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Please Help: Very Frustrated With Chess


  • 18 months ago · Quote · #1

    ChiefofBlunders

    Hello. I am a chess player who has played a lot of games in the last few years and doesn't know how to improve. I reached a rating of around 1200-1300 about three years ago. This was about how I was when I started playing chess seriously (or at least as seriously as one can play at such a level). Since then, my game has been haunted by poor moves, blunders, miscalculations, and general incompetence. I have read or at least looked at many chess books and I have played a steady diet of chess for three years and nothing good seems to be happening. While I know this can't be true, I feel as if chess improvement isn't possible because all the GMs nowadays (please don't give me the Korchnoi example) have gotten their titles in their teens due to natural skill at the game which was never given to me. I don't know what I need to do to improve that I'm not doing right now. I even once got a chess tutor who charged a ton of money and didn't teach me much of anything that I remember today. I often tell myself that the problem is the positions I get myself into and thus I convince myself that the antidote is to change my openings and play something different from what I played before. I usually look at the moves of this new opening for only a few days before actually playing it, and this means that I don't have enough knowledge of the opening to play it.

    Worse yet, I fall victim to many blunders. I often see the advice that I should check every move to see if there's a one move disaster, but I have a lot of problems forcing myself to do this. Sometimes I finish a game without remembering to do it at all. What often happens is that when in the opening, I tell myself that I don't need to blundercheck because there's less risk, and therefore I don't need to worry for the moment. Then, I get caught up in opening-middlegame stuff and I never end up doing it. This costs me a lot of games. There are also games where I just get outplayed, and that's because I don't know too much about chess strategy.

    I just need help. I'm really annoyed that I can't seem to get better at this game. I play a lot, and I mean it. I have another account on this site under another completely different username, and that's where I play my games (usually 30|0 or 15|10). I really want to thank all of you for simply reading this.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #2

    Casual_Joe

    One of the biggest things that helped me was trying to find my opponent's best response to my intended move.  It's more than just blunder checking -- it helps see things from their perspective and what their best plan might be.  It might take some work to get into the habit, but you won't improve unless you do it.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #3

    waffllemaster

    ChiefofBlunders wrote:

    I have read or at least looked at many chess books and I have played a steady diet of chess for three years and nothing good seems to be happening.

    I played blitz chess for the first 3 years I liked chess and I was about as good as you are now.  And don't try to fool me "read or at least looked at" Wink  I know how that is, flipping through a book to random pages.  Or starting a book and quitting a chapter or two in.  Pick just one book.  You can go as slowly as you want, just 5 pages or 20 minutes or whatever, but stick with it.  The goal isn't to just finish the book but to finish the book having absorbed the lessons the author was trying to teach.

    You get better at what you practice.  Sounds simple, may sound harsh, but it's true.  The time controls 30|0 and 15|10 are better than blitz, but if you're not blunder checking then they're too fast or you're not motivated to practice these new skills.  It's definitely tedious at first, but the good news is after it's a habit it's much easier.

    Other than time control (tournament chess) you may consider a change of venue.  A local club or OTB tournament where you're playing face to face may help you be willing to change these habits.

     

    ChiefofBlunders wrote:
    I feel as if chess improvement isn't possible because all the GMs nowadays (please don't give me the Korchnoi example) have gotten their titles in their teens due to natural skill at the game which was never given to me. I don't know what I need to do to improve that I'm not doing right now. I even once got a chess tutor who charged a ton of money and didn't teach me much of anything that I remember today.

    It's true.  There's an astronomically good chance you won't be a GM.  But neither will I and neither will 99.9999% of players.  You can improve through.  A chess tutor (from what I've seen anyway) tells you what and even how to work, but it's still up to you to do the work.  Bits of advice are nice, and some are really helpful, but again the skills you practice are the skills you build.

    What makes you better is trying as hard as you can in a position and then playing a sub-optimal move.  The effort spent during that position and the lesson afterward generate improvement.  Just one or the other by themselves won't amount to much.  In short you need feedback but also you need to be actively engaged in the learning/practicing process.

     

    ChiefofBlunders wrote:
    I often tell myself that the problem is the positions I get myself into and thus I convince myself that the antidote is to change my openings and play something different from what I played before.

    Openings count for nearly nothing.  If you're reaching a playable middlegame then the errors are strategic / tactical failings not opening failings.  i.e. if you're not trying to keep your pieces active, pawn structure healthy, king safe and looking out for tactics then it wont matter what kind of position you get.  Many players fall into that opening trap and go from openign to opening not learning anything.  It's enough to pick a respectable opening (no latvian gambit for you! :) and stick with it while you learn other parts of the game.

