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800 --> 1200 tips

Thought I'd write down a few tips that I found useful in moving my game from 800 to 1200. I do not claim any special ability or insight, this is just what worked for me. Perhaps they will be useful for others.

1) You want longer time-controls! Yes, bullet chess looks impressive, but give yourself time to think. I suggest 15+15. I estimate moving from bullet to classical added 150-200 points to my rating.

2) Use the 'analysis' board after each match. You have a God-level chess player at your beck-and-call, who will analyse your game at any time of the day or night. Take advantage of that. Take a look at your worst blunders, and try to understand *why* it was a blunder.

3) Ignore 'inaccuracies'. At this level, they are irrelevant. Even 'mistakes' are not that important, given your rating. It's really just your blunders that you want to focus on. Aim to reduce your blunder count to zero.

4) When playing white, choose one opening, and stick to it. You'll rapidly learn how to play the first few moves very well. Like most things, it's (almost) impossible to win in the early stages, but it's certainly possible to lose it. Other openings can wait till later.

5) 1. e4

6) Have a plan or aim for each move. Honestly, when I started I thought 'that sounds like good advice, but surely *every* move can't be attacking or defending? Surely some are preparatory moves?'. However, it's true. Now 99.9% of my moves have some specific aim.

and after doing all that, I started winning, and was shocked how fast I improved. Now, how to get to 1500??

Well said bro. I guess my thought process for selecting candidate moves is wanting. I blunder even when reassuring myself that I sholdnt blunder this time round.



1) You want longer time-controls! Yes, bullet chess looks impressive, but give yourself time to think. I suggest 15+15. I estimate moving from bullet to classical added 150-200 points to my rating.

I dare say that 15+15 is too much fast, slow down to 60+60 at least

2) Use the 'analysis' board after each match. You have a God-level chess player at your beck-and-call, who will analyse your game at any time of the day or night. Take advantage of that. Take a look at your worst blunders, and try to understand *why* it was a blunder.

First analyse by yourself, then ask Stockfish

3) Ignore 'inaccuracies'. At this level, they are irrelevant. Even 'mistakes' are not that important, given your rating. It's really just your blunders that you want to focus on. Aim to reduce your blunder count to zero.

Yes, no blunder any more will certainly improve the game quality !

4) When playing white, choose one opening, and stick to it. You'll rapidly learn how to play the first few moves very well. Like most things, it's (almost) impossible to win in the early stages, but it's certainly possible to lose it. Other openings can wait till later.

I like to play blitz against bad level engine, until the 10-15th move, always the same opening, and to evaluate the advantage at the end of the 10-15th move, then going back and analyse to check for best moves, then again but against a good level engine. Always playing with the opening principles in front of my eyes !
But until you'll reach 1400-1500, best coaches do not recommand to spend too much time with opening theory

5) 1. e4

6) Have a plan or aim for each move. Honestly, when I started I thought 'that sounds like good advice, but surely *every* move can't be attacking or defending? Surely some are preparatory moves?'. However, it's true. Now 99.9% of my moves have some specific aim.

Before 6) : always asking what isthe aim of the other guy move. During the middle game, and even during the opening (easier because your partner have the same goal as you : controlling center, developping pieces, protecting the king)
And always asking if my move put my piece on a secured square.

7) go to tactical puzzle ; first simple patterns, then more complicated combinations.



Develop your pieces in the opening. This means that you should refrain from moving the same piece whenever possible, unless you absolutely know that the move is sound according to the theory. So, stop playing 2.Qh5. Yes, you can win quickly against an unprepared opponent, but these lines won't help you to improve. Basically, the queen becomes an easy target, you'd have to move it away and waste tempi and risk getting behind in development, thus allowing your opponent to take over the initiative. Not a good idea.

King in the center may become a target, so safer king means less possible troubles for you. In other words, try to castle when you have the opportunity. Other things like space advantage, control of the central squares, rooks behind the pawns, exchanging down when you are up a piece will probably give you an easier game with less chances to screw up.

