Chess Training Roadmap



  • The Pareto Principle of Chess Training
  • The 3 Functional Areas of Your Chess Thinking
  • The TRC Calculation Method
  • The MKA Evaluation Method
  • The NSC Planning Method
  • Build Your Personal Chess Opening Repertoire
  • Study Must-Know (Instructive) Endgame Positions
  • Play Often and Review Your Games

The Pareto Principle of Chess Training

The Pareto principle states that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results (also known as the 80/20 rule). In chess, this principle relates to the fact that some training activities will be far more beneficial than others. You should focus your training on the activities that give you the most benefit. 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
  • emotions settled
  • physical health (medications…)
  • 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

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.

Build Your Personal Chess Opening Repertoire

good news or bad new, depending how you accept it… under 2000 rating there will definitely be things you can do that will be more useful than studying a new opening. However, opening knowledge can still be useful and that is why I recommend a 3 stage approach: 1) study opening principles and objectives; 2) adopt a simplified opening repertoire 3) start to work on your preferred opening repertoire

The benefit of having an opening repertoire is that you can start the game with a pre-made plan and possibly gain an advantage because of it. If you do it right, studying an opening also has the added benefit of improving your positional understanding. However, the world of chess opening theory is an endless road and you have to ask yourself if you are ready to commit yourself to the never-ending study of opening theory? Unless you are already a chess master, studying opening theory does not correspond to the “Pareto Principle of Chess Training“, which I referred to earlier.

A viable alternative for most players, which I recommend, is to study opening principles and combine it with a simplified repertoire.

Understand/Accept that you are making a concession in order to focus on other topics

How to Build a Simplified Opening Repertoire

3 stages… study opening principles and objectives; 2) adopt a simplified opening repertoire 3) start to work on your preferred opening repertoire as your rating climbs over ~1800.. !the point is that below this level there will definitely be things you can do that will be more useful than studying a new opening.

  • Study the 3 most important chess opening principles.
  • Study the list of chess opening objectives.
  • Study CHESSFOX Simplified Opening Repertoire for White. (colle/torre?)
  • Study CHESSFOX Simplified Opening Repertoire for Black. (scan qd8?)
  • Play training games using the simplified opening repertoire and fall back to principles and calculation when required.

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.

Play Often and 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.