How to Study Chess | Chess Meditations

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Developing a healthy training routine is essential to chess improvement. Here are 8 training methods with which you should be able to improve every aspect of your game.

1. Analyze games – this one can’t be stressed enough. Studying middlegames is what most people struggle with. Some don’t have any idea how to go about studying them at all. Middlegames are very complex in comparison to endgame or opening play. They revolve around positional or strategic play and require in-depth thinking and understanding. Analyzing chess games is the best way to improve your middlegame play. You will improve your pattern recognition, planning, calculation and visualization.

2. Solve tactical and positional problems – this training method will speed up your calculation during a real game, and it will also create a knowledge base in your mind which you will then be able to draw from when a similar situation arises.

3. Read books – believe it or not, books are still the best way to study chess. You are able to delve much deeper into a position if you have to imagine it or set it up on a real board. Chess books will also broaden your general knowledge of chess culture!

4. Endgame study – this is the simplest part of chess study because it’s finite. Learn them all and be done with it!

5. Openings – building a repertoire is essential so that you don’t waste time dwelling over the first moves. Create a narrow repertoire your opponents are going to fear! Here is a video on how to study openings:

6. Play practice games and analyze them afterwards

7. Play blindfolded chess – this will greatly increase your visual perception, memory and calculation.

8. Watch videos – this should be left as a last resort. Even though watching chess videos will help you learn, it’s the worst way to improve because it doesn’t require you to get involved. One piece of advice is that you have a board next to you while watching, and that you try to come up with your own ideas, pausing the video and thinking for yourself.



  1. I've never "studied" chess which is why im pretty bad at it, but I've managed to learn to play chess by playing so much bullet. I started playing online around 3 years ago, and through playing bullet everyday and watching analysis videos of top games I've managed to get to 2100+ bullet rating in lichess.

    For what it's worth, bullet did help me develop intuition and learning different patterns.

    Awesome video. Im gonna try honing my chess skills during this quarantine.

  2. Please reply sir
    Can you please suggest some chess books for improving my chess skills?
    I am an beginner intermediate player
    Thank you sir

  3. From all the books you’ve read which ones do you recommend ?

  4. Thank-you for your teachings Im 52 years old and starting to take chess seriously, I am only a beginner and wondering what online chess program you would recommend? chessable, or

  5. What tournaments do you try to play in regularly, I'm also an 'improving' player, hope I get to see you in the future!

  6. #HangingPawns Hi Stjepan, at the moment I`m not working and have time to study chess much more than before. I`m trying to improve and your videos are very helpful. Could you please give me your advice and suggestions. Thank you in advance; This is my daily study plan around 7h/day, not in order of study:
    Tactics 30 min 
    2 x Lessons with challenges / 
    1 x drill 20 min. /
    Opening repertoire study 30 min
    Endgame practice 20 min
    Analyze 2 of my games from 2018
    Watching one GM game commented by GM, IM
    Playing 1x standard 30 min pp – online game
    Read chess book
    Playing around 30-40 Daily games/3-day move – online tournaments etc. /trying to make minimum one move a day; 
    Analyze every game afterwards; 
    *Ones a week meet at the local cafe for 2h live human chess;

  7. Thanks for this Stjepan I managed to beat a player over 600 rating than me in a tournament.

  8. I am practicing tactics,learn openings

  9. Stephen explains in a very good method by this video I practiced his method for 1 year before my rating was 1200+but now my rating is 1800+and also I won my inter school tournament under 16. please upload more videos like this .

  10. Right now I'm playing chess for fun, but as I began going against 1900+, I realized that I needed to have depth in my thinking. There was one game where a player obliterated me with a knight and queen, checking me and then knocking down my pieces with every single move. Embarrassing! I can see where my pieces can go but I have no strategies, no theories, nothing, even though I was really good in middle school. I'm thinking of implementing some sort of routine and this video inspired me to go ahead and get started.

