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  1. 30 Dec '06 22:41
    This is how I did it in OTB but on Rhp it would be a lot easier.

    1.Tactics are still very important here. Do at least 5 puzzles a day. Not just checkmate puzzles but actually tactic and combination ones.

    2.Stop being lazy and analyses your own game. Get a notebook out, sit down in front of a board and analyses your game. Then compare your analysis with a chess program.

    3.Make sure you read a basic endgame book. Something like Bruce P. Endgame course should be enough.

    4.Get some chess books and start reading them. I've read a lot of books over the 2 years. All of them were good and helpful to get to 1800. See my blog for the list.

    5.Now is the time to focus on openings. Before it wasn't important, games were not won because of openings. But at the 1800 level, they start to make a difference. You don't have to study all of them indepth.

    Since about 50% of the time you get White and you chose the opening, then you should study that one.

    So if you play 1.e4 as white, then study that. What does your opponent mostly play after 1.e4? 1...c5 and 1...e5 right.

    So study 1.e4 c5 and 1...e5. It doesn't have to be very detailed. Something like the starting out series is perfectly fine!

    Starting Out: the Sicilian etc... Great book!


    So that is it. On Rhp this is easier because you have access to db's and can use the analysis board for calculations.

    Rahim K
  2. Standard member Dragon Fire
    Lord of all beasts
    30 Dec '06 23:51 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by RahimK
    [b]This is how I did it in OTB but on Rhp it would be a lot easier.

    1.Tactics are still very important here. Do at least 5 puzzles a day. Not just checkmate puzzles but actually tactic and combination ones.

    2.Stop being lazy and analyses your own game. Get a notebook out, sit down in front of a board and analyses your game. Then compare your analysis wi because you have access to db's and can use the analysis board for calculations.

    Rahim K
    [/b]1. On studying openings this is 100% right. 50% of the time you are white and perhaps 50% of those games your opponent replies 1. ... e5 and 35% of the time 1. ... c5 so 42.5% of all your games are these 2 openings.

    You need to get control. There are still a lot of options to follow these moves but I play 2. f4 in response to 1. ... e5 and 2. d4 in response to 1. ... c5. Why? Partly because I enjoy gambits and the sharp open games that generally arise but mainly because these force the issue and there is less theory for me to learn. By focusing on it well you will excell at these openings.

    Its harder to force the issue as black but with limited resources and limited time to make efforts focusing on the most common openings you are likely to face will produce the most dramatic results. So what if you lose to the occasional Danish!

    2. Tactics are always important! The more you work on them the less stupid blunders you will make. I am afraid I must confess I don't work on them (I just do the occasional puzzle in BCM whilst in the restroom) and am still prone to the most horrendous errors as a result, although rumour has it that even World Champions can miss a mate in 1. (we don't believe that rumour, do we?

    3. Absolutely always analyse the games you lost to find out why you went wrong and how to improve next time, then confirm it with Fritz but try to avoid doing it with Fritz as that makes you lazy and you don't learn from it. Annotate your chess book with the lines and improvements you find and keep details in a database so you can refer to and use later. If you get a chance analyse your draws and finally look at your wins to see if you could improve. A common fault at this level is that we assume 1500 players will be easy and get careless with our moves.

    4. You need a couple of good books. Money will be an issue so don't go for anything too specialised yet. I find Batsford, Modern Chess Openings is a great general purpose opening bible but it explains little on the ideas behind the lines. For this you need more specialised books but save your money until you know which lines of which openings you want to play.

    A good endgame reference manual is important. This will tell you how to mate with B&N (you already have no trouble with anything better than 2Bs don't you?) but also Q vs R, Q v B, Q v N, R v B and R v N, B v N, etc with and without additioanl pawns on the board. Its all you need in the short term. More detailed endgame books are useful but you don't get to choose your endgames and unless you can affford them all it is better to get those opening books.
  3. Standard member Amaurote
    No Name Maddox
    31 Dec '06 00:15 / 1 edit
    Thanks for starting this one, RahimK - very interesting as usual. I think (5) is the one that has been preying on my mind for a long time, but I've acted too sporadically - the tactical side is very important, and I'm beginning to wonder whether playing the English so often has atrophied the limited tactical ability I already have.
  4. 31 Dec '06 00:26
    Originally posted by Amaurote
    Thanks for starting this one, RahimK - very interesting as usual. I think (5) is the one that has been preying on my mind for a long time, but I've acted too sporadically - the tactical side is very important, and I'm beginning to wonder whether playing the English so often has atrophied the limited tactical ability I already have.
    Openings are hard and boring for me. I'm not a big opening fan and to be honest my first real opening book I read was in Dec last year after I was 1700+. I read Starting Out: The Sicilian and it was brillant!!

