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  1. 01 Apr '11 22:01
    When I first started playing chess I lost pretty much every game I played on line, so I went to different sites asking for advice. I was given advice, but pretty much all of it was way over my head, therefore it was totally useless!

    Three bits of advice I can still remember to this day:

    1. Develop your pieces to good squares! (I had not idea what made a square good or bad, they all looked pretty much the same to me, either black or white!)

    2. When an opponent makes a move, answer this question: why did your opponent make that move? (Crap, I don't even know why I'm making the moves I make!)

    3. Memorize an opening (OK, I memorized what to do if my opponent makes the right moves, but what do I do when they don't? Even if my opponent cooperates, eventually I'll exhaust my memorized line. Now what do I do?)
  2. 01 Apr '11 23:32 / 3 edits
    1 & 3 are useless - especially 3.
    (1 requires loads of examples.)

    2. Has some point but needs further explantion.

    You have to spot a threat made by your opponent and counter it.

    If he threatens to take a piece then you must do something about it.
    Move it, block the attack, defend it or let it go (sac it).

    When starting out players often see only their own threats and
    miss what their opponents are up to.

    Exeprience tells you when threats are real or can be side stepped
    but they must never be ignored.

    Went off looking at a few of your games.

    in Game 5270055 Your opponent missed or underestimated your threat
    of queening your h-pawn.

    Game 5274367 and on move 28 you missed winning a whole Rook
    and went onto lose by missing his threat. (the clue is in the previous game).

    Wonder what you are up to first, spotting your own threats.
    Then consider what he is doing.

    If you do it in reverse then you could miss tricks that work for you.
  3. 01 Apr '11 23:51
    Sounds like good advice to me. Now that you remember it, does it help you?

    Look at the board from his side... What would you do? Is that the best move? Now that you know what his best move is and plan what can you do to stop it and move your plan?
  4. 02 Apr '11 05:14
    "Develop your pieces to good squares" may mean to put your pieces (on their first move) on a square where they help control the center and/or perform useful attack/defense duties for whatever plans you have. A Knight at f3 fights for the center and controls more squares (think: more area of the battlefield) than a Kt at h3. Look at the games of the boys and girls who play for money and titles. They put their pieces on "good squares" consistently, so study those moves in view of the 2 factors mentioned above.

    Memorization of an opening is like saying I memorized ABCDEFG........, but not being able to spell. 🙂 Understanding an opening is what is important. That of course means a certain level of memorization, example: 1e4...2N-f3...3B-b5 is what? Yes, the Ruy Lopez, but what is White trying to do with those moves? When you answer that question, you have the best of both worlds: a cool confidence to sit down, smack those moves out AND know where you are going with it.

    GP covered this, but "Why did my opponent make that move?" (I use, "What is the threat?" ) is the most important question you can ask yourself. Your opponent has an army and moves to use them. It is the worse feeling when you have a mate in 2 and your opponent suddenly has a mate in 1! It may be nothing but a flea bite threat, but look at it.
  5. 02 Apr '11 16:26
    I don't think you guys understand what I'm trying to say in the original post.

    Yes, I agree (as does pretty much everyone else I've run into in chess forums) that memorizing opening lines is meaningless. As Monty points out, learning the ideas of the opening are what's important.

    When I first started playing chess, I memorized the Colle. Once I played d4, Nf3, e3, Bd3, 0-0, Nd2, I then proceeded to push my c-pawn! I liked the look of the board when I pushed my c pawn to c5. It wasn't until after I picked up an e book by Oleinikov that I discovered I was supposed to push the e pawn!

    The point that I was trying to make in my first post is that I believe that even good advice is useless when given to someone who isn't ready for it. At the time I was given the advice I had zippo board vision. I was giving away my pieces left and right.

    The reason I started studying chess was that I was sick of not knowing what I was supposed to do. The game was a total mystery. Since then I've gone through many levels of development. I believe that I have a clue about what a good square is for a given board. I believe I can come up with a decent idea about what threats are created by my opponent's moves and can react to them. That's only after playing for several years. I'm now into my 4th year since trying to learn what to do, of course it hasn't been a solid 4 years of study, I've taken several multiple month diversions in that time.


    It doesn't do any good to throw a steak down in front of a baby that doesn't even have teeth.
  6. 02 Apr '11 17:19
    I get what you're saying. That's why it's helpful to have someone a bit better than you, but not too much, to help you learn. Which is why joining a club is useful-your needs change over time.
  7. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    02 Apr '11 19:01
    Some of the terminology is pretty useless to new players unless you know exactly what the term refers to.




