Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. 24 Jun '10 10:32
    Ok, i'm a relative new-comer to chess (playing seriously for about 3 months now after dipping in and out of the game for the past few years). With my current rating hovering around the 1500 mark I would like to think im have a basic understanding of the game. The best way to describe my level at the moment is that im ok in most areas but not particularly good in any.
    Just wondering if anyone had any tips on what part of the game i should begin to look at in detail to improve my game further? Im considering buying an endgame book and starting from there but im still undicided.
    (also if anyone in brave enough to browse through my archive to see the state of my game and perhaps for some more experienced players some comic relief please feel free to do so)
  2. Donation ketchuplover
    G.O.A.T.
    24 Jun '10 12:00
    Learn everything you can about checkmate.
  3. 24 Jun '10 14:29
    Originally posted by rapidchess91
    Ok, i'm a relative new-comer to chess (playing seriously for about 3 months now after dipping in and out of the game for the past few years). With my current rating hovering around the 1500 mark I would like to think im have a basic understanding of the game. The best way to describe my level at the moment is that im ok in most areas but not particularly g ...[text shortened]... my game and perhaps for some more experienced players some comic relief please feel free to do so)
    Oh boy, here we go. Some will say you have to start with the endgame (Capablanca fanatics), and some will demand that it must start with the opening (if you get crushed in the opening, the other phases don't matter). And some will say you have to start with tactics (if you drop pieces, nothing else matters).

    Eh, my worthless advice is don't agonize over where to start. If you want to start with an endgame book, then fine. Anyway, you'll probably feel compelled to get a general opening book, a tactics book, a middlegame book, and who knows what else before long.

    Just try not to obsess over any one area to the exclusion of all others. A little of this, a little of that...

    I guess the conventional wisdom is to find out where your weakest link is and attack that area of study. (That's what chess instructors are very good at doing.) But with novices like you and me, I'm not sure it's super-critical to find the weakest link just yet. (You'll probably have it pointed out to you soon enough, anyway.) Because pretty much everything you read is adding to your knowledge base, eventually it will all pay off.
  4. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    24 Jun '10 15:04 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by rapidchess91
    Ok, i'm a relative new-comer to chess (playing seriously for about 3 months now after dipping in and out of the game for the past few years). With my current rating hovering around the 1500 mark I would like to think im have a basic understanding of the game. The best way to describe my level at the moment is that im ok in most areas but not particularl ...[text shortened]... game and perhaps for some more experienced players some comic relief please feel free to do so)
    if you're gonna continue just dipping in, it doesn't really matter what you do. there won't be any progress worth mentioning. train whatever feels fun for you.

    if you're gonna commit yourself to training for years to come, AND you have an appetite for endgames, it'll certainly increase your fundamental understanding of chess in ways no other training will. but it won't really matter much until you get to around 2000. there it'll make or break you.

    if you absolutely hate endgame training, like 99% of us, tactics almost certainly gets you most bang for the buck.

    if you play mostly fast chess like your handle suggests, openings will matter much more than other parts. otherwise basic opening principles will go a long way. kasparov's opinion is that you don't need opening study below 2000. be that as it may, there's certainly more than a grain of truth there.



    in the end, if you want to get really good, you need to learn everything. the order has probably little significance regarding the result. it all depends on your level of commitment. without commitment there's not gonna be much if any change no matter what you'll decide to do.
  5. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    25 Jun '10 14:06
    Capablanca was correct, but so was Richard Teichmann. In other words, learn endgame basics--checkmates with minimal pieces and elementary pawn endings--and study tactics constantly.

    A few opening principles are useful, but focusing on specifics of a system or developing a repertoire is a waste of time until your opponents are capable of genuine novelties (titled players--at least candidate master). OTOH, it behooves you to take advantage of one of correspondence chess's most compelling features: use databases while you play. You will learn openings if you apply yourself to this task.
  6. 25 Jun '10 16:04
    Hi

    Mad Rook is correct, “here we go again”.

    These threads usually end up with the poster learning nothing except
    that other players argue all the time about what is the best method to continue.

    Openings, Tactics or Endgames…..

    If I really knew the answer to this one then there would be a threads on here
    called ‘Chandler v Anand’ Matches 1-12 of the World Championship.

    I don’t.

    All I do is skip through his losses looking for shots missed and played.

    Find the reason he lost, so if we tackle that problem first, we can shelf other ideas
    till this one gets sorted out.

    I enjoy doing it as I feel it also keeps one sharp looking for missed shots
    and trying to identify where and when the loss happened.
    9 times of 10 it’s a crass blunder, but spotting missed shots is good.

    OK I’ve found one.
    (There are other games with instructive losses - find one, spot the shot/blunder
    and post.) He will learn from his losses you will also gain something this exercise.

    Game 7460746

    Go there, play it out and come back.

    He’s Black and was coasting home.
    He had a chance to get a strong entrenched Knight
    on d3 on move 23. 23…Nd3. But played an EP capture instead.

    (You do not have to play an EP capture if you don’t want to.)

    Anyway, It seemed to throw off his opponent who then blundered pawns.

    Crunch happened here, Black to play.



    And we see a very common trait amongst weak players.
    The cannot defend themselves.

    And here we see another common event in weak players games.
    Blunders, come in 2’s.

    27…Rxe1+ 28.Rxe1 Qc3! stopping the mate was the way to go.



    Note that if White moves the Queen and holds the e1 Rook
    29.Qe4 then 29…QxR+ anyway. 30.QxQ Nc3 and this game is over.

    Instead here.



