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  1. 06 Oct '10 19:41
    Hello,

    I'm curious how most of you approach your games here on RHP. That is, do you work out the variations in your head and 'visualize' as if you're playing OTB or do you physically play out and record the variations more like a serious correspondence player?

    Of course the second method can take much longer to determine your move and I suspect raise one's playing strength considerably. Also, I have found the second approach helps me recall much better the position and the various lines I've already considered but lacks in the development of other OTB skills.

    I'm new to this and haven't decided on which approach to take.

    thanks for any feedback.
    chuck
  2. 06 Oct '10 20:14
    Originally posted by caa55
    Hello,

    I'm curious how most of you approach your games here on RHP. That is, do you work out the variations in your head and 'visualize' as if you're playing OTB or do you physically play out and record the variations more like a serious correspondence player?

    Of course the second method can take much longer to determine your move and I suspect raise one ...[text shortened]... this and haven't decided on which approach to take.

    thanks for any feedback.
    chuck
    I play the moves on a board and record them using a tree notation. I did try using a software thingy to keep track of moves and variations but it annoyed me too much. After 30+ years of correspondence play I am too old to change my methods and definitely too old to go back to trying to work it all out in my poor old noggin.
  3. 06 Oct '10 20:51
    Originally posted by caa55
    Hello,

    I'm curious how most of you approach your games here on RHP. That is, do you work out the variations in your head and 'visualize' as if you're playing OTB or do you physically play out and record the variations more like a serious correspondence player?

    Of course the second method can take much longer to determine your move and I suspect raise one ...[text shortened]... this and haven't decided on which approach to take.

    thanks for any feedback.
    chuck
    I use employ the second method, and agree with your assessment. However, the only OTB skills which the "correspondence" method fails to develop are time-management skills and, perhaps, visualization of move-sequences: if a player moves pieces on an analysis board he may fail to develop the ability to visualize move sequences without moving pieces.

    I believe that developing playing strength (board sense, tactical sense, strategic sense) will improve playing speed over time. The stronger a player you are, the faster you are able to recognize familiar (or similar) situations and correctly evaluate the position, as well as determine good candidate moves and properly compare them to find the best. Slow chess helps develop these skills, provided one applies a structured thinking method with reasonable consistency.

    I keep extensive game notes on each game I play here. Ideally, each move I examine my opponent's checks, captures, and threats; I then examine my own checks, captures, and threats. From this basis, combined with strategic goals, I devise a set of candidate moves, then I examine my opponent's checks, captures (including recaptures) and threats to see how he can respond to each of my candidate moves. When I find a good move I try to find a better one. When I have checked my candidate moves and discovered a standout (which may sometimes simply be the only non-bad move rather than a particularly good one) I make the move. I try to recheck risky move sequences (e.g., combinations and mating attacks) to determine whether my analysis is correct, and what the consequences might be if I am not, and whether the move is still acceptable.

    Chess is concrete, so I regard each position in terms of its own specific detail, and avoid making moves on the basis of handwaving general principles in analytic (i.e., tactical) positions. I regard this as a highly important principle.

    I do not consider myself to be a good player: that is as yet an aspiration. I do not always apply this thinking process: I want to develop that approach more consistently and systematically.
  4. 06 Oct '10 21:17
    Most play at the screen. I do (did) for a fair chunk of my games
    but if it got interesting then I'd OTB it tossing the bits about.

    I too am an ex C.C. player (with the stamps and envelopes).
    Here usually I wrote down every move in a book before replying this slowed
    me enough to avoid blundering.

    There is something about playing on a screen that encourages silly blunders,
    moves you never make OTB.
    It's most likely due to the fact you are playing dozens of other games at
    the same time.

    Only made two blunders that were not meant (in a lot of my games
    you will see blunders, but I meant those). One I managed to cheapo
    a win back. The other I just resigned on the spot

    "(with the stamps and envelopes)" when was the last time anyone here
    received a letter. I mean a real handwritten letter from a friend?

    Enjoyed your game .v preceptor Game 7791001 a real slug fest.

    Thought here Black was going to play...



    27..Qe5 with the threat of Rxh3+ and Qh5 mate.
    Instead his 27...e5 cut off the BQ from the action.