    Very simple and easy to read, wasn't very detailed. It went over the main variations and gave you a few same games for each variation.

    I know some people get a trill out of reading specific opening books which go in depth for everything but this basic book was okay I think for my level. You can check out the book layout at amazon and see if you like it.

    To me the English is pretty dry compared to other openings. I don't see to many tactics in english games and I like wide open games compared to positional ones.

    Do you play OTB or just Rhp games?

    If you have your OTB games in a db (or even Rhp games but it's not as useful since sometimes on Rhp, people just mess around and don't try) then check out your % wins in the english and then decide if you want to stay with the english or try something else.

    If you still want to stick with the english then there are 6 lectures on chess.fm on the english opening. You have to sign up, I think they still give 7 days for free for guest and you can watch the lectures. I watched the first 4 several months ago.
  5. Standard member Amaurote
    No Name Maddox
    31 Dec '06 00:42
    Originally posted by RahimK
    Openings are hard and boring for me. I'm not a big opening fan and to be honest my first real opening book I read was in Dec last year after I was 1700+. I read Starting Out: The Sicilian and it was brillant!!

    Very simple and easy to read, wasn't very detailed. It went over the main variations and gave you a few same games for each variation.

    I know som ...[text shortened]... or free for guest and you can watch the lectures. I watched the first 4 several months ago.
    Yes, I have to confess, I have quite a few opening books, but I've only recently started to read them properly - and during that period I seem to be making more rudimentary blunders: it's always been the weakest part of my game by a long way, and that's why I tend to play positional openings (French Defence as Black, although in my defence I'm starting to use the Winawer after finding the Classical far too drawish for my tastes) and avoid sharp openings like the KG. The English is unattractive at times, but I always feel more confident when I'm playing it - it usually guarantees that I survive against stronger opponents (mainly here, but also OTB) until the late middlegame at the latest, and provides me with greater opportunity to learn from them. Ultimately that's only so much use, and while I would never play the KG (most of my regular opponents answer e4 with the CK or the FD, not 1...e5 or the Sicilian), I will probably look to play d4 more often in the future, if only because I've started answering 1.d4 with the QGA along Rizzitano's lines.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice - I shall buy an endgame manual at some point soon, but the scrappy annotations I've been making on my own games will be replaced by some more thought-out ones now: I've had Fritz maybe eighteen months and I've probably switched it on to analyze games about fifteen times in that period...and at least six of those were for the inmates in the tournament I was supervising...sheer laziness on my part.
  6. 31 Dec '06 01:24
    Originally posted by Amaurote
    Yes, I have to confess, I have quite a few opening books, but I've only recently started to read them properly - and during that period I seem to be making more rudimentary blunders: it's always been the weakest part of my game by a long way, and that's why I tend to play positional openings (French Defence as Black, although in my defence I'm starting to u ...[text shortened]... were for the inmates in the tournament I was supervising...sheer laziness on my part.
    They also have 2 lectures on the winawer on

    chess.fm

    I haven't watched either of them yet.
  7. 31 Dec '06 02:01 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by RahimK
    This is how I did it in OTB but on Rhp it would be a lot easier.

    1.Tactics are still very important here. Do at least 5 puzzles a day. Not just checkmate puzzles but actually tactic and combination ones.

    2.Stop being lazy and analyses your own game. Get a notebook out, sit down in front of a board and analyses your game. Then compare your analysis wi because you have access to db's and can use the analysis board for calculations.

    Rahim K
    It's finally arrived, and just on time!

    Thanks Rahim. One non-sub rec for you.
  8. 31 Dec '06 08:24
    Originally posted by RahimK
    [b]This is how I did it in OTB but on Rhp it would be a lot easier.

