How to learn chess faster

1. Only play timed games. Untimed chess is a boring war of attrition that slows your learning.

2. When playing blitz, choose a time control with an increment. I like 3 minutes with a 2-second increment per turn. This allows your games to play right through to checkmate rather than causing you to randomly flail so you don’t run out of time.

3. Don’t bother studying openings until you can consistently avoid blundering. This will probably take several months of consistent practice.

4. When you do start learning some openings, learn a few unusual ones. Almost everyone rated less than 1200 or so just plays e4 as white and e5 as a response. You can throw a lot of people off just by playing d4 openings as white and Sicilian as black.

5. Go to a chess meetup! You’ll get to play with people who are much better than the people you get matched with online. You’ll get crushed at first, but if you ask them for advice they’ll give you tons.

6. If you’ve hit a plateau, learn some new openings. Your rating will probably drop at first, but at least you’ll be thinking rather than just following the same old scripts.

7. Just because you’re losing a game doesn’t mean you can’t play better or worse. Set a goal for yourself to survive another five moves. If you succeed, try to survive another five. Etc.

8. Decide how good is good enough. I’ve plateaued at a blitz rating of about 1200, and at this point I know that I won’t get any better without serious study. If you want to get really good, be prepared to pay the price.

9. Chessable is spaced repetition software for chess. Use it to learn new openings and tactics.

10. Watch John Bartholomew’s videos. He’s the best chess teacher out there, and most of what I’ve learned I learned from him.

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