On this page, you will find resources that I feel will be helpful in your journey of chess improvement. All of the software, books, and sites I mention I have used and or continue to use and highly recommend. Also, in full disclosure, some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a commission if you purchase the product or service in the link. However, please know that I only recommend resources that I use myself.
There are a lot of chess software out there. A lot of them have something to offer, but I only recommend a few that I think are essential to help you maximize your training and study time. If you already have these, I will be sharing ideas to help you may want to consider. If you don't have these, get them as soon as you can...they are the best for their specific purposes, and I will show you how to use them to take your chess to the next level!
Chessbase: This software started it all for me when I was rated about 1100. I started annotating my games as well as entering my opening repertoire into the database. Although I can't attribute all of my improvement to one piece of software, the fun of entering my games and annotating the games helped make studying my own games less of a chore and more of a creative outlet. Chessbase is at the core of my storage and review strategy and you'll see a lot of tutorial videos on how to use Chessbase to analyze your games. This link leads to the product page at Amazon.com, where I have found the prices to be the most economical. For the creators of Chessbase, visit Chessbase.com.
Chess Opening Wizard: I met Mike Leahy, the creator of Chess Opening Wizard (then called Bookup) in Philadelphia in 2000 at the World Open. He demonstrated the software to me and I purchased it. Although originally made to study openings and train them effectively, I also use it to review middlegame and endgame positions. COW's training feature is simple, effective, and fun to use. In my videos, I'll show you how I use it so I never forget my most critical opening variations as well as key positions and plans in the middlegame and endgame.
Chess Playing Sites
There are only two chess sites where I play online. The Internet Chess Club and Chess.com. I use them for different reasons, but unless you have a chess club nearby where you can play over-the-board (OTB), it is important to find good competition to practice (and have fun). Check them both out and pick one (or like me, play on both).
Internet Chess Club: I discovered the Internet Chess Club years ago. It has grown quite a bit since then, and I am on here quite often. I like to play in the Team 4545 League as well as Chess9030 tournaments on ICC. Besides playing, there are also instructive videos and live commentary from current high-level tournaments. It is a premium site, but it is well worth the price to find good competition and serious games (as well as casual games).
Chess.com: I was looking for a casual place to play live chess as well as play correspondence chess. Chess.com fit the bill and I was delighted to find awesome articles and a very active and helpful forum.Also, with the ratings system, you can find opposition at your level to play. I also do the tactical problems on this site, but there are many features to explore. You can play for free and there is a premium version with additional features.
Chess Tempo: A site with chess tactical problems, endgame problems, and a chess database. I use this site almost exclusively to find games in the database. I think the chess problems on this site are excellent. First, all of the problems are from actual games. Also, the positions often include things you don't see on other problems sites, like defensive moves and avoiding perpetual check themes. I use these problems for practice of not only tactical recognition, but also deep calculation as the problems often require calculating several variations to confirm your answers. (Here is a video about how to improve your tactics with Chess Tempo)
Chessbase.com: The creators of the Chessbase software also have lots of chess news from high level tournaments around the world as well as interviews and other chess culture articles. You can also purchase the software here, but I would recommend that you compare prices with those at Amazon.com.
The Chess Mind: A chess blog by FIDE Master Dennis Monokroussos featuring chess news and other interesting articles.