    Black found 27…f6 (blunder 1- see above) and after 28.Qd5+ Qf7?
    blunder 2 (28…Kh8) .

    So after the classic two on the trot blunders White is simply winning and
    just needs to wrap up. Of course winning a won game at that level is never
    without drama and the dramatic moment came.

    Black to play.



    Black pushed the b-pawn to win the Rook but consider 38…Ne2+
    and Nc1 and the b-pawn Queens. Check all Checks.

    All the pieces laugh at the pawns…till they reach the 7th rank.

    I’d like to ask JUST the original poster to come back on
    and reply to this. Did he see this 38….Ne2+…Nc1 line.

    So today’s lesson from this game is…

    Be aware that at the lower levels you are at your most vulnerable when defending.
    your King. If you are going to blunder then it will happen here.

    Look at every possible way of defending against a mate and from experience
    always choose the most active defensive move, one that is both defending and attacking.

    One blunder usually follws another blunder.

    Finally always take onboard what stronger players say, but it check it out
    for yourself. Do not go any further until you are convinced.
    The you know you are really learning something.
  7. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    25 Jun '10 16:24
    I'm not going to get into what is the best part of the game to train on, personally my most favorite thing is studying the endgame, so therefore I spend most of my time studying tactics


    But I think it's important to realize that once you play your first move the distinction between opening, middlegame, and endgame really don't matter. What matters is the complete game as a coherent whole.

    If you spend time studying endgames, I think it's a good idea to practice how to apply the technique you've learned as it relates to the structure of your opening. A good way to do this is to play your opening, then take several pieces off the board to practice endgame technique as it relates to the opening.
  8. 25 Jun '10 17:01
    Hi Thab.

    As I said if I really knew the perfect answer then I'd be King of the World
    and you would all have my books on your shelf and I'd even have a computer
    named after me.

    My only query with your method is that not ALL games go into an endgame.
    To get there you have to go though two important phases of the game.

    The chief one being the middle game. Most games are decided in that phase
    of the game. Statistics bear that out.

    I'd say get the middle tactics up to scratch, become good at those and
    you will become a good player.

    However I know from playing next to a player who only studided Rook
    endings and very littel else that you can take a poor middle game and
    get it into an ending you can out play your opponent from there.

    He did it loads of times, so it's good to have something you have confidnce
    in to fall back if losing the middle game instead of looking for a cheapo or
    waiting for a blinder. (which is my ploy).

    Also of course if you have a good middle game an endgame expert can
    just skip all the mating attacks and tricks. Force an ending onto an opponent
    and sail home.
  9. 25 Jun '10 18:28
    Thanks everyone for the advice and in particular greenpawn for digging up that game for analysis.
    In response to greenpawns move 38 analysis:
    I know its very easy to say now in hindsight but I genuinely believe that if i was to run into this situation at the level im at now i would probably find enough to put the game away. Looking back at it now its clear that the way i handled the passed b-pawn was ultimately my downfall and after playing out your 38.... Ne2+ line I really am kicking myself.
    Not sure what my train of thought was queening immediately but im guessing it was a combination of impatience to make use of the b-pawn and the temptation of a free rook.
    Of course as you correctly pointed out the biggest worry was my failure to even consider using my knight to block up the 8th rank and its those little tactical maneuvers that i really need to improve on. Not quite sure how to go about that though. im guessing tactics servers?, though ive often found them very abstract and pointless sometimes, perhaps game experience is the only remedy?
  10. 26 Jun '10 07:04 / 1 edit
    Hi Rapid.

    Thanks for coming back - a lot of guys ask for help in one post.
    cause a right awful squabble amongst everyone and never come back.

    Now this was not meant to make you look silly or trick you,
    It's another part of the lesson.

    Remember this:

    Finally always take onboard what stronger players say, but it check it out
    for yourself. Do not go any further until you are convinced.
    Then you know you are really learning something."

    and this diagram.



    All I said was the b-pawn Queens.

    The Black King is very short of squares on the Kingside and h3-g4+
    will mate him. Black can toss more material overboard to stop this
    but Black is still lost with or without the Queen.

    I knew the King was hanging because before I found the Queening trick.
    (remember that one for another day) I was looking for White mates.

    Listen and then look - ask questions if you think you see something wrong.
    Never trust anything you hear or read till you yourself are convinced it's right.
  11. 26 Jun '10 08:30
    That certainly is an interesting diagram.
  12. 26 Jun '10 13:18
    Hi. How odd.

    I copied my original fen.



    somehow an extra [ fen] slipped in.

    Well there you go Rapid.... Don't trust diagrams either!

    Remember you are on your own at the chessboard.
    It's not a team game, you cannot blame the goal keeper.

    If you play something you have seen before without giving it the
    nod of approval then you are asking for trouble. Ask Anand.

    Tried a triple fen and you get this.



    and a quadruple fen gives you this.

  13. Subscriber Marinkatomb
    wotagr8game
    26 Jun '10 14:08
    Originally posted by rapidchess91
    Ok, i'm a relative new-comer to chess (playing seriously for about 3 months now after dipping in and out of the game for the past few years). With my current rating hovering around the 1500 mark I would like to think im have a basic understanding of the game. The best way to describe my level at the moment is that im ok in most areas but not particularl ...[text shortened]... game and perhaps for some more experienced players some comic relief please feel free to do so)
    I would say study the end game first as learning how to deal with the pieces in isolation will improve your over all play in all phases. Also, you might want to spend 20-30 minutes a day doing tactics puzzles, i have found this has improved my awareness tremendously. Try this site... http://chesstempo.com/