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  1. 12 Nov '06 23:09 / 3 edits
    I hope this thread will be used effectively by all sub 1600 players on here looking to improve and push towards the 1600, 1800, and 2000+ marks. I offer my advice based on my own experience only. I recommend that any sub 1400 players first refer to RahimK's 1400 thread, 1600, and Dragon Fire's 2000 thread. My hope is that all improving players will communicate with me in this thread, offer criticism, and post their results. If you disagree with any of the advice I offer I strongly encourage you to post it so that other players will be able to take that advice and learn from it. Seeing multiple perspectives is essential - and no matter what your rating is you probably have something to offer - whether it's a question or sound advice.


    This method also assumes that you will have at least one hour to devote to study each night and time for at least 1 25 minute game as well as a couple of 3 or 5 minute blitz games, or at the very least time for a this ever couple of days. The more often you play and practice the sooner you'll see results.

    I recommend that you join a server such as ICC, FICS, or Playchess to play these games live. And you should consistently play Correspondence Chess here - thinking for longer periods of time than in live games.
  2. 12 Nov '06 23:18 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by cmsMaster
    I hope this thread will be used effectively by all sub 1600 players on here looking to improve and push towards the 1600, 1800, and 2000+ marks. I offer my advice based on my own experience only. I recommend that any sub 1400 players first refer to RahimK's 1400 thread, 1600, and Dragon Fire's 2000 thread. My hope is that all improving players will comm is ever couple of days. The more often you play and practice the sooner you'll see results.
    Part 1: TACTICS

    Wasn't this a surprise? Who would have thought that the first key to chess improvement is tactics? They only make up 90% of chess.

    This is actually the easiest, most enjoyable, and most effective way to improvement. Tactics are essential for every chess player, and most games no matter what level are decided by tactics. I recommend that at least 10 tactical problems be done every night. It should take somewhere between 10 to 20 minutes, unless you are using something like chess tactics server, which chooses quantity over quality (so to speak..). People's opinions on this topic differ greatly. Some argue that more tactics are the key, while others argue that harder more challenging problems are the key. IMO, if you're doing tactics you're improving - no matter what kind of tactics they are.

    Blitz games are also a good way to study tactics. I hear many people suggest that only long time control games should be played, and there's definitely plenty of support for this argument. But if you have the ability to play a couple of blitz games a night, and not throw off your timing in longer time control games this can be a nice way to practice live tactics. However, I recommend that book, website, or programs instead be used to practice tactics. I'd spend approximately a half hour to an hour on tactics every night to see rapid improvement.

    Suggestions for tactical practice:

    Books:
    Chess Tactics For Champions by Judit Polgar
    Laszlo Polgar's 5,334 Tactical Problems
    Or really just about any other book compiled of tactical problems, it's hard to go wrong here really.

    Websites:
    http://chess.emrald.net/ - fast paced tactics, the quantity method

    http://chessville.ccom/instruction/POW/instr_weekly_problem_archive.htm

    The longer thinking time style

    Programs:
    CT ART 3.0 - I wouldn't recommend anything else.


    All of these are excellent ways to study tactics. Whatever suits your style is the one to choose IMO.
  3. 12 Nov '06 23:20
    Do you have MSN cms?
  4. 12 Nov '06 23:20
    Originally posted by MoneyMaker7
    Do you have MSN cms?
    AIM, Xfire, Yahoo mail, gmail, no MSN.
  5. 12 Nov '06 23:22
    Awwies darnit
  6. 12 Nov '06 23:57 / 3 edits
    Part II: SLOW DOWN

    Everyone does it. You're in a rush, but you want to get one more move in on RHP before you leave. The move looks good, you click submit - and you've just left your queen in prise. Or you're playing OTB, your opponent has thought for 15 minutes and you're getting impatient because you've got an awesome combination. Finally he moves, he hits the clock, you slam your piece down - and uh-oh that allows a mate in three. I honestly think that time control and patience is more important than tactics. You can't calculate tactics deeply if you're rushing moves and not thinking about the consequences. Do you think that the 2000+ players on here think for 5 seconds, say "yeah that looks good" and then submit a move? Not unless they have a prepared line. Dragon Fire in a message to me pointed out that this is one of the biggest problems for struggling players...

