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Probably been asked many times before...

  • #21
    mjharris77 wrote:

    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.

    Opening Principles:

    1. Control the center squares – d4-e4-d5-e5

    2. Develop your minor pieces toward the center – piece activity is the key

    3. Castle

    4. Connect your rooks

    Tactics...tactics...tactics...

     

    Pre Move Checklist

     

    1. Make sure all your pieces are safe. 

    2. Look for forcing move: Checks, captures, threats. You want to look at ALL forcing moves (even the bad ones) this will force you look at, and see the entire board. 

    3. If there are no forcing moves, you then want to remove any of your opponent’s pieces from your side of the board. 

    4. If your opponent doesn’t have any of his pieces on your side of the board, then you want to improve the position of your least active piece. 

    5. After each move by your opponent, ask yourself: "What is my opponnet trying to do?"

  • #22

     Fish I feel like I know all that already. I appreciate the advice but it feels kind of obvious, yet I'm still blundering. Also I feel like it's all well and good learning standard openings but often I'm playing against a computer or a human and they will be aggressive in the openings forcing me to respond. They might target my kingside or my f7 f2 squares so I have to react accordingly rather than necessarily developing my pieces as I'd like. Failing that I still reach moments where I'm unsure what to do or I'll feel like I've no decent moves.

  • #23
    mjharris77 wrote:

     Fish I feel like I know all that already. I appreciate the advice but it feels kind of obvious, yet I'm still blundering. Also I feel like it's all well and good learning standard openings but often I'm playing against a computer or a human and they will be aggressive in the openings forcing me to respond. They might target my kingside or my f7 f2 squares so I have to react accordingly rather than necessarily developing my pieces as I'd like. Failing that I still reach moments where I'm unsure what to do or I'll feel like I've no decent moves.

    After looking at your games, you may think you know that stuff already, but your play shows that you either dont, or you dont follow the basics.  I looked at some of your games, and they all show that you arent following opening principles, youre dropping pieces, and missing simple tactics.  

  • #24
    FishEyedFools wrote:
    mjharris77 wrote:

     Fish I feel like I know all that already. I appreciate the advice but it feels kind of obvious, yet I'm still blundering. Also I feel like it's all well and good learning standard openings but often I'm playing against a computer or a human and they will be aggressive in the openings forcing me to respond. They might target my kingside or my f7 f2 squares so I have to react accordingly rather than necessarily developing my pieces as I'd like. Failing that I still reach moments where I'm unsure what to do or I'll feel like I've no decent moves.

    After looking at your games, you may think you know that stuff already, but your play shows that you either dont, or you dont follow the basics.  I looked at some of your games, and they all show that you arent following opening principles, youre dropping pieces, and missing simple tactics.  

    Oh right. What would you suggest I do to prevent that? It's rather worrying in my opinion that I'm not even aware of this. 

  • #25

    Would anyone perhaps want to play me and provide some analysis or tips during or after the game?

  • #26
    mjharris77 wrote:

    Would anyone perhaps want to play me and provide some analysis or tips during or after the game?

    I sent you a game request.

  • #27
    FishEyedFools wrote:
    mjharris77 wrote:

    Would anyone perhaps want to play me and provide some analysis or tips during or after the game?

    I sent you a game request.

    I've accepted as well as the request by GOP.

  • #28

    Thanks to GOP and FEF for their games (even if I lost both times wink.png).

  • #29

    Sure thing, mj! grin.png

  • #30

    One thing I've noticed is that when playing the computer for example and I get stuck so ask for a hint, is sometimes I'm like why is that the best move? Especially if it's just moving a pawn or something. Or the king even if it isn't threatened or attacking anything? Seems strange to me but probably not to others.

     

    Also, this'll probably sound like a ridiculous question, but how can one be certain they are in fact improving, and not just stagnant or staying at the same level (or even getting worse)? Is there such a thing as a correct and or an incorrect method for practice?

  • #31

    You can't always make direct threats (and sometimes it's not even good to make direct threats, if your opponent can improve his position by countering your threats).  So pushing pawns and stuff  like that is the next best thing.

     

    And there's no way you can tell that you are improving (other than by pronounced--and sustained--rating gains).  Still, at least chess does have that as a yardstick.  Other activities--writing, for example--don't even have that to go on.

     

    And I view with great suspicion anyone claiming to have the Right Way of doing something (chess or anything else).  I think you'll usually find out in the end that they're trying to sell you something... wink.png

  • #32

    Hey mj (there it is again),

    I think your last question was about "silent moves". This are those moves they seem to have no reason but they can appear in two kind of positions.

    In tactical situations this can be a waiting move, because the opponent has a kind of "Zugzwang" and will lose his defense at his next move. Or the king is moved to another square, so the opponent can't force a counterattack.

    In positional play, it also can occur as a waiting move. And as a 'general' rule, when you got your pieces to their best squares, but the position seems to be closed, you have to move your pawns forward to burst the position. This includes to get your King to a safe square where he doesn't obstruct your plans.

    How to find the best way to play in such positions is much of experience and a bit of training. This as an example: https://www.chess.com/lessons/course/279

    I hope this answer could help you.

    Greetings.

  • #33

     Thanks. I did think that it was because if you're happy with your position then it acts as a waiting move forcing your opponent to move to weaken his position. 

     

    I'll check out those lessons as well thank you happy.png

  • #34

    In the early stages of chess there is a lot to be said for just avoiding blunders until the other guy makes one and then taking advantage of their mistake. A simple technique to practice this is to imagine the position after you would make your move and ask  yourself if this move is a blunder how would my opponent beat me. When they make their move ask yourself if that move is a blunder how can I prove it. 

  • #35

    I do blunder a lot. To be fair if I had the money I think I'd get some kind of a coach because whilst it's great having unlimited tactics and lessons not knowing exactly what to focus on is kinda annoying. And I think having a master as a coach for example would really help with that. Has anyone any experience with coaches? Of course it's hypothetical because I can't afford one, I'm just curious as to whether they're worth it or have worked? It just amazes me how someone could for example go from 1000 to say 1700 in a year, if that.

  • #36

    "Recently it has become fashionable to believe that communications between juniors and outstanding grandmasters is all that is needed to solve our current deficit of young talent.  The growth of those who will one day take our place is lately considered impossible without a permanent guardianship of tutors.  Nevertheless I wish to state firmly that many of our best grandmasters, including me, have grown up in the war and post-war years, when everybody had to study on their own."

    --Tigran Petrosian

     

    Again, beware of this whole business of Needing a Coach.  I suspect it becomes something of a status symbol and something of a crutch with a lot of people (as though having a coach means you won't have to work as hard on your own).  And after all, I became an NM myself without one. wink.png

  • #37
    ghost_of_pushwood wrote:

    "Recently it has become fashionable to believe that communications between juniors and outstanding grandmasters is all that is needed to solve our current deficit of young talent.  The growth of those who will one day take our place is lately considered impossible without a permanent guardianship of tutors.  Nevertheless I wish to state firmly that many of our best grandmasters, including me, have grown up in the war and post-war years, when everybody had to study on their own."

    --Tigran Petrosian

     

    Again, beware of this whole business of Needing a Coach.  I suspect it becomes something of a status symbol and something of a crutch with a lot of people (as though having a coach means you won't have to work as hard on your own).  And after all, I became an NM myself without one.

    When did you become a National Master? surprise.png

     

    And that's the thing is I understand it takes a lot of hard work I just kind of feel like I need some sort of direction other than merely playing hundreds or thousands of games. sad.png

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