At the end of an article discussing how to improve in chess C.J.S. Purdy made the astute observation: The main point is that practice is better than theory but practice against other
is of little use because they do not take advantage of most
of your errors, so that you go on making such errors. And you cannot, in common humanity, ask an
expert to play with you. Not only will
it bore him, but it may have a really bad effect on his play. I have known players to go right off their
game through being inveigled frequently into playing weak opponents.
A book of exercises from actual play or a book of games is practice of the very best sort, always provided you never peep at the solution or the text move until you have ‘had a go.’ And provided that if you went wrong, you try to find out why you went wrong.
As I always say, even if you only understand fifty percent of the moves, you are getting somewhere and your percentage will rise. Don’t expect to understand everything at first – just forge ahead.