How to Analyze Chess Games

The ability to analyze chess games is very important if you want to find your weaknesses and improve your chess. However, if you don’t know how to analyze your games, you will improve at a much slower rate.

Thus, here is my preferred method on how to analyze chess games. This method can be used to analyze your own games or also those of strong players. Analyzing both will help you improve your chess.


Step 1: Set Up a Chess Board

Playing through your games on your chess board is very important (especially if you are a tournament player) for better comprehension of the game. If you primarily play online, set up an analysis board on your preferred platform.


Step 2: Play Through the Game

Following along on your chess board/online analysis board, play the moves of the game out just to get an overall feeling on what the game is.


Step 3: Mark Important Moments

Next, after having reviewed the game, mark important moments down on your scoresheet/online analysis board. These moments can be mistakes (for both sides), good moves, missed opportunities, etc.

If you are doing this on your own paper make sure to differentiate between the different things you mark down. The marks don’t have to be too complicated: a small symbol should suffice.

This is a very important part of analyzing the game, so make sure you put a lot of effort into doing this.


Step 4: Describe Some of the Moments

After marking the key moments in the game, pick the most important of those and write down what occurred. It doesn’t matter if you write in down on your scoresheet or on an online analysis board.

Keep these in mind when describing the moment in the game:

  • What are the plans and key ideas for each side?
  • What is the best move in the situation?
  • Who is better? Why?


Step 5: Describe the Whole Game in 2-3 Sentences

After describing the key moments in words, use 2-3 sentences at the end of the game to explain what the game was about and how you felt about it.

This will help summarize the main ideas of the game and put your thoughts in order after your analysis.


BONUS Step 6: Enter the Game Into Your Database

If you don’t have a database of your games, I would highly recommend that you set one up. For a small investment, you can have all of your games saved onto your computer with all of your analysis ready for whenever you need to go back and take a look.

Here are some of the chess database programs that I would recommend:

  • Fritz 16 – For Windows (This is a chess engine with the ability to store games; I personally have not used this, but I have used its predecessor, Fritz 15)
  • ChessBase 14 – For Windows (I have heard this is one of the best database programs)
  • HIARCS Chess Explorer – Mac Version

If you already have a chess database set up, I input your game along with your analysis for later reference.

I highly recommend that you at least complete these steps for every game that you play in a tournament. If you want to analyze other interesting games that you have played, I would also highly encourage it.


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