How to set up an improvement plan

A few days ago I asked my coach, Yelena Dembo what I was doing wrong in my chess games. She was quick to sum up the areas where I have to improve.

* My playing style is to passive. It's as if I am only playing not to lose instead of going full-out for the win.

* When I have a better endgame I do not know the plan of action to bring home victory.

* I have to stop second guessing myself. Erase the phrase "but" out of my thought process.


* Change my opening repertoire. More open, active, openings are required.

Learn how to play actively.

* Learn how to play endgames.

* Analyse in a correct way.


1. Which openings I will have to put in my repertoire I will discuss later with my coach.

To learn how to play more actively I have to become more aware of opportunities to get a better position. Look for tactics, do not be afraid to sacrifice if needed. Always look for forcing moves first.

>Searching on my book list I found four books that can help me:

* Attacking manual 1, author Jacob Aagaard.

* Attacking manual 2, author Jacob Aagaard.

* How to become a deadly chess tactician, author David LeMoir

* How to calculate chess tactics, author Valeri Beim

2. Learn to play endgames does not only mean I have to memorize standard positions. It also includes to learn how pieces work together.

>Following books from my personal libary can help me:

* Understanding chess endgames (featuring the 100 most important endgame ideas), author John Nunn

* Nunn's Chess Endings volume 1, author John Nunn

* Nunn's Chess Endings volume 2, author John Nunn

3. To stop second guessing myself I have to improve my analyse skills. Make first a list of candidate moves instead of seeing a move and immediately analysing it.

Be sure of your analyse, don't check the same line over and over.

>Many books I own are suitable to improve my thoughtproces. However, for the time being they will stay in my cabinet. First playing some games without having the phrase "but " in my internal dialogue and above clues are preferred. If an improvement is notable than reading books over thoughtproces can be postponed for a while.


My coach is a big fan of having diversity. She doesn't like the idea that one spend hours learning one aspect of the game and only then another aspect. She likes more a mix of it all. Her reasoning is that focusing on only one aspect at the time is boring and doesn't encourage the student to do his/her utmost best to really grab the offered knowledge. If you diverse the student will stay focused and always eager to grab as much theory as he can. This suggested method of study is also based on the fact that scientific study has revealed that the attention span of a human is 45 minutes.

As example, if you have two hours of study time a day her suggested schedule for me looks like:

1/2 hour: Chess endgames

1/2 hour: Openings and attacking play

1/2 hour: tactics

1/2 hour. Going over annotated games

Do you have an improvement plan, or do you think that just being busy with chess is enough to go to a higher level? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Posted in Fun Post Date 02/17/2016






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