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The absolutely blunt answer on how to become better chess players

Winning is about commitment, discipline, hard work, dedication, determination, courage and sometimes even luck!

How can you go from Point A to Point B if you have no idea where Point B is?

This is a big problem for a lot of chess players, and this is a typical question I get: “Can you help me get better in chess?” Here is usually the sequence:

Me: Well, the answer is yes. But what is your goal? How far do you want to get in chess?

Answer: I don’t know.

Me: OK, so how much effort are you willing to put in?

Answer: Not much. I am busy. I have too much homework to do or I am very busy every day.

Me: Do you know what are some of your biggest weaknesses in chess?

Answer: No.

Me: What are you working on right now? What type of chess training do you currently do every day?

Answer: I play a lot of blitz online.

As you can see, this is what I often encounter from chess players. So let’s go back to the first question I asked? If you are in a car, how do you go from point A to point B if you do not know where point B is? Just as in chess, if one has no idea of specific goals, how can one get there?

Every player should have his/her own individual goal. Some may want to be Grandmasters, some maybe International Masters, or some just want to be good hobby or club players.

So before you can go forward and be successful, you MUST do the following:

* Set long term goal: This is the ultimate finish line. This could be for 1, 2, 3 or even more years.

* Set midrange goal: This could be for 3 months, 6 months, or a year.

* Set short term goal: This could be for 1 day, 1 week, a few weeks, or a month.

Once you set these goals, you have to be willing to set aside proper time to train to complete these goals. If you are not willing to do this then you have no one to blame but yourself.

What is next?

Do a self-assessment to pinpoint your weaknesses in chess. Be true to yourself. Many will fail because they are unable to be honest about their problems. Without knowing your weaknesses, you cannot possibly know how to improve them.

Create a thorough plan to eradicate your weaknesses.

Start working every day to fix one weakness at a time.

What about if some say, I am not that good, or I am not that smart? Here is my answer:

If you are in a car driving from New York to San Francisco, you can make it in 2 or 3 days if you are a good driver. If you are an OK driver, you may get there in 4 days, maybe 5. Even if you are an extremely slow driver, but if you know where you are going, and are willing to keep driving every day, you may get there in a week, or two, or may be longer. But if you keep up with it, you will get there.

Yes, I realize that I may be simplifying it too much. But the point is if you give up, you will never get to San Francisco, or if you have no idea what is your destination, you will never get there, which is where most people will end up.

Therefore, take time, do a self-assessment, set goals, and start your road to chess improvement today! Good luck! No one can tell you how far you can go. It is all up to you!

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