Study Plan Below 1000

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If you google “chess improvement plan for beginners”, you’ll find conflicting results…
Most of what you will find will either have complicated outlines (in order to sell you lots of stuff in between) or super general 1-page summaries.

As a result, most chess lovers get very confused, never learn the most essential activities to focus on, and never achieve a 1,000 rating. 

Just look at these numbers. 
Chess.com has more than 100 Million users. About 80% of them are below 1,000 rating! 

The good news is that it is very simple to hit this number. Much-much simpler than people think. All you need to do, you’ll find below. 
Step-by-step. 

When will you get a 1,000 rating?

This depends on how much time you can spend on chess and how accurately you’ll follow the improvement plan I’ll describe.
Unfortunately, you’ll not be the 1st one who achieved it by using this improvement plan, and you’ll not be the last. But you’ll be in the 20% of people who plays chess and gets there.
What if you never get there? You can sue me 😁
Let’s go. 

What do others do that is wrong?

The most common mistakes people make on this level are: 

  1. Just playing and never studying 
  2. Studying too much and not essential things. Playing too little, and never REALLY learning what they’ve studied.
  3. Not analyzing their games and not fixing their mistakes. And then they keep repeating the same errors over and over again.  

What will you do differently?

These 5 steps: 

  1. Maintain the right balance between studying, practicing, and fixing
  2. Study precisely what you need 
  3. Know how to practice effectively  
  4. Correct your main mistakes 
  5. Have the right mindset

Now, let’s go through those 5 steps.

Step 1 - The Right Balance

Please read the following article and come back. It’s essential.
https://chessmood.com/blog/how-to-get-better-at-chess  

Thanks! Now you know the key to chess growth for every level! 

The question is, what’s the right balance for your level? 
For getting to the 1,000 level, you should keep around this ratio: 

Study - 25% 
Practice - 65% 
Fix - 10% 

Yeah, most of the time, you should be playing! It’s about ⅔ of the time you dedicate to chess!  
When you get to 1,500 and then 2,000, you’ll see that the better you become, the more you need to study and this ratio drastically changes. 

But for below the 1,000 level, most of the time you need to play! You need to play/lose your first hundred games as fast as possible. With playing, you’ll get more connections between your brain neurons. 
You’ll learn patterns and ideas on your own. Your brain will figure out lots of stuff.
(More about this topic you’ll learn in the 1st section of the BlunderProof course.)

There are also more advantages of playing that you’ll soon see.  

You should study only about 25% of the time. 
As you’ve already learned in the above-mentioned article, you need information to digest. And with the other 10%, you fix your mistakes, so you don’t repeat them. 

Step 2 - Study

The bad news: 
Many websites will recommend you to study lots of different stuff. For 1 reason. To sell.
I’m sorry if you’ve been hooked like this. 

The good news:
At this level, the study plan is straightforward.
You don’t need to read 20 books and go through 20 courses 😊

All you need is to: 

  1. See the board better and reduce blunders 
  2. Study and improve your tactical skills 
  3. Develop a basic understanding of the opening stage

How can you see the board better?

At this level, often you’ll have 1-move blunders. You’ll leave the pieces under attack. You’ll miss mates in one. You’ll have difficulty visualizing 2-3 move calculations.
At your level, all of these challenges have 1 Doctor. His name is “Play!”
The more you play, the better you become at all those! 

How can you improve your tactical skills?

Very easy. You don’t need different books, software, and all kinds of different stuff. 
We cover your back. 

You go through the Tactic Ninja course. 

Tactic Ninja Course

It’s not just a course. It’s Tactics training!  
It goes topic-by-topic and comes with 1,000 puzzles in between. 

If you follow the instructions of the course, your tactics will improve day by day. Just one adjustment for your level. Go until section 22.
Sections 23-29, you can start after crossing 1,000 or when you get close to it. 

To improve your tactics further, you’ll need to learn Mating Patterns. We have a detailed course with 37 Mating Patterns. 
https://chessmood.com/course/mating-matador 

But you don’t need it at this level. Don’t touch that course! 😊  
Think about coming close to it only after fully finishing Tactic Ninja. 

