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  1. Standard member anthias
    ambitious player
    25 Oct '06 17:03
    Which one should be studied first? (Which one did you study first?)

    -Openings (as in understanding the concept of it, not memorizing-it will come later)
    -Endings
    -Middlegame strategy (as in all of Silman's books and the GAMBIT Publications books-in my opinion anyway)
    -Tactics (solving problems and... solving more problems)

    I ask this because I realized that I always lose in games because of not knowing which one to study first. So I study all of them in bits, but forget the information quickly.
  2. 25 Oct '06 17:08
    Chess is usually studied from endgame to Openings. Even though openings have certain importance aswell as middlegames the weakest area for most (if not all) players and masters is the endgame. Logical moves and plans can get you through the opening and middlegame but the endgame requires much more study and in many cases it is more theoretical than the other sections of the game, I think thats why it is studied first. I won many games by simply trading off pieces and claiming superiority in the endgame. Jeremy Silman's books are very good in the sense of presenting imbalances which all players should try to keep in mind.
  3. 25 Oct '06 17:26
    Openings first, pointless being great at endgames if you get owned in the opening/middlegame, a good opening will give you a good solid middlegame postion and a good middlegame will leave you with a good end game.
  4. 25 Oct '06 17:29
    Tactics should be studied (along with endgames) untill you have reached a rating of ~1800. At this time you will want to start learning some advanced postitional play. Just make sure you are doing tactical problems every day. Once you achieve expert status buy a hoard of opening books.
  5. Standard member English Tal
    Phoneless
    25 Oct '06 17:32
    Originally posted by anthias
    Which one should be studied first? (Which one did you study first?)

    -Openings (as in understanding the concept of it, not memorizing-it will come later)
    -Endings
    -Middlegame strategy (as in all of Silman's books and the GAMBIT Publications books-in my opinion anyway)
    -Tactics (solving problems and... solving more problems)

    I ask this because I reali ...[text shortened]... g which one to study first. So I study all of them in bits, but forget the information quickly.
    The old-style Soviet training schools always stressed the endgame first, and who would argue with them?
    However, in the 'real world', it is important that a beginner understands basic openings and the reasoning behind them. After all, it is rare that a game can be won in the opening.... but it can certainly be lost!
    Therefore, to give a comparatively inexperienced player the ability to play 'good' for at least a part of the game, I personally feel that the openings need to come first....assuming that the King vs pieces mates etc in the endgame are understood, naturally.
  6. 25 Oct '06 17:37
    Originally posted by anthias
    Which one should be studied first? (Which one did you study first?)

    -Openings (as in understanding the concept of it, not memorizing-it will come later)
    -Endings
    -Middlegame strategy (as in all of Silman's books and the GAMBIT Publications books-in my opinion anyway)
    -Tactics (solving problems and... solving more problems)

    I ask this because I reali ...[text shortened]... g which one to study first. So I study all of them in bits, but forget the information quickly.
    I disagree with both of the other two.

    Opening Principles - See my post in Thread 50887. That is really all you need to know for now.

    Endings - be sure that you can execute any of the mates with just pieces and king vrs. king. It's not really necessary to be able to perform B + N + K vrs K, just look that up if you ever need it (it is a good exercise in piece coordination though). Finally a little bit of study of R + pawn vrs R games would be useful.

    Middlegame - Basic middlgame strategy is in 2 parts. 1. Do I have a plan (at a 1200 level, attack the king may be sufficient)? 2. Are my pieces active (do they perform a useful function, or do your pawns block them)? Place your pieces so they are active and play in that area of the board, don't drop pieces and you're fine.

    Tactics - Not dropping pieces/ pawns and conversly winning materiel off your opponent will decide 90% of your games. Therefor this is the most important section. Understand the basic ideas in the 3 areas of the game, execute basic mates, then study tactics tactics and more tactics (this is one of my many great deficiencys).
  7. 25 Oct '06 17:42
    in addition to what zebano said youl also find that many of your games can be determined by forks (mainly the knight) one of the best way to overcome this is to simply to vision drills. Place the king on a central square and then take a major piece and place it on any square and try to see if theres a possible knight fork, do this for every single square possible for the rook and youl get really good at spotting them. This is one of the worst ways to lose material at a low level.
  8. 25 Oct '06 18:06
    Tactics, Tactics, and more tactics.

    No point in learning other stuff when you keep losing pieces. Take your advantage and trade off material and you will have extra pieces to mate with. Why study the endgame?

