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  1. 17 May '08 12:55
    Hi, I’m currently battling around the 1200 mark and have only been playing chess for about six months so a real beginner but I love the game and want to get a lot better.

    For starters I have collected few chess book, two are problem collections and the other three are, batsfords modern chess opening, the art of the middle game(keres and kotov) and choosing a chess move by Andrew Soltis (batsford) in addition I also have chessmaster 10th ed.

    What I’ trying to find out is how to go about my studies. I currently have been working on the lines of playing as much as possible against as many differing opponents trying to get a feel for the board and the game/play. I am working my way though the drills and tutorials on CM and trying to get a good set of fundaments into my play. I have entered a tournament and have set myself the task of analysis for each game played within it as well as looking over my more interesting games that I have played outside. I know I have a lot of study to do and a lot of experience to gain.

    Also I know CM is more of a game and once I have completed the tutorials/drills I want to upgrade to a tool to aid my study as well as gameplay, I wondered what your advise would be?

    Also was wondering on your advice about how to break my study down, to ensure productive study and not neglecting vital areas of work?

    Thank you
  2. 17 May '08 13:14
    Tactics, tactics, tactics baby!
    I have these 2 & they're fantastic if you can put in say 20-30 minutes per day on average:

    0-1400
    Chess tactics for beginners
    http://products.convekta.com/198/2/

    1400+
    Ct-Art 3.0
    http://products.convekta.com/193/2/

    You'll absolutely hammer 1200's after a few weeks of doing these tactics drills & be a 14-1500 in no time.
  3. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    17 May '08 13:24 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Dem Ravenburg
    Hi, I’m currently battling around the 1200 mark and have only been playing chess for about six months so a real beginner but I love the game and want to get a lot better.

    For starters I have collected few chess book, two are problem collections and the other three are, batsfords modern chess opening, the art of the middle game(keres and kotov) and ...[text shortened]... k my study down, to ensure productive study and not neglecting vital areas of work?

    Thank you
    sounds like the thing you're missing is tactics. start doing them every day, the more the better, but a steady diet is more important than the quantity. it's by far the most important thing for a beginner.

    http://chess.emrald.net/


    chessmaster is a great way to get the basics. after you're done with it, fritz is the most common choice for 'serious' engine analysis. it also has some database functionality and master games. -it doesn't really matter that much which engine you use though, all of them will do a good enough job on the only thing they're useful for, which is finding tactics you missed. - don't pay too much attention to engines though, it won't get you anywhere. a human can't think in terms of alpha-beta pruning of the search tree, so there's no point in trying. engines simply play very differently from humans, although you'll now doubt run into vast amount of (beginning) players who will debate that to death.

    if you want to buy one more book, get chernev's "logical chess move by move". it'll teach you a lot of the basics of chess. don't use excessive time on studying specific openings, it's pretty much time wasted until you stop dropping material in practically every game, which is gonna continue to 1600-1800. basic opening principles will get you a long way with a tiny fraction of the study time.

    getting better at chess requires huge amount of persistent work and self dicipline, over a long time. we are talking about years and decades rather than months. everyone who got anywhere has done the legwork. there are no shortcuts.


    one more thing: memorizing a thing in chess is only 1% of the work. it won't get you very far. the rest 99% is repeating that thing on a board, until you can't get it wrong, no matter how drunk or tired you are.
  4. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    17 May '08 13:39 / 1 edit
    Just one thing:before you can go and do some tactical exercises you need to know what you are looking for. So my contribution is a link to a very good site that explains how tactics come about and how to recognise them: http://www.chesstactics.org/

    My own experinece with tactics was: not knowing about them, missing them in my games, knowing about them and spot some of them in my games, spotting more tactics and missing less of them and finally trying to create tactical situations on my games. I think this site really helped me on this and you should give it a try too.

    And if you're new in chess maybe you should start with the mating themes section and then go from the beginning.
  5. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    17 May '08 13:56
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    Just one thing:before you can go and do some tactical exercises you need to know what you are looking for. So my contribution is a link to a very good site that explains how tactics come about and how to recognise them: http://www.chesstactics.org/

    My own experinece with tactics was: not knowing about them, missing them in my games, knowing about th ...[text shortened]... w in chess maybe you should start with the mating themes section and then go from the beginning.
    very good point.
  6. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    17 May '08 14:07
    Originally posted by wormwood
    very good point.
    It's all about personal experience. I think I never liked chessemrald because when I tried for the first time I didn't even know what I was supposed to be trying to do. I don't know if you remember but sometime ago someone made a thread about him not understanding why a solution was a solution on chess emrald. He said something like: "They want me to give a rook for a pawn. No!" (one of the funniest things I heard here on CAW by the way.). So the guy obviously knew about the value of the pieces but he certainly didn't know about tactical themes. I didn't check what was the problem but I'm guessing it was some kind of line opening theme or something. And one other thing that obviously that person didn't have was calculating skills. And chesstactics helps a lot with all of that.

