Are you looking to improve your chess rating? Do you want to strategize better and take your game to the next level? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Improving your chess rating is all about developing a good strategy, practicing regularly, and adding to your overall knowledge about the game. More importantly, it requires you to compete in tournaments more often. Without enough games played, you won’t score enough elo points to take your rating to the next level.
Today, we’ll go over some of the most helpful tips on how to improve your chess rating, from strategy to practice. So, stick around!
How to Improve Chess Rating?
Improving your chess rating requires that you take your ELO rating up a notch. Here are a couple of ways that you can elevate your ELO rating and play in the big leagues.
1. Develop a Chess Strategy
Chess is a game of strategy, so if you want to be good at it, you have to work on your opening, middle, and end-game strategies. So, how can you enhance your chess strategy?
Calculate Your Moves
There’s a reason that computers are excellent at chess: they can calculate up to 20 moves in 10 lines, and they do so quickly!
If you’re better at calculating than your opponent, you’ll outplay them. Make sure you analyze as many moves as you can before your next step.
Try to visualize how your move will affect the rest of the game and up to the final position. How can you calculate all the possible moves, though?
Well, you don’t have to!
You should pick two or three moves, as GM Kotov suggested, which are called “candidate moves.” Then, analyze the possible scenarios after each of these moves.
This ability will come with time and as the game advances, you’ll understand how your opponent thinks better. Thus, you’ll be able to predict the unfolding scenarios better.
You can enhance your calculation abilities by solving chess tactics on apps or from tradional chess puzzle books.
Know Strategy Fundamentals
Another great way to excel at the game is to familiarize yourself with positions and analyze various game positions like Aaron Nimzovich did.
For one, Nimzovich analyzed positions where one side had a play in the center of the board, while the other had a queen’s or king’s side attack. His analysis of these asymmetric positions won him many games.
On the other hand, Capablanca did something similar but focused on the Queen endings and Rook endings. In that fashion, he became an expert at endgames and landed plenty of points during the game’s final phases.
Some common middle game positions include isolated pawns, closed center positions, pawn sacrifice, and pawn majority on the side of the board.
Some common endgame positions include opposite-color bishops, pawn against pieces or knights, same-color bishops, rook endgames, and queen endgames.
Target the King
The final goal is to checkmate, and it doesn’t matter how many resources—whether in pieces or time—you’ve lost or had to sacrifice.
However, this strategy needs plenty of work on your attacking skills, as the attacks have to be calculated and planned.
Some attackers you can learn from are Botvinnik, Fischer, and Alekhine. Then, work on enhancing your calculation and tactical skills.
Know the main attack on the king themes, including same-side or opposite-side castled king attack, un-castled king attack, and king in the center.
2. Increase Your Chess Knowledge
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. Read more about other players’ and grandmasters’ strategies, and you’ll be able to devise your own.
Make sure you learn about the history of the game and study the rules, down to every last move. Moreover, you can watch videos to learn how players strategize along the game.
3. Practice Regularly
After you study chess openings, middle games, and endgames, make sure you put that knowledge into practice—a lot of practice!
Practice makes perfect, so make sure you make use of every chance you get. Better yet, do so with players that are more well-versed and better at the game than you are.
It’s helpful if you join tournaments and competitions as well.
This helps you take your game up a notch as well as learn from what other players have to offer. Not to mention, it encourages you to think under stress, enhancing your calculation abilities in the right direction.
4. Compete in Strong Tournaments
The higher your opponent’ elo is, the more chess rating you’ll gain if you beat him. To improve your chess rating, you should compete in strong tournaments with titled players. Playing against a weaker opponent will not improve your elo by much. However, if you play against an opponent, say 200 elo points higher than you, then you’ll gain more points from beating him compared to beating an opponent 200 elo points lower than you.
Try competing in absolute tournaments. These tournaments feature the strongest of players unlike the beginner or intermediate sections. This advice applies to even female chess players. Too many times I see female chess players competing in the women only section. This actually hinders their growth because they’re not competing at the highest level.
At first you may lose a lot of your games competing against such strong players. But overtime you’ll learn from your mistakes and eventually beat some of these strong players, thereby improving your rating.
Strategizing According to Your ELO Score
Here are a couple of ideas that can help you devise a thought process based on your ELO score.
1. Under 1,000
If your ELO score is under 1,000, you should focus on your tactics and integrate some risky play. Think about whether your pieces are under attack or not, and make sure to minimize obvious issues.
For example, avoid leaving bishops hanging, forgetting about rooks that are under attack, or dropping your queen for free.
Make sure you familiarize yourself with how each piece moves and what the rules are. You can even experiment with strategic sacrifices as Tal did.
At this point in the game, you’re still learning, and it’s alright if you lose a game or two for the sake of learning.
2. Between 1,001 and 1,600
At this point, you should enhance your tactics and start focusing on one opening: one for black and one for white. You should also work on identifying your opponent’s openings.
Think about your opponent’s moves as well as your own. Why did your opponent choose a certain move? Did they leave a piece unprotected? Are you leaving anything unprotected? Do you have any pins, forks, or discovered attacks?
Calculate two or three candidate moves and choose the best one.
3. Between 1,601 and 1900
When you hit the 1,600 mark, you should start working on tactics, positions, and study endgames.
Start experimenting with blitz games to enhance your speed when it comes to strategizing and decision-making.
Moreover, focus on learning positional strategies and ideas.
4. Above 1,900
After reaching a 1,900 score, you should be able to think deeper about openings and moves. Mix up your openings and work on strengthening them as well as improving at lines.
Moreover, you should play a little more unpredictably, as your opponent will be better able to guess your next moves.
Following a plan will certainly help you improve your chess rating as well as develop your skill. Remember to keep learning and have fun while you do so.
Stay patient along the process because it takes time and dedication. Through practice and following the steps of chess grandmasters, you’ll slowly but surely get there.