Thursday, August 9, 2012

Actively Studying Chess - Part 2

Prefer Training Over Studying

Since we are talking of studying it is also good to change your frame of mind about that. Chess improvement has to do with training rather than studying. Studying has a "bookish" ring to it and is therefore insufficiently focused on the enhancement of your chess skills. Of course knowledge is important when you want to improve your chess, but if you are really serious about getting stronger you will need better skills, since they are the game deciders in the majority of cases. How do you think a pianist stays in shape? Not by reading books on music but by practicing his scales of course. And how do you think a tennis pro prepares for a tournament? Not by reading sports columns, but by practicing his service and volley! The same applies to chess. We have to see the brain as a muscle and keep it in shape... by means of training! Studying chess actively has the benefits of training your brain and improving such skills as:

  • Visualization
  • Position-sleuthing
  • Position-breakdown
  • Planning
  • Calculation
  • Decision making
  • Being critical


The 80/20 rule is all about focus really. Finding out what works best and doing more of that. As Seneca put it:

"It is better to have read one book, than to have a hundred on your bookshelf".

Let's apply this to you opening repertoire. The advice here is to focus on a narrow opening repertoire, one that you study closely and deeply (yes, in this case studying is more appropriate), and one that gives you the best chances of gathering valuable experiences, both in quality and quantity, since you keep playing it faithfully!

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