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  1. 24 Apr '15 15:26
    I am 53yrs. old and I have always hovered between 1100 and 1200. Is it possible for me to get better? I love the game but I am getting discouraged as I never get any better. I have books which don't seem to help me because I am a more visual learner. My email is: okcats2@hotmail.com
  2. Standard member Ghost of a Duke
    Zen Master
    24 Apr '15 15:37
    Originally posted by CreepingDeath
    I am 53yrs. old and I have always hovered between 1100 and 1200. Is it possible for me to get better? I love the game but I am getting discouraged as I never get any better. I have books which don't seem to help me because I am a more visual learner. My email is: okcats2@hotmail.com
    Do you tend to play the same opening in your games? Would you describe yourself as a defensive or attacking player?
    I believe my own game improved by playing stronger players, or by watching stronger players play each other.. We all tend to fall into predictable patterns if we're not careful, but it's never too late to improve your game, as long as you're open to trying something different.
  3. Standard member Schlecter
    The King of Board
    24 Apr '15 16:28 / 2 edits
    I remember a similar thread by @wormwood he had a Chess blog and he used a method to improve his chess in 2 or 3 years of doing tactics from 1400 to 2300 of rating
    -
    This is the link to his blog http://burncastleburn.blogspot.ca/
    -
    and in this forum he had comments about the same, here : http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=156728&page=1
  4. Subscriber sundown316
    The Mighty Messenger
    24 Apr '15 18:28 / 4 edits
    Playing stronger players is the best, tho not the easiest route to improve. Sure, you won't win many games, but it will help your pattern recognition. Keep the scores of your games and go over them every so often, ESPECIALLY the losses. See if you are always falling for the same sacrifice, tactic, etc. and learn how to avoid those pitfalls by finding a better way to handle them. Study tactics and learn something about the endgame.
  5. 24 Apr '15 19:10 / 1 edit
    CreepingDeath, I checked a few games of yours quickly and the first thing I'd really try to improve is triple checking if any of your pieces are about to be taken. It might take more time but try to go over each and every piece of the opponent and see if it can take something of yours. Also see if they can move to any square that would really be annoying to you. After that, go over it again! Check for checks and all pieces possibly coming or already being under attack. Only then make your cautious move.

    After a while this process might go faster. But right now you lose mostly because you're giving too much away too soon!
  6. Standard member Ghost of a Duke
    Zen Master
    24 Apr '15 19:55
    Originally posted by deejee
    CreepingDeath, I checked a few games of yours quickly and the first thing I'd really try to improve is triple checking if any of your pieces are about to be taken. It might take more time but try to go over each and every piece of the opponent and see if it can take something of yours. Also see if they can move to any square that would really be annoying to y ...[text shortened]... ess might go faster. But right now you lose mostly because you're giving too much away too soon!
    Good advice deejee.

    Also, always look for a weakness in both your own move, and your opponents. For example, before i move this knight, is it already doing something important, will moving it weaken my position? The same goes for your opponent's move. Was the bishop he just moved protecting something important, has he created a weakness in his own defense?
  7. Subscriber Ragwort
    Ex Duris Gloria
    24 Apr '15 20:21
    First of all you have to stop falling into checkmate Game 11152544
    Then you have to stop losing pieces Game 11158890
    Once there you have to stop giving away pawns Game 11133201

    After that you can try to avoid making structural concessions, or giving away tempo, conceding too much space and all the sorts of things that you read in the books. The hope is in doing all this that you will see the same opportunities for yourself as they arise in the position.

    If you play against opponents slightly stronger than yourself you will find they quickly take advantage of weak moves. If you are giving the game full concentration you will go through some sort of thought process in choosing your moves. If you are honest with yourself after the game it will be clear where the opponent exposed any weakness in the thinking process - didn't see his capture, didn't see his check, thought he couldn't attack there, didn't see how he could break through, and so you will be able to look out for such things the next time. Although we all do it there is no need to rush games on here.

    You will be told that you should study tactics. What this should do is imprint various patterns of piece movements on the mind in such a way as to gain an overwhelming advantage or deliver checkmate such that the process becomes subliminal. I worry that this neglects other thinking skills that playing chess requires such as problem solving (when you don't know the pattern, or don't know it is there in the position) judgement (trusting that a suitable pattern will exist in the positions you are heading for) keeping concentration, developing a fighting spirit and so on.

