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The difference between an expert (2000 uscf) and a master (2200 uscf) seem to be very slight (at least to me it does). Seems like the master just knows a little bit more theory, perhaps a little more knowledge/ feel of the position and maybe can calculate slightly better. So basically just slightly better in everything. Am I right?
I'd think so too.
I think it may be larger.Im about 2000 playing strength (fide) and one of my collegues is an FM (slightly stronger comparison).But he has much more opening knowledge, endgame knowledge and tactical ability than I do.
Once you break the 2000 to 2100 barrier range a 50 point difference starts meaning a lot more often. You will not always notice the difference as much at lower rankings except where a few hundred points rating difference is in question.
To me the difference between Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates is very sleight. I will never have nearly as much money as either one of them. But apparently, there is a very big difference, to them.
Rating does not really mean that much b/c it can be easily manipulated.
Suppose there are 2 players we will look at.
Player 1 is rated 2100. His average opponent is rated 1800. This player plays a lot of weaker players and loses very rarely.
Player 2 is rated 2000. His average opponent is rated 2300. This player does not win nearly as often, and actually has a losing record but plays stronger opponents.
Both players have played many games.
If player 1 played player 2 I would favor player 2 to win if they were matched up even though player 1 has 100 points higher rating.
You can't necessarily assume a difference in certain skills here. You would have to assume a person who never plays a stronger opponent doesn't know how to deal with prolonged pressure or defending for example. You could also argue the person who only faces stronger opponents all the time will have developed an overly passive style. Perhaps this combination works opposite to what you originally predict?
As for the rating system, this is not a flaw. Playing weaker opponents give you proportionally less points for a win than beating a stronger player. Note that when facing only stronger players your point loss to game loss ratio is low while the other player suffers greater losses per loss.
More to the point of how accurate your rating is, it depends on how varied your opponents are and how often you play. If you only play weaker or stronger opponents you could argue neither rating is as accurate as someone who plays random opponents (although practically speaking the error may be very small).
It is rare that you can find some one in the Expert to Master range that only plays either higher ranked players or lower ranked players anyways. Generally these types of situations will exist with players that no longer play regulary in tournament play. They may still get a lot of OTB but just at the club level. For people who regulary join tournaments it is not likely that they would be playing mostly only lower level or mostly only higher level (not so easy to get that setup lol).
When I playing a master, they seem to have a deeper understanding in the middlegame and better endgame skills and better calculation; they look at more candidates moves. I remember one 2300 USCF master, I outplay the master in the opening and middlegame and he outplay me in the endgame; even though it was a draw game. A master rated 2200 USCF is stronger than an expert rated 2000 USCF; maybe a 2150 USCF is closer to master strength. There is big difference between an expert rated 2000 to a master rated 2200 something, that is a 200 points difference.
As a USCF expert and aspiring master, I can speak from personal experience a bit... My positional play has gotten me this far. I feel confident in my ability to formulate a long-term plan and solve mini-puzzles to help me execute that plan. That's another way of saying I think I have a firm grasp of what Jeremy Silman calls "imbalances."
But starting around 1900-2000, I feel like I hit a wall in my progress as a player because positional chess is only one part of the game. That's why about a year ago I started a new training method focusing on tactics and calculation, where on every single move I check ALL possible forcing moves. Because forcing moves (by definition) limit the number of responses my opponent can make, I'll calculate long lines just to see the types of positions that result. That gives me a whole new set of information that isn't available to me if I'm only thinking about making incremental positional gains in service of a long-term plan. It's amazing what you can dredge up sometimes.
The effect on my game has been pretty dramatic. I'm catching a lot more of my opponent's blunders, and preventing a lot more of my own. Most importantly, I'm gaining confidence in the notion of "initiative" and the importance of piece activity. A good litmus test is how I feel about the Panov-Botvinnik Attack (below). For most of my chess career, I would have taken Black's position every single time because White's isolated Queen's pawn is a liability in the endgame and provides a target in the middlegame. But now I would prefer White's position for the piece mobility and greater tactical chances. Even if the initiative fizzles out, with good technique White shouldn't get less than a draw.
