Study Plan

My previous study plan was almost all tactics focused. This does seem to be helping. According to Aimchess, I blunder less than my opponents and peers in the 1200-1400 range. I also have fewer mistakes and inaccuracies. But that does not mean I should let up. It just seems to show that this studying stuff might be working.

I want to keep my focus on tactics. However, I am going to refine my previous plan and add a couple things and take out a couple things.

I am thinking I might revise my plan each month and then try to stick to that plan. What I had done most of 2021 is switch plans every time I heard a new suggestion on a podcast, which was about once a week. Now I want to stick to a plan for at least a month at a time, which, coincidentally, is a tip I heard on a podcast.


First, I am slowly working through the Soviet Chess Primer. I think this book is good for me to make sure I have a solid foundation. I feel like I may have skipped some basic introductory knowledge so I want to spend the new year resetting and building up some of those skills.

Second, I want to go back to studying some openings. Aimchess says my openings are actually pretty good. However, I like studying openings. I want to spend a little time each day for an opening for white and for black. I also am planning a tournament in February, so I want to make sure I have at least an idea of a few openings.


There are a couple of things I am removing from my previous study plan, mostly because I found I was not doing them. First is studying master games. I know this is important, but at this stage I just do not have time for everything and I need to focus on one area at a time. The Soviet Chess Primer does have sample games for each chapter, which I will play through, so that will have to count for this.

I also planned on spending an hour a week on tactic workbooks (Chess Steps or Everyone’s First Chess Workbook). That was not happening. Those books are now in the “if I have time” category.

Daily Activities

These are things I plan to do every day. It is 45 minutes of study, broken down into 10-15 minute chunks. This is typically done during the day before work, during lunch, or during other breaks.

ActivityToolTime Per Day
Personalized Tactics/LessonsAimchess15 Minutes
Categorized TacticsChessable10 Minutes
General TacticsChessable10 Minutes
White OpeningChessable5 Minutes
Black OpeningChessable5 Minutes

Here are some additional notes:

  • Personalized Tactics/Lessons: I had been doing all the Aimchess lessons each day. That sometimes took 20-30 minutes. I am going to focus on the “Personalized Workout” and the “Tactics Workout.” The other workouts, “Focus” and “Mixed,” are great, but I am trying not to spread myself too thin.
  • Categorized tactics: I am currently using the Susan Polgar Chessable book Learn Chess the Right Way - Book 1: Must-know Checkmates. I hope to finish that book this month (I am about 87% done) and then move on to the next book in the series, Book 2: Winning Material.
  • General tactics: I am using Tactics Time 1. I think this will be more than enough to last me the whole month, as there are 1001 tactics and I am only about 11% through. There are plenty of books to move on to when that is done, like Tactics Time 2. I already own a few other tactics books on Chessable as well that I could use after this. I’m looking forward to Forcing Chess Moves or maybe even trying the Woodpecker Method, which I have a physical copy of, but might buy the Chessable version at some point. For this and the “categorized tactics,” I was inspired by a blog post by Alex Crompton and you can check out my write up in my previous study plan.
  • Openings: I have created my own Chessable courses based on my level. Check out this newsletter if you are interested.

Weekly Activities

In the evening, if I have completed my daily work, I plan to focus on one of these two activities:

Playing/Analyzing Rapid
Study BookSoviet Chess Primer

Everything Else

As long as my daily activities are completed, there are a couple of optional activities I could do to fill my time:

Tactics WorkbookChess Steps Level 2
Extra rated puzzles, puzzle rush, etc

What’s Next

One area that I want to get to, is coming up with plans/strategy during a game. This is an area that I am sorely lacking, and is probably causing me to lose many games. While I am not going to specifically be studying this, it is something I am thinking about and may add to a future study plan. I’m not exactly sure how you go about studying this either.

At some point I would also like to work on a more “standard” opening repertoire. If I were going to start on this now, I would work on Keep It Simple: 1. d4 (or maybe 1. e4) and Keep It Simple For Black