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  1. Standard member iru
    08 Aug '11 07:45
    I guess I am not the first one to be frustrated by the lack of progress but it doesn't make it easier: during last year my FIDE rating dropped from 1700 to 1600, I didn't win even a single OTB game in a year and in recent rapid tournament had worse results than a year ago. I do tactics and study endgames, occasionally work on strategy and master games, play OTB for a club (1-2 games per month) and rapids on FICS, used to play CC but recently stopped for different reasons. Yet no progress – just on the contrary.

    I can see 3 possibilities for the future:
    1) drop chess altogether
    2) convince myself that the result is not important and just enjoy playing and learning
    3) invest more time in chess but I am afraid it will interfere with my work and family life

    I will appreciate any comments and ideas.
  2. 08 Aug '11 09:10
    I'd say, go for 2. Although chess is intellectually demanding, it still is just a game, intended for spending time while having fun.

    Compare it to football. I don't know any professional players, but most of my friends like to play it from time to time. And even after hours of practice, we wouldn't get much better...

    It seems as if you have played a large amount of games in the past, so I guess you 'like' (or at least liked) the game. So, try to find the fun again. Otherwise, if your aim was to get a very high rating, you may need a break.

    Good luck.
  3. 08 Aug '11 10:39 / 3 edits
    Cannot give no adive without seeing any OTB games.
    You need to post two OTB games (one with each colour and losses).

    Without looking you could be ready for a big leap up.
    Only gifted players go straight up. Mere mortals go up three steps and back two
    as they assimilate new ideas and it take time to gel.

    Plans A & B

    Instead of having a job to support family, get family to take jobs to support you.

    Move lock and stock and barrel to Pienza, a small town in the Tuscany region of Italy,
    approx 250 miles from Rome. There you will find a chess club and the highest
    graded player is 1498 (ask for Alberto, he's not very good).
    Playing him will boost your morale.

    Hope this helps.
  4. Subscriber Ragwortonline
    Ex Duris Gloria
    08 Aug '11 12:07
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Cannot give no adive without seeing any OTB games.
    You need to post two OTB games (one with each colour and losses).

    Without looking you could be ready for a big leap up.
    Only gifted players go straight up. Mere mortals go up three steps and back two
    as they assimilate new ideas and it take time to gel.

    Plans A & B

    Instead of having a job to ...[text shortened]... ask for Alberto, he's not very good).
    Playing him will boost your morale.

    Hope this helps.
    Alberto will soon be a much better player if GP keeps sending these stronger players over for him to practice against!
  5. Subscriber Ragwortonline
    Ex Duris Gloria
    08 Aug '11 12:23
    Originally posted by iru
    I guess I am not the first one to be frustrated by the lack of progress but it doesn't make it easier: during last year my FIDE rating dropped from 1700 to 1600, I didn't win even a single OTB game in a year and in recent rapid tournament had worse results than a year ago. I do tactics and study endgames, occasionally work on strategy and master games, play OTB ...[text shortened]... id it will interfere with my work and family life

    I will appreciate any comments and ideas.
    Clearly your training or study is geared to somewhere other than where you actually are.

    If you have time for nothing else look first at your own games. Chess is a thinking/mind game and you have to understand as far you can what is going on in your own mind as you were playing to draw some conclusions as to why you lost, didn't see what the opponent saw, followed the wrong track, missed a tactic, whatever it was.

    Some other thoughts which are open to debate of course:

    Stop playing rapids on the Internet. It is a distraction that only serves to reinforce your current bad thinking habits, and develops superficiality. Stop worrying about tactics. Everyone knows that sacrifices, double attacks, distractions blows exist, just start looking for them in your games for both sides, right from the off, and in the post mortem analysis afterwards. I reckon the human brain is naturally lazy and finds all these absorbing ways, like chess forums, books, blitz and tactics sites to convince you that it is working hard on chess when in reality it isn't. Make sure you go through your games with the opponent afterwards. Note how the weaker players speak in vague positional terms about the game where as the stronger ones will show you some of the variations they were considering. How did what you saw compare?

    Enjoy all this extra freed up time with your family, attend your chess club mentally refreshed and free from guilt!
  6. 08 Aug '11 13:46 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Ragwort
    Alberto will soon be a much better player if GP keeps sending these stronger players over for him to practice against!
    I am afraid not. Game 4108823 from when he used to play on here 4 years ago.

    I popped in to see him and give him a game on my way to Rome to see the Pope.



    (I plucked the name Alberto out of the air. I had no idea there was a lad
    on here using tha nik. He's gone now, perhaps chess was not his game.)

    PS: Good post Ragwort.
  7. Donation ketchuplover
    G.O.A.T.
    08 Aug '11 14:16
    Everybody plays the chess fool sometimes.
  8. 08 Aug '11 21:10
    Originally posted by iru
    I guess I am not the first one to be frustrated by the lack of progress but it doesn't make it easier: during last year my FIDE rating dropped from 1700 to 1600, I didn't win even a single OTB game in a year and in recent rapid tournament had worse results than a year ago. I do tactics and study endgames, occasionally work on strategy and master games, play OTB ...[text shortened]... id it will interfere with my work and family life

    I will appreciate any comments and ideas.
    My guess at first glance is that its tactical. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that tactics are just something you learn once and they stick with you forever. They don't. Tactics are like a muscle and have to be exercised constantly. Usually when people start slipping that's the first place I would look.

    But, if you want to systemtically take your game apart this is how I would do it:


    Make a list of all the games that cover the period you're talking about. Go through each one with an engine and/or strong player and identify the losing move of the game and why you made it. Also divide the game into phases- opening,middle end and note how played in each phase. For example- I would identify the end of the opening and then evaluate the position - my own opinion, Fritz's opinion, any other engines, look at every book I could get my hands on, databases and stronger players. After that you should be able to objectively evaluate and rate your play in that phase. Do similar things things for middle and endgames.

