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  1. 06 Oct '09 13:04
    If you could single it down to one key thing that made you good at chess, what would it be? Reading a particular book, chess engine game, a tutorial, constant playing etc?

    I like chess enough to study it more, I've never had any training or read a book on it, but would like to pursue it further to lift my game. So I wouldn't mind picking up some tips from your suggestions.

    Cheers
    - Hayden
  2. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    06 Oct '09 13:15
    I'll give three:

    tactics, tactics, tactics.


    http://chess.emrald.net/
  3. 06 Oct '09 13:23
    Originally posted by wormwood
    I'll give three:

    tactics, tactics, tactics.


    http://chess.emrald.net/
    I'll give three:

    tactics, tactics, tactics.


    http://chesstempo.com
  4. 06 Oct '09 14:12
    Play the game, play it often.
  5. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    06 Oct '09 14:18 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Product Placement
    If you could single it down to one key thing that made you good at chess, what would it be? Reading a particular book, chess engine game, a tutorial, constant playing etc?

    I like chess enough to study it more, I've never had any training or read a book on it, but would like to pursue it further to lift my game. So I wouldn't mind picking up some tips from your suggestions.

    Cheers
    - Hayden
    This is to counterbalance the above two posts about tactics.

    The single thing that makes the most difference to someone's playing strength is their calculational ability, there is no doubt about that. But study of tactics in isolation is all but useless. Essentially it means that you can exploit any 3 move error by your opponent, but have no idea about how to induce such a mistake in the first place. Strategy is more important, you have to have some idea of what to do in a position, otherwise all you are doing is one step up from hoping your opponent leaves a piece hanging.

    There is a good, inexpensive book called Simple Chess by Michael Stean which goes through various positional features and shows how you might exploit them. That book is about the middle game, you'll need some other book to explain the basics of opening and endgame play. The objective of these books isn't to acquire Karpov's level of positional insight, you simply need some idea of what you are trying to do.

    Then you can focus solely on tactics, which you'll get the hang of faster, because you'll have something to fit your tactics around.
  6. 06 Oct '09 14:35
    Tactics, strategy, playing a lot, none of these will improve your game... unless you use "deliberate practice".

    You can play thousands of games over many years and never get better. I know, I'm one such person. Started playing when I was 7 or 8 and haven't noticed a great deal of improvement since.

    Why?

    Because I rarely learn from my mistakes, I will find myself making the same stupid patzer moves time and again.

    However, I am trying to make a concerted effort to improve my game with deliberate practice.

    A brilliant book I am in the middle of reading is called "Talent is Overrated" by Geoff Colvin. In it he explains that why some people succeed while others fail is down to deliberate practice and that to get to the top takes around 10 years of serious study and development. A perfect example is Bobby Fischer winning when he was 15 and a half he became the youngest Grandmaster. Yet he had been playing the game since he was SIX!
  7. 06 Oct '09 14:40 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    This is to counterbalance the above two posts about tactics.

    The single thing that makes the most difference to someone's playing strength is their calculational ability, there is no doubt about that. But study of tactics in isolation is all but useless. Essentially it means that you can exploit any 3 move error by your opponent, but have no idea h you'll get the hang of faster, because you'll have something to fit your tactics around.
    yep, this is the nail on the head, i would go even further and state, that in many instances we are blinded by the beauty of the combination, we play it without recourse to relative positional considerations. Even Anderssen, one of the greatest and most imaginative combinational players of all time was guilty of this, later he changed his style to a more positional one, which did not produce as many spectacular combinations, but had a more subtle appeal.
  8. 06 Oct '09 14:54
    Calm youself, do not panick, such an attitude, can make you win more often...

    If you panick by seeying his queen will come to the kingside, hismove just become even more strong that it is really.

    Never panick, it is winning, then you already blunder, and you should resign or see how he win this. if not, then don't panick and give up, be calm, put your emotion on the tablet and new calcul need to be performed.

    Always try to ee what is in the head of your opponent, where he looks, what does he wants. easy to get.

    If you panick everytime you saw something not fun, you'll make holes in your wall.
  9. 06 Oct '09 15:04 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Ashley Price
    Tactics, strategy, playing a lot, none of these will improve your game... [b]unless you use "deliberate practice".

    You can play thousands of games over many years and never get better. I know, I'm one such person. Started playing when I was 7 or 8 and haven't noticed a great deal of improvement since.

    Why?

    Because I rarely learn from my mis alf he became the youngest Grandmaster. Yet he had been playing the game since he was SIX![/b]
    Ashley can you explain in one or two paragraphs the concepts of 'deliberate practice' as opposed to those other methods which the forum contributors have posted (tactics, strategy and playing), for they seem to me to be one and the same.
  10. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    06 Oct '09 15:07
    Underemployment.

