4 Jun 2016

Three ways to improve in chess

Nowadays, there are lots of chess tutorials out there, including books, video lessons, courses, DVDs and the list goes on. But it is hard to remember them all; it’s merely an impossible task.

That’s why today we’re here to help you – a guest coach has prepared a lesson for you. Who is he? What’s this lesson about? Continue reading below and find out. :)

About the author:
Alexander Molchanov
Hi! My name is Alexander Molchanov. I’m 28. I was born and I live in Togliatti, Russia. My FIDE rating is 2214 (peak 2231). In two tournaments I had a great (for me) performance rating (2506 and 2660).

3 not well-known ways to improve in chess


There are a lot of ways to improve in chess like solving puzzles, analyzing games, studying an opening or an endgame. All of them are very good. But today I want to tell you about less famous chess exercises.

1) Blindfold exercises:

Blindfold chess imitates the calculation. If you can’t play blindfold the whole game, the following exercises will help you a lot.

a) You should choose any square on the board. Then name
  • the color;
  • “brother” square – symmetric square over the center of the board;
  • squares on the both diagonals.
chess boardvb4-square

For example, you choose b4. It’s black. “Brother” square is g5. Squares on the 1st diagonal are a3, c5, d6, e7, f8. Squares on the 2nd diagonal are a5, c3, d2, e1.

b) You have Na1. You should be on each square of the board in a1-b1-c1-d1-e1-f1-g1-h1-a2-b2-…-h8 order.
chess boardvA long journey to h8

Na1-c2-a3-b1 etc.

c) The toughest one. White Na1, Black Qd5. The task is analogous. But now it’s not allowed to be attacked by the queen.
chess boardvA long and dangerous journey to h8

Na1-c2-a3-b1. Now we can’t go to d2 due to Qxd2. So we change the route. Nb1-c3-e2-c1. d1 is attacked, so we pass it and go to e1. Nc1-e2-c3-b1-a3-c2-e1.

If you can complete this exercise, you definitely can play blindfold chess.

2) Memorizing classical games:

After studying a game you should try to learn it by heart through replaying it several times on the board.

You can start with the classical game:

Morphy – Dukes, Paris-1858
chess boardvWhite to move and mate in two

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 Qe7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Bg5 b5 10.Nxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.0–0–0 Rd8 13.Rxd7 Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+ Nxb8 17.Rd8#

Note: You can find this complete game (along with a lesson) here.

This exercise will develop your chess intuition. You will have better feeling where the best squares for the pieces are.

3) Creating your own puzzles:

It helps you to feel the interaction between the pieces.

For example, you decided to create a puzzle on the topic of knight fork. You can start from the end.
chess boardvKnight fork

And then move by move go to the beginning. White’s last move was Nf7, maybe Knight took the pawn. Before it King went to h8. But why? We decoyed him with Rook sacrifice. So let’s add white Rook on h-file.

For example, on h3. But King could go to g7 instead of taking the Rook. So let’s add black pawn on g7. In order to win the final position we append white g2-pawn. And we got the starting position.
chess boardvWhite to move

The same algorithm can help us to create a checkmate puzzle.
chess boardvCheckmate

The Knight deprives Black King’s retreat to f7 or g6. Also, we could use bishop for it. White’s last move was Qe5. But from where?

For example, from e8. Before it Black King from g7 went to f6. If he goes to h6 Qg6 would be mate. But Black King could go to h7. So we add a piece that can deprive him of h7-square. For example, Nd5 can go to f6. And we got the starting position.
chess boardv
White to move and mate in 2

This exercise will help you to keep good chess fit. Also, it will increase the reaction that has greatimportance in blitz games.

At the end, I’d like you to solve my puzzle.
chess boardv
White to move and mate in 3

You can find the solution here.

P.S. Did you like the lesson from our new guest coach? :) Have you been following these methods before? Feel free to write in the comments below.


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