  5. 06 Oct '10 21:34
    "Enjoyed your game .v preceptor Game 7791001 a real slug fest. "
    Thanks.
    Yea, I was sweating bullets on that one. It seems to me my early move of e4 rather than e3 caused my pieces to get discombobulated and I struggled the whole way thru until he blundered. But, I had to work that mess out with the OTB/bits. No way I could have pulled it off in my head. He should have won.
  6. 07 Oct '10 01:15 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    There is something about playing on a screen that encourages silly blunders,
    moves you never make OTB. It's most likely due to the fact you are playing dozens of other games at the same time.
    Yes, I don't even like to play two games simultaneously when I'm at a tactically complex point in one of them. So, the consensus seems to be, when employing the "correspondence method" don't bite off more than you can chew: I would define this as being unable to play your best in each game, unable to concentrate fully and effectively, whether because of divided attention or because of mental fatigue due to overwork.
  7. 07 Oct '10 01:49 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by caa55
    Thanks.
    Yea, I was sweating bullets on that one. It seems to me my early move of e4 rather than e3 caused my pieces to get discombobulated and I struggled the whole way thru until he blundered. But, I had to work that mess out with the OTB/bits. No way I could have pulled it off in my head. He should have won.
    Allow me to offer a few thoughts on your game. Not exactly advice -- for that would presume too much, including an expertise that doesn't exist on my part -- but some feedback.

    Always consider pawn structure in the opening. When you make a pawn move, only do so because it advances your strategic plans. Don't do so because it has good stats in a database (in fact, don't use opening databases), or because some expert player whom you admire plays it.

    For example, when you're playing the English, as here, you have two basic responses after 1...c5; 2.c4 or 2.e4. Now, you played 1.Nf3 to prevent 1...e4, but you want to control the center in general, so you'd like to make discourage 2...d4. Either 2.c4 or 2.e4 allows you to discourage 2...d4 because after (for example) 3. cxd4, 3...Qxd4 is awkward because of 4.Nc3 developing with tempo by attacking the queen.

    So the question at this point is, what kind of development does c4 and e4 give? 2.c4 only frees your queen. 2.e4 frees your king's bishop, and since you have already developed your king's knight, you are giving yourself a chance to develop your kingside and castle early. This is important if you like to open up the board early, as you seem to with 3.d4. Note also that 2.c4 takes a square that your king's bishop might go to; whereas 2.e4 does not block the development of any piece. So, if you like the idea of playing the 1.Nf3 opening aggressively, after 1...c5 2.e4 makes more sense to me. The player with the a safe king and comparatively advanced development is the one who (often) benefits more from opening the center.

    Now, looking at the move 3.d4, ask yourself why make this move. Don't push wood just to get a pawn in the center. You want to control the center, and preferably (perhaps) get two pawns in the center. The question is how can the pawns be defended and do this. You can't play f3 and after c4 and e4 the move d3 is dubious because your king's bishop is hemmed in, and playing g2 to fianchetto it involves yet another pawn move, while meanwhile your opponent may be developing pieces (and besides, your bishop on g2 would be blocked by your own pawn on e4). So playing e4 gives you in effect an isolated pawn that is hard to defend.

    Another argument against 3.d4 is that you are trying to build an advantage in the opening. Simply trading off your developed pieces without a plan to turn piece exchanges into a positional or tactical advantage, is simply playing for a draw. Edit: I'm not saying that such an exchange can't do this, under better circumstances, but here I'm not sure this is the case. Would it be better to play e3 and d4 to keep two pawns in the center? This paragraph is probably the weakest point of my feedback, so perhaps greenpawn has something to say here.

