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Playing a lot and not improving?

Dominik Čech | January 7, 2011 – 2:14No Comment | 749 views
Playing a lot and not improving?

Are you tired of hovering around the same rating for a while? Playing a lot and not improving? Fed up with hanging pieces or simply being outplayed? We have some tips for you how to play better, and hopefully improve your results by quite a margin!


Tip 1: Develop your pieces!

This is a rather straightforward advice. When you begin a game of chess, your army is practically “asleep”. So, in order to knock your opponent off the board, develop your pieces as fast as possible to most active positions available. Then you’ll be ready to fight with all you have.

Tip 2: Fight for the centre!

The four squares in the middle of the board – e4, e5, d4 and d5 – are the most important at the beginning of a game (and for the most situations thereafter, too).When placed there, your pieces become very active and can be transferred very quickly to every part of the board. Every good player thus fights for the supremacy in the centre.

Tip 3: Don’t move your pawns when you don’t need to!

The great French player and thinker Philidor said: “Pawns are the soul of the game”. The cheapest unit of your army is perfect for seizing space and pushing enemy pieces away (thus being ideal for implementing Tip 2). At the same time, they are the least mobile unit, advancing only forward and not being able to protect the squares they “left behind”. Therefore, experienced players weigh carefully every pawn move, and try not to create any weak squares (squares that no pawn of theirs can control anymore) for the opponent to exploit.

Tip 4: Practice tactics!

Chess is 99 % tactics. Though the exact number may be a little smaller, it certainly is of no use to have better pawn structure when down a rook! (Well, maybe if one or more of the pawns can queen in few moves J ). On every move, there are traps to fall into, and opportunities to exploit. To be able to seize your chance and not to give one to your opponent is therefore vital. There are many books, software programs and web sites to help you improve in this area, and one that is free and recommended is .

Tip 5: Analyze your games!

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
-Albert Einstein

Every good player that wants to improve looks at his past games. Sometimes it can be quite painful, but what’s more unpleasant: to remind yourself of an ugly loss, or to lose more games in the same manner? Try to write all your games down (here at we do it for you – you can find all your past games in your game archive), and when you finish the game, try to see where you could’ve played better. Sometimes it can be quite eye-opening to find out that in four of the last seven games you fell for a knight fork! In this manner you can identify areas you need to work on. Eliminating weaknesses from your play is a sure-fire way to improve.

This post is also available in: Slovak

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