Like most players at the amateur level, you are probably looking to improve your chess game. While there is no ‘quick and easy’ fix to this, there are surefire ways to raise that chess rating, without a doubt. Let’s look at a few of these.
Tactics, tactics, tactics!
Surely, you have heard that line before, and for good reason: tactics improve your game. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about that. Some strong players go through a few good tactics problems before they play in order to warm up their minds.
There are a ton of tactics books out there, or you can work through as many as you want for free at www.chesstempo.com - just create an account and start solving. It really does help.
Play slow games!
Contrary to what a lot of club players believe, playing five-minute games over and over again won’t substantially improve your skill set. Remember, nobody ever gained a national or FIDE title by playing blitz alone. If you only have access to online chess, standard games with increment are recommended, such as 30/30 (thirty minute game with thirty seconds added per move) or 45/45.
There is nothing wrong with blitz for fun, but if used exclusively, your rating won’t travel very far. Slow chess is much more difficult because cheapos and ‘tricks’ don’t often work as well; slow chess is real chess.
Read the chess books you purchase!
If you are like the vast majority of club or amateur players, then you read about one-tenth of a chess book and hit the board, figuring it has to have improved your game, somehow. It should go without saying, however, that really working through and completing a chess book will be far more beneficial than taking the occasional sneak-peek and trying to apply those tidbits to your games.
Open those books!
It is also worth noting that almost every strong player in the world says that endgames are far more important than openings. Yes, it’s fun to learn tricks, traps, zaps, and sharp lines, but endings are the meat of chess. In fact, your opening choice often determines what type of endgame you enter. So if you are unknowingly choosing chess openings that steer you into endgames you are uncomfortable with, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Look into those chess endings.