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13 Ways To Get the Skills Needed To Be a Great Chess Player

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Not a single chess player in the world was ever born a chess master! Each player became great at the game by practicing for long hours and acquiring certain skills necessary of true champions. Right now, you may be wondering, ‘how can I get the skills needed to be a great chess player?’

There are several things you can do to become a good chess player. These include ways in which you should approach, learn, study, practice and play the game. The following pointers will help you stay relaxed under pressure, confident in your approach, and focused when it matters most.

After reading this article, you should be able to advance in the game with a renewed sense of confidence and awareness.

1. Focus on the Basics

It is important to keep things simple, especially if you are a beginner. Try not to overload your mind by thinking about too many strategies. Just concentrate on one move at a time! As your skills develop, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your analytical and tactical talent, but take your time getting there.

2. Practice Often

Just like any sport, in order to become good at it, you must train – hard! Chess is not different. Hours must be spent studying the game as well as playing it. The hard work you put in reading books, studying openings, and searching for novelties will pay off in the end!

Ambition is the driving force. It will bring you success in the game if you play often and have a true desire to win, no matter what! Hard work is necessary, so practice, practice, practice.

3. Learn from your Mistakes

As your chess skills develop and you play against higher-level opponents, you can really learn a lot from the mistakes. Don’t take losses as failures, but rather see them as motivators, helping you to grow and improve. Make a mental note of where you went wrong so as not to repeat the error in the future.

True champions have the ability to adapt to difficult situations and overcome obstacles. They find a way to make the best out of it and make it work to their advantage. They refuse to accept defeat.

4. Avoid Playing Too Much Rapid Chess Games 

Games such as ‘Blitz’ or ‘Bullet’ might not be ideal for your game! Speed is not the goal in chess. Taking the time to think over each move and analyze the different possible outcomes is what makes you a good chess player. 

You cannot develop critical thinking and problem solving with short games. The primary way to master the game is to play standard chess. So get out that board and start practicing!

5. Take Advice Whenever Possible

Whenever a player wants to give you advice, even if it is a child or beginner, take it! Don’t snub the opportunity to possibly learn something new. A fresh pair of eyes on a chessboard can sometimes see opportunities that experienced players have overlooked.

It is important to also remember that strong players not only listen to others but also incorporate their own personality and style. They can look at the same board as their opponent but defend in a completely unique way. In short, they prefer to be leaders rather than followers.

6. Expect the Unexpected

In a game of chess, you need to be prepared for anything! Try to figure out how your opponent will react in each situation, and then play your move accordingly. At the same time, appreciate it when your opponent outwits you with a winning move. Keep it in mind for the future and possibly use it yourself! 

Be patient, not only during games but along the chess journey as well. With time and practice, you will learn how to attack and defend. You will learn to watch out for those crucial in-between moves that inevitably make or break your game.

7. Solve Chess Puzzles (Problems)

Try to work on as many chess puzzles as you can. Chess games are often time-consuming. The good thing about this kind of puzzle is that they don’t take much of your time, and you can still practice your analytical and tactical skills. This will also help improve your board reading skills so you can recognize the best move in any situation. Even professional players practice by solving chess puzzles.

8. Stay Focussed

It is important to concentrate when playing chess in order to avoid blunder moves. At some point, you are bound to make a bad play. Stay focussed and avoid frustration, which can give your opponent the advantage. 

On the other hand, don’t be so focussed on the immediate situation that you lose your form and strength of play. The key is to concentrate, strategize and then make your move. Keep improving and learning every day.

9. Take Your Time in the Middlegame

In chess, it is important not to make moves in haste, especially during the middlegame. Think through all possibilities, and don’t try to attack too soon! This is a big mistake that most beginners make. When in doubt, continue with your piece development until you get the right opportunity to strike!

10. Avoid Sticking to a Particular Opening

It is important to try out different opening styles to broaden your understanding of the game. Using a variety of openings will help you analyze different positions and improve your overall understanding of your game. 

Identify which opening moves suit you but don’t be afraid to try a fresh approach. Learning something new in each game you play is important. You must be able to adapt and advance. 

11. Don’t Rely Solely on Memorizing Moves

The problem here lies when your opponent plays something unexpected. If you rely solely on memorized moves, you might get lost and won’t know what to do next! Pay attention to the possible outcomes and endgame. 

In time, you will be surprised by how your thoughts flow naturally, and you will instinctively begin to find your moves! The game of chess involves so much more than memorization. In fact, memorization is often only good for opening moves (first 1-15) or basic endgame patterns.

12. Be Confident

It is always amazing to see a chess player bounce back from a poor performance. This confidence is what is needed to be a true chess master. The difference between a good player and a great player is the ability to trust one’s instincts and abilities completely.

If you have low self-esteem and constantly second-guess yourself, you will be more inclined to give up partway through a game and not recover well after a loss. The game of chess is just as much a psychological game as it is a mental one. 

13. Be Relaxed and Have Fun

Enjoying the game of chess is most important. Don’t take it too seriously, or you’ll be upset when you make mistakes and lose games. Ultimately, it is just a game, and you should have fun playing it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

You should have a passion for the game. The best players are crazy about it and live every playing moment with enthusiasm. Find true joy in the game, and success will inevitably follow.

In short

These are 13 things you can do to become a great chess player. These include ways you should approach, learn, study, practice, and play the game in order to attain success. Good luck and have fun, fellow gamers! And remember, ‘every chess master was once a beginner’ – Irving Chernev.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.