P. S. Here is an additional article on how to improve chess tactics: 
https://chessmood.com/blog/improve-chess-tactics 

Openings

Most players make 3 main mistakes at this stage: 

  1. They study openings without studying the Opening Principles. As a result, they blindly memorize variations without understanding the fundamentals of the fight in the opening. 
  2. They study openings too deeply, trying to win the game from the opening or trying to know everything. 
  3. They study lots of trappy openings and variations. Yeah, they might win some rating points in the short term, but they lay a very bad foundation for their future growth. 

Here is what I recommend you do:

1. Study the Opening Principles course first!
https://chessmood.com/course/opening-principles 

These are going to be the most critical steps for establishing the right fundamentals.

  • ​It’ll give you a huge advantage over other players below the 1,000 level. 
  • You’ll know what to fight for in the opening (99% don’t know, they just make random moves). 
  • You’ll know how to punish your opponents’ opening mistakes, those who don’t follow these principles.  
  • You’ll get good positions out of the opening and have an easy game later.   
  • In the future, no matter what openings you decide to learn, you’ll understand and learn them much more easily. 

2. As most of your opponents will not know any theory, just the Opening Principles course will be enough for dominating from the opening. For most of you. Most of the time. 

I recommend studying specific openings only after crossing the 1,000 level. 

3. (Must happen rarely) 
In exceptional situations where you may get uncomfortable positions from the opening, or if you want to learn some openings very much — okay 😊 

Go to the WhiteMood and BlackMood courses. 

https://chessmood.com/course/whitemood-openings 

https://chessmood.com/course/blackmood-openings 

You’ll create a step-by-step opening repertoire for both, White and Black. 
Just don’t try to memorize everything in the courses. The first 1-5 moves will be enough most of the time. 

Then download the PDF and PGN files from the courses, complete the homework, and then revise them from time to time. 

Get into a Grandmaster’s mind

If you’re a PRO Member, you have access to our live training. 
I highly recommend attending the training (or watching the recordings), when a Grandmaster plays and comments on games against players below the 1,500 level. 

You’ll see how they think and punish the mistakes of this level. 
This will be invaluable and one of the most efficient ways to spend your study time. 

Additional study material

This is all you need to spend your study time on. 
In case you need more, go through our “Rating Booster” section one by one. 

https://chessmood.com/courses#group=1  
 
You’ll learn: 

37 mating patterns
How to stop blunders 
The basics of a successful attack
The basics of defense 
How to save lost positions 
How to win winning ones 
Endgame RoadMap 
Must-know endgame theory 

Once again. You’ll need those courses after crossing the 1,000 level. 
Turn to them only if you can’t resist the temptation 😊

The bold-unbold technique

This is very important.

When we first learn new concepts, we have a tendency to forget some of them. But I found a nice way to reinforce new ideas. 
It is called the “bold/unbold” technique.

It’s a proven technique many of our students successfully use. I do too. 
Learn about it here:
https://chessmood.com/blog/bold-unbold-technique 

What’s the study balance?

You should dedicate 90% of your study time to improving your tactics. 
Go through the Tactic Ninja course and solve the offered tactics. Do this over and over again until the moment you solve everything in less than 3 seconds. 

The other 10% of your study time should be spent improving your opening knowledge. Have a full mastery of the Opening Principles course and watch our live-streaming events. And if you want it really much, only then look at our additional courses. 

Step 3 - Practice

As we reviewed already, you should spend around 65% of your chess time actually playing chess. 

This includes: 

  • Offline tournaments  
  • Online games 
  • With training partners 

Where should you play? 

Both chess.com and lichess.org are okay. 
I highly recommend sticking with Lichess. 

It seems to me that chess.com constantly makes you feel you’re the worst player ever 😅 
And offers “to improve your chess”… How? By buying all kinds of stuff you don’t need 😁

Lichess is my absolute favorite. 
But the choice is yours.

