Create a personal chess training schedule

John Ceena is an improving player, with a FIDE rating of c.1700, and one of our contributors.  In this article, he explains how to create a Chess Training Schedule.

Create a personalised Chess Training schedule

Putting together a training schedule for yourself sounds like an easy task. No problem! I’ll just study openings on Monday, do some middle-game strategy on Tuesday, then perhaps some endgames on Wednesday, and sprinkle some online games here and there.

As chess players, are averse to doing anything that is not really fun. Half way through your opening sessions you find yourself suddenly immersed in a bullet tournament on ICC or Playchess. Endings? Bah! I know Lucena’s – good enough.

It is a lack of discipline in our non-playing activities that keep us right were we settle in the rating scale. ANY player can steadily improve if they apply a basic schedule to their studies and become persistent in executing those studies. In fact, I would venture that outside of any extraordinary talent, any player can see improvement up to the 2100-2200 rating level using this study plan as a guide.

This 4-day study plan encompasses all facets of chess study as well as playing blitz and rapid games on a steady basis, which is important if you want to get feedback from your play for obvious reasons. The study plan rotates on this 4-day schedule. After you complete Day4, revert back to Day1 the next day.

Day1 – SO2, VT1, SG1
Day2 – VE2, PL1, VT1
Day3 – SG1, VG1, PL1, VT1
Day4 – SO2, VE1, VT1

S = Study
V = Solve
G= Strategy
E = Endings
T = Tactics
O = Openings
PL= Play (4x 5min, 3x 10min, 2x 15min games)
# = Units of Time

A logical approach to self-tuition in Chess.

The first step in any study plan is to know how much time you have to spend doing it. This is where the # of units comes into play. If, for example, you can devote 4 hours a day to studying chess, then your Study unit of time would be 1 hour, as each day contains 4 study units of time. On Day1 you would:

Study Openings – 2 hours
Solve Tactics – 1 hour
Study Strategy – 1 hour

Of course, not everyone has 4 hours to put aside to study chess each day. If you have an hour a day, your time unit = 15 minutes. In this way, you can automatically customize your schedule depending on how much time you have. An alternative is to make the unit of time 30 minutes, and simply run the schedule as time permits. For example, you set 30 minutes of time as your unit:

Study Openings – 1 hour
Solve Tactics – 30 min
Study Strategy – 30 min

In this method, it does not matter that you complete all the activities for a particular day on that day, but it is important to maintain the order in which you do that activity. It may take you 2 days to complete the Day1 program, so be it.

To implement this study program effectively, we need to have at our disposal some good chess books on each subject. Consider obtaining a good Opening, Strategy, and Endgame book, as well as a tactical puzzles book.

Profile of ChessStrike

John runs a YouTube chess channel, manages the Chess Strike blog, writes chess ebooks, and also teaches beginners.   Based in India, he is a regular tournament player.