This is just how things have turned out for me. Someone else could easily write about how they got to expert level on tactics alone, and now they're making progress by learning about positional chess. In either case, I think a good (short) answer to the topic's question is: you can make expert by having a totally lopsided style (either positional or tactical), but at master level and above you have to have a more well-rounded game. I think this is even true of the famous positional players of history too (Karpov, Petrosian, etc.), because great defense requires that you see your opponent's latent threats.
As a USCF expert and aspiring master, I can speak from personal experience a bit...
But starting around 1900-2000, I feel like I hit a wall in my progress as a player because positional chess is only one part of the game. That's why about a year ago I started a new training method focusing on tactics and calculation, where on every single move I check ALL possible forcing moves.
I think a good (short) answer to the topic's question is: you can make expert by having a totally lopsided style (either positional or tactical), but at master level and above you have to have a more well-rounded game. I think this is even true of the famous positional players of history too (Karpov, Petrosian, etc.), because great defense requires that you see your opponent's latent threats.
Interesting reply Reed. Thanks.
Looking at your ratings here, there's a few things I noticed.
One thing is that you didn't do tactics here :)
Perhaps a fun fact to mention is that when Mikhail Tal got older he gradually improved his endgame technique, and even won endgames against endgame geniuses like Smyslov !
Capablanca and Karpov used to play 1.e4 when they were younger.
From Capablanca you can at least find two games with King's Gambit with white with amazing queen sacrifices !
Petrosian has also produces some amazing attacking games.
My impression is that, often, the higher rated, the better their technique is. Often they know how to continue and win a game with slight advantage, converting that in an endgame.
There's exceptions of course, like the impatient GM Velimirovic who prefers "forcing" moves and attacks over patient endgame grind downs :)
Capablanca switched to d4 ever since his match with Corzo. He was 12 years old then. So yes, when he was very young. Your points still are true... players at the top are strong at every aspect of the game.
This is just how things have turned out for me. Someone else could easily write about how they got to expert level on tactics alone, and now they're making progress by learning about positional chess. In either case, I think a good (short) answer to the topic's question is: you can make expert by having a totally lopsided style (either positional or tactical), but at master level and above you have to have a more well-rounded game.
This is why I believe my threshold will be expert level. It's delightful whenever I hear that I can be a strong amateur player and still have huge gaps in chess understanding. It's too much work to be at the top. You really gotta love chess a LOT to be a master or above... more than almost anything else, methinks. To me, chess will never be worth that much. Expert is like king of the goobers.
NM is like a baby chess god.
Like LongIslandMark said, the progression's not linear. You could compare it to the guys who run a marathon in 2:25 as opposed to those who run it in 2:15. Only 10 minutes difference, but they're worlds apart. Not to mention the Carlsens of the running world who manage 2:03 ...
Thanks for the info. I didn't know that :)
I've just looked up the 2 King's Gambit games from Capablanca where he sac-ed a queen with a sort of "positional attack" :
I read about it in his book "My Chess Career." Those are some strange games by Capa. Definitely not the norm for him, but very good games! I doubt he would have sac'd the queen if he didn't have a very specific plan in mind. I believe it was both positional and tactical (calculated) play!
Thanks for the book info ! :)
and I agree, these queen sacrifices look more like positional sacrifices.
Tactics is the main difference i can often hold my own positionally sometimes even outplay them but i only managed to beat 1 national master so far. He was banking on a threat of a flimsy attack to prevent me from owning him in the centre and i called him out on it in the end he ended up being the one under attack and he quickly lost. Then in another game against a national master in the same tournament I set up a cute trick to give him a backward pawn on an open file and I even managed to win a pawn for basically nothing but then I slipped up and allowed a combination that was really difficult to see.
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