     

    ChiefofBlunders wrote:
    Worse yet, I fall victim to many blunders. I often see the advice that I should check every move to see if there's a one move disaster, but I have a lot of problems forcing myself to do this. Sometimes I finish a game without remembering to do it at all. What often happens is that when in the opening, I tell myself that I don't need to blundercheck because there's less risk, and therefore I don't need to worry for the moment. Then, I get caught up in opening-middlegame stuff and I never end up doing it. This costs me a lot of games.

    If you don't like to blunder check then don't do it.  It doesn't mean you're a bad person or you're stupid or you don't honestly enjoy playing the game.  But until you start blunder checking it will set a glass ceiling on your performance because no matter how good your strategic knowledge is it won't matter if you're dropping pieces left and right with tactical blunders.

    As I said above it's definitely tedious at first, but you have to build this habit if you want to improve.  When I first started going to tournaments (after those 3 years of speed chess) I would unexpectedly get into terrible time trouble for moving too slow.  It seemed every time I moved too quickly it would be a tactical blunder and I'd lose the game.  I become gun shy and spend tons of time checking and rechecking my intended move.  Those games weren't great in terms of the outcome, but they were invaluable to building a fundamental habit.

    So try it out!  As Heisman says you don't get better after you win or worse after you lose just because your rating chances.  You get better when you learn something (win or lose).  So build those good habits!  Sure maybe you'll lose your next 10 games, but just think of them as training games and rate yourself for how consistently you're blunder checking.

     

    ChiefofBlunders wrote:
    I just need help. I'm really annoyed that I can't seem to get better at this game. I play a lot, and I mean it. I have another account on this site under another completely different username, and that's where I play my games (usually 30|0 or 15|10). I really want to thank all of you for simply reading this.

    Chess can be fun and addicting no matter where your skill is.  I'd think about at what cost you want to be better.  If it means tediously blunder checking for a while or going through all the variations in a book would you be willing to do it?  In short if it means changing the way you think about and play the game?

    No really!  I saw a comment from a watcher on a youtube video I found enlightening.  It was a game between two masters where one had moved their queen to less-useful square and video commented that because of this small loss of time the position now falls apart.  The person watching commented that if that's the way masters play then they never want to be rated higher than 1200!  It doesn't mean they're a bad person, just that this sort of chess wasn't appealing to them.  I imagine that person is still playing and enjoying the game today.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #4

    yeres30

    You just became a member today, July 12 so you do not have any game to show how you play.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #5

    TheBigDecline

    Play Correspondence Chess. Celebrate each and every decision you make under these slow time controls, treat your first ~50 games as if they were as important as your life. Don't just double-, but triple-check each and every one of your moves, and then you might have a chance reconfiguring the "Chess area" of your brain to avoid any of such game-losing blunders and flawed attacks in the future. Good luck Sir, that method helped me to suck a less lot! Smile

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #6

    ChiefofBlunders

    I don't like CC because I don't have continuity of thought. I think I could continue in thirty minutes if I wanted to. I often use up less than ten minutes of that time, mainly because I tell myself that I'm going to blundercheck every move and then I don't.

    Responding to blunderchecking ideas presented by wafflemaster: does this mean you blunderchecked your opening move? How about your second move? When do you start blunderchecking? I never blundercheck because I don't get around to it.

    I want to know what I should do in terms of thought in chess. What should I be reading? What should I be doing? How should I be practicing?

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #7

    waffllemaster

    ChiefofBlunders wrote:

    I don't like CC because I don't have continuity of thought. I think I could continue in thirty minutes if I wanted to. I often use up less than ten minutes of that time, mainly because I tell myself that I'm going to blundercheck every move and then I don't.

     

    Responding to blunderchecking ideas presented by wafflemaster: does this mean you blunderchecked your opening move? How about your second move? When do you start blunderchecking? I never blundercheck because I don't get around to it.

     

    I want to know what I should do in terms of thought in chess. What should I be reading? What should I be doing? How should I be practicing?

    What I was trying to say is, if these blunders where you drop a knight don't motivate you to change your habits, then you probably never will.  In my early tournament play I desperately tried to avoid losing to a simple tactic and was devistated when I missed something simple.  Very quickly I stopped making simple blunders (but I'd get into terrible time trouble ;)

    You want to know if I bunder checked every move?  Absolutely.  In fact I probably checked 10 times every move over and over.

    As for reading I'm not sure how good you are (the live standard rating on here is hard for me to translate).  I'd suggest any book out of Seriwan's winning chess series or a Silman book like Amateur's Mind.  Chernev's Logical Chess Move by Move is also good.

    You should practice by playing the absolute best move you can possibly find in every position.  Silman has called this being ready to argue for your move against "a room full of grandmasters."  Ok "absolutely best" and arguing against GMs isn't literal, but you should be trying very very hard on every move.  That combined with failure to find the best move and feedback (you can post for free in the analysis forum) is how you improve.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #8

    EscherehcsE

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 18 months ago · Quote · #9

    Conflagration_Planet

    What's your rating goal?

