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  1. Subscriber Pariah325
    Knife Wielder
    05 Feb '09 01:29
    I just read a thread on here a few minutes ago, and someone mentioned amounts of time that should be spent studying this or that, and it brought a deeper question to mind.
    I'm pretty new to chess (I started in the fall) and I feel like I'm learning quickly, but not consistently. I'm usually around 1300 on here, but can't get over and stay over 1350. Right now I'm down a bit... Anyway, I read books and I study games and I do tactics and I play here on RHP and sometimes I play live games online (not blitz, because I don't like playing that quickly, I lose what is going on too easily...maybe once I improve some more.) Where should most of my time be spent in my learning? So far, the books have been the most helpful, along with the playing, I think, but I see the importance to the others. And when one analyses games, what should I be doing? I realize there are lots of ways to go through games, but I'm not always sure what I am looking for.

    Most people would say I need goals, and I have some short term goals. (ie. get my hightest ever over 1500, play consistently at 1400s, improve my endgame because I'm sick of losing games that I feel I should have won coming into the end, get a deeper grasp on openings, play more consistently without blunders, screwups or losing to players I should beat.)

    Any advice is appreciated.
    P
  2. 05 Feb '09 05:21
    - Tactics - Do a variety not just the find checkmate in 2 moves type. The best tactical problems are the ones where you don't know what the outcome is supposed to be. Sometimes the tactics involves just saving a position and drawing. In the beginning it is important to solve with the highest accuracy, without moving the pieces around. You are looking for the idea/theme, not speed yet. DO NOT guess, because you can't afford to do that in a game, you won't learn anything this way, and you won't develop your calculating ability (which is critical for OTB success). Work out all the variations and be sure your chosen continuation is the best. Speed will come don't worry.

    - Spend less time reading books and more time around strong players (at least a few hundred points higher than you). Comments and direction from good players can do wonders. This will help you learn why you are losing, which is not always obvious to the beginner. 99% of the time the answer will be tactical ability.

    - Try to devote 1 hour a day to training everyday consistently. This is better than taking two weeks off and then studying 8 hours straight on a weekend. Play 1 game a day (OK, short time controls if you don't have time). But don't just forget about the game afterwards, go through it, find out why you lost, improve upon it for the next game. Always play rated games, always with time controls (learn clock management early), always with touch move, no takebacks, no excuses.

    - If you do study games other than your own, the ones you should study first are the ones in the early days played by Morphy, Steinitz etc. The mistakes you are making now are likely the same ones Morphy's opponents were making.

    - Keep notes on your games why YOU thought you lost first (even if you have no clue) and then ask a stronger player for their opinion. The stronger player will not just point out the bad move, but also point out the flawed reasoning that led to the bad move. Review these notes before you play the next game.

    - Endgame: Cannot be neglected completely, but don't spend too much time learning complicated rarely seen endings. Learn the basic defences in K+P vs K and the key positions that are associated with it. Obviously you must know basic mating techniques with different pieces.

    - Don't ever think that a player is someone you should beat, play each and every game relentlessly hard. Respect your opponent and always assume their move is the best one. On the same line, forget about Elo ratings and ratings management.

    - Some may not agree but I think you should have an opening repertoire. Start with a basic one (with few openings) that you keep developing game after game. Don't buy a 500 page book on opening X because you'll never read it. Just keep improving upon your openings as you play by trying to find improvements yourself and then checking internet references, there are tons. You can play any system you like, don't ever worry that opening X is not your "style" or "drawish" or any of that nonsense. Also, don't worry about variety at this point. Familiarity with a position is a good thing.

    - Chess progress is not linear related to hours of study, it happens in steps and phases. You may study hard for 4-5 months and not see your results improve at all but then all of a sudden it all comes together and makes sense. All the studying you did will now fit together and be a cohesive chunk of knowledge, not a bunch of tips scattered all around. You will then start to win consistently until you hit the next level of players after which the process usually repeats itself.
  3. Subscriber coquette
    Already mated
    05 Feb '09 05:29
    Just enjoy the game and have a lot of fun. Playing at 1300 - 1350 when you just started about 6 or so months ago is great progress. Your doing fine.
  4. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    05 Feb '09 06:00
    Originally posted by Pariah325
    I just read a thread on here a few minutes ago, and someone mentioned amounts of time that should be spent studying this or that, and it brought a deeper question to mind.
    I'm pretty new to chess (I started in the fall) and I feel like I'm learning quickly, but not consistently. I'm usually around 1300 on here, but can't get over and stay over 1350. Rig ...[text shortened]... lunders, screwups or losing to players I should beat.)

    Any advice is appreciated.
    P
    The best advise I can give is read 'Winning at Correspondence Chess'
    by Tim Harding (try amazon.com). It's a bit dated, but the amount of practical advise in this book is priceless!
  5. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    05 Feb '09 13:14
    was chernev's "logical chess move by move" mentioned already? -I'm not a big fan of books (I think they're mostly procrastination), but this one is a MUST for every beginning player. it'll hammer most basics into your head until it all sinks in.

    otherwise it sounds like you have a good plan going there. a couple of tips: you can never do too much tactics, and be persistent in your training. watch out for burnout though, it's the easiest way to lose interest.
  6. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    05 Feb '09 13:17
    Originally posted by jnguyen
    - Tactics - Do a variety not just the find checkmate in 2 moves type. The best tactical problems are the ones where you don't know what the outcome is supposed to be. Sometimes the tactics involves just saving a position and drawing. In the beginning it is important to solve with the highest accuracy, without moving the pieces around. You are looking for ...[text shortened]... hit the next level of players after which the process usually repeats itself.
    that's all great advice.
  7. Subscriber Pariah325
    Knife Wielder
    06 Feb '09 02:14
    Thank you, Jnguyen, for that long response. It was quite informative, and pretty much exactly what I was looking for...
  8. Standard member chessiswar
    Grandpatzer
    06 Feb '09 02:35
    Originally posted by bill718
    The best advise I can give is read 'Winning at Correspondence Chess'
    by Tim Harding (try amazon.com). It's a bit dated, but the amount of practical advise in this book is priceless!
    I bought that today at a used book store.

    Just threw it in the pile of 300 others...

    Me buying it was just a coincidence....not gunna study it.