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I am 24 years old and playing chess since i was 6. Because there were lack of chess books in my country i never studied chess till i began university. I improved myself on tactics and endgames a bit and eventually got 1850NR on OTB and 2000-2100 on internet blitz games.
Now i want to study positional chess and i want to make it intensively (Since i want to improve 2000 level as soon as possible) I am not a complete disaster at positional chess but i feel now the time has come for a serious, systematic study of this phase.
Can you recommend me a starting book for it and a continuation plan, which books, how much time and with which methods i should study.
I acquired watsons modern chess strategy series, nimzowitsch's my system, aagard's excelling at positional chess, sergiu samarian systematic training and kotov's think, play, train like gm books. But only peeked at yet. I can gather any additional book if strongly recommended, and i dont like video, internet type of training. Also disliked my system because of finding it a bit vague, chatty, discrete (abstract).
Can any experienced player (not time-wise but mastery-wise) give a good training plan ?
A great book, and one that I believe is available as an inexpensive Dover paperback, is "Simple Chess," by Michael Stean. He covers a lot of important positional ideas using grandmaster games. His writting is clear and concise and there's a lot of value for not very much money
"50 Essential Chess Lessons" by Steve Giddins is another good choice
secrets of modern chess strategy and dynamic pawn play in chess are essentials
I liked Drazen Marovic's Secrets of positional chess coverage of weaknesses, and found a few good books about pawn structure. I made a few categories, and divided the material i found into these categories. (I dont know if i did my training plan right but anyway i had to take a step into)
But i couldnt find an intense treatment about color complexes. Do you know any book about color complexes (preferable at advanced level and has some volume)
there is a book, or maybe a video from chessbase that is focused on color complexes i forget the author i can think about it though. i never explicitly focused on color complexes i think i just built the intuition from looking at a lot of games.
when i was your strength i was mostly analyzing the kasparov former world champion series, looking through games in the openings i wanted to play to build familiarity with the middlegames, reading the books i mentioned and balancing it out with a lot of healthy endgame study. back then i was using fundamental chess endings.
i don't think there necessarily is a right training plan just make sure you are focusing on all the parts of your game and if you put the time in it will pay off.
drunknknite, i am actually focussing on calculation right moment, doing some visualiton exercises, simple mate studies (not tactics, i mean studies which require different skill sets (i know a 2 mover study challenged me like 15 minutes, they may require visualization, imagination, they might have counter intuitive moves, usual patterns might not help you much(of course there are patterns still help)), blindfold blitz or even bullet matches against weak chessmaster personalities CM1700-1800 (probably they equal to 1200-1300 OTB)
And i set my training method as following, setting critical board diagram in book by moving fast first moves. Then using a chronometer doing analysis of position for some minutes (15 to 30) when i feel enough, i am looking variations and comments book present. And playing through some variations i wonder. ( I know it would be better if i go on making analyses but i have less energy and interest at this stage so making my work some easier)
I am studying both analysis, calculation, (and of course some tactics), testing myself, learning some positional concepts. And i noticed i even remembering lines, moves etc even in the parts i skipped fast.
Of course it could be much efficient, analyses can be more quality, i can prepare a question list, i can analysis plans for side, more positions and endgame can be analyzed, analyses can be framed in more strict time-frames similar to i have in real games etc. But i have limitations in concentration, stamina, energy, habits, experience and knowledge. İf i keep up the pace for few months (or even weeks) then i can optimise it little more.
By the way, about the openings some fun things can be experimented.
-after determining the hardest level you can beat at your own engine only in strongest opening
-you can open your database and/or opening books, looking the games and knowledge given by book, determine some plans, squares where the pieces are belong to etc in some ALIEN positions to you
- in final step you play some 10-15min games in these positions against the level you determined.
It will be much harder to play, but more fun and challenging. It feels more chess than mimicing your habits.
Actually i had the idea from my own development, after playing unrated for 5-6 years i had around 1600 rating when i was 12 and it doesn't improve for ten years. Then i tried something different lie, constantly changing the position i play, my style etc. I tried to play more riskier, then more dull than ever, exchanged down to the lastest of pieces, than i played the most chaotic positions, i have made unsound king attack sacrifices (intentional, and won some of them because of opponents psycology) , positional sacrifices, even a sacrificed a knight on pawn just to exchange everything (it was still early opening phase, where i had development advantage, while my oppenent played very passive but with no weaknesses) and getting a protected passed pawn. (Funny thing R+R+B+N+pawns vs R+R+B+B+N+ with a pawn less position went out winning eventhough my opponent had bishop pair(lack of coordination of his pieces earned me another pawn, and he had to sacrifice his extra bishop to one of my advanced pawns, when he equalized the position i had a healthy extra pawn). I accepted deadly sacrifies and tried to defend till my last blood. I changed my style nearly every three month.
