Chess Improvement – Simple, Not Easy

Sadly, there are still a lot of Charlatans and get-rich-quick schemes in Online Chess improvement. They all have one thing in common: they try to make Chess improvement look very easy. Their marketing will suggest that buying their product or course will give you a very easy way to improve. Only by watching some course, you will basically instantly improve and your worries are over.

Let me tell you the ugly truth: Chess improvement is not and will never be easy.

Make It As Simple As Possible

What you are really searching for in your Chess improvement is to make it more simple. Some of you might think: but wait, aren’t simple and easy the same thing?

I have thought so too for a long time. But there is actually a huge difference between these two words.

Difference Between Simple And Easy

Easy means something that is achieved without or with only minimal effort. It is the opposite of difficult. Simple means something that is uncomplicated. It is the opposite of complicated.

Do you need an example? Here you are:

Starting from one and then adding one push-up every day is a very SIMPLE workout plan. There is nothing hard to understand or complex in it. But on day 100 you have to do 100 push-ups. That is far away from EASY.

Let me give you two different Chess training plans. One is simple but far from easy, and the other one is easy but not simple.

  1. Every day from 5 PM to 6 PM 1 hour of studying with Yusupov’s book series (starting from book 1, working all the way up to book 10).
  2. Whenever I feel like I lie on the couch and watch some kind of chess video.

In the first one, there is nothing to misunderstand. The time is set and also the what to train is straightforward. But the hourly training will be far from easy! You will need to strain yourself daily.

The second one is much harder to understand. The time and nature of “training” are not clearly defined. You might already lose yourself in some other YouTube video before even starting the “training”.

What is clear is that the “training” is supposed to be easy. Lying on the couch and watching some video is done with a lot of ease.

I guess you get my point. You won’t get anywhere if you prioritize the easy way.

But obviously, we all are lazy and would love to find out about some secret easy way. And that is what scammy ads play into. Again, take my word for it: there is no quick way to easily improve in Chess.

How Can You Make Your Training Simple?

Now that you hopefully understand that easy improvement is only a lucid dream for most of us, we can get to work and make your training as simple as possible.

What I see with most amateurs is that their training routine is way too complex. Mixing several online courses with books, trying out one opening after another, and not having a clear time plan for training are some of the worst mistakes I see.

By using the 5 outlined steps you can go from your overwhelmed & complex routine to a simple and fun chess routine.

1. Fixed Time Slots

It is way more simple to study chess at the same time every day/week. If you have different weekly schedules, at least take the time to plan the upcoming week at the end of the previous week. I used to prepare my training week on Fridays (Saturday+Sunday were off for me).

Start with an amount that you will be surely able to do. Consistency is key. If you want a more detailed guide, then read how to set up your training plan. Make sure to also include a slot for weekly reviews & setting up the next plan.

The most important thing: get the Quality of your training right.

2. Reduce Information Intake

The more different sources and opinions, the more difficult it gets to have a simple plan. There are many ways to improve your Chess. But you should not always change your way because somebody does something different.

Focus on 1-3 sources you really like and trust. Then follow their suggestions for at least 6 months. Only then you can really see if that is a good fit for you. Find out whom you should trust and whom not in this article.

Also make sure to reduce the amount of books, courses, and openings you work on. For most Amateurs, playing one opening well is more than enough. You don’t need to know more openings (if somebody tells you anything else, that is most likely a sales pitch for their new course…).

You don’t want to be unsure what exactly to study when you sit down for your training. It should be as simple as possible! One thing at a time.

3. Use the One-Third-Rule

It can be overwhelming to think about the right chess training plan. Should you study openings, tactics, endgames, strategy, or play some games?

For this reason, I created the One-Third-Rule. Whenever you are unsure what you should spend your time on, use each 1/3 of your time on:

  • Tactics
  • Playing & Analyzing
  • The rest (Openings, Endgames, Strategy)

This rule alone has helped dozens if not hundreds of my readers & students to create a simple and yet effective chess training routine.

You will work most of the time on things that really matter and avoid any overwhelm. I find it so important that I wrote a whole article on it. Make sure to check it out if you want to get more details.

Less But Better

I hope this article helps you go in the direction of “less but better”.

Keep things simple!

You will be less overwhelmed and have more energy & willpower to do the hard but necessary things! If you want to go deeper into the rabbit hole of simplicity and “less but better”, then I can wholeheartedly recommend two amazing books:

Both were written by the same author, Greg McKeown.
Essentialism & “How To Master Essentialism”, with a focus on his first book

  • “The Art Of Effortless results” with a focus on his second book
  • I’m applying the things I learned through these amazing books & conversations not only in Chess but everywhere in my life.

    And funnily enough, a much simpler life makes things also easier in the end. With more brainpower for the really important things, you will flow through life much easier.

    I firmly believe that

    anyone can improve their chess through the right mindset and training techniques.

    I’m here to guide you on your journey to chess mastery.

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