The most important training technique in chess is to play often and to review your own games. All other forms of chess training should be secondary to this.
This may appear to be obvious but the reality is that many chess players fall into the chess training trap.
In short, the chess training trap is when you fall into a habit of training more and more (watching chess videos, solving tactics, memorizing openings etc.) whilst playing less and less. And because you play less, your results suffer.
The irony then is that you may think the problem lies with your training methods. Instead, the problem lies with the fact that you prematurely move away from the basics!
As with many other things in life, the solution is to get back to basics. Play the game, enjoy it and review your games to see what you can learn from it. Why is this the most effective chess training technique? Because hindsight teaches you the lessons that are most relevant to your specific and current needs.
3 reasons why reviewing your games is the most effective chess training technique
Your chess games contain a wealth of information about yourself. It reveals your strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, you should review your games because:
- You will to learn more about the way your own mind works.
- Reviewing your games will reveal specific and recurring weaknesses that you need to work on.
- Reflecting on these weaknesses will make you much more self-aware and thus help you avoid similar mistakes in future.
When you review your games, you will be able to teach yourself important lessons. In fact, spending more time alone at the chessboard helps you develop your independent thinking skills. But the secret is that you need to be completely honest. (In some cases you may need a chess coach or the opinion of a stronger player to help you be honest with yourself!) For example, you may blame your losses on a lack of knowledge when the real reason for your loss is that you were too lazy to calculate the tactics in the position.
Hindsight becomes foresight
Each mistake in chess is opportunity to improve. But if you don’t make the effort to review your games, then you won’t learn anything from those mistakes. That means you pay the price but get nothing for it! That’s a bad deal. Instead, you should go over those games again to see what you can learn from it.