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Probably been asked many times before...

  • #1

    First of all, sorry if this thread is in the wrong place. 

     

    Okay so I'm currently 22 years old, I learned to play chess at around 9 years old, I don't remember exactly, I do know I was playing when I was around 12, but I never really played seriously (just friends and family, so never really improved). Now however I'd like to get as good as possible (I realise I'll never be a World Champion or a GM, and will likely never even reach 2000+ Elo). At the moment on this site I've only played 20 games of Rapid (either 30 mins against humans, or 10|10 against Computer Easy and Medium). I am rated around 1100, (a novice or beginner). I've lost every game so far against the Medium, and I think I've won as many as lost against Easy.

     

    When doing Puzzles, if the solution is played out to me, I can usually see why the moves played were correct, however often I'm given a puzzle and I don't get the answer even after multiple attempts (it varies of course). For the record, I've only got a free account and I only joined a few days ago, my Tactics rating started at 400 (not sure why), it's currently around 550 (I've gotten most puzzles thus far correct, and a few wrong that I now would get correct as I went through them, usually silly mistakes or blunders on my part for getting them wrong). 

     

    Saying this, I understand what forks, pins, skewers, double checks, forced moves, discovered attacks etc are. Yet I still often fail to see the best move, or I blunder and lose a mating position or a piece (Queens included). I don't have much confidence in myself (to be honest I feel like anyone rated 1600 or higher or so would likely laugh at my current play), but I'd obviously still like to get as good as possible and enter tournaments at some stage (not now, I mean if I feel like I'd have a hope).  It's just demotivating at the moment losing to the Easy Computer (who for me ranges from it making blunders to me losing easily), and I've already said I've not yet beaten the Medium ever. Furthermore I've played at least one game here against players whom I thought would be easyish wins, only to struggle greatly to win due to blunders or unexpected play by them (or they'll be better than their rating may imply).

     

    I guess at this point what I'm trying to say is this. How can I stay motivated long enough for the years or whatever to become say, 1800+? Would you guys recommend focusing on practicing my openings, tactics, midgame, endgame, reading books, or replacing my brain with that of a supercomputer devoid of emotions? Right now it's hard for me to not think I'm kind of just wasting my time, or I'm too old to ever reach expert level etc.

     

    Sorry for the wall of text, thanks for reading and I'll appreciate any advice/motivation. happy.png

  • #2

    Just keep at it.

    From my experience: playing slower timed games (15 min +) dramatically improved my chess VS blitz.

    -Pick one opening that you like for white, and learn the common responses for black against E4 and D4. Don't focus too much on openings.

    -Study endgames - The roles of the rooks, when to move the king, how to force a draw, common pawn structures etc.

    -Focus on planning (slower games are great for this). Develop a plan of attack and try to find good squares for your pieces rather then just developing and throwing pawns up the board.

    -Review and analyze your games with an engine. Learn from your mistakes. Memorize the positions for future reference. (I like to use lichess.org/paste)

    -Do Tactics. As you probably heard.. most games SUB2000 are won through tactics. Do a couple every day. Get good at spotting patterns. TAKE YOUR TIME in figuring them out. Even if it takes minutes! it has good long term effects for you.

     

    -Study. some good online resources that i enjoy:

    https://www.youtube.com/user/OnlineChessLessons

    https://www.youtube.com/user/STLChessClub/videos

    **lots of instructive lessons there.

     

    More importantly, is don't give up. Even if you make a little progress every week. Keep going. There will be struggles, and set backs and that is ok. Practice makes perfect.

  • #3

     Thanks for the advice. happy.png

     

    For the record, the fastest games I've ever played are the 10|10. They don't feel "fast", but I wouldn't want anything faster. I like 30 mins, more time to think wink.png

     

    As white, I always play 1. e4, perhaps I should practice some 1. d4 openings? I often find (even in the openings) myself stuck, and thinking things like "do I move a pawn, or a knight, castle, or move the bishop, do I take this piece, do I check?" etc. So perhaps I should try to learn or memorise a few common openings (personally I like the Spanish and Italian, although Four Knights seems to appear a fair bit).