  11. Hi Stjepan. Thanks a lot ! for the job you have done. It's amazing. May I a little question ? How do you take notes when studying ? Do you only use the studies in Lichess ? Do you use a M$ Word ? Do you take handwritten notes ? Thanks for your answer … and your help to make me a better chess player 😉

  12. "I'm sorry whoever is challenging me, I'm going to have to decline". This is becoming a theme to these vids. 🙂

  13. Thank you! Great video, despite your warning not to watch chess videos… Lol 🙏

  14. Im currently 15 and a half. Just started playing chess in May. I recently realized that most start off at 12 or younger. Im striving to become at least a NM. I would like to become an IM. Makes me sad that I will probably never become a GM but I will still try.

  15. Should we also play blindfold on lichess?

  16. what the fk i am doing here, its from some American School?

  17. This is probably my favorite video of yours. Would love to see you do a follow up and expand more on this topic. For example, describing or showing examples of how exactly you analyze games or do puzzles would be helpful.

  18. great content ❤️❤️
    i want to know more about positional play and tactical play
    can you send me a link or something
    in reply
    Thank you

  19. I play chess with people close to me over the board and have fun with it… I start to beat a lot of them

  20. Guys, should I be learning Chess Openings first or Strategy?

    Also, how do you study a chess book? I mean, a book that contains 40 strategies, should I learn 3 strategies a day for example ? And get good at them?

    I am really into Chess, I just don't know how to effectively get better 🙁

  21. My daily training regime consisted of puzzles (minimum 10 of which I work really hard to visualize the positions of on an empty board and then in my head), chess videos (informative, not "lolollol look at Hikaru doing balh blah blah" xD), How to Reassess Your Chess (4th Edition, by IM Jeremy Silman; I go one book at a time) and studying openings. Your video has really given me a lot to think about, thanks!

  22. Stoicism COMPLETELY changed my life one hundred and eighty degrees – and at a time when I was at my lowest point. Cheers.

  23. Puzzles solving playing games and watching your videos. So thanks for the ideas and knowledges you share with us.

  24. I do play chess for fun, but I want to win. So here I am. Thanks.

  25. I understand studying to win a game you find fun, but studying chess is so boring to me. At least practice in modern video games can be fun, but chess? Repeat these drills till your brain recognizes these patterns, how tedious.

  26. I am sorry to say that, If you think that "Books have become redundant" in Philosophy. You are dead wrong. As a philosophy student I can guarantee you that PHILOSOPHY IS ALL ABOUT BOOOKKKSSS.

  27. He does not mention either databases nor the use of computer programs like Stockfish. Thoughts? Best use for study/practice purposes.

  28. I am 1092 fide rated player how can i increase it to 1400+

  29. Hi Stjepan; would be really interesting if you were to revisit the subject now and see how your perspectives have matured. Anyway just a hopeful request as I am working through rebuilding my chess habits.

  30. i tried to solve chess puzzles blindfolded but i can only visualize half of the board what to do

  31. I would like to reach visualisation skills such that I can read and study chess books, periodicals and problems entirely without a board. It would present immense practical advantages. C.B. Ramesh performs his training sessions with his best students according to him entirely without a board.

  32. My first sensation: “I hope not many people watch it! – perhaps I get some advantage if only we keep watcjing Hanging Pawns!” 😆😜✊🏾
    Real worth content, mate! Cheers!!!

  33. My training routine:
    1. Play a game
    2. Blunder the Queen
    3. Repeat again

  34. So im an eighth grader, and my time is heavily occupied by school and sports. Unfortunately, I'm unable to take advantage of all the resources you mentioned because of this; what would you reccomend as the most time-efficient of these?

  35. Currently I have four steps for my study: puzzles, game play, analysis, and video/study.

  36. Thank you very much man, you're doing a great job, expecially the theory vids, lucky to have found your channel, hope you reach gm 1 day, thanks again

  37. Stjepan, I admire your dedication, your openness, and your humility. You are an amazing teacher.

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