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  1. 02 Dec '13 19:04 / 1 edit
    Well I started playing chess when I joined Red Hot Pawn, and to be honest all bar just a handful of days I have visited the site, I suppose one could say that chess is something that I really enjoy. From day one I’ve tried to improve however this seems to have evaded me, so I thought Id ask a few fundamental questions that I have been mulling over in my mind ever since I first started playing, maybe they have no answers and the questions will remain but I thought maybe the experience of others may be invaluable, and may be of use for us to improve our game. So a question I ask myself a lot is are the best chess players born or do they grow, my point is that is it possible to start playing later in life and learn to be good and if so how? As I seem to just move the pieces about with no real plan other than that seems a “reasonable” move some days. I look back through some of the master’s games and try to predict the next move; however I rarely do and seem just to ask for what purpose did Mr Kasparov move that there for but his status in chess tells me its part of the plan and he knows what he is doing. So maybe if you read this, maybe you are willing to share your thoughts and experiences on how you have developed your game and what tools you have found best for improvement? Another burning question I think about is maybe a stupid one but I will say it anyway, just the other day I was playing a game and my opponent kindly pointed out that the opening was the Kings Indian Defence, so in my quest for learning I typed it into Google and did some research on chessgames.com the moves apparently go in the order 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6. I’ve asked myself this, if say on move four (I’m black) I decided to move g5 or on move three my opponent decided to move c3 instead of c4 would this still be the Kings Indian Defence I seem to get confused by all the openings as I study them but my opponents have a habit of doing something different, I know this is the way it is supposed to be, I just think at that point I need to react and adapt accordingly but I’m always unsure what to do and seem to revert to moving the pieces with no real purpose again. It’s the same when I try the odd trap what happens when your opponent after several moves deviates from the sequence just seems my pieces are all over the place with no real structure. It’s quite a perplexing game is it not I suppose that’s what makes it so appealing, and frustrating at times. So if you read this perhaps you would not mind sharing your thoughts, Id be very interested to hear them.

    Thanks everyone.

    Willy………………
  2. Standard member atticus2
    Frustrate the Bad
    02 Dec '13 19:20 / 1 edit
    Briefly:

    * openings have names purely as a convention to allow us to distinguish one set of move sequences from the clutter of many others. The origin of the name is often obscure. At the expert level, opening sequences will extend for many moves in a familiar patten. But beginners soon stray

    * chess is an ancient and complex game. The rules are easy enough to learn. But knitting everything into a competent game is much harder. Chess must be learned by reading books - no shortcuts. Imagine playing the piano by randomly banging the keys. You'll make a noise, but it won't be music. Ditto chess.

    * can you become good by starting in later life? Almost certainly not. But you can become competent - and that makes it enjoyable.
  3. 02 Dec '13 19:39 / 1 edit
    Sounds like you have some interesting musings, but your lack of paragraphs makes your thoughts very difficult to read, and perhaps you might consider reformatting it..
  4. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    02 Dec '13 19:47
    Originally posted by Sirdubalot
    Well I started playing chess when I joined Red Hot Pawn, and to be honest all bar just a handful of days I have visited the site, I suppose one could say that chess is something that I really enjoy. From day one I’ve tried to improve however this seems to have evaded me, so I thought Id ask a few fundamental questions that I have been mulling over in my m ...[text shortened]... nd sharing your thoughts, Id be very interested to hear them.

    Thanks everyone.

    Willy………………
    Forget Kasparov and opening theory for now. Work on playing better players and tactics.
  5. 02 Dec '13 20:04 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Murchu
    Sounds like you have some interesting musings, but your lack of paragraphs makes your thoughts very difficult to read, and perhaps you might consider reformatting it..
    Thanks for the replies and Im sorry about the long paragraph if its OK I'll do it tomorrow as I don't have access to a PC in the evenings, I'll try breaking it up and work on the format.

    Willy......
  6. 02 Dec '13 20:43 / 1 edit
    At your level I'd concentrate on two things:


    checkmate patterns and tactics

    chesstempo is a great site for doing tactics. Don't try to find the right answer quickly, just try to find the right answer. If you get it wrong try to understand the right answer. See the right answer in your mind before you move your pieces.

    You need to know what you are looking for before you can look for it.
  7. 02 Dec '13 21:11 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Sirdubalot
    Thanks for the replies and Im sorry about the long paragraph if its OK I'll do it tomorrow as I don't have access to a PC in the evenings, I'll try breaking it up and work on the format.

    Willy......
    I am trying Lucas chess, its free to download, has tactics, guess the move, daily chess problems, mates in one two or three, competitions you can play against the computer, play like a grandmaster where you need to play through a masters game and lots of awesome stuff, i dunno why i haven't tried this before, its great.
  8. 02 Dec '13 21:45
    Thanks for the replies, I tried to install Lucas Chess however I was unable to, perhaps its because I'm on a tablet..
  9. 02 Dec '13 22:02
    Originally posted by Sirdubalot
    ...I just think at that point I need to react and adapt accordingly but I’m always unsure what to do and seem to revert to moving the pieces with no real purpose again...
    In the opening, the purpose is easy:

    1) Develop pieces
    2) Control the center
    3) Protect your king

    It is worth becoming familiar with a few 'named' openings, but only after you've played purely on intuition for a while. You won't understand the answer if you don't know the question - so take some time to understand what is wrong with your current opening repertoire, and then look to gradually replace it with something better. RHP is ideal for this, as you can use opening databases as you play, blitz is also good to put your knowledge to the test.

