How and what can patzers learn from GM vids and books?

ed1975

I mean, GMs can see way, way, way further ahead in time in a given position than nearly all of us and also understand the position much better. Based on the position and their understanding of what will likely happen, they can make plans.
The GM stuff I've seen or read always has the problem that the person explaining the moves or plans has this vastly superior vision and understanding. They can likely see what will happen in the game in the future, what their opponent will probably do, especially if the moves are forcing. They might exclaim "White has a light squared weakness so if Black can get his queen to XX he can exploit that" or "White's plan is to advance the g- and h-pawns towards Black's king, also making use of the following support points and pieces". Of course, in hindsight, even patzers like me can follow the main thread in a game relatively well, even if we don't understand all the nuances and possibilies by far. But the point is the masters can see and understand these things in a game while it is being played in real-time.
But someone my level is blundering around seeing max. maybe 3 moves deep and has little in the way of plans or positional understanding. We're just going from one move to another and hoping our opponent makes a basic tactical error we can exploit. It's much, much harder for us to make long-term plans because we both can't see ahead that far and we also don't understand the possibilities inherent in the position well enough.

It always astounds me when a GM explains well "XX didn't play the following move because..." and then proceeds to show a variation about 10 or a dozen moves at least deep that leads to checkmate or some other game-losing event for one side. Someone like me simply has zero hope of seeing deep variations like that and so it's very hard for us to appreciate how the master saw and planned the moves he/she did.
Even with books that explain every (or most) moves, like Reinfeld's The Complete Chess Course, or Chernev's Logical Chess Move by Move, the master still had the vastly superior vision and positional understanding in order to see how, for example, White can sac XX pieces and arrive at checkmate or how Black can create specific weaknesses in White's pawn structure which will lead to a winning endgame later. Someone like me can read these books or watch these vids and appreciate to some extent these things when they are deeply explained to us but they will always remain out of our reach unless we get very, very good in future. We will not be able to emulate the master's play, not matter how much we study their instructional material, because we lack the basic cognitive and experiential tools to do so. It's like in Reinfeld's book he explains basic principles which are easy enough to understand but he expounds on these principles by illustrating them with moves or games which are often well above the perceptive and reproduceable level of the average beginner player, which is who the book is actually aimed at! I simply can't see nearly as far as ahead as the successful players in his book. Similarly Chernev's book is also meant to be for relative beginners but what it shows is often pretty advanced.

It's a little like watching a top chef on TV and expecting to be able to cook like him/her after you've seen the show. The average cook will simply lack the skills, experience, creative vision and understanding to do so, even with the chef explaining what he's doing. We can admire the results, but we will likely not be able to reproduce them in nearly as good a form, if at all.

So, what does someone like me really learn from master-level materials, other than to have it dawn on us the massive gulf between what a master can do and see, and our own situation. And realise we will probably never be like that. We will always be playing blunder or hope chess? Am I wasting my time attempting to consume master-level materials, is what in a nutshell I am trying to ask here, for the reasons given above. And if so, what materials are there which actually do cater for the patzer?
I've been watching some "beginner" vids by GM Susan Polgar, but even there she usually expounds on her points by showing top-level games, which go way beyond my understanding and even appreciation. I can appreciate the general principles she states well enough, it's how she arrives at those principles through illustrative play is what I find most difficult to fathom.

SmokeJS
My approach is like training for a marathon. A slow, steady buildup. Reading books that are intended for my level of play. Authors such as Pandolfini and Schiller are often slagged for not being first class chess players but I find their work helps me with the gaps in my playing at a level I can grasp. Simple tactics are also a key part of my training. The idea is to develop pattern recognition. The side benefit is improving my ability to see forcing moves which leads to superior vision.
ed1975

Thanks Smoke, for your thoughts. Are there any particular titles by those two authors you can recommend?

IMBacon

You have to start at the beginning.  Yea...I know, thats kinda obvious.  But you would be amazed at how many want to start at the top of the mouintain.  I think your own thoughts, will help you.

"Even with books that explain every (or most) moves, like Reinfeld's The Complete Chess Course, or Chernev's Logical Chess Move by Move, the master still had the vastly superior vision and positional understanding in order to see how, for example, White can sac XX pieces and arrive at checkmate or how Black can create specific weaknesses in White's pawn structure which will lead to a winning endgame later."

Youre trying to understand a GM's thought process, when you should be starting at the beginning.  Its kinda like youre trying to learn how to run, before learning how to walk.  

KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Play through annotated games.  What i would suggest is playing through games rather quickly - spending no more than 2-3 minutes per game.  This allows your subconcious to absorb the patterns.  Then go back over the games slowly, using a real board, and pieces.  

Play Solitaire Chess.  There is a great piece of free software called chess hero.  It comes prelaord with thousands of games, that you can play through, guessing what move to play.  It will show the move played in the game, the engine move, and your move.  Its a great way to see where youre going wrong.  Or...Pick a player whose style you want to emulate, grab an annotated collection of their games, and then play solitaire chess with each game. Solitaire chess is also known as guess-the-move. You can just cover up each move with an index card or something. You can also get software to help you with this like chess hero, or Lucas Chess which calls the feature "Play Like a Grandmaster"). After each move, compare your thoughts to the annotations and see why your thoughts did or didn't match up with the annotations.

The main thing to study...TACITCS...TACTICS...TACTICS...

RussBell

Good Chess Books for Beginners and Beyond....

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/good-chess-books-for-beginners-and-beyond

SeniorPatzer
IMBacon wrote:

You have to start at the beginning.  Yea...I know, thats kinda obvious.  But you would be amazed at how many want to start at the top of the mouintain.  I think your own thoughts, will help you.

"Even with books that explain every (or most) moves, like Reinfeld's The Complete Chess Course, or Chernev's Logical Chess Move by Move, the master still had the vastly superior vision and positional understanding in order to see how, for example, White can sac XX pieces and arrive at checkmate or how Black can create specific weaknesses in White's pawn structure which will lead to a winning endgame later."

Youre trying to understand a GM's thought process, when you should be starting at the beginning.  Its kinda like youre trying to learn how to run, before learning how to walk.  

KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Play through annotated games.  What i would suggest is playing through games rather quickly - spending no more than 2-3 minutes per game.  This allows your subconcious to absorb the patterns.  Then go back over the games slowly, using a real board, and pieces.  

Play Solitaire Chess.  There is a great piece of free software called chess hero.  It comes prelaord with thousands of games, that you can play through, guessing what move to play.  It will show the move played in the game, the engine move, and your move.  Its a great way to see where youre going wrong.  Or...Pick a player whose style you want to emulate, grab an annotated collection of their games, and then play solitaire chess with each game. Solitaire chess is also known as guess-the-move. You can just cover up each move with an index card or something. You can also get software to help you with this like chess hero, or Lucas Chess which calls the feature "Play Like a Grandmaster"). After each move, compare your thoughts to the annotations and see why your thoughts did or didn't match up with the annotations.

The main thing to study...TACITCS...TACTICS...TACTICS...

 

That's pretty cool.  I never heard of "Chess Hero" before.  Sounds like a great way to learn as you keep choosing the moves that the grandmaster didn't play, lol.

IMBacon
SeniorPatzer wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

You have to start at the beginning.  Yea...I know, thats kinda obvious.  But you would be amazed at how many want to start at the top of the mouintain.  I think your own thoughts, will help you.

"Even with books that explain every (or most) moves, like Reinfeld's The Complete Chess Course, or Chernev's Logical Chess Move by Move, the master still had the vastly superior vision and positional understanding in order to see how, for example, White can sac XX pieces and arrive at checkmate or how Black can create specific weaknesses in White's pawn structure which will lead to a winning endgame later."

Youre trying to understand a GM's thought process, when you should be starting at the beginning.  Its kinda like youre trying to learn how to run, before learning how to walk.  

KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Play through annotated games.  What i would suggest is playing through games rather quickly - spending no more than 2-3 minutes per game.  This allows your subconcious to absorb the patterns.  Then go back over the games slowly, using a real board, and pieces.  

Play Solitaire Chess.  There is a great piece of free software called chess hero.  It comes prelaord with thousands of games, that you can play through, guessing what move to play.  It will show the move played in the game, the engine move, and your move.  Its a great way to see where youre going wrong.  Or...Pick a player whose style you want to emulate, grab an annotated collection of their games, and then play solitaire chess with each game. Solitaire chess is also known as guess-the-move. You can just cover up each move with an index card or something. You can also get software to help you with this like chess hero, or Lucas Chess which calls the feature "Play Like a Grandmaster"). After each move, compare your thoughts to the annotations and see why your thoughts did or didn't match up with the annotations.

The main thing to study...TACITCS...TACTICS...TACTICS...

 

That's pretty cool.  I never heard of "Chess Hero" before.  Sounds like a great way to learn as you keep choosing the moves that the grandmaster didn't play, lol.

