A theme of Heisman's is that there are certain basic skills such as time management and playing what Heisman calls "real chess" consistently on every move of the game. The trick, of course, is consistently. If 49 moves out of 50 you play properly, and 1 move out of 50 you launch a stinkbomb of a move because you moved too fast or a piece was hanging, then your chess strength is severely diminished. I think that, for most people, working on improving this aspect of their game will likely produce greater dividends than just about any other chess-related activity.
Easily said, but as the byline of this blog says: "Do as I say, not as I do." It takes gumption to work on this, and if most of your chess is online blitz then you're not going to be able to play "real chess" a la Heisman unless you're pretty gifted. However, in this column Heisman reduces the essentials to three principles:
- Time Management: not moving too fast or too slow, but using the appropriate amount of time for each move
- Piece Activity