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Highschool is going to be so busy for me, but nevertheless I still want to continue seriously playing chess (for the federation), and studying it. I want to get as good as I can because theese teenage years are the best time for improvement. I'm 14, and I just realized that I will have no more than an hour on Mondays-Thursdays. I will have about 2 hours on friday. And up 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday. You gotta remember, that I can't just use all my free time in chess. I do other things too like card magic (check out my channel on card magic by the way: http://www.youtube.com/user/Rock545451?feature=mhee). I estimated that I will only have 2 hours MAX a day of free time during the weekdays (excluding exercise and snack). So I'm considering devoting 1 hour or slightly more to chess, and the rest to card magic and other entertainment.
But is this enough????? That's the main question. I know GM's are probably thinking (this is nothing!). But I don't have the time! And the other question is, how do I study?
How should I distribute my precious time of study?
To put things in perspective, studying smart trumps studying hard. (not just for chess)
One fairly efficient use of time is to
1- Play a slow game against a stronger player (can't be equal or weaker)
2- Get the game (likely to be a loss) critiqued by a coach or stronger player
3- Build up a list of mistakes you are making (via step 2)
4- Build up a list of "things to remember" (via step 2)
5- Rinse and repeat => go back to step 1
This feedback loop alone is enough to keep you on a growth path in terms of strength.
I've seen beginner-level kids visit chess clubs and sponge (2+3+4) on a weekly basis and they got strong with just that (no reading or studying!)
Not saying that 1-way learning (books,videos) don't help at all .. but so this "learning by osmosis + interaction" can be quite effective if you are short on time.
Well I will be going on average every 2-3 weeks to my chess club. I'm playing in all slow tournaments (very few blitz/quick, so that's why I'm not going every week).
I am playing in my first OTB tournament, and got put in the lowest section since I'm unrated (even though I probably should have been in the next section of players I think 1400-1800. Because there were players in there who I had winning positions against, and actually won a game against one of them, drew with one, and lost to one in that higher section. Also, because I'm expecting my rating to be 1723(P4) because I've already won against two people so I'm 2 for 2, and if I beat the next two people (I probably will. The section is very weak.), and if one of those people is the 1323 rated opponent that I'm hoping to play and beat, USCF Rating Estimator says "1723".
The more you can play otb chess the more effective your study time will be. Why only ever 2-3 weeks? Does your club meet every week? (Most do). If you have 1-2 hours a day to actually study chess that is really quite a bit. It's a lot more then most players manage.
Play otb chess once a week. Leave time the next day or two for seriously analyzing your game (There are many good articles on chess.com about how to analyze your games). Use the analysis sessions to brush up on openings and middle-game planning. Spend the rest of your time studying endgames.
Daily would be solving tactics, puzzles. Weekly try to spend by sparring with stronger opponent. Anway if you have extra money you could ask some IM/FM/GM play with you. Try search for chess coach at chess.com, you might get good chess coach near your place. Do buy some chess software such as Chessbase 11 and Fritz 13 to analyse your game. Also i encourage you to have a look on Chess course by GM Smirnov. http://bit.ly/O7RHMb. I think it worth to invest some money on it.
No, I'm playing in all(perhaps almost all) otb tournaments. However I'm not playing many blitz/quick so that's why I might only be coming that much on average. Because I'll play in otb tournaments and try to play in as many as possible that meet 4-5 weeks at a stretch once a week. Then they will do a few blitz/quick, and I'll skip out on those because I don't really like it and plus I need to relax.
Actually I'll just take Diamond Membership. My dad doesn't want to spend too much money on chess right now and also the one NM at the chess club I go to says that it's a bit early for me to have a coach right now and that it's okay for me to just play and self-study. Also, if I upgrade to Diamond Membership because I've heard it helps a lot! And use that as study.
So would chess mentor/tactics trainer for an hour a day every day and GM/IM/FM/NM Chess.com videos and sparring with higher rated opponents on the weekends be a good study plan?
Also when I am duing serious study on the weekends, How much time should I spend on openings. I know it's a good idea not to spend too much, but I do want to spend a little time on opening theory. I'm pretty solid at the Benko Gambit which is my opening response to 1.d4 and I know basic theory of all the variations in the French Defense which is my opening against 1.e4. I'm starting to learn the Queen's Gambit and that's all I want to work on right now as far as opening theory. So how much time studying opening theory/middlegames/endgames (opening theory is important, even jeremy silman says so, however not as much as middle/endgames)?
Do you have any video/book recommendations for me on learning the Queen's Gambit?
How should I study middle/endgames? Chess mentor? Videos?
What else should I do besides studying the above, and sparring more difficult opponents?
How should my time be approximately distributed in studying the above in terms of %? Use 150 minutes per Weekend Day as an example (remember during working days, I only have approximately 60 minutes and in that time, all I can do is TT and Chess Mentor)?
Is Diamond Membership on Chess.com enough for study material?
Get some great chess coach also, you will need also personal coach because its totally different if you have someone guide you. It will help you a lot.
I don't have the time. I'll get a chess coach when I'm rated 2000+. Also it would be great if you answered my questions in the very long post I made.
I'll get a chess coach when I'm rated 2000+
I think you need to be realistic here ... I'd rephrase this to
"I'll get a chess coach when I hit a plateau/ I want to grow stronger but nothing I'm doing is helping me get there."
