The Key to Speed up Your Growth in Chess

Article by GM Gabuzyan Hovhannes

Hi, dear alpinists!


Yeah, this time no chess lovers, as you are trying to climb higher and higher on the mountain of your chess career smiley And if you don't have a clear answer to the question of how you are going to do it,  I am sure you will find this article very useful. 


Many people try to improve in chess by training openings, learning middlegames, solving puzzles. These are indeed good ways of improving, but there is a general concept which I think is really useful and important to understand.


Again, I’ve come to this conclusion during a class with my students.

We had a puzzle and I was waiting for the student to come up with a solution. Suddenly he said, "This is so hard, I can't solve it." My reply was the following, "If you want to become stronger, you need to solve problems above your level."
That wasn't a prepared answer, this concept came to my mind unexpectedly, I was only trying to share a secret. 


Then I started thinking about my career mountain. The moment climbing from 2200 to 2500 in 4 years was exactly that process. I was solving problems that initially seemed to be almost impossible to be solved for me. I started learning new openings, harder for me to understand, and training different types of middlegames in which I usually wasn't very confident.  


Rating Progress Chart of Hovhannes Gabuzyan


The logic behind this is very simple. For example, if you have already mastered mate in 2, solving the same type of problems will not develop your solving skills. If you start improving to mate in 3,4,5 later you will notice the difference. The same applies to middlegames. Let's assume you don't understand isolated pawn structures well enough. But if you start working on that, even if it seems too difficult, in a short time you will feel the difference. Of course, it also matters how much effort you are ready to put in. 


In general, this is a very simple but at the same time powerful topic. Some chess players are often concerned with the question, "Why am I not improving? I spend so much time working on chess!", and the answer is very simple.


Instead of hanging around the material that you are already good at, make it a little more painful and try to improve in the field you don't feel confident enough! As in many aspects, leaving your comfort zone with understanding why, is one of the most valuable, strong move in your chess career.


From aside you are going to look like a little kid in the elevator. You are not tall enough to press the required floor button and maybe at the best, you can press floor 2. The comfort zone for you is floor 1 or even basement. But if you are ready to put enough effort and struggle in the battle, there won't be any button you are not able to choose.



Good luck, champions, see you in the penthouse!


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See you in the next articles or during my streams.



Article by GM Gabuzyan Hovhannes