Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
[b]Chess Principles of Play, #101
1) In the beginning, seek out games with stronger opponents (how else will you ever learn); 2) As you progress, play opponents with similar ratings; 3) Once you're winning (and drawing) more games than you're losing, return to Principle 1); 4) Make it a point to successfully learn a ...[text shortened]... . I'm looking forward to reading your own'Chess Principles of Play'. -gb
Here's mine (I would call them 'Principles of Chess Improvement'
1) In the beginning, go to a real chess club with real tournament players so you can get rid of the idea that you are a good player just because you beat your dad, your brothers, your cousins and friends. Once you are crushed a few times, you will realize that there is a lot to learn if you're going to play even moderately well. If you lack a local club with strong players, then play a computer a few times on its hardest level until you are convinced you have zero chance to ever win a game.
Proceed to step 2 if your ego can take it and you are still fascinated by the game.
2) As you progress, avoid playing weaker players and stick to players at least your own size, or preferably a bit better. For computer users, start at a level that allows you to win about 3 out of 10 games on average. Bump up the level if you start winning more than that.
The idea is to play stronger players, but not too much stronger. I'm not saying you should turn down a game with a very strong player. I just don't think they should be your first choice of opponent.
3) Pick up an old opening book like Reinfeld's How To Win Chess Games Quickly
. This will not teach you to memorize common opening lines. What it will
do is show you why certain plausible moves fail in the opening. There is a set of common opening mistakes, divided into chapters. For example, there is a whole chapter on winning when the enemy Queen is out of play. You will learn to avoid these common violations of opening principles and learn to punish your opponents for doing so.
4) At some point, you will find that merely following opening principles doesn't get you very far against stronger opponents. Only then should you study opening theory. Picking the opening depends on knowing your style of play. Your computer can usually let you practice all of the different possible openings. Try several of them, for white and black both, until you find some that suite your style.
5) Record and study your own games, especially the losses. This is hard on the ego, but without it, you will hit a wall and not improve anymore. Do it without the computer at first. Try to identify the mistakes and find out why you lost the game. Take notes on what you find. Be thorough. Only then should you let a computer analyze the game, and mainly with the idea of improving your own ability to analyze. The computer can show you tactics that you commonly miss. It can also tell you if you are being too critical of moves or not critical enough.
6) Do not adopt a different playing style for stronger players. This is exactly what they want. You will end up playing in a way that is not familiar to you, and they'll crush you. Your best chance for an upset is to be true to yourself.
7) Pick up Yermolinsky's The Road To Chess Improvement
for a no-BS view of the chess world and what it really takes to improve.