    I really don't there is any substitute for moving the pieces round a board or a screen to get those things into the brain and to understand how the pieces work whether you are going through a book, one of your games, or the Greenpawn blog. If you have worked it out for yourself once it should stick in the mind, or at least be quicker the next time.
  8. 24 Apr '15 21:05
    Originally posted by Ragwort
    First of all you have to stop falling into checkmate Game 11152544
    Then you have to stop losing pieces Game 11158890
    Once there you have to stop giving away pawns Game 11133201
    Ragwort, I like the first statements of your post. Simple and clear advice is the best.

    CreepingDeath, I would add to the second game Ragwort posted that you would preferably wait using the queen that soon in a game. It is still very vulnerable to attacks by other pieces. I think one of the RHP bloggers recently did a nice post about that.

    About the third game (see PGN below): why did you resign?

  9. 24 Apr '15 22:51 / 2 edits



    You won this game, but should have lost. Can you tell me why 27.Re1c1 should have cost you the game?

    As far as getting better I'd sugggest playing better players, losing more games and doing chess puzzles on chesstempo. When you lose see if you can find mistakes. When you win see if you can find mistakes. Strive to no longer make those mistakes.

    When you do get better, you can continue to lose, but to higher rated players!
  10. Donation ketchuplover
    G.O.A.T.
    25 Apr '15 02:07
    You must neuteralize your opponents position
  11. Subscriber 64squaresofpain On Vacation
    The drunk knight
    25 Apr '15 02:25
    Stick to the basics:

    1. Evaluate the pawns - both yours and your opponents - how can one side improve, or be weakened?
    e.g. isolated pawns tend to be easy prey, but if advanced far they can become dangerous!

    2. Check for unprotected pieces - perhaps more obvious, but sometimes an opponents (or your!) knight or Bishop
    could be tucked behind a pawn, seemingly safe, but yet is doomed, like in the diagram below:

    White to play

    You'd be surprised how many people miss moves like Nxe4, which in the end wins a pawn.
    ...Also, be sure to double-check, and perhaps even triple-check a move before actually making it.

    3. Measure King safety, and check all checks accordingly! - The last thing you want during your attacking combination
    is your opponent to have a move with check, potentially winning material... and on that note:

    4. Don't worry too much about material - there's also time/tempo, space, and all of the above to consider!
    Battles are not decided by the size of the army, but by how well the soldiers operate 😉

    and of course

    5. Keep having fun 🙂 - sure you want to improve, great, but don't let the game frustrate you.
    Playing whilst in a bad mood, or with distractions around can ruin a good game.

    ---------

    There's been some good points made by others also, and it's true that there's no substitute for experience.
    Play more games against better opponents, experiment with different openings,
    and by all means do some [theory] homework if you really want to see your rating climb.

    Three years ago all I could just about manage was knowing how the pieces moved, and spotting basic one-move threats,
    but look at me now...

    Still dropping pieces occasionally and missing mate-in-two's 😀 You can never stop learning!
  12. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    25 Apr '15 05:46
    Stop playing bad moves. Play good moves.
    Hope this helps 😛
    Seriously, if you see a move, and you know it loses, don't play it, play something else. Play anything else!! Lose a different way.
    So often I ask "Why did you play that?" I get, "I saw it was bad but I didn't see anything else." Look for that something else. 🙂
  13. Standard member Ghost of a Duke
    Zen Master
    25 Apr '15 06:41
    Forget who said it, but 'look for a good move, and when you find it, look for a better one.' (Or words to that effect).
  14. Standard member byedidia
    Mister Why
    25 Apr '15 17:41
    Originally posted by Ghost of a Duke
    Forget who said it, but 'look for a good move, and when you find it, look for a better one.' (Or words to that effect).
    I think Lasker said it first. The way I always quote it is, "When you see a good move, sit on your hands and look for a better one."
  15. 25 Apr '15 18:16
    Originally posted by byedidia
    I think Lasker said it first. The way I always quote it is, "When you see a good move, sit on your hands and look for a better one."
    The version I heard is slightly more aggressive, but I don't know who said it first:

    'Found a good move? Good for you. Now find a better one'.