    Every opening has variations, depending on how deep you want to go. You don't need to go very deep. Try to understand the 'feel' of the opening, rather than learning a set sequence of moves.

    And, as others have said .. tactics, tactics, tactics.
  10. 03 Dec '13 00:27 / 5 edits
    the entire concept of a chess game can be summed up in one word, activity, all other concepts are just a manifestation of activity,

    why control the centre? because it affords us more activity, why develop our pieces towards the centre? because they have maximum activity there, why play 1.e4, because it affords activity for the Queen and Kings bishop, why prophylaxis? because it reduces the activity of your opponents pieces, why pin pieces? because it reduces their activity, why blockade pawns? because it reduces their activity, why put rooks on open and semi open files? because it increases their activity, why bring your king towards the centre in the endgame, because it increases his activity thus, all these concepts are simply the manifestation of activity, seeking to increase ones own and reducing that of the opponent.

    openings? put a pawn on e4, then a knight on f3 and the queens knight on c3, if you want a closed game play d3, an open game d4.
  11. 03 Dec '13 00:34
    I decided to pull a greenpawn and pull up one of your games for instruction 😀

    http://www.redhotpawn.com/gameanalysis/boardhistory.php?gameid=10105439

    Always check for threats. After 9.Qf3 what was white's threat? Only if you see a threat can you defend against a threat. You didn't see the threat and lucky for you at the time neither did your opponent.

    Of course this stems from a very basic checkmate pattern. 😀
  12. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    03 Dec '13 04:51
    Originally posted by Sirdubalot
    Well I started playing chess when I joined Red Hot Pawn, and to be honest all bar just a handful of days I have visited the site, I suppose one could say that chess is something that I really enjoy. From day one I’ve tried to improve however this seems to have evaded me, so I thought Id ask a few fundamental questions that I have been mulling over in my m ...[text shortened]... nd sharing your thoughts, Id be very interested to hear them.

    Thanks everyone.

    Willy………………
    Original Post, reformatted:

    Well I started playing chess when I joined Red Hot Pawn, and to be honest all bar just a handful of days I have visited the site, I suppose one could say that chess is something that I really enjoy.

    From day one I’ve tried to improve however this seems to have evaded me, so I thought Id ask a few fundamental questions that I have been mulling over in my mind ever since I first started playing, maybe they have no answers and the questions will remain but I thought maybe the experience of others may be invaluable, and may be of use for us to improve our game.

    So a question I ask myself a lot is are the best chess players born or do they grow, my point is that is it possible to start playing later in life and learn to be good and if so how?

    As I seem to just move the pieces about with no real plan other than that seems a “reasonable” move some days.

    I look back through some of the master’s games and try to predict the next move; however I rarely do and seem just to ask for what purpose did Mr Kasparov move that there for but his status in chess tells me its part of the plan and he knows what he is doing.

    So maybe if you read this, maybe you are willing to share your thoughts and experiences on how you have developed your game and what tools you have found best for improvement?

    Another burning question I think about is maybe a stupid one but I will say it anyway, just the other day I was playing a game and my opponent kindly pointed out that the opening was the Kings Indian Defence, so in my quest for learning I typed it into Google and did some research on chessgames.com the moves apparently go in the order 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6.

    I’ve asked myself this, if say on move four (I’m black) I decided to move g5 or on move three my opponent decided to move c3 instead of c4 would this still be the Kings Indian Defence I seem to get confused by all the openings as I study them but my opponents have a habit of doing something different, I know this is the way it is supposed to be, I just think at that point I need to react and adapt accordingly but I’m always unsure what to do and seem to revert to moving the pieces with no real purpose again.

    It’s the same when I try the odd trap what happens when your opponent after several moves deviates from the sequence just seems my pieces are all over the place with no real structure.

    It’s quite a perplexing game is it not I suppose that’s what makes it so appealing, and frustrating at times. So if you read this perhaps you would not mind sharing your thoughts, Id be very interested to hear them.

    Thanks everyone.

    Willy………………
  13. 03 Dec '13 07:35
    Just wished to thank everyone for their replies, very interesting reading.

     

    Sorry about my poor English/ formatting and thanks to Paul Leggett for the assistance. Think my brain (which isn’t that fast anyway) actually moves faster than my fingers so I tend to just type then breathe.

    Thanks alot.

    Willy.
  14. 03 Dec '13 07:54 / 1 edit
    Dan Heisman's novice nook columns will help you sort out what is important (and what's not) for learning as an adult. The earlier columns are the most useful and are easy to find (and free) online. Also, see his website for more up-to-date book recommendations. I would start by working through John Bain's "chess tactics for students" and Irving Chernev's "logical chess move by move" (annotated master games aimed at beginners) and take it from there. If you are anything like me, you will probably never become good, but you can improve, and this will help you to enjoy the game more. Best of luck.
  15. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    03 Dec '13 13:19 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by scubily
    Dan Heisman's novice nook columns will help you sort out what is important (and what's not) for learning as an adult. The earlier columns are the most useful and are easy to find (and free) online. Also, see his website for more up-to-date book recommendations. I would start by working through John Bain's "chess tactics for students" and Irving Chernev's ...[text shortened]... become good, but you can improve, and this will help you to enjoy the game more. Best of luck.
    This is good advice for someone starting out.

    Another great place to start is with Greenpawn34's last two blogs on rook endings. There are games to be won with the information he shares.