    After you do that you should be able to identify patterns. Make a list of most prevelant mistakes to least. Then correct those using whatever means is most appropriate. For example if you lost half your games because you missed knight forks then spend time doing knight move drills. If its strategic then get a bunch of books that cover the subject and play through the games. If you're consistently losing in one particular opening then figure out why and either improve your play or avoid playing those lines.

    Next, start playing slow games and develop the habit of correcting the mistakes you used to make. Gradually increase the speed until you're no longer making those mistakes even in fast games.

    And lastly, Spend a couple weeks to a month on heavy immersion in tactics and practicing all the things you already know (like endgames) as if you were about to play an important tournament.

    If none of that works, then its probably a motivation or concentration issue in which case a break from the game might do some good. Then when you come back change your approach. Maybe play some new openings, read some new books and try to change your outlook.
  9. 08 Aug '11 21:28
    Originally posted by greenpawn34

    Move lock and stock and barrel to Pienza, a small town in the Tuscany region of Italy,
    approx 250 miles from Rome. There you will find a chess club and the highest
    graded player is 1498 (ask for Alberto, he's not very good).
    Playing him will boost your morale.

    Hope this helps.
    or just take a break from playing for a while... then move to italy refreshed and ready to kick alberto's ass.

    the chess forum wouldn't be the same without you greenpawn, keep it up.
  10. 08 Aug '11 22:13
    Originally posted by iru
    I guess I am not the first one to be frustrated by the lack of progress but it doesn't make it easier: during last year my FIDE rating dropped from 1700 to 1600, I didn't win even a single OTB game in a year and in recent rapid tournament had worse results than a year ago. I do tactics and study endgames, occasionally work on strategy and master games, play OTB ...[text shortened]... id it will interfere with my work and family life

    I will appreciate any comments and ideas.
    You could be on the brink of an upward jump,although a year seems quite long.
    No games so no specific advice,but I'll give a good training method.In my opinion THE best method for amateurs like us.

    First you get yourself a collection of games,a book or download from the internet and print them out.
    If you have a chess hero get his,if not any will do.
    Next get two sheets of paper,a pen and,dare I say it,a set and board.

    Come back!You will have fun,I promise 🙂

    Now you open the book,take the side that won (or your hero's side),play aprox. the first 10 moves and cover the rest.
    Then you try to guess what's the next move for the side you chose and do this tillthe end of the game.
    Whenever your move is different from the game write it down on the other sheet.Afterwards you try to figure out if your move was wrong and why.
    When you've really made an effort and done the best you can then,and only then,ask a strong player to go over it with you.If this is no option,you check those moves with an engine.

    Don't underestimate this!It requires a serious effort,it's the long,hard thinking about each move,both during and after the game,that will provide the later benefit.
    But I've never seen it fail.And it's fun!
  11. 09 Aug '11 00:05
    If you are still with us IRU you need to post the two games.
    (I think he really has gone to Italy).

    If you cannot do the PGN thingy thing just post the bare score one of the lads
    with PGN it for you. (no need to add full names.)
  12. Subscriber dzirilli
    Duchampion
    09 Aug '11 03:15
    Be very careful playing OTB in Pienza. It gets very windy there.
  13. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    09 Aug '11 03:55
    Originally posted by dzirilli
    Be very careful playing OTB in Pienza. It gets very windy there.
    Yeah, that's right- it was the wind that tipped my king over...
  14. Standard member iru
    09 Aug '11 05:27
    First of all I'd like to thank everybody who answered in this thread: I'll consider your ideas carefully.

    Ragwort, by rapid games I mean something like 15m + 15s/move. I don't think it should be that bad. Of course it's more intuition and less calculation. But in classic OTB game when you get into time trouble that's the speed you have go with. Ideally I should be probably playing classic 120 min games but I can't spend that much time routinely. And with slow CC games there's another problem – they reinforce bad habit of not taking a decision, postponing it for later.

    torten, sometimes I do training similar to what you advice. When I want to follow master game from a book I open PGN in Arena interface, hide the movelist and try to guess each move for both sides. Then I compare 3 analyses: mine, from engine and from the book. And you are absolutely right – it is a serious effort.

    As I see it my main problem are the oversights. They are not necessarily blunders just quite often I get surprised by my opponents' moves which means my thinking lacks some structure and I don't analyze all his possible replies carefully. And then of course mistakes in strategy and insufficient endgame skills add to it. That’s why my training priorities are: tactics, endgames, strategy.

    greenpawn34, I should consider Pienza seriously, just love Tuscany. Here in my club in Geneva the average rating is well above 1800 so am feeling quite uncomfortable. That's quite different from CC site where I used to play and with 1750 was at top 15%.

    And finally here are my 2 OTB losses – first with white against 1550, second with black against 1700.



  15. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    09 Aug '11 13:21
    Iru- Thanks for posting your games, after going over them I think I have a couple ideas for you.

    It is critical to operate with a plan. In both games it seems that you struggled to find a plan and execute it. Rf1 in the first game seemed very strange to me- why open the file just to evacuate it? In the second game your knight sortie followed by the Queen shuffle was another example.

    Closed positions tend to be very difficult for club level players- largely because when you move beyond calculation, club players haven't developed a large enough body of experience to accurately judge positions. No big surprise there, but it is particularly relevant to closed postions.

    The best way to counter this without hiring a coach is to collect several hundred closed position games and play through them looking for ideas you can copy into a notebook. Don't worry about getting every idea but by playing through a lot of games you will start to see typical moves and patterns that crop up.

    just my .02