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Me and a friend are in a disagreement on what the best way to play live chess is, for the sake of learning.
I've argued that if you're below 1500, it's best playing people in your own range, say within 50 points of of your own rating, and slowly build your way up. I think this is the best way because you learn skills/strategies/tactics/concepts that you need to grasp and fully understand before you can learn or recognise in-game more advance skills/strategies/tactics/concepts.
He is arguing that you can learn more by playing higher rated players because "they make better moves" and "you can learn quicker from your mistakes".
I've also made the counter-argument that you can do that with computer opponents (such as Fritz or Rybka) just as easily, only faster (because computer moves are often instant) and with more chances to learn (because you can take back moves).
Which method is best?
It's good to play a better opponent fairly often. Such games can show you where your deficiencies are more clearly.
While playing higher rated opponents may not be much of a confidence booster bc you will probably lose a majority of time, I feel playing higher rated opponents is more instructive. The reason being that higher rated opponents will take advantage of subtle mistakes that lower rated opponents won't recognize. Going over these games and seeing where exactly you went wrong can be more instructive. Playing equally rated opponents I feel won't be as productive because I won't realize where I'm making mistakes.
playing higher rated opponents is a good strartegy, you will often learn more and if you lose, you lose less points, if you win, you win more points. just make sure to have good confidence, if you get too frustrated you'll feel like never playing again.
Playing players who are on par with you is also important, since you not only need to know your own weaknesses but also how to capitalize on an opponent's weaknesses.
Play opponents within a range of your rating. +- 200 points
The trick is to play opponents only slightly stronger. It forces you to focus harder and improves your game over time. As you get stronger, you keep playing up to keep improving. It's the exact same concept with working out on your muscles.
The very best is when you can do this in person and get post-game analysis with your opponent (if they are willing).
and play every game as if it were a tournament
I think this is the main argument for playing people your own level. However, if you play a stronger player then you learn how HE capitalizes on YOUR weaknesses. This gives you experience you could use against similar weaknesses in other players at your own level.
well, it's of course impossible to play only stronger players all the time. If your stronger opponent did the same thing, he wouldn't be playing you, would he?
Play everybody, learn how to lose, learn how to win, learn how to draw.
I like this one!
True. Like I said in my first post, I think the main advantage of playing higher-rated players is to determine your own weaknesses, but analyzing the opponent's moves definitely gives a benefit to your positional and attacking abilities as well.
It's only impossible if everyone did it. Since most people are too lazy to put that kind of commitment in, you can certainly get away with only playing up. It only becomes impossible when you're Magnus Carlsen, but even he can switch to getting beat by Houdini or Rybka.
You should play both higher and lower rated opponents to develop fastest as a player, as well as people at your own level.
I like this one!
Theoretically possible, not very likely.
A player who played nothing but higher rated players would lose so many games as to get discouraged and try something else. It's just human nature, we need some sort of positive feedback.
Also, from an ethical point of view, you are not entitled to take from higher rated players the experience you are unwilling to give to lower players than you. The system is a compact.
Besides, it is nice to be able to win some games more easily, and can reinforce the commitment to fight on.
-0/+200 filter seems to work fine for me. Have climbed from 1000s to 1300s in bullet now.
I love to face higher rated opponents but once in a while I play a lower rated to take my anger out if I'm on a losing streak
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