I think book that studying books, endgames and openings is often done inefficiently. After reading the material, it is often forgotten. But what if you could revise what you have learned periodically, thereby refreshing your memory? After revision, I have found that knowledge is remembered and recalled much more easily than after the first red-through.
The method that I set out below is nothing that unique, since I know other players who do it as well, but I think that a simple guide for it is lacking. The gist of the method is entering the game, adding the necessary variations and important comments in a way that you find useful and easy to learn from. Here goes:
- If what you are trying to learn involves a game, you should simply search for it in your reference database. Otherwise, open a new board and enter the moves.
- After having entered the main moves (in bold), go over the game more slowly and enter the variations which you find important. There is no need to add unnecessary lines just because the book might do so. Focus on what is important.
- Once having entered the variations, go over the game and variations again and this time annotate it with detailed comments in words. Use the book's advice and type in the essential information in a concise and easily understandable way. Avoid writing essay-length comments (unless necessary) and try to get to the point.
- Add arrows (graphic annotations) and other special commentary, if you want to.
- Save the game when finished into a database you have created for this book, opening or endgame. If you want to, you can make it quite user-friendly by adding a database text with links to the games, etc.
- The process is done. Now you have a lesson which you can revise in a database at will, without getting your chess set and book out.
I think that a number of benefits are derived by doing this instead of 'traditional' studying. Firstly, by making and typing in moves and comments, you are learning the material more efficiently than you would by just reading it. This sort of 'active learning' improves recall significantly. Secondly, the annotations have been created at a level which are suitable for you. The book may have been too difficult, so you simplify the comments and add other things that you pick up while going through the game. Most importantly, this method gives you a way in which you can quickly revise and refresh the material, in case you have forgotten it.
Below, I have added 2 examples from my own files. The first is an endgame from Batsford Chess Endings. The second is a briefly annotated Grunfeld game: