Elements of a chess profile

So, last week we launched the summer coaching sessions.  I explained the idea of the profile, and went on to ask everyone to complete the 3+3 exercise described below:
  • Three things I do well (or try to do well)
  • Three things I do badly (or want to do better)

The items were written onto coloured sticky notes, and I arranged thinto rough groups on a table.  Doubtless other arrangements were equally legitimate.  The idea was for everyone to to start to build a confident picture of your strengths and weaknesses: try and draw up your own list of what A-M might stand for, and what might be your B and E or your M, and what might be your J!

/tbody /table
Well, depending on what level you're at, different treatments might be appropriate.  I have drawn up a preliminary guide to books -- not that you should read all or own any of them, but so that you might find something to move you on, whatever your level and whatever you want to work on.  I expect for every book there is a better one... but it's a starting point.  I'll try and supplement this array with some web links soon.  Contributions welcome.

The good
Dr.Dave's comments
Playing a game better now

I am not experienced in chess game enough
The main thing beginners need is practice!
  • Opening
  • Try to open well
  • Try not to block any of own pieces during opening
  • Openings that become endings
  • I have no schemes of openings
  • Have such a restricted opening repertoire
  • Early development of pieces rather than just pawns
  • Opening
  • Openings
  • Openings, particularly d4...?
  • Openings
  • Not delay castling
  • Remember opening repertoire
I was happy that this didn't dominate the picture: although in the last game I annotated, I piddled all over their third and fourth moves...

  • Checking
  • Combinational pressure
  • Creating potential pins
  • Piece combinations
  • Avoid gross blunders
  • Try to spot moves
  • Move more slowly and carefully
  • Lose quickly!
  • To look before I commit myself to all the replies
  • Positions with much open space and active queens
  • To avoid loose pieces
  • Protect vulnerable pieces
  • Calculations that go more than a few moves deep
  • Visualisation
  • Use more reverse moves
I don't agree that chess is 99% tactics, but tactical alertnesss does decide an awful lot of games. 

This isn't just about knowing about tactics, it's about imagination and vision.  Fortunately, they have the same treatment: doing tactical puzzles.
  • Strategic position
  • Looking for holes in the opponent's position (outposts)
  • Active squares
  • Playing closed positions
  • Understanding the value of pieces in the current position
  • Sometimes a good strong attack
  • Passing and not taking
  • Middle game
  • Learn how to think throughlay 'small' (subtle) moves more effectively
  • Manoeuvre more rather than swap pieces
  • Visualising exchanges more efficiently
  • Co-ordinate my pieces better
  • Closed positions (strategic play)
  • Better at planning
  • Thinking ahead structurally
  • Not enough attention on whole board
There's lots to this, of course; I was interested to hear a theme of 'exchanges' coming through.
  • Simple end games
  • endgame
  • Avoid dropping endgames -- needless half point
  • Long games
  • Endgame

Traditionally, the ground where weaker players lose to stronger ones.  Are we sure that this isn't a weakness for more of us? Or does it never matter in our games?
  • Time management
  • Time pressure
  • Not move too fast
  • Good position obtained in very good times -- against opponents taking a lot longer
  • Use of the clock (playing at the right speed)
  • Dealing with time pressure
  • I am usually running out of time
Ah, the 33rd piece is often the final straw...

I would remind a couple of people that there are no points for having time left at the end of the game.
  • Steady, careful development
  • Cross-cover ever more effectively
  • Good defence
  • Defence
Again, many would have you believe that club players are worse at this than the rest of their game.
  • Improvisation in new/unseen positions/openings
  • Judging 'strange' positions
  • I try to remain mentally positive
  • Play till the end
  • Finding resources to save a lost position

  • Not attacking enough
  • Exchanging pieces too early
  • Be more aggressive
These aspects of practical play should not be overlooked in the avalanche of available theory.






Opening books

Chess Openings for Juniors (Walker)

See also: http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/italian-game-beginners and http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/colle-system

An Opening Repertoire for the Attacking Player (Keene/Levy)

Ideas behind the Chess Openings (Fine)

Winning with e4 (Bishop’s Opening)(Emms)em/ span style="text-decoration: underline;">d4 (QGD Exchange)(Dunnington)

Meeting e4 (Sicilian Four Knights’)(Raetsky)em style="text-decoration: underline;">d4 (QGD Tarrasch)(Aagaard/Lund)

See also:

Specialist monographs e.g. Play the French (Watson)

See also: http://www.chesspublishing.com


Winning Chess (Chernev/Reinfeld)[D]

Winning Chess Tactics for Juniors (Hays)

Test your Chess IQ (1)Livshitz

See also:

Penguin Book of Chess Positions (Alexander) [D]

span style="font-style: italic;">See also: Claus Kaber

Test your Chess IQ (2)Livshitz

See also:


The Most Instructive Games Of Chess Ever Played (Chernev) [D]
See also: strategy handouts

Simple Chess (Emms)

The Middle Game 1/2 (Euwe/Kramer)

The Power Chess Program (I/II)(Davies)

Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy (Watson)


Capablanca’s Best Chess Endgames

Winning Endgames (Kosten)

Endgame Strategy (Shereshevsky)

Rate your Endgame (Mednis/Crouch)

Batsford Chess Endings (Speelman)

Games collections

Logical Chess, move by move (Chernev)

Best Lessons of a Chess Coach (Weeramantry)

Chess: the Art of Logical Thinking (MacDonald)

Understanding Chess, Move by Move (Nunn)

Secrets of Grandmaster Play (Nunn/Griffiths)

Practical play

Chess for Tigers (Webb)

How to Reassess your Chess (Silman)

The Amateur’s Mind (Silman)

Secrets of Practical Chess (Nunn)

The Seven Deadly Chess Sins (Rowson)

Players to study


Tarrasch, Lasker




[D] = Descriptive notation.