And the result, same amounts of playing, solving same amount of tactics puzzles, studying even less endgames but experiencing lots of different positions, styles, techniques,psycologies. I suddenly found myself 250-300 points higher. In 10 years i went up from 1570 to 1610 and in 3 years 1870.
Moral of the last part, is there are unique problems and unique solutions in personal development.
You might consider Chess Strategy for Club Players..
If you really wanted to get good at positional play you should get a diamond membership and watch Melikset Khachiyan videos, and also Danny Rensch's Pawn Structure series.
But otherwise I'd strongly suggest Pawn Structure Chess by Andy Soltis, and My System by Aaron Nimzovitch. The beginning is less interesting than the end in My System but it's important also.
I would spend more time figuring out how to make better use of what you already KNOW and less time filling your head full of stuff that won't help you play better immediately...
Chess history is full of players that regularly beat other players who have years and years more of accumulated knowledge. Just look at the young players that beat the heck out of there choaches etc.
Start reading Dvoretsky and Yusupov's School of Chess Excellence.
Well, I don't know how much you know, so it's hard to say. I'd suggest Pachman's Modern Chess Strategy as a good primer / to fill any holes you might have in your understanding.
Watson's Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy is more of a history of strategy and why Watson feels certain rules dont apply in certain positions. It's more of an icing on the cake book IMO. And although it gets high praise, I ended up trading it away and was told he borrowed a lot from Sthol's Modern Chess Masterpieces book (which is a great book, but not focused on strategy ;)
Dvoretsky's books are similarly not what you're looking for I believe, as they assume you already have a more than mean grasp of all chess fundamentals. Written for masters (2200), though I've heard experts (2000) can get some use out of the books if they spend a lot of time and effort.
I don't believe there are any books aimed at 1800 that systematically adress each area of strategic importance. Stean's book (Simple Chess) is good, but aimed a bit below 1800. It's also a somewhat short book (good but short) and doesn't cover all the topics (never mentions color complexes that I remember, although I just skimmed it).
Silman's How to Reassess Your Chess is useful up through Class A, and the aurthor gives a very systematic approach and looks at many strategic ideas taken from master games.
But if that book doesn't sound good, I'd go with Pachman's book to fill any holes, and buy / use online to look into some game collections of a player like Capa, Karpov, Kramnik, Carlsen (or any very strong player really) who are known for their strategic play and use what you've learned from Pachman to try and work those games apart on your own.
Hmm, at first skeptical of a 14 year old's book (Not that he coudln't teach me a thing or two about chess). But the reviews are very positive, and I hadn't heard of this book before. Thx for mentioning it, I might consider getting it one day.
When you used the, 'words counter intuitive moves', it let me know that you have the beginnings of a deep understanding of chess. There is an overriding principle in chess:
Winning chess is the strategically and tactically correct advance of the pawn mass.
There is a book titled "Pawn Power In Chess", by Hans Kmoch. It gave me a much deeper understanding of chess than any other book.
Pawn Structure by Soltis is being reprinted, get either version
Art of the Middle Game [Particularly on defending difficult positions chapter]
Judgement and Planning in Chess by Euwe
Art of Defense by Solits
Kmoch's book also.
The best way I have found is to study annotated master games, as recommended by a few GMs, is to take 30 mins for each game and play it over 3x.
1) Just play through the game, see what happens, don't think too hard on any move.
Take a short break, grab a drink, clear your mind for a minute.
2) go over the game again more slowly, focusing on the moves you don't understand at all. See if the annotations point out obvious things you may have missed like a 2/3-mover tactic like a pin, deflection. Underline any moves that completely mystify you.
3) Finally, go over the game for the last time, looking at the more subtle differences you missed before, such as why did White GM play Nc5 instead of Ne5, or exchange in the center now but not before - things you may have noticed but did not fully comprehend. Figure out, using the annotatins, why those mystifying moves were played - maybe pull the position up on the PC if a non-obvious move was played with no explanation.
A longer method of studying games is to cover one side's moves and try to guess what the response will be to the other's side, move by move. Take like 1.5-2hrs to do this. It is hard work [and slightly discouraging at first] but if you keep it up you will find you can guess more and more GM moves.
Visualization exercises help, even just thinking 2-3 moves ahead in every tactically difficult position you see - whether analyzed or not - figure out the best move and what happens if each piece/pawn that's engaged exchanges, attacks, is sacrificed to open lines, exchange sacrifice, add to the tension, retreats, zwichenzugs, etc.
a lot of positional play is just understanding whats important in a position and whats not. to that end a basic book is really good I liked Morovics books because they are approachable and dont seem to contrived. Aagaard books are also good. Chess strategy for a club player by grooten is great and provides a process to break down a position in static terms that you can apply almost immediately. I would also recommend looking at annotated books of games. The recent Gulko book is exceptional in this regard. a top 10 player at one time maybe even top 5 talks about how he chooses moves in a game. Its a positional goldmine
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