     

    Thanks for the videos, I'll check them out. I do own (I think) 3 chess books, I forget their names/authors but I'll look into those as well. Right now I feel like simply playing the computer over and over I'll likely not improve much (if at all). meh.png

     

    I'll try not to give up. One problem I have is I do tend to be overly ambitious, I set goals too high, or went to "get good" too quickly, or blame myself for every blunder/defeat/whatever. It's bad I know, but I often can't help it. Or if I lose a game, chances are I'll lose the rematch as I'll be more stressed or careless. sad.png

     

    One final thing. Someone pointed out to me that even if you improve at something by only 1% per day, every day (for Elo this is tough, as far as I understand it's exponential so going from 1200-1400 is far easier than going from 2600-2800) for a year, that's an improvement of almost 38 times!

  • #4

    I think I'm going to treat myself to a diamond membership and use the lessons and tactics and videos to improve. happy.png

  • #5

    To stay motivated, I would consider getting a coach. 

    I am a National Master with 10+ Years of Teaching Experience, available for private and group lessons. To learn more about my chess services and general chess news, see www.premierchess.com or www.facebook.com/premierchess.

     

    Email me at [email protected] or call (917)776-1306 today to set up a free 30 minute consultation or ask any questions.

     

  • #6

    damn ads!

  • #7

    Ok mj, now it's time for me to set up a wall of text.

    In my opinion it is too early to build up an opening repertoire and to work with all the theory around it. First you should focus on the principles of playing an opening, otherwise there will be difficulties to understand the various lines. (1 - Control the center; 2 - Get your pieces (Knights and Bishops to good squares, where they can help you controlling the center); 3 - Get your King into safe waters (castle, this will also connect your Rooks in long term))

    Like Roth already said, to improve you have also to learn the typical endgames. (K+R vs. K; K+Q vs. K; etc.) This means also learn tactics like you already. You said, when you failed a puzzle and the solution is played, you understand why these moves are played. In these moments your task is to look up which pieces (or squares) are threatened, where the King is placed, which of his allies is blocking him and which of your pieces is taking him away the leaving squares. Memorize these constructs, because they will come in various ways on and on.

    I know, losing games isn't funny but you won't win every game. Analyse your games and look up, where you played the move, that made you cry.

    Don't hesitate to ask for help and of course, do it slowly. By improving you will get some throwbacks, but never lose the motivation.

    You'll stay motivated, when you notice your improvements.

     

    Greetings from Belgium.

    Btw. I'm a FI (Fide Instructor) and teaching chess in a club. But this isn't an advertising, just a note.

  • #8

    Thanks for the advice. I've bought diamond membership here which I think is worth it for unlimited tactics and lessons. Video lessons are good as well though I've only looked at a couple thus far. happy.png

  • #9

    Only 22? I think you underestimate how good your chess can possibly be!

    To get there I'd suggest considering two main ideas. Firstly, chess games are lost rather than won. Secondly, when playing good chess, being a single pawn up greatly increases your winning chances and significantly decreases your losing chances.

    Practically, I might start with some middle game principles stuff. My favorites were books like Fine's middle game book and Evan's New Ideas in Chess but they may be out of print. I read Silman's Amateur's Mind and Reassess and they seem as good but I'd guess there are plenty of others available as well. The aim is to be well grounded in middle game principles.

    Probably also want to dip lightly into endgame and opening principles. With a focus on openings you play. The aim here is to be able to at least get to a reasonable middle game out of the opening most of the time and to at least have some idea how to finish off a won end game.

    And of course, probably spend some time on tactics. But I wouldn't emphasize them too much at the expense of getting really comfortable with the principles.

    The most important thing might be that you want to take away a lesson from every game you lose. Since games are lost, if you know when and how you goofed up and learn how not to make the same mistake ever again, you should lose less and less the more experience you get and remember. I recommend a game diary which lists the date, opponent and reason for the loss. Might also want to review the diary routinely to be reminded of the ways you might be prone to lose. 

