Many wonder what to do or how to train to improve at chess. Before answering that question, I believe that the first thing that each person must do is to commit themselves firmly and absolutely to what they do, they must do it with discipline and tenacity. Once that first step is taken, then it remains to define what training can be more effective for each person. I am neither an expert nor a FIDE-qualified coach, but I believe that the advice that I will give below comes from my experience talking with many teacher friends of our channel, as well as from the chess books and documents related to the subject of training.
First of all, we must define what range we are in. That is, to what level do we belong. The following tips I will provide are for “beginner” and “intermediate” level players (club players). It could be said that the beginner level is one where a player is between the range of 0 to 1399 points of elo, and an intermediate or “amateur” player, between 1400 to 1799 of elo.
Once the above is defined, then let’s go to what each range should work in order to see a rise in its level of play.
What the beginner (0-1399 elo) should work on is:
1) know and learn the different types of checkmate: mate with two rooks, mate with the queen, mate with 1 rook, mate with 2 bishops, mate with bishop and knight.
2) know and learn the phases of a game: how to play the opening, developing pieces, fighting for the center, harmonic pawn structure, what to do when leaving the opening.
3) know and learn basic pawn endings: the rule of the square, opposition, key squares.
4) know and learn the tactical principles in chess: the combination and its components, double attack, knight and pawn doublets, the pin, the open attack, the open check, the double-check, the “mill” technique.
What the intermediate (1400-1799) should work on is:
1) Knowing and learning about the developmental advantage
2) Know and learn about the space advantage.
3) attack on the king: attack on the king in the center, attack on the king with opposite castles, attack on the king with castings on the same flank.
4) attack on the queenside.
5) defense and counterattack.
6) weak squares.
7) master the columns and open diagonals.
8) know and learn about pawn structure: weak pawns, majority of pawns, mobility restriction.
9) know and learn about the center: pawn center, center with pieces and pawns, center and flanks.
10) changes of parts.
11) positional sacrifice.
12) isolated central pawn.
13) hanging pawns.
14) the rule of 2 weaknesses.
16) learn to play with a plan.
As I am not a great connoisseur of literature in chess, I suggest to both ranks to download two applications via PlayStore. For beginners, the application “Bases of Strategic Chess “, by Chess King. For intermediates, download “Strategy in Chess (1800-2400)”, also by Chess King (although the rating does not match the one I mentioned about intermediates, the topics it addresses are similar to those I just mentioned for intermediates). Although these applications must be paid for, at least the initial 50% of them is free to access, and although I do not want to get into the economic reality of each person, the value to pay is accessible in many cases.
Another important element to work on is the tactic at both levels. For beginners, seek and/or download some beginner tactic app. Again, from Chess King, there is “Tactic for Beginners”, which you can download. For intermediates, I think any tactic site or app is a good thing. There are free sites like lichess.org, chess.com or chesstempo.com where there is a tactic to perform for free (in some sites with a maximum limit of exercises per day).
As for the distribution of training, the ideal is that the beginner does NOT waste time studying openings, because for him (or her) the important thing is to advance quickly in strategy and tactics, in addition to knowing the basic endings. To take a shortcut as to which openings to use, I highly recommend watching the video on the channel “Beginner’s Repertoire of Openings”, where you will learn openings that are really suitable for playing with Black and White. For intermediates, distribute day by day, in the same proportion of time, the study of strategy, the study of endings (there are good endings and strategy books that you can find and get), and the tactics exercises. On the other hand, it is also important to study your own opening repertoire twice a week (do not spend more time than that, because it is also urgent for this level to progress in the midgame and basic endings before in openings). Also, play a couple of times a week (either face-to-face or online) and together with it, analyze each game they play (ideally analyze the game by themselves, or with a coach, teacher, or a friend who has a level higher). In this sense, never underestimate the importance of joining the chess workshop at your school, or enrolling in a chess club within your town or city. teacher or a friend who has a higher level). In this sense, never underestimate the importance of joining the chess workshop at your school, or enrolling in a chess club within your town or city. teacher or a friend who has a higher level). In this sense, never underestimate the importance of joining the chess workshop at your school, or enrolling in a chess club within your town or city.
Finally, there are no “magic secrets” or “shortcuts” here. If you want to get better at chess, you have to work and work very hard. It’s that simple (and heavy at the same time).