Then tactics, tactics, tactics.

"This means that you should refrain from moving the same piece whenever possible, unless you absolutely know that the move is sound according to the theory."
This is a rather oversimplified description of the concept of tempo gain and loss.
In the opening, developing the four minor pieces is near the top of your priorities, and you need six moves to do that (two knight moves, two pawn moves to free the bishops, and two bishop moves) Thus, moves that go toward those objections are direct developing moves. Note that because every bishop has two pawns that can unblock it, if you move both of the pawns that only counts as one direct developing move.
In the opening there are other priorities, such as controlling the centre with pieces and pawns, getting your king to (relative) safety, moving the queen to a good square where it cannot be chased around too easily, and moving the rooks to useful squares. For example a move like c2-c4 is not a direct developing move, but helps control the centre, so it may make sense to play it in the opening, but with the thought it mind that it is not developing your minor pieces.
But where it gets interesting is when your plans interact with your opponent's.
If you play a move that works toward your plans (directly developing or otherwise), and it forces your opponent to play a non-productive move in reply, you have gained a tempo in the opening, unless there is a tactical issue with it, this is almost always a good thing.
If you play a move that is not developing but force your opponent to play one too, or if your opponent plays a move that is not developing but forces you to play one too, then no one gains a tempo, and who that favours depends on finer considerations, such as whose pieces end up better placed.
Thus, it is not a problem to move a piece several of times in the opening, as long as your opponent is making non-developing moves meanwhile. For example, if you develop a bishop to g5 as white (to pin the knight for example), and black boots it with h6, so you play Bh4, and black plays g5 so now you move the bishop to g3, you moved the bishop three times in close succession, but have you lost tempo? Not necesarely, if black is castles kingside, for example, those non-developing pawn moves chasing your bishop around severely weakened the king position.
When playing the opening (the same ideas can be applied later as well), you first have to sort out the tactics; if you see a way to win something or a strong attack on the king, go for it, unless it is only a pawn and you have to lose a lot of time and piece coordination to get it, similarly, if your opponent has a threat, try to find ways to defend against it. Note that I write "ways to defend it", because once you have used tactical considerations to narrow your options to a set of playable moves, you have to use strategic considerations to decide between them:
Is this move directly developing? Does it further other opening priorities (king safety, centre control, queen and rook activity)? Does it force my opponent to react with an unproductive move? Is this a good square to develop this piece, what is it doing here? Does it cause my pieces to get in each-other's way (this is why moving bishops out in front of the unmoved centre pawn is almost always a bad idea)? Does this series of moves improve my pawn structure? Does this move strengthen or create a weakness in my position? Does it create a weakness in my opponent's? Does it work toward weaknesses? Does it damage my opponent's? Does this trade a bishop for a knight? Would I rather have bishops or knights in this type of position?
Those are all fundamental considerations, and they help you decide between moves that are all tactically playable. You sometimes need to weight them against each other to decide which move to play.
And yes, you need time to do this, playing 15+15 is good, but slower is better, I personally like 25+15. Good luck in your future games and I hope you get to and past 1500 soon!

#1 - Excellent subject and content.

Also, I'd add - although this may seem obvious (and hopefully clear):

If you're considering which of 2 moves to make next, move-A that has a single advantage/idea/plan versus move-B that has more than a single advantage then - assuming each individual advantage weighs the same as the others - make move-B.

I know I'm not good, but I will still chime in . e4. I think yes and no. I played e4 for a few months and then began playing d4. d4 suited my personality a lot more, and it's more fun to play. i heard yesterday Kasparov would destroy players over 100 moves. wow, i'm not ready to even begin to think about a grind like that.

sure, at 800 i guess e4 for a few months. but i think that most players at the lower level know how to defend against e4. Sicilian or some variation. you play d4 and 900 players might be confused..

again, i'm not good.... just my thoughts.

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