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Chess Training Roadmap

On this page a present a chess training roadmap that is structured around the most effective training activities.

Note: I occasionally update this page to reflect any new content that I added to the website.


  • The 80/20 Principle of Chess Training
  • The Importance of a Chess Player’s Thinking Methods
  • The 3 Functional Areas of Your Chess Thinking
  • The TRC Calculation Method
  • The MKA Evaluation Method
  • The NSC Planning Method
  • 7 skills..
  • Strengthen Your Opening Play
  • visualization
  • The Opening… understanding your moves from the start of the game.
  • Study Must-Know (Instructive) Endgame Positions
  • How to Review Your Own Games
  • Latest Updates

The 80/20 Principle of Chess Training

The 80/20 principle states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. This is also know as the Pareto principle and it generally applies to different scenarios. For example… How does the 80/20 principle apply to chess training? You should focus your training on the activities that give you the most benefit! In other words, if you can identify the most effective training activities then you can focus your attention on that. All the training suggestions on this page intentionally correspond to this principle.

The 3 Functional Areas of Your Chess Thinking

Chess is a thinking game–a game played in the mind. Logically then, if you want to become a better chess player, you must improve the quality of your thinking methods.

Make your thinking methods the “structural framework” of your chess training.

…an important thing… a clear mind is essential… it is a factor often underestimated but if your mind isn’t clear you won’t be able to operate at your best. (good mood, good move)

.. a clear mind..

  • well rested, else you practice bad habits and your training becomes counter-productive
  • emotions settled
  • physical health (medications…)
  • diet, fasting (this is not medical advice but 24hr dry fasts helps me)
  • research other?

Focus your on training activities that will support the development of your thinking methods and expand your chess knowledge at the same time.

I’ve developed a 3-stage method for each of the functional areas of your chess thinking.

The TRC Calculation Method

It’s important to understand that calculation is not only tactics. A good chess player must also be able to calculate their opponent’s threats AND the possible outcomes of their own candidate moves.

threats; resources; calculate forcing moves

  1. Find Opponent’s Threats (T)
  2. Observe Tactical Resources (R)
  3. Calculate Forcing Moves (C)

method overview/summary

Calculation Method (TRC) Training Resources

  • a (paid)
  • b (free)
  • visualwize bundle
  • tactical patterns bundle
  • calculation methods bundle
  • Familiarize yourself with the 3 stages of the TRC Calculation Method
  • Practice your blindfold skills with the exercises in the Blindfold Course

The MKA Evaluation Method

Evaluation is an assessment of the current situation on the board. It based on comparing the progress either side has made towards achieving their objectives and it also reveals which objectives you should be fighting for. In an actual game you will not evaluate the position from scratch on every move. Instead, you will keep track of the changes brought about by the latest move.

compare Material, King-safety, Activity

  1. Compare Material (M)
  2. Compare King-safety (K)
  3. Compare Activity (A)


Evaluation Method (MKA) Training Resources

  • a (paid)
  • b (free)

The NSC Planning Method

The purpose of your planning method is to help you find a useful to-do list, course of action (sequence of moves or ideas) or concept. The plan you choose will largely reflect your understanding of the position. The goal of a plan is always? how/where can I create a local majority of forces?

Need of the position, choose a strategy, Candidate moves

  • Determine the need of the position (N)
  • Choose a suitable strategy (S)
  • Find 2-3 candidate moves and calculate them to find the best one. (C)


Planning Method (NSC) Training Resources

  • a (paid)
  • b (free)
  • Study common/known chess strategies. write page on common chess strategies? Exchange pieces when you are ahead; Force your opponent’s pieces into defensive positions; Aim to create a local majority of forces in the right place; Create a passed pawn (ideally a protected passed pawn); When behind, exchange pawns. When ahead, exchange pieces.
  • Study the list of positional chess principles. (free)
  • Practice the planning method as part of analysis exercises.
  • Observe how an engine converts an positional advantage with equal material.
  • The art of analysis; Analysis is the art of scrutinizing a position with the help of calculation, evaluation and planning. It is the ultimate skill of a chess master.
  • The emphasis will depend on the nature of the position. In a highly tactical, complex, middle position you must focus on the calculation method, but in a quiet.. Synergy between the methods, ie. your evaluation skill helps you calculation more efficiently.
  • Training Activities: How to Practice Your Analysis Method: Analyze a complex position in as much detail as you can. Verify your findings with the comments in a book or a chess engine. Analyze grandmaster games (from around move 12) and compare your findings with an annotated game in a book or video; preferably games that feature the openings you use.

The Opening… understanding your moves from the start of the game

Don’t focus on learning specific openings until you’re rated at least ~1800. You can go through the list of chess openings, not with the idea to study them, but simply to help you overcome the fear of the unknown.

the opening is an important step in learning to understand chess.

dangers… learning openings too early is a shortcut that will not benefit you in the long term.

A viable alternative for most players, which I recommend, is to study opening principles and practice to understand your moves from the start. This will be a solid foundation for learning specific openings in the future.

Study Must-Know Endgame Positions

interestingly, your knowledge of endgames will also help you plan more effectively in the middlegame, since you will understand what to aim for

  • Study the 40 important endgame positions.
  • Practice these positions against a chess engine till perfection.

How to Review Your Games

why; To play hard (your best effort) and then review in detail (again best effort) is probably the most effective chess training activity you can do. Many people don’t want to do this…. why? maybe? people will rather find an excuse so that they don’t have to study… helps you understand the current state of your thinking methods and is a great way to practice the adjustments you try to make.

its a myth that you need a stronger player to tell you where you went wrong, in most cases you can figure it out yourself and the process …of trying to figure it out yourself.. will be .. a good exercise… better for you

power of discovery (learning something you discovered yourself)–remember much better and relevant to you.

  • Depending on your level of experience, 5-15 minutes is a decent time control for practice games (less experienced players will benefit from having a bit more time.

Latest Updates

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