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  1. 26 May '09 14:27
    As an 'educated' novice, it's sometimes hard for me to watch "casual players" play a game of chess. I find myself wanting to slap my forehead and say, "For God's sake don't you see that??"

    When you guys watch people like me play [rated 1300-1400] do you find yourself slapping your forehead in the same manner? Are there four and five plus move combos that to you just seem glaringly obvious?
  2. 26 May '09 14:43
    Well, I am about 1700 OTB and people of 1300-1400 rating don't miss 4 to 5 move deep combinations, they sometimes miss 2 move combo's. But the most painfull thing to see IMHO are really awefull positional weakenings, those really give me a nasty itch.
  3. 26 May '09 14:48 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    As an 'educated' novice, it's sometimes hard for me to watch "casual players" play a game of chess. I find myself wanting to slap my forehead and say, "For God's sake don't you see that??"

    When you guys watch people like me play [rated 1300-1400] do you find yourself slapping your forehead in the same manner? Are there four and five plus move combos that to you just seem glaringly obvious?
    I don't necessarily see the tactics in a casual glance at the game, unless it's a very well known idea like Bxh7+, Kxh7; Ng5+ etc. However I will more often notice outrageously bad positional moves, for example swapping off queens when a piece down or exchanging 'good' pieces for 'bad' ones.

    As for tactics, if I'm going over a game with a couple of players weaker than me, I won't bother analysing the tactics accurately but just ask them if they considered a particular strong-looking attacking move or sacrifice and let them do the work. Whilst they are talking I'll have a bit more time to analyse it properly!
  4. Standard member agentreno
    Addicted
    26 May '09 14:49
    Agreed, it's the unnecessary positional weakenings that make me wince. Not that I'm that strong, but I think I've read enough books to understand positional concepts - if only I had the same dedication to calculation and tactics
  5. 26 May '09 16:06
    I dont find I wince, I am usually pleased to see them worsening their position... provided I am playing against them.
    I did play a match recently where one of my team mates played into a poaition where he sacrificed a piece and I thought to myself it looked like quite a clever trick, for he would win it back by force a few moves later but when the chance came he just played some sort of defensive move and went on to lose, it made me think why did he sacrifice the piece in the first place if he didnt think he could get it back.
  6. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    26 May '09 16:26 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    As an 'educated' novice, it's sometimes hard for me to watch "casual players" play a game of chess. I find myself wanting to slap my forehead and say, "For God's sake don't you see that??"

    When you guys watch people like me play [rated 1300-1400] do you find yourself slapping your forehead in the same manner? Are there four and five plus move combos that to you just seem glaringly obvious?
    never the combos, and especially not 4-5 moves deep. I never look that deep unless the first move already FEELS dangerous.

    it's like the others say. the bad positional moves catch the eye. however, 'bad positional moves' doesn't necessarily mean doubled pawns, losing a file or a square, like lower rated players often mechanically think. it needs to be IMPORTANT square, file or pawn for it to register.

    if it lands you in hot water, with no redeeming qualities like activity, it's UGLY. especially the meaningless moves that simply waste a move. (they're also the ones I hate most when analyzing my own mistakes).

    I guess in a nutshell, it's the moves that higher rated players don't even look at. those stick out like a sore thumb.


    all that said, it doesn't mean that by far the biggest problem a 1300-1400 players has wasn't tactics. because it is. so if you're asking because you want to know how to leap over the gap between 1300-1400 and whatever you take as 'high rated', the answer will still be tactics.
  7. Standard member atticus2
    Frustrate the Bad
    26 May '09 17:04
    Most strong players, if watching novice or casual players, know what to expect. They will observe untutored play - poor moves from time to time that show little familiarity with, say, opening theory; or later in the game, moves that violate good procedure, or fail to grasp essential principles. Outright blunders involving loss of material or the ceding of advantage are expected as part of the package.

    Of course head-slapping blunders change their character as one moves up the hierarchy. If I'm playing a 1200-1400, it's a matter of waiting for the blunder that drops material - a piece, a pawn; it doesn't really matter. But it invariably comes along. With 1400-1700, one may have to wait longer, but to the same effect. A pawn up will be enough to win in 99% of cases. Above 1800, the blunders start to change character. I'll start to look for small positional advantages initially, better piece placement for example. Tactical opportunities might be in the mix now, either to win material by force, or to change the positional balance in my favour. Against 1800-2000 players, I'm always alert to long-term structural advantages that can be magnified in an ending.

