How to Play Better Chess

Most people never rise above the mediocre in anything. The best players are always a minority. This is true for chess as well as any other sport. If you want to play better chess, you ought to give more to chess than average players do. Take a serious approach to chess board and it will take you seriously in turn.

Analyze your completed games.

Athletes and students of all disciplines do this especially when they lose. When you fail, you want to know where, why and how. Try to find out what your weaknesses are and how you can overcome them. You will probably find yourself losing under similar or identical situations. Focus on identifying the problem and work out a solution.

It is not only when you lose that you should analyze your chess games, of course. Every game should contribute to your overall schooling in chess. Otherwise it would be a waste of time. What does a particular game teach you about openings? About the endgame? About the potential of each piece? Are you improving in the way you cope with various situations? Are you overlooking attacks or checks? Try to squeeze as much information as you can from each game.

Raise your standards.

If you play chess only as a social game, it is perfectly all right to limit your contests with your friends and family. But if you are a serious player, you should seek out others like yourself. Otherwise you would never get to play better chess. Stick with amateurs and you will act like one. Join a serious chess club for more advanced playing experiences.

In a chess club full of strong players, your tactical flaws will be exposed. Don't be upset by this. It is better to lose to good players than to win against weak players where your weaknesses are unknown. Even if you win against a stronger opponent, analyze the game anyway for your benefit.

Study chess game collections.

Art students learn their craft by studying the works of the masters like Rubens and Durer. Do you think chess is any different? No. You shouldn't confine yourself to studying your own games. If you are intent on playing better chess, you should learn from the grandmasters themselves. Go through the recorded games of all time greats like Kasparov and Fischer. You can get such collections in chess books or on the Internet.

Be a well-rounded player.

Do not be obsessed with specific things like openings, grading and so on. Try to develop your whole game without worrying too much about grades. With openings, know that they are rather like poker starting hands; they set the stage for the rest of the game but they are by no means, the end of it.

Use chess programs and the Internet.

Chess software can be very useful for analyzing your games, self-instruction and reviewing game collections. The Internet, on the other hand, has plenty of free tutorials from basic to intermediate and advanced.

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