natural feel for the game ever since I started playing and won many games playing solid, natural moves, without ever having to calculate anything substantial. Then, after losing many games at the master level, I quickly grew insecure of my calculating abilities and from then on was afraid to enter complications in my games. If I had an opportunity to sacrifice something, I would simply assume it was bad or be afraid of playing down a pawn and therefore reject the sacrifice and play a less critical move. If my opponent had an opportunity to sacrifice, I would often unnecessarily overprotect against the possible sacrifice and get a passive position, even though I was almost always seeing “ghosts."

After training specifically to improve my calculation and tactical vision, I had to start being braver at the board. I decided that regardless of whether my opponent was a grandmaster or an amateur, I should always play the moves I thought were objectively best, even if it meant entering complications. At first I struggled but then I started beating lots of stronger players.

You can read the full article here

Let us know your own ideas for improving your chess too. 
Do you have a training schedule?
Do you like puzzles and checkmates in two?
Do you prefer master games?
Do you use some super-strong software like the ChessKing?
Do you have a mega database like the GigaKing?

Feel free to share!

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
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  • At December 18, 2011 at 8:31 AM , Anonymous alexis cochran, nz said...

    everyone has different schedules that work best for them. i personally dont have any chess goals as i have my business to look after but i like to check out master games and particularly chess queen, carlsen and kramnik games. :)

  • At December 18, 2011 at 2:22 PM , Anonymous san tan, call me fan said...

    good advice but hard work is the worst part


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