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  1. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    23 Aug '10 02:03
    I have bobbed up and down from the mid 16's to the early 17's for months now, I don't want that to be my peak. I took someones advice and pretty much stopped playing the 13 and 14 set and now have more games in the 17's. I seem so far to be holding my own but I can't seem to get to the point where I am mainstream 17 yet, that is to say, where I am still 17 even after losing a few games to other 17's. I get up to say 1740 or something then find myself in deep doo doo and bang, I'm 1650 again.

    So how do get from the 16's to at least the 18's, not just with that rating but to be playing on that level? My buddy Leboeuf plays here at the 2100 level and I am having trouble figuring out how he got there. I beat him maybe 60% OTB and we are both rated about the 17's in USCF.

    What is he doing that I am not? One thing, he spends a lot more time making moves but is that all? I know he is not using engines, he would never stoop to that but how can I be so far behind him here but ahead of him OTB?
  2. 23 Aug '10 02:13
    Sometimes people are just better at a particular type of chess. I'm rated 1900 USCF but am a meager 1500 on here. A person who plays at our local club is 2200 OTB, but in blitz games regularly beats grandmasters. Some people are just much better at correspondence chess than they are at regular. It may not be something you are doing wrong; it could just be your friend's mind is more geared to very slow play then yours is. If you are better at OTB than you are at CC (like I am), then by all means play as many OTB tournaments as you can.
  3. 23 Aug '10 02:15
    Postal and OTB are simply two different games and require different skills. The patience to sit and analyze every variation would pay off more here. OTB is more of the heat of the battle. I can't get past 2100 here either. BUT here are some of my online ratings with real times

    FICS Blitz 2073
    Standard 2137
    Lightning 2200

    ICC
    Bullet 2100
    Blitz 2369
    5-Minute 2206
    1-Minute 2202
    15-Minute 2167 (No Losses But Few Games)

    My main difference is that I don't have the patience for this form of the game. I lose my thought processes when the game doesn't begin and end in one setting. Also, I put a lot of stock in my openings with a clock (choosing less common lines that players aren't likely to know or tricky variations). The ticking clock allows you to play riskier sometimes. Time is an element. Unfortunately, it's eliminated in this form of the game. Having a sharp fast calculating mind doesn't help much when the other guy has hours or days to find a move. Opening books (with some pretty good analysis these days) also make it a lot harder to get an advantage in the early going (or ever) in postal.

    I don't consider myself a GM or anything, but I would say I am maybe FM strength. Having played in one tournament (unrated) in the last ten years hasn't really gotten me out of the low rating class that I started in when I was learning the game.

    Just My Thoughts
  4. 23 Aug '10 02:27
    As to getting better, I have to just recommend the same old cliches.

    Tactics are of extreme importance.

    So is pattern recognition. I have played 18,000 blitz games alone (and that's only counting FICS)! You have to see it all. Then it comes second nature.

    The third cliche, and the one I really embrace the most, is studying master games. You learn a lot about technique from playing through hundreds of games by great players. You can't just routinely go through the game without thinking. (I have caught myself doing this, in eager attempts to finish a chapter.) You have to really sit down and focus and try to figure out why each individual move is being played. It's really hard, and sometimes I just can't concentrate like I used to. It really helps though. Capablanca's simple positional grinds are a good place to look. Petrosian is another good master to study. His games are often very dull looking, but he won a lot of games. Just watch how he just takes a little here and there (without doing anything all that spectacular) and grinds down one great player after another. Karpov's games also have a crystal clear strategic approach to them. These guys will give you ultimate technique. The real beasts are Fischer and Kasparov, but their styles are a little different. They go into super complicated positions and come out on top. That's a great style to have, but it is much more demanding and requires preciseness (and their skills). The reason I don't get as much from their games (or an example) would be something like the Poisioned Pawn Najdorf. If you look at one of those, it's not really about achieving a strategic goal. It's more about concrete calculation as to whether the attack will suceed or fail in time. That sort of chess is just less instructive to me.

    More Of My Thoughts
  5. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    23 Aug '10 02:56
    Originally posted by paulbuchmanfromfics
    As to getting better, I have to just recommend the same old cliches.

    Tactics are of extreme importance.

    So is pattern recognition. I have played 18,000 blitz games alone (and that's only counting FICS)! You have to see it all. Then it comes second nature.

    The third cliche, and the one I really embrace the most, is studying master game ...[text shortened]... in time. That sort of chess is just less instructive to me.

    More Of My Thoughts
    Thanks. I don't see what you have to worry about, 2070 here! Have to go for now, wife yanking my chain
  6. 23 Aug '10 12:52
    It sounds like the question is not so much about improving your chess as improving your rating on here.

    Some key elements for improving my initial ratings were:

    1. cutting out immediate or late night responses
    2. Cutting my games down to only about 4/5
    3. Having an interest in trying hard to win every game (I know the above sounds silly, but most of the time I am happy to just roll of a few moves against buddies, playing unusual(for me) openings and being more tactical than strategical)
  7. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    23 Aug '10 17:59 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by paulbuchmanfromfics
    The ticking clock allows you to play riskier sometimes. Time is an element. Unfortunately, it's eliminated in this form of the game.
    this is really the most important aspect of correspondence chess. work on the position, work on the position, work on the position. until you get it Right. not 'right enough', but kasparov right. when your opponent drops the ball, make absolutely sure you're there to catch it. find the move the likes of kasparov would find. the right answer always exists, don't settle for anything less.

    of course you'll still make mistakes, and won't understand what the kasparovs of this world understand, but the attitude should always be 'find that one golden move'. because it's there.

    you and me, we're worlds apart on shorter time controls. but in CC we're close to equal. the only difference is the time I use for every single move. (and when I don't, I fail miserably)
  8. 23 Aug '10 19:08
    Yeah, I agree with HabeasCorp.

    Take your time thinking of moves, try a good number of ideas and calculate as deeply as you can.
    Don't rush your moves even if the move seems obvious, especially if you are tired or drunk.
    Even when I think I have found the best move I will just sit on it for a while, or sleep on it and play it the following morning.
    Play fewer games at once, personally I find even 6 to be confusing at times. I really don't get how people manage to play 50+ games at the same time.

    PS. Any of you 1800 lot fancy a game?
  9. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    23 Aug '10 20:33
    Originally posted by wormwood
    this is really the most important aspect of correspondence chess. work on the position, work on the position, work on the position. until you get it [b]Right. not 'right enough', but kasparov right. when your opponent drops the ball, make absolutely sure you're there to catch it. find the move the likes of kasparov would find. the right answer al ...[text shortened]... erence is the time I use for every single move. (and when I don't, I fail miserably)[/b]
    True, with one addendum. After the game, figure out all the nuances you missed.

    In CC you get perfect recall of past games and your opponents have a record of your games played.
  10. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    23 Aug '10 21:28
    Originally posted by nimzo5
    True, with one addendum. After the game, figure out all the nuances you missed.

    In CC you get perfect recall of past games and your opponents have a record of your games played.
    Yep, I use the archive and send games here to be analyzed by my betters! I want to play at 1800+ not just for the rating but because if I am at 1800 it is because I am playing better, not just pulling a Skeeter.
  11. 23 Aug '10 21:43
    Here's an idea.Not new but often ignored.

    Work on your chess!

    Read chessbooks with exercises so you're forced to actually put some work in.Doesn't matter which area,they all need improvement.

    You have your games reviewed.Good.But do you really work with the info you get?Or do you just read it and say "hm,ok,interesting" and move on?

    Work and you'll stay there and probably go beyond

    toet.