Hi, guys, this is my first forum post so bear with me, please. I'm currently 1861 USCF and I want to actually begin a regular study schedule, my issue is I'm not entirely sure where to start. So far I haven't really done much studying other than light opening prep (which I usually forget a few days later, I'm a mess lol) and some tactics training but that's pretty much it. I suppose I'm asking as an 1800 player, where exactly should I start devoting my studies to improve the most? I know endgame study is super important but how should I begin going into deeper opening study yet? Thank you in advance!
Tactics one hour a day. Review master games the rest of your time. Get a study buddy like me to help you.
Just expose yourself to a lot of serious chess content, the more, the better. Forget about grand plans, just do training regarding all phases of the game. You cannot plan strictly, your brain is no bucket to be filled easily. You have to digest everything.
PS: Blitz is ok, but keep away from bullet. It‘s up to you to have fun or to get better.
Firstly, make sure you check out your "Chess Insights" section, where you can target specific strengths and weaknesses for attention. Definitely a very valuable tool for the serious chess player.
When I feel like studying hard, I use Google Calenders to assign days where I:
-Review Philodors/Lucena Rook endings
-Review improvements for my worst played openings for white
-Review improvements for my worst played openings for black
-Review BN endings
-Study some lectures on other common systems
The problem with me, is that I will study a certain endgame or whatever the case is, and then right when I forget the lesson about 3-4 months later, that same issue now arises, and I end up studying it all over again after I lose, where I then re-forget it a week before it's needed the next time the position comes up. Rinse and repeat.
So I'm actually dialing in my philidor/lucena rook endings to be reviewed and re-reviewed bi-monthly.
So in this way, even if you only have a few days a week to look into studies, you can still make sure that you're getting regular study on all issues, so that you're never forgetting what you learn.
The theory is that eventually it will become concrete understanding, and I can replace that time-slot with something else.
If you want to study the endgame i suggest you to study endgames from ,,the old masters" (Lasker's and Capablanca's for instance) and when you're really in the mood i suggest you to get a book about rook-endings (piece-endings are not that important, but it's useful to know the principals). But don't forget to have some pawn-endings as a solid foundation.
Endgame is very important if you are aiming high. First it will help you develop very important skills , second after a point endgame technique becomes vital.
You are a 1800 rated player and that means you can handle tough study.
So start with Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual. Study all the positions on a real board. Try to calculate the lines the author gives and then play them. Be sure you understand what he explains.
For more advanced endgame strategy Shereshevsky's 2 books "Mastering the Endgame" are simply amazing.
Now middlegame: 2 are the books that I am going to suggest both were recommended by Garry Kasparov.
One is Bronstein's "Zurich 1953" the other is Tal's "Life and games of Mikhail Tal".
Finally it would be good to do Endgame studies. They will improve your tactical vision. Kasparyan's "Domination in 2545 studies" is one of the best books you can find in this category.
I agree completely with #3.
You should prop up you weaknesses first. If you keep getting an IQP and lose in the endgame, your first concentration should be to correct this.
Opening study: first you should learn the (basic) lines and try to understand why the moves are made. Practice the openings in blitz games to get the feel of the resulting positions, both middlegame and endgame. Review games to find better middlegame plans (should have already been done in the first step, but this will help you further). If you feel comfortable, repeat.
Capablanca is the one who stressed studying the endgame, yet he claimed to have never studied. You should still study the endgames which result from your openings, but not much beyond that is needed.
I play games with a player who plays an endgame like a 2300, but is weak when under attack. i play the endgame weakly, but I am much better than her in the middlegame. Guess who has the better record.
EDIT: The best reason to study endgames is that they don't change (for the most part). An opening can change on a daily basis. The middlegame is too complex to study in its entirety and all of its exceptions and all of those exceptions.
I also agree with #3. You could just expose yourself to a lot of chess content.
Endgame manual (university) is the overkill. Took me one and a half year, many examples way to tough. 10 pages of analysis of a certain position where the GM blundered in move 2...
„100 endgames you must know“ is by far enough.
Dvoretsky's books, especially his endgame book, are aimed at extremely high level players (certainly 2000+) I think most people are in agreement that Silman's is the best for class players and tells you what you need to know at each level. You can always supplement with other books if you think Silman isn't enough. But tbh if you read and study that book you'll be ahead of most of the people at your level.
This is what I would do (and essentially what I am doing. ) Train yourself to be 2000+ in each area in the following order: tactics, endgame, middle game and opening. After you've done that, play slow games and analyze them to discover your weaknesses. Then study and drill your weak areas until they become strengths.
For tactics I would recommend Rapid Chess Improvement as a starting point. At least read through it (you can find the original articles online for free and that's about 90% of the book). There are important concepts like pattern recognition vs. calculation etc. Find a source for tactics (online or book) then study.
Endgame- I've already talked about.
Middle game: Nimzo's my system and Silman's HTRYC are must reads. I'll also add that Vukovic's art of attack in chess is one of the best books ever written.
Openings: You want to build a solid opening rep. Playing a narrow rep is generally good unless you have a lot of time to study endless variations. A broad rep is better if you have the time to make it work but for most people that isn't realistic and isn't necessary if you aren't planning on challenging Magnus anytime soon. You have to find a balance between playing a narrow rep and playing outright garbage offbeat openings while at the same time getting to types of positions you like. Beyond that, just look at the players you like, what openings they play and try to find something that fits together. Generally, I learn lines 8 moves deep and the top three variations and gradually add with each game I play. I try to avoid book lines when I can and play my own moves. If I'm wrong I get a lesson and know where I need I need to improve but if I'm right I get a crushing line that few people have ever considered. It's a win either way.
I'll also add Secrets of Practical Chess by Nunn is a really good book and covers a lot of the things you're probably thinking about. It's not really focused on any one area but its just a very good book written by an author I have a lot of respect for who talks about the things that will take you from being an 1800 player to a master and beyond.
After that, just play, analyze your games, study master games and keep building up your weak areas. You'll reach your goal eventually.