The 7 Fundamental Chess Skills You Should Train

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Improving your chess can be quite challenging and even confusing at times.

In fact, there is a good chance you will at some point feel stuck and ask “how can I improve my chess?” To make this progress more manageable, I’ve identified 7 fundamental chess skills that you should focus on:

7 fundamental chess skills

Here is a quick summary of each:

1.  Tactics


At its simplest tactics is an astute awareness of the interaction between all the pieces and pawns on the board. This “tactical awareness” is the very first skill you should train if you are serious about improving your game.

Tactical patterns are moves that use well-known tactical motifs (such as pins, forks, x-ray, etc.) to win material, achieve a checkmate or even secure some kind of strategic advantage.

Expect to win a lot of games against amateurs if you are good at tactics.

2. Decision-making process


In the words of former wold champion, Garry Kasparov:

…you must also become intimately aware of the methods you use to reach your decisions.

He referred to your thinking process. How aware are you of the methods you use to reach a decision? I’ll be sending you some helpful information on how to improve your thinking process.

3. Calculation technique


Calculation skill is the computer in you.

The ability to analyze all the consequences of your selected candidate moves has an obvious effect on the move you choose and ultimately the result of the game.

Of all the skills, this one can be very hard to train but I will show you some methods that give you fast and long-lasting results.

4. Visualization


Chess visualization is the ability to see in your mind the positions reached when certain moves are made – without making them on the board – and seeing them so clearly you can accurately consider the implications of each new position. Just imagine the benefits of being able to visualize any combination of moves in your mind and being able to “see” the outcome of it.

In fact, I believe this skill is so important, that I created a simulation program that helps you train this skill in a highly effective manner.

You can check out Visualwize 3.0 (click the link to learn more.)

5. Strategic Planning


What is my plan? How will I improve my position? That is what strategy is all about.

Without an understanding of chess strategy you cannot expect to find good plans and ideas.

Bobby Fischer said

…tactics flow from a superior position.

If don’t have the strategic understanding required to reach superior positions, you also won’t get the opportunity to demonstrate your tactical abilities!

6. Openings Skill


Even though you can do well by applying the basic strategic principles to your opening moves, all serious chess players have their favorite openings which they know in depth.

Professional chess players cannot survive in the competitive arena without a number of openings in their repertoire.

The advantage they get from this is that they have an in-depth understanding of the typical middle-game positions that arise from their openings and they know which plans work best in those situations. In a sense it implies they they are well-prepared even before the game has started.

I will show you how to study openings and get real practical value from doing so.

7. Endgame Skill


The endgame has its own set of principles. For example, in the opening and middle part of the game the king is a weakness. In the endgame however — the king becomes a powerful participant in the action.

The two main objectives in the endgame is to activate the king to its best position and to create a passed pawn.

Even in the endgame you rely heavily on your visualization and calculation skill. Since there are fewer pieces on the board, players sometimes become complacent – resulting in a mistake that changes the outcome of the game.


This article gave you some background on the 7 fundamental chess skills. I’d love to hear if you have any questions pertaining to your chess improvement. What are you struggling with most? Is there anything in particular that you want to know more about?

Telling me what you struggle with helps me improve the quality of content by focusing on what you need most. Click here to contact me.

Hope to hear from you soon.

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