The five keys below were openly "stolen" from a blog by IM Jeremy Silman on chess.com. I liked them so much, I had to share.
Many chess players play for fun but if you want to get a higher rating or a chess title, you will have to put in some hard work. The 5 keys below will get you started.
1. Play opponents better than you.
Sometimes it hurts when you get beat up but that's how you learn. Once in a while I get lucky online and a strong titled player plays several games against me. I get crushed but I keep on playing.
2. Learn basic endgames
GM Jonathan Hawkins published a great book called "From Amateur to IM" and in it he shows how studying the endgame helped him get to IM. You must know the basics.
3. Create a simple opening plan.
It can be very simple. For example, after 1.d4 I often play Bg5, this works after d5, f5, d6, Nf6, g6, etc.
Against the Sicilian you can play Bb5 or 2.c3.
4. Study tactics
If you're a regular reader of this blog you will know that I firmly believe in this point. You must practice tactics because they will win you games or save you from losses. Chess.com's new Tactics Rush is a fun way to test your tactics level. You get 5 minutes to solve as many puzzles as you can; three mistakes and you're out.
5. Pick up tons of patterns.
Examples coming later.
Let's take a look at a basic endgame from the 2018 World Chess Championship. Black has a dangerous passed c pawn but White neatly solves the problem.
1. ...gxf5 2. Nxc4 Kxc4 3. exf5 and it's a draw. You can also sacrifice your knight if you know that:
White will park his King on h1 because Black's dark bishop doesn't control that square; and promoting the h pawn is impossible without creating a stalemate.
See how easy it is when you know the basics? Good luck with your chess in 2019.
NCM Vas Sladek
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