Chess is considered to be a most logical and analytical game, yet most amateurs do not approach it in a logical manner. That includes me.
I have seen so many mature club players who spend many hours playing or studying chess in order to improve, but the end results are quite miserable. I am not saying that we should not try to improve at chess, just that we have to pay attention to certain considerations.
Age:– Chess is a game that you can learn at any age but it is far more difficult to improve as you get older. I agree that exceptions are always there but those are few in number. For example one should not dream of being World Champion after starting to play chess at, say, 30.
Sometimes chess is just an addiction – I have observed many chess amateurs forever buying lots of books and playing many games at clubs or on the internet. With time it will become their addiction rather than a passion, and it waste’s time, money and family life.
If you are feeling that you are young enough and can spend many years on the game then my thoughts may be useful to you:
Get a coach and invest some serious time. In India we say ‘Guru Vina Gyan Nahi’. You can’t get any knowledge without a mentor and then you should give him or her enough time to help you as chess is game in which it takes years to improve. Believe in your coach and do what they say (thanks Nigel, for being my mentor).
Be realistic. Chess teaches us to play according to the position and not how your fancy takes you. And you can’t expect to gain huge amounts of Elo rating after just reading one or two books.
Though experts have already given too many thoughts on improving at chess it’s easy to miss the wood for the trees. I believe if you have clarity of mind, and focus on the above parameters, then improvement is a matter of time.