    With opponents 2000+, I expect to meet well-tutored players, familiar to a reasonable degree with opening theory, and capable of applying all the basics principles of the game. At this level, crass blunders are rare - but everything is relative! Players rarely blunder a piece, but they can misplace one fatally, or compromise their position structurally so that an expert player can reel in the win using technique alone. Also at this level, a small disadvantage acquired early on can last for ages. Good players simply squeeze and squeeze on a point of weakness until something gives. Imagine a parallel in boxing. You catch your opponent in Rd 2 that leaves a small bruise by his eye. Nothing terminal. But by Rd 10, the swelling has increased, partly closing the eye. He doesn't pick your punches as well any more; you score points if no KO. By Rd 12, you're ahead and cruising. One key punch did it, way back in Rd 2. At the expert level in chess, something like this happens too - a slight disadvantage at an early stage is gently nudged into a bigger disadvantage, the crack is widened until the entire edifice splinters apart.

    Finally, do experts see 5-move combos missed by novices? I'm sure they do - because they know where to look. But given I know where to look, I still don't often see the combos played by Alekhine or Tal or other great GMs. The key is not knowing a combo might be on; it's knowing precisely that it's on. Imprecision and recklessness cost games
  8. 26 May '09 17:19
    Very fascinating insight into the inner workings of higher level play. Thank you for sharing, everyone. I hope to some day get there!
  9. 26 May '09 17:38
    All that other stuff doesn't REALLY bug me so much... What REALLY bugs me are "dummy combos" basically where a player plays a series of moves that looks flashy but its just trading pieces and doesn't do anything! Especially when there were other obviously good moves or when they had a strong attack going and the dummy combo ends it.
  10. 26 May '09 17:51
    That's what happens when you aren't very good. It's called sucking. I think pretty much everyone had to work their way through those stages. Some of us stay there longer than others. Some of us never leave it at all.
  11. 26 May '09 17:52
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    All that other stuff doesn't REALLY bug me so much... What REALLY bugs me are "dummy combos" basically where a player plays a series of moves that looks flashy but its just trading pieces and doesn't do anything! Especially when there were other obviously good moves or when they had a strong attack going and the dummy combo ends it.
    I've noticed when I play people rated in the 1100's and 1200's they sometimes initiate losing combos!
  12. 26 May '09 17:58
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    I've noticed when I play people rated in the 1100's and 1200's they sometimes initiate losing combos!
    Yeah but those are just a miscalculations or they are speculation and they decide to go for it. The dummy combos are not miscalculated they are just dumb.
  13. 26 May '09 18:09
    Let's see who answered that question adressed to "High Ranked Players"...
  14. 26 May '09 20:07
    Some time back I witnessed speed games between two 2150-2200 level players. I was surprised by how many moves I thought looked "obviously wrong" - head-slappers as you describe. No doubt the frequency was primarily driven by the fact that they were speed games. One specific pattern I recall: even Knight ending with undeveloped Kings, White p on h5, Black ps on g7,h6: White plays Nf4-g6?? allowing Ne7xg6, Kg8-f8-e7-f6xg6 winning.

    I have no doubt that many of my own moves look like head-slappers to players stronger than myself. Heck, I'm confident GM's play all kinds of head-slappers in the eyes of elite players.
  15. 26 May '09 21:16
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    As an 'educated' novice, it's sometimes hard for me to watch "casual players" play a game of chess. I find myself wanting to slap my forehead and say, "For God's sake don't you see that??"

    When you guys watch people like me play [rated 1300-1400] do you find yourself slapping your forehead in the same manner? Are there four and five plus move combos that to you just seem glaringly obvious?
    Hi

    Fresh spectators often see more than the two players invovled.

    I was looking at a game between two very strong players a few weeks back.

    After the game I joined them in the analysis room and showed
    them my idea that neither had considered.
    I saw it within 10 seconds of appearing at the board.
    (it was a tactic - what else).

    This does not me any better than them. To me it was a new
    position they were both in mid exchanges and heading for a position
    they had both decided to reach ages ago.

    It can work in reverse - players explaining the game to the public
    getting caught short because they had not seen the bigger picture.

    I recall a Fischer game v one of the Byrne brothers.
    The GM's in the press box all agreed Fischer was lost.
    The next move to come through was Byrne's resignation.