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  1. 27 May '07 03:42 / 1 edit
    I was taught long ago that one should study the endgame first, then the middle game, then the opening. It's a simplified adage, but the point is well taken: that a novice should not jump into studying openings right away.

    What do you think? How long can a player study tactics alone, and what other areas should be studied first, before studying openings? Or, how far advanced can a player expect to get without doing more than a superficial study of the openings? Can you express it in terms of rankings on this board?

    The "How" part: Should a player study all the "what ifs" of different opening lines, or make a broad study of openings by category, and make observations of the principles involved? Thanks.
  2. Subscriber coquette
    Already mated
    27 May '07 04:03
    Originally posted by HolyT
    I was taught long ago that one should study the endgame first, then the middle game, then the opening. It's a simplified adage, but the point is well taken: that a novice should not jump into studying openings right away.

    What do you think? How long can a player study tactics alone, and what other areas should be studied first, before studying openings? ...[text shortened]... d study of openings by category, and make observations of the principles involved? Thanks.
    begin by learning how the pieces move. then learn their relative point values. discover that the point values relate to the number of squares that they can move to. learn a few tactical tricks (knight forks, discovered checks, double attacks, etc). learn about castling and promotions and stalemates and when you cant do certain moves, like castle across check. learn to how to open (not openings) . . . one or two pawns, at the most, at first, then pieces before pawns, early castling, dont keep moving the same pieces over again. don't trade just to simplify, only trade when there is some advantage to doing it. after these steps, it's time to advance.

    start to learn opening patterns (ones with names, and what the underlying + and - are. begin to understand pawn structures. learn more complicated tactical tricks (combinations). start to learn 2 and 3 move mates. find out about open and closed games. find out about which pieces work together better than others, like why two bishops or two knights is usually better than a bishop and a knight etc.

    start to learn games. study bobby fisher, morphy, capablanca, kasparov, karpov, polgars, and all the others.

    wake up on day two for the next lesson.
  3. Standard member irontigran
    Rob Scheider is..
    27 May '07 04:16
    ok, most of my hair fell out trying to cram that into a day...whats the next lesson?
  4. 27 May '07 07:12
    Start with Horowitz' "How to win in the Chess Endings."
  5. 27 May '07 07:22
    Definitely endgames and tactics first. Then middlegame and strategy and more tactics, and only then openings. What comes to openings, middlegame and endgame; openings are by far the least important aspect to study of those three.
  6. 27 May '07 19:27
    Thanks for your answers. However, I think I did a poor job of asking my question. I did not mean to ask the general question "What should a novice study?" Rather, I meant to zero in on something like this:

    At what point can a player no longer get away with JUST studying tactics, and MUST start studying openings? Can the study of tactics take the place of studying opening lines in detail?

    (I am assuming that the player has already done, by study or experience, everything that Coquette mentioned.) Thanks again.
  7. 27 May '07 19:32
    I never understood exactly why it's said to study endgame first and not middlegame. How is one supposed to reach a winning endgame if he gets completely destroyed in the middle?
  8. 27 May '07 19:49
    Originally posted by YUG0slav
    I never understood exactly why it's said to study endgame first and not middlegame. How is one supposed to reach a winning endgame if he gets completely destroyed in the middle?
    I think you're supposed to study endgames/basic mates first because you learn how the pieces & pawns can work together on a simplified board.

    Middlegame is all about tactics (which should perhaps be learnt after learning moves/rules then endgame/basic mates) & strategy (which is far harder to get to grips with for most people) so that is the reasoning.
  9. Standard member Ragnorak
    For RHP addons...
    27 May '07 19:54
    Originally posted by YUG0slav
    I never understood exactly why it's said to study endgame first and not middlegame. How is one supposed to reach a winning endgame if he gets completely destroyed in the middle?
    I guess if you know how to mate with a Queen and King, Rook and King, two bishops etc, you've not only learned how the pieces move, but also how they work together.

    Pawn endings would give you a good introduction to the temporal aspect of the game.

    D
  10. 27 May '07 20:06 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by HolyT
    Thanks for your answers. However, I think I did a poor job of asking my question. I did not mean to ask the general question "What should a novice study?" Rather, I meant to zero in on something like this:

    At what point can a player no longer get away with JUST studying tactics, and MUST start studying openings?
    when one gets ~1600-1800 rating. Then it comes pretty necessarily to learn some openings too.

    Of course, its more beneficial to study openings earlier, but when you become ~1800 player then its pretty necessarily in order to improve.
  11. 27 May '07 20:45
    Originally posted by YUG0slav
    I never understood exactly why it's said to study endgame first and not middlegame. How is one supposed to reach a winning endgame if he gets completely destroyed in the middle?
    it's hard to explain, but when you get past the "2move combination blunders in the opening or middlegame" point; after you begin studying endgames, middlegame starts to make a different kind of sense. I'm going through this, and it's surprising for me too.
  12. 28 May '07 03:32
    I achieved an Expert USCF rating knowing almost nothing about endgames. I knew the basic mates and a few pawn endings and a few rook&pawn endings. I didn't know the the Lucena or Philidor postions until my rating was over 2000.

    Learn to recognize simple combinations and work hard to minimize blunders and you'll probably become a good player.