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is chess in the Olympics

  There is currently no chess in the Olympiad. The Chess Olympiad is a chess competition officially organized by FIDE since 1927 and takes place in even-numbered years. Before World War II the event was occasionally held every year. There was also an unofficial Chess Olympiad series that ended in 1976. Although chess is covered in the sports sections of many newspapers around the world, it is not one of the recognized sports in the Olympic Games. However, FIDE is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and follows its rules. This means that chess could one day become an Olympic event, although most knowledgeable observers say this is unlikely. The World Chess Championship is a competition held annually by the international chess organization FIDE to determine the World Champion of chess. Both men and women are eligible to participate in this championship. The World Champion does not have to be the player with the highest Elo rating: the 2006-2007 World Champion, Vladimir Kr

7 Smart Ways to Enhance Your Chess Skills

Have you ever wanted to know the secrets of getting better at chess so that you can finally beat the strongest player in your block or in your club? Or have you wondered what special training your favorite grandmasters do so that you can imitate them and become like them?

If you are interested in improving your chess skills, then I have some tips to help guide you in the right direction.

1. Spend more time playing on the board than playing online.
Unless you have some experience in chess already, I would suggest that you spend more time playing on the board so that you would really apply the different concepts that you will be learning in chess and so that by habit and repetition, you would be able to recognize patterns easily and remember variations clearly since when you are playing online, there is the element of time lag which could either give you an unfair advantage or a grave disadvantage.

Also, playing against a computer is totally different from playing against a human since a computer can calculate thousands of lines within seconds while humans would use the process of elimination to determine what are the best possible moves or 'candidate' moves to make.

Therefore, if you really want to gain deeper insight and understanding on the game of chess, then it is best to play on the board and to play against someone who is stronger than you and knows more in chess since you will not get stronger by playing against someone who cannot give you more insight or opinions on how to improve your game.

2. Analyze your games and analyze Grandmaster games.
Analysis is an important part in chess because you will not be able to improve on your game if you do not go over the moves that you played and see where you made a mistake. It is best to analyze your games with a coach or a chess expert so that he can provide more input to your overall performance and tell you which moves are better to make in certain positions. You can also analyze with your opponent to ask him what ideas he had behind certain moves and what plans he had in store in making such moves.

Analyzing your games would also help when you play a game exactly like the one you had before but this time, you would know where you made the mistake and improve on it. It also helps to analyze grandmaster games since they know far better than we do so looking at their games can give us further knowledge or understanding of the way their mind works. We can also try to use these ideas for our own games and perhaps even make improvements on them whenever possible.

3. Find certain positions or openings that fit your playing style, study them, master them, and stick to them.
I believe that openings set the atmosphere of the battlefield and you can easily determine where your opponent wants to direct the flow of the game depending on how he plays the first few moves. Generally, there are strategic aims such as having an ideal center or having an edge in development which may allow one to get a slight advantage in the opening though attaining these aims does not always assure victory.

It would be wise to study the lines and variations in certain openings and master at least a few openings in great depth based on your style of play or preference of positions by studying the main lines of these openings and the different variations that may branch out depending on your opponent's response to a certain move. Usually, it is best to take a look at the first 10 to 15 moves of an opening and check if there are any transpositions that may arise from a different opening so that you can have an idea of the basic goals of both players. From here, you will then move on to the middlegame where you will look for plans to further strengthen your position and to the endgame where you need to know the different techniques and essentially memorize the basic endgame positions. 

In choosing your openings, it would be best to know what your playing style is whether you lean toward the positional or tactical aspects of chess. In my case, when playing black, I usually play with the Sicilian Defense and the Benoni and when playing white, I prefer e4 openings. Be careful though when studying the openings of your choice to check every possible move and to see the ideas behind them so that you do not miss an underlying trap or mating combination waiting to be sprung. After you have chosen your openings, stick to them and it is best to not deviate from the lines you know unless you have prepared a very good follow-up for your novelty moves.

Opening preparation is definitely helpful especially if your opponent has no idea of the opening you choose. In such cases, you can surprise them with sacrifices, combinations, and different traps to catch them off guard. Although, grandmasters usually would not fall for any of these and would even set a trap of their own sometimes. Nevertheless, it is nice to learn these so that you would not have to fall for them.

4. Solve tactical puzzles over and over.
Besides having a solid understanding of the strategic concepts in chess, tactics are also very important to get an immediate advantage in the position. Tactics maintain a dynamic play which may lead to interesting but risky positions for both sides. You can also use tactics to gain important tempo, take the initiative of the attack, or even have a material edge over your opponent.

Solving tactical puzzles over and over will help you with pattern recognition especially regarding mating nets like whenever you see your pieces coordinate harmoniously, something should tell you that there might be a tactic there so you better ask yourself if there are weaknesses in your opponent's position for you to exploit so that you can maximize the placement and coordination of your pieces. It will also train your eye not only to see tactics but also to look for them even in positions where there seems to be none at all.

When you get the hang out of seeing tactics or creating tactical positions, then you will already have some advantage over those who have no idea about tactics and how you can make your pieces work together in such a beautiful way. However, be cautious to not rely solely on tactics all the time because there are some sacrifices or tactics that are very double-edged and unsound which could even lead to your loss.

5. Practice visualizing the moves in your mind.
One method of memorizing or internalizing the different variations is to visualize them in your head until the point that knowing the correct moves to make in certain positions becomes second nature to you. Blindfold chess is perhaps the best way to exercise your imagination and mental visualization so that your mind will be prepared to calculate even the most complex and unclear positions.

Of course, this is perhaps one of the most challenging and difficult types of training your mind because you essentially have to force yourself to keep a mental picture of the position for a span of time which requires intense focus and concentration at the same time to calculate the various variations that could branch out from the position or the multiple tactics that may arise. So I suggest that you should take baby steps by visualizing maybe one to five moves initially and working your way up to ten or twenty moves. It is definitely difficult but when you master this, it will be very rewarding.

6. Always do the math.
If you think math has nothing to do with chess, think again. Calculation is fundamental to chess. You have to be able to think about the best possible attacks and defenses that you and your opponent have at each of your disposal. You have to play every move in your head and every possible continuation to the considerable responses. In other words, when you look at the position, you have to ask yourself what the possible moves that your opponent will make and for every possible move, you have to think of your best moves and then his best moves, so on and so forth.

Also, calculation is very important especially in complicated positions where almost every piece on the board is aimed at the attack or defense of a certain square or piece. This happens when you or your opponent keep the tension between pieces which means that you or your opponent refuse to take an attacked piece due to strategic purposes. There are times when you have to ask yourself what the consequences might be for taking a certain piece. I have realized that sometimes even simply taking a pawn from a pawn chain may serve as a disadvantage or by moving a piece away from a square can open up opportunities for attack. So always keep your eyes open and do the math!

7. Have the right motivation and count the costs.
If you really want to become good at chess, then you must be prepared to suffer losses and failures so that you can have a more comprehensive and insightful thought process. You must also accept that you may not always win but you can always learn from your mistakes and from there, become better at chess. You must also put in the time and the effort because you will not improve if you will not work on your tactical vision, positional strategy, and calculation. But in all these, I believe that it is also important to love learning something new and to create your own novelties. Most of all, always have fun!


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