    I was at a city chess club a couple of weeks ago and a little girl and little boy were playing. The girl had a queen and king against the boy's king and pawn. The little girl was excited that she was going to win her first game of chess, and proudly gives check to the boy's king by placing her queen right beside it. (her king was on the other side of the board).


    The boy gobbles the queen up, and they're left with what I know to be a dead-drawn endgame.

    "Can I help?" I ask.

    The girl and boy both say it's cool if I give advice so I explain to the boy that he's got a powerful weapon in his lone pawn, which can turn into a queen. I show him that the pawn needs the king's support to make it to the "finish line" where it can "magically turn into a queen".

    Well this talk of finish lines and magically turning into a queen obviously offends some guy who walks in and says "actually it's called promotion."


    I ignore him and tell the girl that what her goal is to stop the pawn from promoting by "challenging the king" since both kings have "invisible force fields" around them which allows her to keep his king from advancing too far in front of the pawn.

    Of course this will not do for the club jerk who informs the children, "actually it's called opposition."

    So I help steer the girl to a draw and the kid's dad thanks me for actually getting the kids to think about what they're doing OTB.


    The point is that you have to discover concrete things on the board before you start talking about them abstractly in chess terminology.
  8. 02 Apr '11 23:02
    @Thabtos

    I agree. It can be daunting. I like the force field thing. It even helps me to visualize the controlled squares rather than "it moves this way." I catch myself doing it a lot with knights. And I even move the knight like I see a rectangle around it in a few directions and can move to the opposite side of the box.
  9. 03 Apr '11 15:39
    Originally posted by Thabtos
    Some of the terminology is pretty useless to new players unless you know exactly what the term refers to.




    I was at a city chess club a couple of weeks ago and a little girl and little boy were playing. The girl had a queen and king against the boy's king and pawn. The little girl was excited that she was going to win her first game of chess, and pr ...[text shortened]... ard before you start talking about them abstractly in chess terminology.
    thats a pretty nice way of explaining chess to the kids. this way creates more fascination for sure, then the dry 'opposition' etc...
  10. 03 Apr '11 22:02
    It takes a half hour to learn the rules of chess and a life time to master it (maybe). Learning the different openings is surely advantagous particularly if against a clock but they will only get you so far. Every game gets to the stage where you are alone against your oppenent. For some reason I have a blind spot when it comes to the end game and my rooks and generally lose one of my rooks due to a stupid move (just look at my current game against pawnstar69).
  11. 04 Apr '11 11:39
    Originally posted by Eladar
    When I first started playing chess I lost pretty much every game I played on line, so I went to different sites asking for advice. I was given advice, but pretty much all of it was way over my head, therefore it was totally useless!

    Three bits of advice I can still remember to this day:

    1. Develop your pieces to good squares! (I had not idea what ma ...[text shortened]... ven if my opponent cooperates, eventually I'll exhaust my memorized line. Now what do I do?)
    the problem is that we can become dogmatic, to our detriment,

    for example, castle early is good advice, but its not enough, it should be,

    castle when it is advantageous to do so, but that throws up its own problems, for
    when is it advantageous or not, we might rephrase it to, castle early in open
    games, or when the centre is about to be opened.

    develop your pieces is also good advice, but its not enough, development without
    planning is mindless and is development for developments sake, thus we need
    some other defining criteria, develop with strategic goals in mind would be better.

    dont move the same piece twice and we see the masters playing the Ruy Lopez and
    the bishop on b5 gets kicked around two or three times, yet it ends up on the most
    advantageous position, again, its simply a piece of advice, good advice, but relative
    to the position.
  12. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    04 Apr '11 12:27
    The beginner doesn't know dogma. The amateur follows it, the strong player skillfully exectues dogma and the master bends dogma to suit the position.
  13. 04 Apr '11 13:18
    Originally posted by nimzo5
    The beginner doesn't know dogma. The amateur follows it, the strong player skillfully exectues dogma and the master bends dogma to suit the position.
    there is no place on the chessboard for dogma, the only dogma that we have is that one should be objective at all times!
  14. 04 Apr '11 15:07
    Originally posted by MontyMoose
    example: 1e4...2N-f3...3B-b5 is what? Yes, the Ruy Lopez.
    This opening can also be called the siciliabn defense Rossmilio variation 🙂
  15. 04 Apr '11 15:15
    Originally posted by Raabemaster
    This opening can also be called the siciliabn defense Rossmilio variation 🙂
    or move my kingside bits so I can castle