    I work at my profession part-time, which gives me plenty of time to study and play chess, and has permitted me to develop a secondary career as a scholastic chess coach.

    This one factor has freed up time for tactics, endgame study, improving positional knowledge, and expanding and deepening my opening repertoire.
  11. 06 Oct '09 15:15 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    This is to counterbalance the above two posts about tactics.

    The single thing that makes the most difference to someone's playing strength is their calculational ability, there is no doubt about that. But study of tactics in isolation is all but useless. Essentially it means that you can exploit any 3 move error by your opponent, but have no idea h you'll get the hang of faster, because you'll have something to fit your tactics around.
    learning strategy is super easy (opening ideas and endgames are excluded). just 30 pages of simple Silman stuff will do it. the most difficult thing I find in chess is to implement it accurately, with a practical frame of mind.
  12. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    06 Oct '09 16:10 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by philidor position
    learning strategy is super easy (opening ideas and endgames are excluded). just 30 pages of simple Silman stuff will do it. the most difficult thing I find in chess is to implement it accurately, with a practical frame of mind.
    I don't think the 'put your rooks on open files', 'knights on outposts' kind of knowledge really cuts it, but instead it takes years of playing and analysing (preferably) master games to slowly develop the intuition/understanding/feel for strategic aspects. that kind of knowledge can't be attained by reading 30 pages (or any amount) of descriptive advice, but must be accumulated through training/playing/mileage. reading about it is only 1% of the job.

    for the same reason I think simply drilling tactics WILL give most bang for the buck even before learning 'how to get into those positions'. in time you'll learn about pressure, tension, activity, space, time and power etc, but it can't be rushed, you can't just jump ahead of yourself by deciding you'll train 'those things' instead of tactics. you'll have to grow into it. which will take years of playing, and you might as well use that time to work on the bread & butter which is tactics.

    that said, the best way to develop your strategic understanding is to play correspondence chess. use days working out stuff, never give up, the answer does exist. the pros play with exactly the same board and rules, and would find the correct move in your position. it's there, you just have to work it out.

    what somebody said about deliberate practice above is also absolutely true. any kind of chess training should be taken exactly as physical training. if it doesn't get you exhausted, you're just cruising and won't learn anything. but when your head hurts from concentration and you get nauseous, oh yeah, that's the sweet spot. no pain no gain.
  13. 06 Oct '09 16:19
    Two things for me that moved me past 1800 (when tactics stop getting you so far without other elements coming into play). One - actually moving bits round on a board, trying out variations to understand a position, and not simply making a superficial or dogmatic 'must be good / bad' type of judgement - what Nigel Davies calls 'reading and nodding'. Two - sitting at the board and concentrating for a whole game, and developing my thinking habits (using ideas from Kotov, Tisdall, Rowson), making a bigger effort to look for ideas. I used to spend most of my opponents thinking time at the coffee bars and looking at friends games - not good.

    Also learning not to make excuses for losing or playing badly helped a lot
  14. 06 Oct '09 16:21
    Originally posted by wormwood
    I don't think the 'put your rooks on open files', 'knights on outposts' kind of knowledge really cuts it, but instead it takes years of playing and analysing (preferably) master games to slowly develop the intuition/understanding/feel for strategic aspects. that kind of knowledge can't be attained by reading 30 pages (or any amount) of descriptive advice, b ...[text shortened]... be accumulated through training/playing/mileage. reading about it is only 1% of the job.
    I agree with all of that. that was part of what I wanted to say.
  15. Standard member orion25
    Art is hard
    06 Oct '09 16:31
    Originally posted by philidor position
    learning strategy is super easy (opening ideas and endgames are excluded). just 30 pages of simple Silman stuff will do it. the most difficult thing I find in chess is to implement it accurately, with a practical frame of mind.
    I agree, buy or lend Winning Chess strategies by Silman and you will have know enough strategy for the next year(s). Tactics is definitly also important. But the most important thing still hasn't been mentioned: analyse your one games. See were you and your oponents went wrong. See were you missed your oportunities. Look at all variations, write it down. Make a folder. Only this way will you be able to UNDERSTND, how the game goes. Only this way will you learn to aply everything you learn (tactics, strategy, etc) to your game.

    Another thing I do, to remind myself how stupid I am, and to avoid making the same mistakes again, is compile a file with all your major blunders, wheather your openent profited from them or not, everytime you blunder a piece away, or destroy a nice position by giving up the structure, open goes the folder and another entry is added.

    For later, when you feel every aspect is going well (you're improving steadily at tactics, you know some basic strategy, you know how to conduct a game, enfin, when you see you are moving up in the rating list), then, and only then, you must start two important things: basic endgames, how to draw a pawn down, wrong colored bishops etc, and creating an opening repertoire, Just knowing what you play against each major white opening, and what you like to play as white. You don't need to know lines, just the most important ideas behind the openings.

    Now get to work!