Chess Maturity

Where do you stand on the chess maturity ladder ? Smile



1.       Not putting pieces en prise

2.       Setting up simple traps

3.       Focusing to avoid simple traps ("what does he want to do ?")

4.       Knowing your chosen openings basic ideas

5.       Attacking the king

6.       Defending

7.       Building strong positions

8.       Managing your time

9.       Playing well after 3 hrs

10.   Specializing / knowing your typical middlegames

11.   Loving the endgame

12.   Broadening your repertoire

13.   Getting your opponent out of his comfort zone

14.   Being patient


  • 16 months ago


    Sometimes it looks like I've still not passed the Ladder One.     Embarassed

  • 2 years ago


    Great stuff! I aspire to be an 5 or 6 soon!

  • 3 years ago


    hicetnunc and trying to sort the pàrtners plans. Why he played this move? Undecided               

  • 3 years ago


    @diogens : yes, mini-plans are required at various stages (#5, #7, #11) - especially in the "building-up" step I think.

  • 3 years ago


    I would add making a plan

  • 3 years ago


    As a new player, I'm pretty low on the ladder. It's nice to see a list of things to always think about and strive for. Thanks.

  • 3 years ago


    @ziryab : I agree that patience is useful at many stages of the game.

    I put it on top of my list, because I imagined the case of a fierce chessboard warrior, who has fought all his life for opening advantages and complex double-edged middlegames, and who faces the ineluctability of the '=' assessment you reach in many cases when you face equally strong opposition.

    What's left then is patience Smile

  • 3 years ago


    Patience matters in the middlegame, too. Lately, I've done better exercising patience in correspondence play, but the transfer to OTB lags behind.

  • 4 years ago


    It very much depends on how I feel about the current position and what the clock situation is.

    For example, if the position is quiet, I still have plenty of time, I'm reasonably familiar with the pawn structure and my opponent has a lot of options, it's a good time to walk a little

    On the other hand, if the position is sharp, I try to figure out as many things as possible during his thinking time.

    If the position is strategically complex but ot tactically sharp, I try to appreciate it on general grounds ("what are the good bad pieces ?" pawn breaks ? what's his plan ? what are my mini-plans ?) - kind of 'mental probing'

    If the position is won and I have enough time I just relax and walk around.

    The last case when I like to walk away is if my opponent is a "deep thinker" (thinking long in positions where there are many options of roughly the same value). Then I don't want to disturb him in his thoughts and I prefer to save my energy for his time-trouble... Wink

  • 4 years ago


    I have a question for you more experienced OTB players.

    What do you do in your partners time? Walk to distress? General evaluation of the position? Try to guess what he's going to play?

    I have tried to guess a single move and plan "if he plays that I'll meet it with..." But I now think that if he's in deep thought like the other day, walk a bit helps to keep a more clear mind for when the game goes critical. Just staring at the board while he's thinking can be quite exhausting Undecided

  • 4 years ago


    Indeed : some strong players have fascinating time management strategies.

    I remember seeing GM Goldin playing against an opponent who had only a couple of minutes left (no inc.) in a complex position. The GM sank into deep thought and let his own clock drift under 5' so that he wouldn't give his opponent extra time by having to write down his moves. It came down to a pure blitz where the GM prevailed, having worked out most of the ideas during his long think : very impressive ! Smile

    Time management also includes the skill to know when to spend time on a move or not, which is very valuable as you go up in the ratings.

  • 4 years ago


    By time management - one should consider (or even disreggard) your opponents time. I know an IM who when gets into bad position goes intentionally into time trouble (less than 1 min while his opponent has 30-60 mins). This way he tempts his opponents to think ".. If I move fast I will surely win by tzait-not". Which effectively puts not-so-mature opponents into time-trouble (but without the risk of losing on time) and they play dull moves because of the hurry and the over-confidence. He wins lots of thouse games.

    Anyway, it's just a trick one should consider when rating himself in "time management".


  • 4 years ago


    @diogens : in my mind, "playing well after 3hrs" refers to the ability to think clearly as the game goes on (endurance), while "good time management" refers to the ability to use time wisely and avoid time-trouble.

    While they are somewhat related, I still think they are distinct skills : eg. a young player full of energy may rush at some critical points, while an older player may have a very rational use of his time overall, but just lose clarity of mind in a long game

  • 4 years ago


    hicetnunc    after thinking for a couple of days I guess I know what happened.

