With New Year approaching, many of us will be making resolutions. Some of these will concern chess improvement, so how should these be formulated.

If someone wants to become good at something, the key is to establish productive habits that can be continued over a long period of time. Any resolutions will need to reflect this so they should not involve an unmanageable schedule. Decide how much time you can reasonably spend on chess and when this will be done. Is a commute a good opportunity to work on your game? Or perhaps getting up earlier?

Once a time slot has been established, how should it be used? Personally I’m a firm believer in fundamentals, which is why I developed the courses on strategy, analysis and endgames at Tiger Chess. Regular tactics practice is almost always a good idea and there are a number of web sites (such as Chessity) that make such practice relatively easy.

I would estimate that an hour a day is a basic minimum for chess improvement, so if someone does 20 minutes tactics practice that leaves 40 more for everything else. Effective chess training should certainly include endgame training due to the great value this has. And at this point it starts to become clear that two hours is better than one and the plan to learn to Sicilian Najdorf may be flawed!

So good luck with your improvement efforts and all the best for 2018. Keep it simple, focus on fundamentals and try to build a practice habit.

Nigel Davies

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About NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Besides teaching chess, Nigel is a registered tai chi and qigong instructor and runs several weekly classes.