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  1. 18 Sep '08 02:17
    Greetings all,

    I played scholastic chess years ago when I was a kid, and got rated to about 1440. I got busy with life, and now 20 years later with the internet Ive gotten back into chess.

    I find myself in a rut. I will work my way up to the low 1500s by generally being able to beat players in the 1300 to 1400 level, but I rarely ever win against people over 1550, so I will lose a string of games, drop rating, and repeat the cycle.

    I do have a little bit of time available for reading, and I still have a number of books I had collected during the 80s. Fischer's book, some titles by Irving Chernev, Znosko-Borovsky, Vladimir Zak, Eduard Gufeld. I have the feeling that I recognize tactics and combinations adequately well, but even though I "rush" to get pieces out in the opening I dont feel co-ordinated, and against strong players I do not get the opportunity to really develop an attack. This feeling leads me to think I should really pick a couple openings and really study them to get the themes and principles.

    What would more experienced people have to say to this. Are there some better books written in last 10 yrs or so on theory?

    Thanks!
  2. 18 Sep '08 03:44
    1.1900 and below heavy tactical training and basic endgames.

    2.1900 to 2000 intermediate endings like pieces and pawns and more tactics.

    3.2000 to 2100 still keeping great on those tactits and on to difficult endings.

    4. Above 2100 and you have to really focus on mastering the ending and mastering the art of maneuvering and strategic concepts... The more refined your chess becomes after this the higher your rating goes.... The more tiny differences in moves matter.
  3. 18 Sep '08 06:03
    I have never had a teacher or anything. I have taught myself all I know from books and playing online. Nobody ever masters tactics enough!!! Ken Smith said years ago if you're under 1900, your first, middle, and last name is tactics.
    The first three books I read were by Seirawan and Silman. Play Winning Chess is the introduction to chess, time, space, structure, etc. Book 2 is Winning Chess Tactics. It has examples of many different tactics and has details about looking for tactics. Book 3 is Winning Chess Strategies. It goes on to forming plans and such.
    At the time, there were only 4 books ( 4 was Winning Chess Brilliancies - which is excellent but advanced). Another good book for learning planning is How To Reassess Your Chess. It is all about spotting the differences in positions and formulating plans around them. He later wrote The Amateur's Mind, which is him asking his students questions about positions. He then explains the misconceptions they have in positional analysis. It is a very good companion. These books should give a good solid positional foundation. Phase 2 is learning aggressive chess. Ken Smith suggested taking up gambits. They increase your tactical ability and really give you a fighting spirit. When your a pawn down in a hopeless position, you learn to really dig and claw your way back. It's not really about the credit of the gambits, it's more about learning to make a fight of it and seizing every opportunity. I went from 1700 to 2000 just studying gambits and tactics. I still haven't studied the ending all that well. I've mostly learned the endings I know from mistakes in thousands of blitz and other timed games. If your a piece up, in the ending you don't need theory. I'd say the next phase is the really hard one. I believe you have to look really deeply at the games of great players and try to figure out what's going on. I'm trying to do that now. I mean really digging for every detail. It takes a lot of patience and hard work, but I think it can be done. I have over 400 chess books and don't need 90 % of them. The old great players didn't have all these different author's views. They studied games and played. That was it. I hope this helps at least a little.
    I LEFT OUT THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. CHESS REQUIRES STUDY, PLAY, AND LOTS, LOTS, LOTS OF EXPERIENCE (AT LEAST FOR THOSE OF US THAT AREN'T NATURAL GENIUSES).

    Best of Luck

    P.S. Here are two of my favorite enjoyment books.
    Chess For Tigers --- A good book that is really fun. It has coping with time pressure, playing stronger opponents, trapping heffelumps, and all sorts of goodies.
    Winning With Chess Psychology is the other one. The title may not be exact, but it is by Pal Benko. It has the different psychologies players used from Lasker all the way to the modern day. One example, is Lasker would play for the initiative against Frank James Marshall because he always like to have it himself. There are some nicely annotated games in the book, including a 1.g3 win over Fischer.
  4. 18 Sep '08 08:03 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by MidwestMN
    Greetings all,

    I played scholastic chess years ago when I was a kid, and got rated to about 1440. I got busy with life, and now 20 years later with the internet Ive gotten back into chess.

