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  1. Standard member hunterknox
    Hopeless romantic
    26 Dec '11 21:28
    In the last 12 months my rating has fluctuated between 1775 and 1557, which seems like quite a wide spread. Over the board I've always been a bit hit and miss - in my last club championship I beat or drew against all the higher graded players and lost to lower graded ones.

    So, the question is: can I become more consistent, or should I just carry on trading on my mercurial reputation?
  2. 27 Dec '11 00:12
    Historical 90 days 1 Year 5 Years
    Highest Rating 1704 1775 1775
    Average Rating 1646 1654 1624
    Lowest Rating 1576 1557 1444

    Notice your average rating really is stable and your graph shows nothing out of the ordinary. As few as 3 or 4 games can cause that daily rating number to bounce around in either direction. At your rating of 1700+, perhaps you should just concentrate on a general approach to improving your game and the rating numbers will follow. Tactics is always a good area of study, maybe going a little deeper into your favorite openings, or renewing your commitment to the "blunder check".

    Two books you might want to look at:

    The Seven Deadly Chess Sins
    Chess for Zebras

    both by Jonathan Rowson

    These are different from any other chess books I have read. Flip through them quickly from front to back without attempting to read anything, but notice how many fewer diagrams there are as opposed to the normal chess book. Instead you get large blocks of text where Rowson talks about his ideas.

    In Zebra he tries to answer 3 questions:

    1. Why is it so difficult to improve?
    2. What mental attitudes are needed to find good moves?
    3. Does it make a difference if you play Black or White

    In Seven Deadly he lists the reasons we go wrong with our moves:

    1. Thinking
    2. Blinking
    3. Wanting
    4. Materialism
    5. Egoism
    6. Perfectionism
    7. Looseness

    Good luck in your games.

    Best, Steve
  3. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    27 Dec '11 00:45 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by hunterknox
    In the last 12 months my rating has fluctuated between 1775 and 1557, which seems like quite a wide spread. Over the board I've always been a bit hit and miss - in my last club championship I beat or drew against all the higher graded players and lost to lower graded ones.

    So, the question is: can I become more consistent, or should I just carry on trading on my mercurial reputation?
    Place a "Post It" note on your computer that says:

    1. Check all checks- even the seemingly absurd ones.

    2. Look for loose pieces- every piece on the board that is unprotected.

    Doing this consistently, EVERY MOVE, will not only make your rating stable, it will raise it to over 1800 (by that I mean "RHP site rating" ) rather quickly.

    Greenpawn34 wrote a thread a while back about how to raise your RHP rating to over 2000, and it has better and more comprehensive advice, but this is a highly useful anecdote to get you started!
  4. 27 Dec '11 00:56
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett

    ...1. Check all checks-
    2. Look for loose pieces- ...
    On both your side and your opponent's which, of course, was Paul's meaning.
  5. 27 Dec '11 12:33 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    Place a "Post It" note on your computer that says:

    1. Check all checks- even the seemingly absurd ones.

    2. Look for loose pieces- every piece on the board that is unprotected.

    Doing this consistently, EVERY MOVE, will not only make your rating stable, it will raise it to over 1800 (by that I mean "RHP site rating" ) rather quickly.

    I can testify to the benefit and success of this mantra
    (my post-it note also says "pawn moves can't be undone" )
  6. 27 Dec '11 13:59
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    Place a "Post It" note on your computer that says:

    1. Check all checks- even the seemingly absurd ones.

    2. Look for loose pieces- every piece on the board that is unprotected.

    Doing this consistently, EVERY MOVE, will not only make your rating stable, it will raise it to over 1800 (by that I mean "RHP site rating" ) rather quickly.