What time control should you choose?

Overall, I don’t mind blitz games. 
But on this level, I recommend avoiding it. 
Bullet is forbidden 😊

If you very much love to play blitz and have fun — then okay. Let’s make a deal. The fastest time control you should play with is 3+2. Always try to play with an increment. (Soon you’ll find out why).

The best time controls will be:

5+3, 

10+5,  

15+10,  

30+20. 

Those are time controls that many play on Lichess. 
So you’ll easily find opponents. 

More about what time control to choose and why you should always play with an increment can be found here: 
https://chessmood.com/blog/what-chess-time-control-to-choose

My Golden Method

This is one of my most-read articles:
https://chessmood.com/blog/golden-method-to-increase-rating-in-chess

You’ll learn why I recommend sticking with 9-game sessions. 
When you play with longer time controls, you can stick with 2-5 games per session. 

The key is to always decide how many games you will play before starting the session.

A few more tips

Mindset is very important. I have many tips to share that will help you play better, maintain the right mood, and ultimately have more fun. 

Whenever you find time, read the following articles:

How to raise your rating by cutting the losses
How to stop bad results
How to multiply good results
Legal doping and the Right Mood
How to handle a bad mood
My top secret

Step 4 - Fixing  

This is not the sexiest step and not the most fun part. 

Unsurprisingly, most chess lovers at this level skip this part. 
But by doing it, you’ll get to the 1,000 level much faster than them. 

And it doesn’t require a lot of time. 
You should spend around 5-10% of your time fixing your mistakes. 

Don’t try to understand every small mistake. 
Instead, focus on big blunders. When you leave the pieces under attack,  simple tactics that were overlooked, or missed mates in 2. 

Check out this article to learn more: 
https://chessmood.com/blog/analyze-blitz-chess-games

Step 5 - Mindset 

I don’t want you to just improve your chess. 
I want you to have fun at the same time. 

Having the right mindset will not only bring more joy, when you do your favorite activity - chess, but it’ll also help you to grow much faster! 

Try to spend some of your free time on our Blog: 
https://chessmood.com/blog

And here are my top recommendations: 

  1. Many focus on results and lose the fun part
    https://chessmood.com/blog/detachment
  2. The secret to lasting love for chess and how to avoid emotional bankruptcy
    https://chessmood.com/blog/lasting-love-for-chess
  3. Don’t just crave results. Deserve it. Often success will come later.
    https://chessmood.com/blog/if-you-want-to-achieve-more-you-need-to-deserve-more
  4. What stops you? Figure it out and address it:
    https://chessmood.com/blog/what-is-the-but-that-is-holding-you-back

A few more recommendations

Find a training/sparring partner  

There are lots of advantages in having a training partner. 
Here are some of them:

  • It’s more fun to not be alone on this journey 
  • You can psychologically support each other and challenge each other to grow 
  • You always have someone to play with 
  • You can study together 
  • You can analyze your games together 
  • And more…  

You’ll find more about it in these articles:

The importance of having a training partner

How to find the perfect training partner

How to practice with your training partner

Do this every day

Whenever you have a day with very limited time, try to find 5-20 minutes to dedicate to puzzles (solving them or watching the Tactic Ninja course), or playing.
You want to build a connection between your neurons and not get rusty.   

CoGro (Constant Growth)

I don’t know everything about chess improvement. 
Anyone who claims they know everything, they’re either arrogant, idiots, or liars. 

So far, I shared with you everything that works! 
Many of our students who kept up with this study plan managed to cross the 1,000 level very fast. 

Nothing is an experiment. All of this guidance works very effectively. 

But I opened this “CoGro” part, to remind me about always becoming a better coach, coming back here and adding more stuff. 

I will always keep my CoGro as a coach. 
I hope you’ll keep yours as a player. 

Wishing you to have the Right Mood, have a fun journey, and hit your chess goals soon. 

GM Avetik
 

P. S. Your feedback is highly appreciated. 
You can share it here: 
https://forms.gle/2z5FEzX2zwzEkpLt9

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