I was looking to study openings as part of my effort to improve my chess and I usually play the Sicilian with black in response to e4 so I decided to look at that first. I found this amazing video by GM Yasser Seirawan who explains the Pin Variation and I really like this variation, and will practice this move by move to get a better grip at it.
I recently met a guy at work who is rated at 2100+ and that spurred me to try and improve my Chess. While I love to play, I have remained at a stagnant level for many years now, and I’ve decided to try and improve my level from where I currently stand.
I see that my unofficial ELO rating in Rapid Games is 1536 so that can be the baseline.
There are three things that I am going to do to improve my score.
- Read Logical Chess by Irving Chernev and follow the instructions there. This is a great book, and I’ve already started reading it, and feel that I’ve learned at least three new concepts in the first ten pages that I didn’t know before.
- Move the pieces, not the pawns in the opening: The idea is that you develop your pieces in the opening, and they will help you reap much richer rewards than moving your pawns.
- Control the center to disrupt your opponent: I have always thought that you control the center because your pieces have the maximum strength on the center however that’s only part of the story. The other part being that by controlling the center, you effectively reduce the co-ordination amongst your opponent’s pieces.
- Don’t move the pawns at the king side castle: This is new knowledge for me and I’ve always been guilty of moving a3 or h3 despite the castle to stop the pin on the knight that is usually placed at the f3 or c3 square.
- Tactical Exercises: I have never paid much attention to tactical exercises but I now realize that without doing such exercises I won’t be able to train my brain to actively look for patterns and opportunities in the game, and I am going to try to do this very regularly. My current tactical score in Chess.com is 1353 which is a good bit below my actual rating so I am sure that improving on this count will help me improve my overall score.
- Analyze all games: I don’t have much of a habit of analyzing my games, and I want to do more and more of that especially from my opponent’s perspective to try and gain better insight on what tactics I am missing.
- Learn a few openings: I need to learn at least a few common openings so that I don’t get played out in the opening of the games which is not unusual in a Rapid game if the opponent plays a certain line that you’re not comfortable with.
- Play Less: There are many other things that are going on in my life so I have to prioritize my time, and if I spend time in learning then some of that time must come out of playing, which I will do.
This is everything I want to share today, and write this post to hold myself accountable to see how I did on this account a year from now.