    Greenpa ...[text shortened]... tter and more comprehensive advice, but this is a highly useful anecdote to get you started!
    and where there are no checks or loose pieces?
  7. 27 Dec '11 14:00
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    and where there are no checks or loose pieces?
    Attack!
  8. 27 Dec '11 14:15
    Originally posted by morgski
    Attack!
    this is quite interesting and is the reason that i am going to start to play closed
    systems, for I have reasoned that when the average player cannot attack, he is at a
    total loss. I have found this to be true of myself, disengagement is rather unnerving,
    we all love to attack and take pieces, even when there is no justification for doing so
    and it stands to reason that such a strategy must surely fail, ok, we may get lucky
    sometimes, but it cannot be good for our chess in the long term.
  9. 27 Dec '11 14:50
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    this is quite interesting and is the reason that i am going to start to play closed
    systems, for I have reasoned that when the average player cannot attack, he is at a
    total loss. I have found this to be true of myself, disengagement is rather unnerving,
    we all love to attack and take pieces, even when there is no justification for doing so
    ...[text shortened]... ly fail, ok, we may get lucky
    sometimes, but it cannot be good for our chess in the long term.
    This is all true, but I feel that a loss from a closed system teaches me much less than a loss from a failed attack. At least with a failed attack you can know not to be so foolhardy in future....



    That and I cannot stand closed games 😉
  10. 27 Dec '11 15:13
    Originally posted by morgski
    This is all true, but I feel that a loss from a closed system teaches me much less than a loss from a failed attack. At least with a failed attack you can know not to be so foolhardy in future....



    That and I cannot stand closed games 😉
    exactly, we cannot stand them because we love to attack, take away our attack and
    what do we have?
  11. 27 Dec '11 16:06
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    exactly, we cannot stand them because we love to attack, take away our attack and
    what do we have?
    For me, not a lot. This game is a perfect example, I couldn't find a way through, nor could he, I offered a draw... Game 8771586
  12. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    27 Dec '11 16:58
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    exactly, we cannot stand them because we love to attack, take away our attack and
    what do we have?
    closed games have attack just as much as open ones. if you don't, it's just your bad attacking skills.

    think of it as loading up a spring, building up tension for that inevitable explosion. one gigantic monster wave, instead of bunch of tiny open game ripples. build up the energy, then SMASH! surf the big wave. never let the tension ease down, always build up.

    if you're not building up, you're doing it wrong.
  13. 27 Dec '11 19:42
    Originally posted by wormwood
    closed games have attack just as much as open ones. if you don't, it's just your bad attacking skills.

    think of it as loading up a spring, building up tension for that inevitable explosion. one gigantic monster wave, instead of bunch of tiny open game ripples. build up the energy, then SMASH! surf the big wave. never let the tension ease down, always build up.

    if you're not building up, you're doing it wrong.
    Agreed.

    Closed games are a test of your planning abilities. Open one's are a test of your foresight (or tactics perhaps). In open games I find you play the sharpest attacks you can until you can find a position to build a plan from and in closed games you build a plan to get an attack built from.

    Q
  14. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    27 Dec '11 20:39
    OP-

    The best way to get consistency in your game is to focus on the things under your control - i.e. getting rest before a tournament, regular exercise and coming to the board with the mindset that you are ready to fight for a win. Chess is at it's heart a game of mistakes (or small mistakes if you are a master) the best you can do is to try and minimize randomness and show resilience in the face of a difficult situation.

    Closed games - I think most players struggle at the initial phase of a closed game when issues of which side of the board to play on, what pawn breaks will you employ etc. are paramount. Fluid pawn structures are typically the most difficult for the club player although they rarely identify the problem and will ascribe their losses to tactics etc.
  15. 27 Dec '11 22:34
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    Place a "Post It" note on your computer that says:

    1. Check all checks- even the seemingly absurd ones.

    2. Look for loose pieces- every piece on the board that is unprotected.

    Doing this consistently, EVERY MOVE, will not only make your rating stable, it will raise it to over 1800 (by that I mean "RHP site rating" ) rather quickly.

    Greenpa ...[text shortened]... tter and more comprehensive advice, but this is a highly useful anecdote to get you started!
    I totally believe this to be true... for most casual players (like myself) it's just not going to happen though.