    "My problem is, even approaching 2000 I am prone to lapses into elementary tactical mistakes that are well within my ability to see and at least half my losses here could have been converted to wins if i'd just spent a little more time and care. There is no substitute once you have the basics to being thorough and spending time on every move no matter how obvious and simple you think it is.

    If you can just get some of these players to slow down they will improve tremendously. "

    My suggestion - Look at the position - otb or CC. (Over the board or Correspondence Chess) pick out a candidate move, a move that looks to be the best. First think "what's wrong with this move?" (A suggestion from Bedlam) consider how your opponent can destroy it. Don't rush this step, take as much time as you need. If you find yourself getting rushed or impatient stand up and walk around. You don't even need to think about the position. In fact, this is good to do on both your opponents and your time. Work out variations, what might your opponent play, your tactical practice should make this relatively easy to analyze out for 2-3 moves. First look to see every possible check your opponent can make, if no tactical variations seem to arise from that look at every possible capture he can make. It's essential that you do this for EVERY move (especially non-book moves). If you've analyzed every tactical possibility that your opponent has and your move still looks good after the resulting variations that you've calculated make your move. Don't be impatient. There aren't any sites that help this, but playing long time control games (At least 25 min. per game for each side) will help improve this. Blitz and bullet games on the other hand can be detrimental to this technique, and has been known to effect even the world's best players. It is key that you check every tactical possibility your opponent has.

    To sum up:

    1.Pick a candidate move
    2.Think "What's wrong with this move?"
    3.Look for every check your opponent can make on your king following this move
    4.Look for every capture your opponent can make after this move
    5.Analyze every tactic available, if the resulting positions all look good, make the move.

    Every blunders at times, and most blunders seem to be caused by not following those 5 simple steps. Have patience, don't rush, and make good use of your tactical practice.

    I think I should also mention that I find very beneficial to keep your game load on RHP low. I try to keep mine right around 20 games, this way I have more time to focus on less games and can make better moves.



    Here's a recent example where I didn't follow those 5 steps. If I had thought about what was wrong with the move 13.Bb3 I would have instead played 13.Be2 giving me a very comfortable position. It's extremely important to look at every move your opponent could play after you make your move.

    [Event "Rated game, 25m + 0s"]
    [Site "Main Playing Hall"]
    [Date "2006.11.07"]
    [Round "?"]
    [White "CMSMaster"]
    [Black "GPreis"]
    [Result "0-1"]
    [ECO "B90"]
    [WhiteElo "1581"]
    [BlackElo "1693"]
    [PlyCount "26"]
    [EventDate "2006.11.07"]
    [TimeControl "1500"]

    1. e4 {0} c5 {9} 2. Nf3 {1} d6 {4} 3. d4 {1} cxd4 {4} 4. Nxd4 {0} Nf6 {3} 5.
    Nc3 {1} a6 {5} 6. Rg1 {1} e6 {114} 7. g4 {24} Be7 {47} 8. g5 {30} Nfd7 {12} 9.
    h4 {40} Nc6 {39} 10. Be3 {6} Nxd4 {21} 11. Qxd4 {14} f6 {54} 12. Bc4 {48} Ne5 {
    16} 13. Bb3 {44} Nf3+ {CMSMaster resigns (Lag: Av=0.79s, max=1.4s) 11} 0-1
  7. 13 Nov '06 01:14 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by cmsMaster
    [b]Part II: SLOW DOWN