    This kind of plan can help you stay motivated in two ways. Hopefully, you will lose less and less. Which is nice. And, over time, you will also greatly increase your understanding of "good chess". Which allows you to increasingly appreciate how much masters of the game employ art in their craft.

  • #10
    Nckchrls wrote:

    Only 22? I think you underestimate how good your chess can possibly be!

    I say this only because I know GMs etc start at 5 or so, plus I learnt to play around 8 or 9, so I thought it was relevant. I'm aware at 22 I still have 40+ years of chess. happy.png

  • #11

    Hey mj,

    now you got a diamond membership, I suggest you follow the study plan https://www.chess.com/article/view/study-plan-directory .

    Maybe, there will be lessons you feel boring but nethertheless you should finish them, so you can widen up your understanding of the game.

    Take also a look to the the pawn structure videos. They will give you a good comprehension of the transition from the opening to the middlegame and may help you to find the best opening moves for you that fit your style of play.

  • #12

    Thanks. I'll look at that study plan.

     

    Also it's weird you call me mj. I get it's because of my username but that's just my name, Matthew Harris. happy.png

  • #13

    Thanks, mj! grin.png

  • #14
    ghost_of_pushwood wrote:

    Thanks, mj!

    We've got a joker here wink.png 

  • #15

    MJHarris, you sound like me!  Bobby Fischer once described his mother as having "an anti-talent for chess," and I think I've also inherited the gene for that.  Even though I've read two chess books and played numerous games against chess computers, my natural abilities for the game are such that I usually teach new girlfriends how to play chess and then after one or two games they can easily beat me.  Strangely, though, I still find chess interesting, since I enjoy the transfixion of the mind that occurs when playing, which makes the entire surrounding world disappear in the face of the intellectual problems of the board.  I think that will be enough to keep me playing, even though I feel as if I have been flogged when I'm finally defeated, as I nearly always seem to be. 

  • #16

    Play slower times is right. I play nothing faster than 10 minutes. Go to "Learn" and "Lessons" here on Chess.com. Start with beginner. You may already know some of the stuff for beginners but not everything. I noticed my rating improved after I started working on the endgame lessons. If you don't get the lessons, click on he "?". The nice thing about the lessons is you can go back and redo them to reinforce what you've learned and see if you've progressed.

  • #17
    Luitpoldt wrote:

    MJHarris, you sound like me!  Bobby Fischer once described his mother as having "an anti-talent for chess," and I think I've also inherited the gene for that.  Even though I've read two chess books and played numerous games against chess computers, my natural abilities for the game are such that I usually teach new girlfriends how to play chess and then after one or two games they can easily beat me.  Strangely, though, I still find chess interesting, since I enjoy the transfixion of the mind that occurs when playing, which makes the entire surrounding world disappear in the face of the intellectual problems of the board.  I think that will be enough to keep me playing, even though I feel as if I have been flogged when I'm finally defeated, as I nearly always seem to be. 

    I certainly hope not. Whilst I enjoy playing I would certainly feel like I'm capable of more than at present. 

  • #18

    Also I feel like I can't prevent being called "MJ" meh.png

  • #19

    Haha Mj you are doing alright there is no need for a coach in this age of the players internet. There are 1327 reasonable oppenings according to the 'Oxford Companion to Chess' but in reality there are 60 top oppenings such as the accelerated dragons,Albin-Counter gambit,apocalypse attack, Belgrade gambit,bowlder attack, bird's opening, black knights tango, calabrese counter gambit, Caro kann, chigorin gambit, falkbeer gambit, giuoco piano, French defence, gianutio counter gambit etc so u can download them and read them in pdf format for very minimal bundles or watch the videos on you tube in 480 p if there is no free Wi-Fi to use less bundles and check their continuing moves and variations like the Ruy Lopez has over 30 continuation moves

  • #20
    mjharris77 wrote:
    ghost_of_pushwood wrote:

    Thanks, mj!

    We've got a joker here  

    Not me!  I'm a lovable puppethead!

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