I eventually will get a coach. But right now it's a bit early. I've only been playing since April. I'll get one maybe this winter, but right now, me and my dad talked to an NM, and he said that it's a little early right now to commit to a coacth, and that for now I should just play and self-study.
"I'll get a chess coach when I hit a plateau/ I want to grow stronger but nothing I'm doing is helping me get there."
Excuse me, but this is nonsense. Not everyone studies with a coach, and watching tutorial videos (they help a lot), chess mentor, sparring difficult opponents, playing in as many long, slow OTB tournaments (my club doesn't have them every week, by the way, they do blitz/other stuff too) as possible? These things should definitely be able to get me from 1700 to 1800 in a few months.
I don't understand how a player with a 970 live blitz rating on here with over a hundred games played can assume they are a 1723 USCF caliber player in OTB tournaments. Sorry, but I think that you will soon find that your opposition in OTB tournaments will be much tougher than most of the competition you have met at your level on Chess.com. If I were you I'd prepare myself for maybe a performance rating in the high 800's coming out of your first tournament so as not to totally crush your morale with your un-founded expectations. When I had a USCF rating of 1156 coming out of my first tournament I had a ChessMaster PC rating vs. the various AI personalities of 1800... Case in point online/PC comparisons to a OTB USCF rating are often very poor indicators of true strength, but if you're rated on the low scale here (which I consider a 970 blitz on this site to be) you can't rightly expect to be of Class A-B caliber. You said you just recently picked up the game in April I recommend you first get your feet wet in a dozen or so OTB tournaments before even thinking about ratings.
As to what you should allocate your precious study time to I recommend you read all of the books from the "Winning Chess" series beginning with the one on tactics before moving onto endgames. You didn't say any books you have previously read, so I am assuming you haven't read these. Other then that, find time to play at least one slow game every week. The good players I face in tournaments found enough time to play at least that many during their improvement stage so I suggest you do the same to reap the same reward. Best of luck in your tournament!
The reason I'm rated so low is because I don't take live chess seriously at all. In fact I lost on purpose a few times too just for a little fun (I know it sounds pathetic). But these chess.com ratings mean NOTHING! In fact I beat a 1550 player, and I beat Computer Level 8/10 on my Tablet. And I'm rated 1270 Blitz USCF and remember Blitz/Quick Chess is weak for me. I am a lot better at long chess. So I wouldn't be surprised if my real rating actually is around 1500-1700. Ignore my chess.com rating.
Also, I didn't learn chess in April. I was probably a 900-1000 player in April because I hadn't played in a long time. I've known how to play chess for so many years now, but never took it seriously until April is what I meant. I probably can at least get Class C. Worst Case Class D. But I am expecting ratings of 1400-1800. And it's not that unlikely. I almost won against an 1800. I was up an exchange. But since I suck at Quick Chess, I lost on time to him. Otherwise, I would have beaten him if it was a long tounament game. I'm a lot stronger an Regular play. And 970 is a joke. My USCF Quick rating like I said is 1270, which means my Regular Rating should at least be 1400.
My senior year in high school, I went from being rated 1400 to being rated 1700. I was taking 5 separate AP courses along with playing tennis for the school team in the spring and golf in the fall. All I did was set aside an hour a day and scutinized every detail of Jeremy Silman's books (and a bit of study on the sicilian defense). You can do it, it just takes dedication and hard work and a love for either the game or the competition.
Shivsky's original advice above is pretty darned good.
Play as many slow games as you can against as strong opponents as you can, but remember (once you are rated) that those rated more than 300 points above you won't help you improve as much because you won't understand why you lost in many cases. Ideally, you would play someone 200 points above you: they will beat you 75% of the time but you will have a fighting chance, and you can learn from the game either way.
Entering tournaments with an established rating, mentally add 150 points to your rating and enter the lowest section you would be eligible for if that was your rating. So if you are 1673, don't enter the "Under 1800" section, go to the next one up, but if you are 1623, "Under 1800" is a good place for you.
Always ask the opponent to review the game in the skittles room, even lower-rated players may have seen things you missed. Treat higher-rated players as if they were your coach even if you won, ask questions respectfully. And help out the lower-rated if you can: it is the price you pay for the help others give you.
Always be nice in post mortem analysis, even if the guy is a jerk. Controlling your emotions in the skittles room helps train that skill for actual games.
I'm sorry, I remember now your real question was studying for the school days. I'd set aside about 60-90 minutes each day if you can. Three days a week, spend it playing over GM games. Filter for the openings you are playing/learning, and perhaps for rating of 2300+ for both players (higher for the main lines of popular openings).
Spend about 15-20 minutes per game. You want to really see what is going on in each game, but not attempt deep analysis of it. So you get 3-6 games in per session, that's good and it will help you very much over time.
The other two days, spend it on learning endings. Try to learn a new ending position every week, but don't rush, keep working on them until you know it. Save 15 minutes each day to try an endgame study (puzzle). Again, you don't have to solve it in one attempt, keep working at each one for weeks if you have to. Over time, you will be much stronger for it.
I experienced a similar burst, from roughly a 1500 player on 3rd board of my HS team as a sophomore to a first USCF rating over 1800 and 1st board as a junior, and without any real study of anything.
The only books I had were Reinfeld's The Complete Chessplayer, Lasker's Common Sense in Chess, Capablanca's Last Lectures, and Horowitz' Chess Openings: Theory and Practice.
Yeah my USCF standard rating is 1567 (P4).
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