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  1. 16 May '06 00:01
    I am specifically asking high rated players, like players 1700+, how important are tactics for improving your game? Are they really as important as noted by teachers. When making a study plan for a beginner(1200 or below) like me, should tactics be the central focus?
  2. 16 May '06 00:52
    below master level, almost all chess games are decided on tactics (or time outs)
  3. Standard member bosintang
    perpetualEditMonkey
    16 May '06 01:35 / 2 edits
    I'm not 1700plus, but I struggled through the 1000-1200 stage like anyone else, so I think I'm qualified to answer this.

    Chess tactics are very important. The vast majority of games will be decided by tactics. But I think its not all a beginner should be learning.

    Here are some other suggestions:

    - The aim in chess to checkmate your opponent. We can break this goal down into subgoals: controlling space, time, and material. What does these mean and how do we achieve this?

    - What are the three parts of a chess game (opening, middle, end)? What is the general goal common to all openings and what principles can we follow? or in the middle games and end games?

    - The pieces: how do they move? What is their value? When are they strong and when are they weak?

    - The pawns: What are isolated pawns, doubled pawns, backwards pawns, pawn chains, pawn levers, pawn islands, pawn minorities/majorities?

    - Basic checkmates/endgames: Whats the minimum amount of material needed for checkmate? How do you accomplish these checkmates?

    Finally, once a beginner is comfortable playing chess, they should start playing through annotated classic chess games.

    http://www.academicchess.org is great for this.
  4. Standard member thesonofsaul
    King of the Ashes
    16 May '06 04:16
    I have serious attention and memory problems, so my game is dominated almost completely by tactics, and my rating here has been hovering around the 1600 mark. So I would say tactics can get you that far--after that you need to start with the stratagies and memory.
  5. 16 May '06 04:59
    naah importance of tactics is way overrated. It is much more beneficial to study K+P vs. K+N endgames than tactics.
  6. 16 May '06 07:25
    As a 2000 ELO player, I can attest that tactics are still the most important thing up to my level and beyond. However, you can help your cause by trying to ensure that the position is likely to yield tactics in your favour. If you like open positions where the person who calculates the tactics best will win, then learn how to open up positions. If you prefer closed positions with loads of maneuvering, then learn how to keep the position closed.

    Whatever you do, tactics of some sort are likely to crop up in most games you play, and you have to learn how to calculate. In my opinion beginners tend to spend far too much time learning openings and the time would be better spent playing blitz chess where you can sharpen your calculating skills very quickly. Yahoo chess is a great place for this.
  7. 16 May '06 09:10
    Originally posted by Fat Lady
    As a 2000 ELO player, I can attest that tactics are still the most important thing up to my level and beyond. However, you can help your cause by trying to ensure that the position is likely to yield tactics in your favour. If you like open positions where the person who calculates the tactics best will win, then learn how to open up positions. If you prefe ...[text shortened]... ere you can sharpen your calculating skills very quickly. Yahoo chess is a great place for this.
    I'd agree with the first part. The point of strategy (at this level) is to increase the chances that tactical opportunities arise for you and not your opponent.

    But I'm not sure about the second. Most beginners' matches are decided by blunders. You can go a fair way by cutting out the most obvious mistakes. And I think playing games at the longer timescales is more useful for that than blitz matches.
  8. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    16 May '06 09:19
    Originally posted by Fat Lady
    ... the time would be better spent playing blitz chess where you can sharpen your calculating skills very quickly. Yahoo chess is a great place for this.
    so what's your take on that many (most) people gain next to nothing playing thousands of blitz-games? and for some it apparently works. is there different ways of blitzing, some more beneficial than others? what do you think?

    about the topic: there was an article posted a while ago, where a WGM was helping candidate masters to make the next step. it was about rigorous tactical training, and it got some of them from around 2200 to about 2400. so clearly tactics still are a big issue even on the higher levels.
  9. 16 May '06 10:52
    Originally posted by chesskid001
    I am specifically asking high rated players, like players 1700+, how important are tactics for improving your game? Are they really as important as noted by teachers. When making a study plan for a beginner(1200 or below) like me, should tactics be the central focus?
    It’s ok to consider what works in general for the majority, but your primary guide has to be your weaknesses and needs. And this is done by analysing your games… not just the moves, but also your thoughts during each game.

    It could be that you can’t recognise pins and forks easily enough. So, you do training in this area and continue to monitor this aspect of your game play. However, maybe you can sufficiently recognise tactics, but instead you’ve got a problem with concentration and playing too fast. This could have similar symtoms, but to overcome it you’ll need different training than the pins and forks puzzles mentioned in the first example.

    Many people wrongly assume that every player with a similar grade plays the same. They don’t. In fact, sometimes a 1600 and a 2000 player can have more in common than two 1600s, in terms of what weaknesses they need to work on (albeit at different levels).

    Some people emphasise how often “club player” games are decided by tactics. This is true. But I don’t agree that it automatically places tactics as the main priority for all club players. As I suggested before, many players can’t e.g. concentrate for long enough. So they occassionally get too careless and lose to a tactic. But this is not a tactics issue; it’s a concentration issue. Etc. etc. Your games will tell you what’s going wrong and whether or not your current training is making a difference or not.
  10. 16 May '06 11:56
    Originally posted by Varenka
    As I suggested before, many players can’t e.g. concentrate for long enough.
    yes. this so called "Homer Simpson syndrom" is pretty common among club players.
  11. 16 May '06 13:50
    I don't know if this is tactics. But this past week I lost a game and won a game on simple one-move decisions that i made and my opponent made badly. Each led to mate pretty quickly. If you had shown me these diagrams in a book and asked me to choose a move and i took five minutes to look around, i'm sure i would have picked a better move. I'm sure my opponent would have to. But since there wasn't a narrator over my shoulder whispering, "choose the best move," I felt i didn't have to be careful. and that's the key. "being careful" will raise your rating at least 200 points in my opinion. that is, take time to think 1. what can my opponent do to me (examine ALL moves). If that's clear, then, what move can i make to damage my opponent (all moves). lastly, what can he do to me AFTER i make my move (very important). That last step cost me dearly because i neglected to look. It sounds stupidly simple, but it's true. It enables people to live longer and win games: Be careful! I guess people are fishing for a more sophisticated, subtle answer, but there isn't any.
  12. Standard member Red Night
    RHP Prophet
    16 May '06 17:37
    Originally posted by chesskid001
    I am specifically asking high rated players, like players 1700+, how important are tactics for improving your game? Are they really as important as noted by teachers. When making a study plan for a beginner(1200 or below) like me, should tactics be the central focus?
    Read "My System" by Nimzovitch
  13. Standard member ark13
    Enola Straight
    16 May '06 20:10
    Originally posted by Siskin
    below master level, almost all chess games are decided on tactics (or time outs)
    But that's only because they have an at least fundamental grasp of strategy. Even if you were a tactical genius, you couldn't beat anyone higher than 1700 without some strategical knowledge. You have to be in a decent position to employ tactics to your advantage.
  14. 17 May '06 01:13
    Learn the basic stuff, read some books and then tactics tactics tactics.

    That will help you improve from 1200 the fastest.