When one wants to improve in chess, usually, they look at books like Silman’s How To Reasses Your Chess (a really good chess improvement book, now on the 4th edition). They study deep strategic ideas through annotated master games. They try to understand the well known endgame positions like the back of your hand.
No doubt, doing these ‘home works’ will surely help your chess improvement in the long run. BUT let me ask you one thing: in an Under-1600 tournament, how are chess games usually decided? Is it because of some deep and Grandmaster-level strategy formed by the winning player? Is it because of Capablanca-like endgame technique?
Usually, the answer is NO!
In amateur chess games, basic chess tactics RULE! Basic chess tactics decide who wins and who goes home packing!
So why are you not studying these basics to improve in chess?
Accept it, you cannot expect to improve your chess game and win more if, after deciding how to seize the c5-square and turn it into an outpost, you lose a Knight to a simple skewer 2 moves later.
Pins, double attacks, threats, recognizing trappable pieces, removing the defender – these are just some of the most common basic tactical motifs. In amateur circles, games where one player is left open to these shots abound…and unfortunately, games where the opposing player failed to take advantage of it abound as well!
“You would be surprised how many players believe they are sound at tactics, and then it turns out they often count incorrectly on relatively simple capturing sequences!” says the ‘Renaissance Man’ NM Dan Heisman in his Novice Nook column.
Are you sure that you are sound at tactics?
Multiply 4 by 4, what is the answer? 16! Did you even think about that? Did you have to add 4 plus 4 plus 4 plus 4? I bet you didn’t. If you want to improve in chess, you need to master basic chess tactics like the multiplication table.
You need to know them like the back of your hand and recognize them once they pop on the board in front of you. Trust me, this is going to save you a lot of points – save you from losses and help you grab MORE wins as well.
“Learning “cold” 500-1000 of the most basic motifs is worth 100-200 rating points, at least.” according to NM Dan Heisman. Now, I don’t think that’s scientific. BUT NM Heisman has been a chess coach for so long and I’m sure he knows his thing.
Another valuable recommendation to help you improve in chess with tactical study (with a twist) by GM Smirnov – another well known coach and trainer, is to solve basic tactics from the loser’s side. For example: if it’s white to play and win, set up the board as if you are solving from Black’s perspective.
This helps you recognize your opponent’s threats…allowing you to parry those forks, checks, captures, etc. that, without practice, you wouldn’t have seen.
Improve in chess in a practical way…not by spending 8 hours a day on it like a full-time job!
That’s what we are after. And that’s precisely what I discuss and share over my blog: [http://how-to-improve-in-chess.com]. Nah, don’t worry. Subscription is free.