    I find myself in a rut. I will work my way up to the low 1500s by generally being able to beat players in the 1300 to 1400 level, but I rarely ever win against peo o say to this. Are there some better books written in last 10 yrs or so on theory?

    Thanks!
    You will learn a lot by playing serious chess OTB at long time controls and analyzing deeply afterwords. The extra thinking time will make the game more challenging and your mistakes more instructive.
  5. 19 Sep '08 03:50
    I am definitley no expert, but can vouch for the push in studying tactics! I try to balance my study with all different parts of the game, but tactics are key!!! Always find time to do some tactical puzzles because recognizing patterns will help quite a bit, and can even help you develop plans.

    In addition to the good advice above, I also highly recommending studying annotated master games. This is my favorite type of study because 1)you learn all parts of the game from the best players, 2)you can see how masters think and plan 3) it's fun and relaxing, at least to me! Pick out a master who you like, or get a compilation like "Mammoth book of world's greatest games." Both Tal books are great. I like Karpov's best games as well.
  6. 19 Sep '08 04:02
    No offence to anyone else's opinion, but positionally the best two players to study are Capablanca and Petrosian. They are the masters of positional maneuvering. Lasker is another of my favorites. He and Petrosian were the masters of defense. Lasker showed how to put a real fight in lost positions better than anyone. He played great most of the time too. Fischer to the modern day are truly amazing players, but the games aren't always that thematic or easy to follow. They are extremely overbooked openings followed by extremely complicated attacks. Stick with the classics. As for Tal, my God, I tried to study some of his games. His games are so imaginative and ingenius that I really couldn't learn that much from him. I was more in awe of him than learning from him.
    With Capablanca and Lasker you can't go wrong. I played through every game in Why Lasker Matters and really recommend it.
  7. Donation ketchuplover
    G.O.A.T.
    19 Sep '08 22:55
    I think pattern(position)recognition is the lifeblood of chess.
  8. 19 Sep '08 23:04
    Originally posted by ketchuplover
    I think pattern(position)recognition is the lifeblood of chess.
    There is a lot of truth to that comment. Handshake
  9. 19 Sep '08 23:48
    Originally posted by ketchuplover
    I think pattern(position)recognition is the lifeblood of chess.
    This is actually true of virtually any skill, not just chess.
  10. 19 Sep '08 23:53
    Originally posted by ketchuplover
    I think pattern(position)recognition is the lifeblood of chess.
    Spot on. Well said.
  11. 20 Sep '08 03:40 / 1 edit
    aha. A fellow MinneSOHtan. Greetings. To be honest, I have little of use to add...the fellows that have posted give, what seems to me, good advice.

    I just wanted to mention, that if you live in or near the cities, there is a club, "The Chess Castle" that you can find via google. .... I think the url is something like www.mnchesscastle.... anyway...if you are looking for over the board play, there is very strong competition there. I regularly get pasted.
  12. 20 Sep '08 03:53
    I forget where I read this, but recently I read that one part of a master's brain that is very active when analyzing chess positions is the same part that's used for recognizing faces.

    Learn tactics, learn the types of structures and tactics that stem from various opening systems, learn defensive tactics and King-hunt tactics and queening-the-pawn tactics and come to think of them all as old friends.
  13. 20 Sep '08 04:11
    Originally posted by DawgHaus
    I forget where I read this, but recently I read that one part of a master's brain that is very active when analyzing chess positions is the same part that's used for recognizing faces.

    Learn tactics, learn the types of structures and tactics that stem from various opening systems, learn defensive tactics and King-hunt tactics and queening-the-pawn tactics and come to think of them all as old friends.
    Haha wow.... I've actually done that before. When I spot a knight fork, for example, I'll say something along the lines of, "ahhh my old friend the knight fork." To think that I thought I was just weird.
  14. 20 Sep '08 06:54
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    Haha wow.... I've actually done that before. When I spot a knight fork, for example, I'll say something along the lines of, "ahhh my old friend the knight fork." To think that I thought I was just weird.
    that is weird