How to improve at chess

Here is a blueprint that can help you improve your chess skills and increase your ELO rating all the way up to master level.

Study the basics: Before you can tackle more advanced strategies, it’s important to have a solid foundation in the basics of chess. Learn the rules of the game, the names and movements of the pieces, the name of the squares and how to read and write chess notation.

Study tactics: Tactics are the key to winning chess games. Practice solving tactical puzzles and exercises to improve your ability to recognize and execute tactics in your own games.

Analyze your games: After every game, take the time to analyze your play. Identify any mistakes or weaknesses in your play, and think about what you could have done differently. It is very helpful to do this with a stronger player. An engine will find all the tiny flaws and big blunder but it cant explain them to your nor change your thought process in the next game.

Learn from the best: Study the games of the strongest players in the world, both past and present, and try to understand their moves and strategies behind them. It’s not a bad thing to be a copy cat here: You are welcome to repeat strong lines that worked previously.

Play regularly: The more you play, the more experience you’ll gain and the better you’ll become. Play as often as you can against players of different skill levels, and try to learn something new from every game.

Study Endgames: Learn the basic principles of endgame play, eg. King and pawn vs King. Next to elementary winning and drawing mechanisms with different piece setups there are deeper concepts to study on how to approach a perticular position.

Study openings: A good understanding of openings will become crucial at some point, but before opening principles are much more helpful. Its a slow ramp up: At a beginners level you are great with just a few lines and ideas and your opponents wont follow theory anyways. As your opponents get better it is becoming more important that you are making best moves and care about nuances. Also your choice of openings becomes important as you develop a style. You are very unlikely to find all the very best moves in a sharp line 30 moves line in the Najdorf. In other setups it might be sufficient to know a plan.

Work on your mental game: Chess is not only a game of strategy and tactics, but also of mental strength. Learn to control your emotions, stay focused, and develop a winning attitude.

Get a coach: A chess coach can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and create a personalized training plan to help you improve.

Keep track of your progress: Keep track of your ELO rating over time! (Think years, not month). It will help you to stay motivated and see the improvement.

Remember that becoming a chess master is a long-term goal that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. But with the right mindset, training and patience, you can achieve it.