    1.Tactics are still very important here. Do at least 5 puzzles a day. Not just checkmate puzzles but actually tactic and combination ones.

    2.Stop being lazy and analyses your own game. Get a notebook out, sit down in front of a board and analyses your game. Then compare your analysis wi ...[text shortened]... because you have access to db's and can use the analysis board for calculations.

    Rahim K
    I don't understand how to analyze games with a notebook. Can you explain that to me please?
  9. Standard member Dragon Fire
    Lord of all beasts
    31 Dec '06 10:42
    Originally posted by krim
    I don't understand how to analyze games with a notebook. Can you explain that to me please?
    [/b]Pen and paper, my friend.
  10. 31 Dec '06 10:56
    Originally posted by Dragon Fire
    Pen and paper, my friend.[/b]
    what do I write though is what I mean...
  11. Standard member Amaurote
    No Name Maddox
    31 Dec '06 10:59
    Originally posted by RahimK
    They also have 2 lectures on the winawer on

    chess.fm

    I haven't watched either of them yet.
    Cheers, should supplement the stuff I've been reading lately - one thing I will say about rhp is that the tournaments (which I used to hate) are quite helpful now they combine set-piece openings.
  12. 31 Dec '06 11:40
    Originally posted by krim
    what do I write though is what I mean...
    Try http://www.exeterchessclub.org.uk/assess.html for an overview of what to look for.

    At various stages of the game if you can identify a turning point in the game where, for example, you or your opponent played a move and you felt the balance of the game shifted, analyse that position and look at alternatives moves.

    What you write probably ought to reflect your thought processes, what you were thinking at the time and how you think you would improve if you were confronted with the situation again.

    Look for the Dragon Fire thread where he analysed a few games of another player (perhaps someone could help with a link - the one where DF analysed an
  13. 31 Dec '06 14:53
    Originally posted by krim
    what do I write though is what I mean...
    Everyone likes to work in their own way. I'll mention some of my personal preferences just to give an idea of one approach...

    - I prefer using pen and paper rather than annotating with software (e.g. Chessbase). Software is better for tracking and editing lots of variations, but I find that I can force myself to think about chess more when the PC is switched off.

    - get to know and use the standard chess annotation symbols as used in Informator. I frequently use the symbols for "better is", "with the idea of", "White is winning", etc.

    - whenever you identify a mistake, always highlight an improvement. It's not a mistake unless there is something better.

    - there are at least two types of comments that you want to add
    - comments specific to your chess thinking. e.g. "I played too quickly in this position and overlooked my opponent's reply". These comments will help identify your most common and significant weaknesses
    - chess specific comments. e.g. "White's extra space is allowing him to organise his attack quicker than Black's cramped pieces". These comments aim to further your understanding of chess.

    - add a "conclusion/summary" section and cover the main factors of the game. Include the most important lessons you need to learn from it. e.g. "I must learn to play slower when I have plenty of time to do so".

    - not always, but sometimes it is useful to do some of the following:
    - take two different points in the game and explicitly compare how the position has changed. e.g. "Note that between positions A and B, White got rid of his weak pawn on e4 by...... he also activated his poorly placed knight on a3.... meanwhile Black's kingside pawn structure has became weakened due to the moves......" etc. This method is especially useful when trying to determine how, e.g., a level position became a lost position.
    - choose a piece (e.g. White's light squared bishop) and comment on its role for the entire game. Which squares did it go to? What did it do on each of these squares? Was it eventually exchanged off? If so, why? Maybe do something similar with a focus on pawn structure.
    - for a given move or idea/plan that you played in the game, tell yourself "ok, now assume that I have to do something else.... what alternatives can I come up with?". If you make the same choices today as you did yesterday, then tomorrow you will play no better.
  14. 31 Dec '06 20:08
    thanks, i never realized this type of analysis. I think it will help me greatly.
  15. 31 Dec '06 21:31
    Originally posted by krim
    I don't understand how to analyze games with a notebook. Can you explain that to me please?
    Write down your ideas in a position. There are some moves you may consider immediately and others you have a glance or two at.

    Writing down your ideas is important as later when reviewing the position you can see the shortcomings/things you overlooked.