Its an excellent piece of freeware.  Like i said, it comes prelaoded with somehting 6000 games?  And you can add your own list of .pgn files, to study a certain opening, middlegame, endgame, etc.

ed1975

Many thanks, IMBacon. Is there a collection of annotated games levelled at people of my rating that you can recommend? I.e. where the commentator isn't looking/seeing 15 moves deep?

I have played around a little with Chess Hero in the past, but got frustrated quickly as I did very poorly with it (not surprisingly). And of course the program cannot tell you why the GM's move is good. Or why your move is poor. But I suppose that's where the annotated games come in...so if there are some you can recommend? 

SmokeJS
RussBell has good Pandolfini suggestions. Schiller’s First Chess Openings helped me get start games without getting beat up early and to not fall into the trying to memorize opening variations and wasting my time looking for magic where none existed.
IMBacon
ed1975 wrote:

Many thanks, IMBacon. Is there a collection of annotated games levelled at people of my rating that you can recommend? I.e. where the commentator isn't looking/seeing 15 moves deep?

I have played around a little with Chess Hero in the past, but got frustrated quickly as I did very poorly with it (not surprisingly). And of course the program cannot tell you why the GM's move is good. Or why your move is poor. But I suppose that's where the annotated games come in...so if there are some you can recommend? 

Just my opinion, but i think youre making this harder than it needs to be.  This is the second time you have mentioned really long lines of analysis: "looking/seeing 15 moves deep?"  

As i said before.  Dont try and get caught up in trying to understand that level of analysis/thought.  Again...Keep it simple.  Take this game for example.  Your thoughts, analysis, ideas, etc.  are never going to be 100% correct, and all they need to be is quick, general ideas, and that's ok.  Its all part of the learning process.

 

ed1975

@Russ: many thanks for your list; I've seen it before, but this time I will actually base my reading around it!! happy.png It seems I have been trying to read many of the wrong things.

@IMBacon: thanks for the annotated game; may I ask where one can get more like that (each move annotated in plain English with the plans for each move and no long variations)?

 

 

IMBacon
ed1975 wrote:

@Russ: many thanks for your list; I've seen it before, but this time I will actually base my reading around it!!  It seems I have been trying to read many of the wrong things.

@IMBacon: thanks for the annotated game; may I ask where one can get more like that (each move annotated in plain English with the plans for each move and no long variations)?

 

 

I grabbed that game from chessgames.com, and did my own quick analysis.  I just wanted to point out that your analysis doesnt have to be long, and or deep.  Just do what you can, and the learning will go from there.

As far as books that are like that?

Chernev's Logical chess move by move.

These websites might be what youre looking for:

http://mark-weeks.com/aboutcom/caa-mprv.htm

https://gameknot.com/best-annotated-games.pl

ed1975

Many thanks, IMBacon and RussBell.

I now have a reading list and a software plan. Reading list:

In reading order:

  1. Pandolfini's Ultimate Guide to Chess (Pandolfini)
  2. Winning Chess Strategy For Kids (Coakley)
  3. Play Winning Chess (Seirawan)
  4. Weapons of Chess (Pandolfini) [introduces positional chess]
  5. The Amateur's Mind (Silman)

To read as and when:

  1. Discovering Chess Openings (Emms)
  2. Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master (Silman)

I will supplement the above by trying to find simply-annotated games I can play guess-the-move with in Chess Hero as IMBacon suggested.

As well as the above I will try to spend 30 mins on solving tactics a day.

I will endeavour to regularly analyse/annotate my own losses.

If I do all the above, I hope to see some improvement in my understanding and vision.

Thanks a lot.

IMBacon
ed1975 wrote:

Many thanks, IMBacon and RussBell.

I now have a reading list and a software plan. Reading list:

In reading order:

Pandolfini's Ultimate Guide to Chess (Pandolfini) Winning Chess Strategy For Kids (Coakley) Play Winning Chess (Seirawan) Weapons of Chess (Pandolfini) [introduces positional chess] The Amateur's Mind (Silman)

To read as and when:

Discovering Chess Openings (Emms) Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master (Silman)

I will supplement the above by trying to find simply-annotated games I can play guess-the-move with in Chess Hero as IMBacon suggested.

As well as the above I will try to spend 30 mins on solving tactics a day.

I will endeavour to regularly analyse/annotate my own losses.

If I do all the above, I hope to see some improvement in my understanding and vision.

Thanks a lot.