    Everyone does it. You're in a rush, but you want to get one more move in on RHP before you leave. The move looks good, you click submit - and you've just left your queen in prise. Or you're playing OTB, your opponent has thought for 15 minutes and you're getting impatient because you've got an awesome combination. Finally h signs (Lag: Av=0.79s, max=1.4s) 11} 0-1[/b]
    If anybody is interested, and I can find a couple of 1800+ players to help out I'd like to set up a time when those interested could come to Playchess and work on tactics, color coordination, classic bishop sacrifices, etc. live on Playchess. PM me if you want to either help or participate with a time and date that seems convenient. If there isn't enough interest I'll simply drop the idea.
  8. Standard member Tanuki
    Tonkatsu...yum
    13 Nov '06 01:19
    For the tactics, what type of thinking schemata would you suggest?
    Silman- scan these three first
    1) Open or weakened King
    2) Undefended piece(s)
    3) Inadequately defended pieces
    I noticed much improvement by scanning those three before moving but now obviously it is a little inadequate, well not so much inadequate as incomplete. But it was a great start. Then there is B-Method and Weteschnik's School of Elementary Tactics...
  9. 13 Nov '06 01:27 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by Tanuki
    For the tactics, what type of thinking schemata would you suggest?
    Silman- scan these three first
    1) Open or weakened King
    2) Undefended piece(s)
    3) Inadequately defended pieces
    I noticed much improvement by scanning those three before moving but now obviously it is a little inadequate, well not so much inadequate as incomplete. But it was a great start. Then there is B-Method and Weteschnik's School of Elementary Tactics...
    Yeah, that's a great way to start I think. I mentioned always looking for checks first, because it's incredible how many tactics stem from an obvious check. Those three (weak king, undefended pieces, and poorly defended pieces) are probably 1, 2, and 3 for material loss. I'd be careful with suggesting something like the b-method though. It has quite a bit of criticism and seems like a lot of study that a low level player probably doesn't want to deal with. (See thread Bangiev Method)

    I've actually never heard of Weteschnik's School of Elementary Tactics, is this is a computer program? If it is, from what I've heard CT ART 3.0 is the best way to improve, but of course others are out there that are probably very reliable.

    Game 2325793

    This is what I mean by always looking for checks. White has a chance to destroy me in this game with a basic discovered attack, which I saw right after I hit "submit move". Can you spot it?

    I've also heard players mention checking every file, diagnol, and rank for potential attacks. For example, "If I move this, what file, rank, or diagnol will be opened, or "if he replies with that what file, rank or diagnol will be opened."

    TBH I'm not sure I have any other suggestions on what to look for, does anybody have something here?
  10. 13 Nov '06 01:35 / 1 edit
    When working out tactical lines you should start with the most forcing candidate moves first and go through all till the least forcing, ie 1st all checks, 2nd all captures, 3rd threats.
  11. Standard member Dragon Fire
    Lord of all beasts
    13 Nov '06 08:30
    Originally posted by cmsMaster
    Yeah, that's a great way to start I think. I mentioned always looking for checks first, because it's incredible how many tactics stem from an obvious check. Those three (weak king, undefended pieces, and poorly defended pieces) are probably 1, 2, and 3 for material loss. I'd be careful with suggesting something like the b-method though. It has quite a ...[text shortened]... have any other suggestions on what to look for, does anybody have something here?
    23. Bh7+ was probably better than the move played.

    I have a game at the moment where I missed a simple 3 move combination starting from a simple and obvious check. It doesn't lose the game instantly but it turns an "easy" win into a struggle - in fact to win I now need him to make some sort of mistake. The annoying thing is at my level I should not miss such basic tactics but I do. I can put it down to only 1 thing, not concentratng and playing my moves too fast, These simple tactics are well within my ability to see so how else can I explain this. No amount of studying tactics will help if you throw it all away my playing too quickly and not working them through.
  12. Standard member Diet Coke
    Forum Vampire
    13 Nov '06 10:42
    5 seconds a move is working ok for me.
  13. Donation briancron
    nunquam perdo
    13 Nov '06 11:35
    Originally posted by Diet Coke with Lime
    5 seconds a move is working ok for me.
    Thanks for sharing,
    but you can clearly see that if you are trying to learn to improve from a lower level it would be a good idea to focus on the possible consequenses before moving.

    Surely, your advice wouldn't be move real quick. right?
  14. 13 Nov '06 12:19
    Originally posted by Diet Coke
    5 seconds a move is working ok for me.
    Well, you joined only yesterday, and not to sound disheartening but you're only 1369. I think most people that read/will read this thread looking for improvement are hoping to get over 1400, and then over 1600. You'll find this is very hard to do if you don't slow down.
  15. Standard member Dragon Fire
    Lord of all beasts
    13 Nov '06 12:46
    Originally posted by Diet Coke
    5 seconds a move is working ok for me.
    Unfortunately it is this sort of remark that stops people improving. If you want to get up to 1400, 1600, 1800 or even 2000 you need to slow down and start using your brain.

    If I play you 1000 games where I use my time and you take 5 seconds for each move then I will win 1000 games. What good is that?

    This thread is about improving and if you cannot post sensible suggestions I suggest you post them in my thread how to stay below 1400 for ever