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How to improve your online chess strength

by GM Avetik Grigoryan - 10/03/2020

A lot of chess players spend quite a bit of their time every day playing online chess. The aim of playing online differs from person to person but it is clear that everyone wants to improve their rating and also their chess strength. Besides, with the Coronavirus spreading across the world, and tournaments getting cancelled, it seems wiser to spend more time playing online tournaments than offline ones! In this article GM Avetik Grigoryan from ChessMood talks to you about certain tricks that can help you boost your online chess Elo. His play nine game method, 15-minute breaks and the golden tip is sure to give you a new perspective next time you sit down to play online chess!

Golden Method to Increase Online Rating in Chess

By GM Avetik Grigoryan


Within the recent six months, four of my students, who intensively play online chess, have increased by 1000 points taken in sum. How did this happen? There are a few specific reasons. In this article, we’ll speak about a method called “9 games.”


Almost every online chess player plays a random amount of games. Sometimes they stop playing after a few games, and sometimes they play 50 games non-stop.

My golden method is - Play 9 games!

Let’s discuss why and what adjustments you can make in this method. In the end, I’ll share my golden tip with you. When you know how many games you are going to play before starting the session, it helps you to concentrate and play with your full strength. You know it’s going to be just 9 games. In lost positions, you don’t simply resign and click “New Game”. You fight till the end!


If you lose the first two games in a real tournament, you don’t withdraw from it, do you? I hope you don’t. The same is here – when you lose the first two games of your session, you don’t stop playing. It’s good training for you on how to pull yourself together after painful defeats and achieve better results.

Why exactly 9 games?

Most of the tournaments consist of 9 rounds. When you play 9 games during each session, you train yourself to automatically get into the right mindset during the tournament. If your country tournaments consist of 7 rounds only, that’s fine. You can adjust your sessions and play 7 games. What if instead of 3+0 games you play 30+0? No problem. Play 2-4 games. Keep your sessions 1-2 hours. If you play 15+0 games, play 2-4 games.


The most important thing is to know how many games you are going to play before you start the session. Getting prepared for a specific amount of games, you code your mind to use your abilities in a more optimized and effective way. You kind of say: “Hey man, we are going to play an X amount of games, pull yourself together and let’s play good games, my friend.” Yeah, your mind is your friend, speak with it.

15 minutes breaks

If you have more time and want to play more, that’s fine. Just make a minimum 15-minute break before you start a new session. Imagine in your mind that each session is a tournament and show full dedication. You need to help your mind understand that it’s important and ask it to fully concentrate.

The golden tip

This one is my favorite. If you know anything about neuroscience, you will easily understand why it works. Here is what you do. You reward yourself! When you gain 7.5 points out of 9 you do an X thing. Let’s say, you want to lose weight but at the same time, you love ice-cream. You can make a deal with yourself – “Whenever I get 7.5 points out of 9, I’ll go to my favorite ice-cream shop.”

It's always a good idea to treat yourself to something you like if you perform well!

If you are a parent and you dream of being a father of a Grandmaster, you can say to him: “My son, whenever you get 7.5 points out of 9, I’ll buy you an X thing.” Whatever we do in our life, we do it either to get pleasure or to avoid pain. This is how our mind works, this is why we do things. And that’s why rewarding ourselves works so well. Try it. You’ll definitely see the difference.

The last tip

Before starting each session, close your eyes for 2 minutes and concentrate. Think about whatever motivates you and try your best to concentrate. Try this method of 9 games, with minimum 15 minutes breaks between each session, and without withdrawing from the session. Unless there is someone screaming that she is pregnant. Okay guys, just kidding!

Closing your eyes for 2 minutes before a game is sure to help you find the best moves | Photo: John Saunders

On this happy note, with a smile on your face, go and try the “9 games” method. I’m sure you’ll be amazed when you put this method into practice, and hopefully, you’ll share it with other chess players!

About the author:

GM Avetik Grigoryan | Photo: Vardan Danielyan

GM Avetik Grigoryan became a Grandmaster at the age of 19. He was the National Champion of Armenia in 2010. He has been the coach of several IMs and GMs and also of the Thailand National team in 2017. He is the founder of ChessMood website.


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