Be sure to use a real board, and pieces.  You want to simulate OTB tournament conditions as much as possible.  Write down your thoughts, ideas, analysis, etc. when solving tactics, reviewing GM games.

ed1975

Thanks. I have been using 2D electronic aids for analysis until now, for speed and convenience's sake. I'll look into getting a real board and pieces next. I'm planning to join my local chess club pretty soon, so will get the equipment shortly thereafter.

IMBacon
ed1975 wrote:

Thanks. I have been using 2D electronic aids for analysis until now, for speed and convenience's sake. I'll look into getting a real board and pieces next. I'm planning to join my local chess club pretty soon, so will get the equipment shortly thereafter.

For tactics...you can do them online using 2D sets.  But after 2-3 minutes, if you cant solve it, then set the postions up on a real board, and pieces.  Youll be amazed at how much more you see.

RussBell
ed1975 wrote:

Many thanks, IMBacon and RussBell.

I now have a reading list and a software plan. Reading list:

In reading order:

  1. Pandolfini's Ultimate Guide to Chess (Pandolfini)
  2. Winning Chess Strategy For Kids (Coakley)
  3. Play Winning Chess (Seirawan)
  4. Weapons of Chess (Pandolfini) [introduces positional chess]
  5. The Amateur's Mind (Silman)

To read as and when:

  1. Discovering Chess Openings (Emms)
  2. Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master (Silman)

I will supplement the above by trying to find simply-annotated games I can play guess-the-move with in Chess Hero as IMBacon suggested.

As well as the above I will try to spend 30 mins on solving tactics a day.

I will endeavour to regularly analyse/annotate my own losses.

If I do all the above, I hope to see some improvement in my understanding and vision.

Thanks a lot.

This is an excellent reading list to start with. If you absorb the lessons in these, you will find that over time you should improve dramatically. By "over time" is implied that your goal should be understanding what you are reading at the moment, as opposed to getting through the material quickly. Understanding means simply understanding the point of what is being taught, and being able to answer or articulate, as much you can at the time, why particular moves are being made - (yours or your opponent's). For example: what useful purpose does or will this move serve?; is it defensive - if so what is being defended?; are all my pieces and important squares adequately defended?; is the move offensive, i.e., does it threaten, or apply or add pressure to my opponent's pieces or position?; does it weaken or improve my position or the coordination of my pieces?. As well, the same questions should be addressed from the opponent's perspective.

These are some of the important questions to ask as you study. If the answers don't come immediately within say a minute or two, move on and perhaps the situation will clarify with subsequent moves. And don't try to memorize - attempting this is mostly futile. Being able to say "I understand the essential point of what I am reading at this moment" is much more important, and is more likely to stay with you (even if only in your subconsious).

As for annotated game collections.  I recommend "Logical Chess Move by Move" by Irving Chernes as an excellent introductory games collection.  The book is a collection of master and grandmaster games with essentially every move explained.  Chernev is one of the best at explaining chess to the chess amateur.  It is a classic, and one of the most popular chess books of all time.

Finally, for solitaire chess I suggest Graeme Buckley's "Multiple Choice Chess" (2 volumes).  This is a book of annotated grandmaster games where you participate by being asked to guess the next move, and are awarded points based on your answers.  A fun and instructive way to compare yourself to the masters.

Also, you might check out this instructive article relating to play after the opening...
Maximize The Usefulness of Your Moves...

lots of good advice here...
http://www.mark-weeks.com/aboutcom/aa06b18.htm

RussBell
[COMMENT DELETED]
ed1975

Thanks, Russ.

RussBell
ed1975 wrote:

@Russ: many thanks for your list; I've seen it before, but this time I will actually base my reading around it!!  It seems I have been trying to read many of the wrong things.

@IMBacon: thanks for the annotated game; may I ask where one can get more like that (each move annotated in plain English with the plans for each move and no long variations)?

 

 

For a collection of annotated amateur games analyzed as mini playing lessons specifically for the beginner-intermediate player, the following is excellent....

"Best Lessons of a Chess Coach" by Sunil Weeramantry....

check the reader reviews...

https://www.amazon.com/Lessons-Chess-Coach-Sunil-Weeramantry/dp/0812922654/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1528871986&sr=1-1&keywords=best+lessons+of+a+chess+coach

Note the author is the stepfather and coach of Hikaru Nakamura..

Bruce Pandolfini wrote the book's introduction, where he says....

"For anyone interested in the art of teaching, Best Lessons of a Chess Coach should be required reading.  I plan to recommend it to all my colleagues and students.  Sunil Weeramantry is a chess coach par excellence.  In the world of Chess, he is one of the few teachers whose acumen astonishes me."