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #10

    ChiefofBlunders

    Did you bluncercheck your opening move? How about your second move? That's what I don't get because I can't get myself to do that.

    As for the multiple accounts thing, maybe I'll just delete this one after tonight anyway.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #11

    ChiefofBlunders

    I heard some of your book suggestions as well, wafflemaster, and I thank you for that. Are there any other books for struggling chess players of my type that could be helpful? I'd really appreciate something on which to base my improvement.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #12

    waffllemaster

    ChiefofBlunders wrote:

    Did you bluncercheck your opening move? How about your second move? That's what I don't get because I can't get myself to do that.

     

    As for the multiple accounts thing, maybe I'll just delete this one after tonight anyway.

    Yes, I checked every move.  Somehow even in the opening I was nervous.  Even when I was playing the moves I'd played many times before.  One opponent even asked me after the game why I spent so long in the opening when I was playing regular moves.

    Thinking back, it wasn't even important to me if I won or lost actually.  I just wanted to play the best possible game I was capable of playing at that moment.  If my opponent won, it didn't bother me as long as they beat me because they were better and not because I made a dumb mistake.  That was honestly my attitude (and more or less still is at tournaments).

    If you can't get yourself to do it, then don't try.  It's possible to enjoy chess at every level.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #13

    Mandy711

    I believe your frustration is something else, not chess. Trying to forget your real problem by winning in chess won't help. Your chess games would continue to suffer as long as your life is not in order. One's life somehow reflects  in the way they play chess, IMO.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #14

    mmuurrii

    Mandy711 wrote:

    I believe your frustration is something else, not chess. Trying to forget your real problem by winning in chess won't help. Your chess games would continue to suffer as long as your life is not in order. One's life somehow reflects  in the way they play chess, IMO.

    ....nice.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #15

    ChiefofBlunders

    "If you can't get yourself to do it, then don't try.  It's possible to enjoy chess at every level."

    I'm perplexed by your last comment. It's true that I have had major problems getting myself to do it. However, I don't enjoy making blunders, and therefore I would like to be able to do it. It's almost as if I would like to want to do it.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #16

    mmuurrii

    ChiefofBlunders wrote:

    "If you can't get yourself to do it, then don't try.  It's possible to enjoy chess at every level."

     

    I'm perplexed by your last comment. It's true that I have had major problems getting myself to do it. However, I don't enjoy making blunders, and therefore I would like to be able to do it. It's almost as if I would like to want to do it.

    dude, stop torturing yourself.  what the hell are you doing.  it sounds sick.

    and then you whine about it.  it's pathetic.  go to a doctor and get some pills, and lay on a couch, and then go home and watchtv, and stop thinking that you are ever going to learn to play chess,(probably anything else?), and get a dog...who will lick your hand, and make you feel loved....because it sounds like you could use some  ....love.   or weed.   something?   ....whiner.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #17

    waffllemaster

    ChiefofBlunders wrote:

    "If you can't get yourself to do it, then don't try.  It's possible to enjoy chess at every level."

     

    I'm perplexed by your last comment. It's true that I have had major problems getting myself to do it. However, I don't enjoy making blunders, and therefore I would like to be able to do it. It's almost as if I would like to want to do it.

    I guess I'm dipping into psychological advice like Mandy :p

    Being frustrated is good motivation.  I'm sure you can build better habits if you want to.  I like the idea of training games to take the pressure off winning or losing. 

    Get creative.  Take out a notepad and for every move you blunder check write down the number and a check mark.  If you make a simple one move blunder then make an X.  Then just try to beat your high score.  More checks and fewer Xs.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #18

    Mandy711

    Chess like many games is a way to escape... I'm speaking from experience. I'm a strong chess player but when my mind is troubled I make simple silly blunders like missing mate in 1, leaving my pieces for easy grabbing. And this continues for many months. You are right chess is for the enjoyment of all levels. 

    P.S. As long as we don't bet anything (including pride), losing will not matter much.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #19

    dreamwitch

    My coach gave me two pointers that helped me a lot. He started my lessons by teaching me several standard openings.  First find an opening that you are comfortable with that works for you. Then he stressed pattern recognition. His second piece of advice was to look at the whole board. I had a period of stress and frustration before his advice began to bear fruit.

    I play online not live. Reduces the stress level. Gives me time to study the board to choose my best move. As for books, Seriwan is good. Good luck.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #20

    ChiefofBlunders

    @rmurray I appreciate your respectful and helpful advice, or lack thereof. Why did you post when it wasn't going to be constructive?


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