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How to Study and Improve Your Chess Game

There are many ways to improve your chess game. Probably one of the most effective method is to study master games. But you may ask, “How do I study a master game?” it is simple. First you must find a player who’s style is one that you would like to improve (for an attacking player I suggest Kasparov or Tal, for a defensive player Petrosian or Steinitz, etc…). After finding a player, you then should get a database of his games in PGN format from ChessBase. ChessBase is a free download with premium versions available. Just search through the database for a specified player to get his games. Only look at the games that the player won as those are the model games that you want to be studying. After you have selected a game close the notation window and play out the game, guessing the opponents moves for the entire game. When you get a move wrong look at the move that the player made and find the purpose behind it. You will be amazed with how much your brain will be able to pick up from that.

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The next piece of advice that I have is to do lots of tactics puzzles. They say that strategy is the plan and tactics is the method of executing the plan. This is very true. Try to find a large book of tactics puzzles from your local book store. Let’s say that you do ten of those puzzles per day, more if you wish. This will improve what is called your tactical vision. Tactical vision is defined as your ability to see tactics in a position. This is very important as many games can be decided by a short tactical combination that leaves you a piece up or with an imminent checkmate. If you get a chess study routine going, studying chess tactics should take up about 50% of that time.

Now the most important piece of advice is to look over your own chess games, preferably tournament games. This is by far in a way the method that will help you improve the most. Have a strong player go over these games with you. Even if they aren’t that good at explaining why the moves are good, they can still show the right moves and plans. You can usually find someone at a local chess club. If there are no chess clubs near you search online for chess instructors to go over the games with you or annotate them. I cannot stress enough to you the importance of reviewing your own games. If you do not go over your games and look at the mistakes that you made then you will continue to make those mistakes and you will never improve. It’s that simple!

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