    For me this is similar to the following thought experience: Someone comes to you and says he's learning greek. Obviously you aren't going to give the works of Homer for him to read as a starter. First he has to learn the alphabet, then some commom sentences and then he can go and read original texts. and after a while he can go and graduate to Homer. But starting there would certainly be counter-productive.

    That's why every single time someone says on the forums that he/she wants to be better at chess I post that link.Because it helps nurturing the tools for some greater work later on.
  7. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    17 May '08 14:32 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    It's all about personal experience. I think I never liked chessemrald because when I tried for the first time I didn't even know what I was supposed to be trying to do. I don't know if you remember but sometime ago someone made a thread about him not understanding why a solution was a solution on chess emrald. He said something like: "They want me to post that link.Because it helps nurturing the tools for some greater work later on.
    yeah, I remember that. Thread 71619
  8. 17 May '08 14:38
    Originally posted by Dem Ravenburg
    Hi, I’m currently battling around the 1200 mark and have only been playing chess for about six months so a real beginner but I love the game and want to get a lot better.

    For starters I have collected few chess book, two are problem collections and the other three are, batsfords modern chess opening, the art of the middle game(keres and kotov) and ...[text shortened]... k my study down, to ensure productive study and not neglecting vital areas of work?

    Thank you
    This is what has worked for me:

    Beginner

    1. Know and understand the various tactical tools at your disposal (forks, pins, skewers, discovered attacks, double check, removing the guard, etc). Practice tactics. Read Winning Chess Tactics by Yasser Seirawan.

    2. Know general chess principles. At the same time understand that general principles are subordinate to the requirements of the position. Read Tao of Chess by Peter Kurzdorfer.

    3. Make sure you're not leaving pieces en prise.

    As I've improved:

    Intermediate

    * Know how to create and exploit a weakness.
    * Start to understand the various themes of the openings.
    * Play with a plan in mind.
    * Explore different chessic styles.
    * Always try to wrest the initiative from your opponent.

    Start with simple material and progress to more advanced work. I've just read the excellent The Art of the Middle Game by Keres and Kotov and while I got a lot from the sections by Kotov, the parts by Keres may have been a bit too advanced. This is not to say that I got nothing from them just that my reading time may have been better invested elsewhere. Another book I've just read is The Art of the Checkmate by Renaud and Kahn which I feel would be a much better starting point for you.

    Good luck!
  9. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    17 May '08 14:41
    Originally posted by wormwood
    yeah, I remember that. Thread 71619
    Yeah that one... And now I'm chuckling again. Read the whole thread and just like CMS said the no part at the end was just too good. And I see you reccommended chesstactics.org too.
  10. Standard member Ragnorak
    For RHP addons...
    17 May '08 14:45
    Originally posted by Dem Ravenburg
    Hi, I’m currently battling around the 1200 mark and have only been playing chess for about six months so a real beginner but I love the game and want to get a lot better.

    For starters I have collected few chess book, two are problem collections and the other three are, batsfords modern chess opening, the art of the middle game(keres and kotov) and ...[text shortened]... k my study down, to ensure productive study and not neglecting vital areas of work?

    Thank you
    MCO and Art of the Middle game are not really for beginner level, and you will get little from either now.

    Seirawans "Winning" series of books are a great place to start.

    D
  11. 17 May '08 15:03 / 6 edits
    I can add this to what others have said: analyse as much as you can. this could be analysing GM games, playing correspondence or tournament time control games, or just tactical studies, but never be lazy about it. for example, if in a CM lecture, Waitzkin tells you to stop and analyse, just do it. Believe me, I've been there, Waitzkin is a terrific teacher, he makes you think you simply understand what he's talking about, but actually all of it only makes sense after you devote hours of analysis into each of his tutorials.

    chess may seem to be all about general principles at first, but it's simply a too dynamic and unbalanced game for that. analysing positions and variations (though not the same thing) are what chess really is all about. principles only come on your way in the analysis. some of them stick and really apply to the position, but most of them just go away as you get a little deeper into the position.

    also, trying to adopt a strict thinking process is very important. I would suggest you to read the first half of Kotov's "think like a grandmaster". do not try to get into the positions in your first time. just try to learn the basic principles behind how to choose a move. after you have improved on tactics (I mean after months, maybe a year of tactical study), go back to Kotov and try to read it again, this time try to get into the positions as much as you can.
  12. 17 May '08 21:33
    Thank you all
  13. 17 May '08 22:54
    Pawn formation is a very useful thing to look at. I'm sure its covered in basic chess, but myself and a couple others at my lowly level that I'm working with have all seen an increase after understanding how to utilize the pawn better, and understanding how the pawns works.