Tactics & General Principles
Rating Range: 500-1200
Recommended duration: 2 years
This may be the key step, because if you take the important points in this step lightly, the steps forever after will seem slow and stifling.
We suggest books on tactics (because that is key), a game book to pick up general principles, and a couple of “talky” books to learn general principles and other guidelines, a book to teach the basics of attacking the king and a book on the opening fundamentals.
The key is to do basic tactical motif problems over and over (doing them seven times is good!) until you can get them almost by sight. Set a time each day to do your puzzles and spend no more than an hour doing as many as you can. Make it a habit to do tactics puzzles every day!
Don’t spend more than 5 minutes or so on any problem; the goal isn’t to solve them correctly, but rather to get as many problem and solution patterns into your brain in a short a time as possible. If you spend too little time doing a problem, then you won’t remember the problem pattern at all. If you follow any advice at all from this Chess Development Plan, then learning basic tactics well, just as you would learn your multiplication tables, is the single most important thing.
Richard Teichmann, one of the world’s great players in the late 19th century, said “Chess is 99% tactics”. He may have been exaggerating a little but, if so, it wasn’t by much, so keep this relative importance in mind.
2. Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev
This is a great book to learn general principles. Virtually every move is explained using words that everyone can understand. Jargon is avoided as far as possible. The emphasis is on general principles that readers will be able to use in their own games, and detailed analysis is only given where it is necessary.
3. Pandolfini's Ultimate Guide to Chess by Bruce Pandolfini
One of the leading Chess coaches for over two decades, Pandolfini provides the basic principles of the game, pattern recognition and memory aids, traps and pitfalls to be avoided, a method for playing in any situation, defence and counterattack, famous positions and players and loads more.
4. Simple Attacking Plans by Fred Wilson
The whole purpose of chess is to attack the king. So it is important students' learn how to do this. Fred Wilson teaches you how to mounti an offensive against your opponent’s king down to four principles that lie at the root of most successful chess attacks.
5. Chess Openings for Kids by John Watson and Graham Burgess
It is essential that you start the game well with some idea of the right plans.This openings guide provides all the tips and ideas needed to play well from move one.
6. Chess Training for Budding Champions by Jesper Hall
This book will help you in many ways that don’t appear in other books, like analysing your own games, how to calculate, how to study and how to use a computer. This book is also important to prevent you from getting into too many bad habits.
If you are also playing lots of slow games, by the time you finish these books (and assuming you have done heaps of Tactics several times in a short period), you should be well on your way to a rating of 1100-1200 or much more.
At this point we recommend you read these articles on ChessCafe.com
Also read these articles;
Keep working on your time management and thought process until you can pace yourself to use almost all of your time every game at any slow time limit – but don’t play too slowly, either!
At this point you should join a local chess club and play in over the board tournaments regularly at the club.
Next page: Phase 3: Developing Positional Understanding