    I'm running out of online time now but perhaps I'll add more another day. Meanwhile someone like greenpawn can kibbitz on my feedback, adding his own two bits.
  8. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    07 Oct '10 02:51 / 1 edit
    My advice is start out slow- play few games, figure out just exactly how you propose to divide your time, effort etc. Work deeply and research the openings you are playing. A lot of openings that work in OTB/Blitz will not have a prayer in CC versus a real player. You will quickly learn to win in CC you will need to look deeper than you might be used to-

    As you gain confidence in your openings add more games, and focus on middle game positions and transitions into the endgame.

    etc...

    edit- hmm, this sounds like an openings book promo... time to buy IM lakdalwala's book on the london!
  9. 07 Oct '10 08:17
    Originally posted by nimzo5
    My advice is start out slow- play few games, figure out just exactly how you propose to divide your time, effort etc. Work deeply and research the openings you are playing. A lot of openings that work in OTB/Blitz will not have a prayer in CC versus a real player. You will quickly learn to win in CC you will need to look deeper than you might be used to-

    ...[text shortened]... hmm, this sounds like an openings book promo... time to buy IM lakdalwala's book on the london!
    before i accept a challenge i try to look at my opponents games, get a feel for how they play, what they like and what they do not. Its not always possible, but i find it helps to prepare ones mind for what to expect. I tend to play my friends over and over again, and guess what, they make the same kind of mistakes, over and over again, see to it and you shall do well!
  10. 07 Oct '10 08:22
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    "(with the stamps and envelopes)" when was the last time anyone here
    received a letter. I mean a real handwritten letter from a friend?
    Yesterday as it happens. It also contains the latest move in a long running game I have been playing. So a proper letter, handwritten and it has proper correspondence chess in it!

    I think he's cheating actually, he has a sort of John Bull printing kit for chess. I get this fancy diagram of the position before and after his move stamped onto the page every time he makes a move. I write out FENs by hand. If it's not cheating it's heresy! Handwritten should mean handwritten, not half handwritten and half rubber stamped.
  11. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    07 Oct '10 17:14
    Originally posted by caa55
    Hello,

    I'm curious how most of you approach your games here on RHP. That is, do you work out the variations in your head and 'visualize' as if you're playing OTB or do you physically play out and record the variations more like a serious correspondence player?

    Of course the second method can take much longer to determine your move and I suspect raise one ...[text shortened]... this and haven't decided on which approach to take.

    thanks for any feedback.
    chuck
    I approach RHP games as a laboratory and testbed for new ideas or ideas I haven't tried before.

    I play new openings to try things I might consider playing OTB, or to simply expose me to new ideas and positions. I have been focusing on mastering the "two move combo" and on my endings.


    This may sound silly, but I cut the pgn for each game, paste it into chessbase, and analyze there. I always cut and paste because it ensures that I have the accurate notation every time- I have made mistakes just adding moves, not realizing I skipped one.

    I also use the analysis board occasionally instead, but I have noticed that the process of cutting and pasting slows me down and reduces my errors- when I don't do it and just move, I tend to blunder a bit more.

    I am a perfect example of Greenpawn34's tendency to blunder looking at a screen. My vision is a little challenged in some respects, and (for instance) I sometimes miss bishops on diagonals (like they appear to "switch diagonals" on me), and get surprised when I sign back on to a game.

    I'm also a big chess bookaholic, and I like to play games here to test ideas I read in the notes, to see if the author was on to something, or just smoking something. You learn about authors quick that way!
  12. 08 Oct '10 03:02
    I wrote:

    "Now, looking at the move 3.d4, ask yourself why make this move. Don't push wood just to get a pawn in the center."

    Sorry, I meant 5.e4, as can be seen from the rest of the paragraph from which this sentence was taken.
  13. 08 Oct '10 12:56
    Thanks for the comments and suggestions.
    chuck
  14. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    08 Oct '10 19:28
    I look at my opponent's move, wonder how I missed it last move. I then click the analysis set, put up candidate moves, flip the board, look at opponent's possible moves. When I believe I have found the strongest move, I then click to send it. I then realize I made the second move in a combination, then I click resign.
    Pretty simple stuff.
  15. 08 Oct '10 19:31 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by caa55
    Hello,

    I'm curious how most of you approach your games here on RHP. That is, do you work out the variations in your head and 'visualize' as if you're playing OTB or do you physically play out and record the variations more like a serious correspondence player?

    Of course the second method can take much longer to determine your move and I suspect raise one this and haven't decided on which approach to take.

    thanks for any feedback.
    chuck
    I approach them very stealthily lest they run away.