    9.       Playing well after 3 hrs (good outfit, managing your opps. time to calculate?)

    The drawing of lots was Tuesday and I just looked who I was playing with the same Friday. I expected the Caro and puzzled for a couple of hours with Peshka opening training courses. Then I played in military pace, Topalov/Fischer style but got tired after 3 hours and couldn't find the final blow. I had a winning exchange easy to sort but I thought the position required more and couldn't sort the winning combo.

    This makes me think that your 8 and 9 points are very related.

    i.ex. 90+30 for a 30 move game makes 105 min. 105/30 = 3'30'' min/move.

    In a 60 move game, 120 min/60 = 2 min/move.

    Really there is not a lot of time to calculate but play known patterns. Elite GMs which are much quicker to calculate and more knowledgable in openings, play sophisticated chess but fall frequently in time trouble (Grishuk and Gelfand are typical examples). And they have 90+30 for only 40 moves, then they get extra time, i.ex. 60+30 for 20 extra moves.

    The result of the equation = TT and think quicker Innocent

  • 4 years ago


     hicetnunc   I wasn't a Q up, really I was a pawn down. But I had a devastaiting attack.   I think the pressure of smelling the win and people watching the game is something I don't deal well with. But mainly, I noticed I spent all the game OTB while my partner who was in big trouble, walked away once and another.

    And is true, I notice in this site playing vs. much stronger titled players, a quite game can gift you with a nifty draw. But OTB, the clock and time management is vital. Plus the excitement of accomplishing a spectacular game and winning.

    My main question, is you being an expert, how your higher rated partners (FM, IM...) outplay you. Is tactically (better calculation), better opening knowledge or just technique (from middlegame to endgame)?

    But is true what you say, in OTB you shouldn't release attention till the partner resigns, they are many resources, time management, defensive techniques, they are not going to give up easily, opposite to online chess which tends to lousy play.

    OTB reminds me to bullfighting, you must be persistant until the last breath Cool

  • 4 years ago


    I looked at my three last losses against stronger players, and here is what happened :

    • I lost once because I forgot a positional move and was drawn into a slighlty inferior endgame where I wasn't able to see what was most important to draw
    • I lost a second game, because I didn't take the time to check a tactic carefully and had to go into an inferior endgame, which I duly lost
    • The third one was also an endgame loss, this time a mix of not playing a simple idea ("push passed pawn") and fatigue (last game of a 9rd tourn.)

    Energy is certainly a very important feature as you go up, and I notice people near 2200 elo calculate less and rely more on evaluation and technique : they sometimes miss promising ideas that I can see, but know how to keep small lasting avantages and nurture them in the 4th hour of play Smile

    Here, an healthy lifestyle (sleep, food), as well as some physical activity and some kind of meditation/yoga can be very helpful

  • 4 years ago


    I was asking you, being an expert player while I could be just an advanced. How do your higher rated  opps. outplay you?

    Is in the opening fase, just challenge you with tactics in the middlegame or looking for some advantage in the endinge (i.ex. pawn structure)

  • 4 years ago


    hicetnunc  I think many things:

    1. I misvalued my partner resources, I thought any thing wins and I spent a lot of time looking for a nifty combo instead of being practical

    2. As you stated in your list, is not so easy to play after 3 hours. I played most of the game with a militar tempo, as Fischer or Topalov. I noticed my pace because he was thinking more, but maybe I should rest quitting the board and just astaring on a chair.

    3. Staying over the board, I spent a lot of time and in the decseive moment, my thought began to get cloudy and couldn't find many of the killing variations.

    Time management was ok, so the question is,

    9. Playing well after 3 hours?

    I noticed he was suffering a lot until I blundered my Q, but what worries me is that this has happened many times. You play sharp and missing one winning combination suddenly they found great deffensive resources and you are out

  • 4 years ago


    @diogens : it's difficult to say and you're probably the most able to answer your own question. I think there are two things to look for :

    • when did you miss the decisive blow (maybe there were many stages) ?
    • what made you miss it ? (impatience ? missing pattern ? calculation mistake ? not paying any attention "anything wins" ? not looking for your opponent's resources any more ?)

    When you answer those questions, you can find adequate corrective measures.

    If you were vastly ahead, I guess it's an attention problem => don't relax till the game's over Smile

    Also you said you were +10, but does it mean you were a queen up, or you had a winning combo winning a vast amount of material ? Of course, these are very different situations...

  • 4 years ago


    hicetnunc  yesterday I lost again this time vs a Caro Kann after building a very strong attack and had something like +10 in several positions. I think the guy is still laughing.

    Any advice for that? Is not the first time that happens, maybe can't hold the pressure or I just release when I'm about to give a nice blow. Or maybe just need to play more OTB and achieve experience. Or more tactics training. I wasn't in time trouble, had +20min on the clock. Cry

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