    So tactics first, then the rest.
  9. 25 Oct '06 18:25
    Originally posted by RahimK
    Tactics, Tactics, and more tactics.

    No point in learning other stuff when you keep losing pieces. Take your advantage and trade off material and you will have extra pieces to mate with. Why study the endgame?

    So tactics first, then the rest.
    Why bother winning material if you cannot mate with it?
  10. 25 Oct '06 18:32 / 1 edit
    Assuming you are new/weak in all areas, tactics should be nearly your entire focus.

    However, once you have a solid tactical foundation, it makes a lot more sense to branch out a bit. I'd work on planning/positional play(Silman's books have already been recommended and I'll add my support for them), as they often set up the situations which will allow your tactical prowless to come into play. Endgames are another great choice - I've saved countless half-points over the board because I've known how to recognize my opponents' mistakes and capitalize on them in endgames they don't completely understand. Openings (beyond basic opening principles, of course) would be the last thing I'd worry about; which is not to say that they're unimportant, of course, but that you won't get as much value out of an hour of opening study as you will just about any other facet of the game this early in your studying. Most people, if they just follow the opening principles and are fairly tactically sound (and especially if they understand things like Silman's imbalances) won't come out of the opening with an unplayable game even if they've never memorized a variation.

    But, of course, everyone will give you different advice (except, I imagine, on the "start with tactics, tactics, tactics!" part). You need to figure out what works for you. And if you're not particularly worried about finding the "best" way to study, you could always just focus on whatever parts of the game interest you and go from there.
  11. 25 Oct '06 18:55 / 2 edits
    Now for my 2 cents.
    Openings. First, if you are playing correspondance chess, find a good website with opening tutorials and use them in the beginnings of your games... if your opponent opens with 1.e4 then research a bit about that opening online. Find the best reply which is 1...e5 and then go from there, this way you are having a real-life example of the opening and you will more easily remember the moves to play. Second. Find a solid line. KIA may work for some, but others won't like it. Find an opening that works.
    Now that you know how to move the pieces and you know some basic popular openings, then move into middle games. Learn the basic tactics: forks, pins, discovered attack. Find a game that has been already played and study the middle game. Ideally this game will involve an opening that you are familiar with and some basic tactical themes. Try to grasp the ideas behiend the moves that are played and try to recognize why the loser lost and why the winner won.

    Now that you have some perception of how an opening influences a middlegame we move to basic endgames... I would personally only look at R+K vs K because this is most common and you can mate the same way with Q+K vs K.

    Now that you see how mating occurs in some cases we move to tactics and we stay there. Study tactics as if it were synonymous with chess.

    Once you understand tactics you can move back to endgames. If you have kept researching opening positions that occur in your correspondance games then you would have already grasped openings fairly well. Study endgames until you understand many of the types, move back to tactics. Finally, study openings.

    Edit: I guess what I'm saying is that you should have some knowledge in all areas of the game before commiting yourself to tactics.
  12. Subscriber BigDoggProblem
    The Advanced Mind
    25 Oct '06 19:38
    Originally posted by anthias
    Which one should be studied first? (Which one did you study first?)

    -Openings (as in understanding the concept of it, not memorizing-it will come later)
    -Endings
    -Middlegame strategy (as in all of Silman's books and the GAMBIT Publications books-in my opinion anyway)
    -Tactics (solving problems and... solving more problems)

    I ask this because I reali ...[text shortened]... g which one to study first. So I study all of them in bits, but forget the information quickly.
    Tactics. At the beginner level, you'll win a lot of points by knowing some basic checkmates and/or using simple pins, forks, skewers to gain a material advantage.

    There's really not much point in learning the other three things until you have a basic grasp of tactics.
  13. 25 Oct '06 21:37
    I say openings first, but don't overdo it. Just learn what you want to play and the basics of your openings. Then move onto tactics.
  14. 25 Oct '06 23:41
    Originally posted by zebano
    Why bother winning material if you cannot mate with it?
    Ah Ha! I knew someone would say that, I just didn't have time when I wrote that.

    Any person can mate with 2 rooks or Queen + 2 rooks etc... eventually.

    You get my drift? Why bother studying other things when you want have a change to practise them because you keep dropping pieces.

    You know what I mean.

    So tactics, tactics.
  15. 25 Oct '06 23:44
    I'd say simple tactics, then basic endgames, then opening IDEAS (not actually memorizing and studying specific openings), then more complicated tactics, more complicated endgames, then finally opening lines.

    IMO you can get the first three done in a day or two