The 7 Fundamental Chess Skills

Are you serious about improving your chess? If yes, then you need to know what to train and how to train it.

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[The 7 Skills Chess Training Model]
Not a single player was born a grand master, but each grand master got to that level by acquiring certain skills. Some faster than others, much faster – yet the combination and sequence of skills are remarkably the same.

For example, all grand masters have acquired the skill of visualizing many moves ahead – which is one of the 7 basic skills you should master.

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The 7 fundamental chess skills are:

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Which chess skill do you need most right now?
  1. Visualization
  2. Calculation
  3. Tactics
  4. Evaluation
  5. Strategy
  6. Openings and
  7. Endgames.

Below is a summary of the 7 fundamental chess skills.

1. Visualization

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. Imagine how it must be to visualize any combination of moves in your mind and being able to “see” the outcome of it.

The skill to visualize moves long before they actually appear on the board gives you a serious advantage over any opponent who can’t do it. VISUALWIZE is a revolutionary visualization training software that can dramatically improve your visualization skill in a matter of weeks.

Also see: Why Visualization Is the Most Important Skill in Chess

2. Calculation

Calculation refers to your ability to calculate the consequences of your opponent’s move, as well as the consequences of your intended move.

A well-developed calculation skill can have a big positive impact on your confidence. It is humanly impossible to calculate all the moves in every position – you will quickly become fatigued and start making blunders due to oversights. This means you need an effective and efficient method to help you calculate the right moves.

I will show you the 4 elements of an effective calculation technique. It will take much of the difficulty out of your calculation training.

4 Important Elements of an Effective Chess Calculation Technique

3. Tactics

A chess tactic is a move (or a forced combination of moves) whereby you achieve an objective. Such objectives mostly refer to winning material or giving checkmate, but can also refer to strategic objectives, ie. using a tactic to secure a good square for your piece.

Many players train tactics by simply trying to solve hundreds of chess tactics puzzles. This is not the best way to improve your chess tactics skill. On this site you will find the tools and methods to really make a big difference in your results.

How to Improve Your Chess Tactics

4. Evaluation

Evaluation refers to your ability to tell who has a better position and to specify which aspects of the position favors you, which aspect favours your opponent, and make a call to say which side has favourable winning chances, drawing chances, or whether the position is dynamic (evaluation can easily change) or unbalanced (factors are difficult to compare) or unclear (difficult to say – things appear messy).

To help you improve your evaluation skill, I will show you a 5-step method on how to evaluate a chess position.

Learn more about evaluation skill in The 10-Day Chess Challenge

5. Strategy

So what is the plan? That is what strategy is all about. Bobby Fischer said “tactics flow from a superior position.” If you cannot reach superior positions you won’t get the opportunity to demonstrate your tactical powers! The purpose of your strategy is to achieve a superior position.

How often in your chess games do you reach the point where you feel: “Now I am not sure what I should do next”? The plan you finally decide on, reflect the level of your positional understanding. Thus the first step in deciding on your chess strategy, is to evaluate the position and find a suitable plan based on your understanding of the relevant elements in the position.

On this website I will show you an effective planning method that will help you come up with a good strategy in almost any position.

6. Openings

All serious chess players have their favorite openings which they know in-depth.  That said, you have probably heard many times that beginner or amateur players shouldn’t spend much time memorizing opening variations and that you should just apply the opening principles. This is only partly true, because even though you can do fairly well by applying the basic strategic principles to your opening moves, you will get significant benefit from knowing a few good openings. A good start to the game will have a huge impact on your overall performance.

7. Endgames

The endgame starts when most of the pieces has been exchanged and it is safe for the kings to join the action. The endgame is very different to the opening and middle-game mainly because the issue of king-safety totally changes, pawns increase in value, weaknesses in the pawn-structure become much more vulnerable.