Any videos even simpler than John Bartholomew's videos?


In one of my earlier threads, a number of people recommended that I watch John Bartholomew's Chess Fundamentals videos, and...I'm not that deep into them, but...

I'm still kind of lost. For one thing, I still am not entirely fluent in chess notation, let alone calculating lines that don't revolve around the opponent blundering. So when he starts discussing this in the middle of a more basic topic, it keeps throwing me off. More importantly though, while he stresses the necessity of learning to avoid blundering before anything else, he doesn't really discuss effective mental strategies or ways to learn to do this. At the moment, my efforts to scan the board for blunders has proven unreliable and very mentally taxing, and fatigue soon sets in.

As embarrassed as I am to ask this... Are there any videos people can recommend that are even simpler? Or is Chess perhaps not for me? (I can accept if it isn't. I'm not good at things like planning ahead)

i saw your earlier threads and i was in the same situation as you describe when i started

for john’s videos i would really just stick to the one on “undefended pieces”

i also had trouble at first and i could rarely find a continuation that he would recommend to “pause the video” and find

i did, however, start playing only 30 minute games (and even some daily when i was really struggling) and tried to make sure my pieces were defended; i failed all the time but i started to get in the habit of going over my games and using the information to really understand why my move was a blunder and what an alternative move/plan might have been

it was slow but it really paid dividends right away

in addition to the “undefended pieces” video i would also very strongly recommend a beginner chess tactics book (dont be thrown by “beginner” most chess beginner anythings can be helpful for players 1400 and higher)

a good beginner tactics book will drill all of the tactical motifs starting with mates in 1, 2, then get into pins, skewers, etc

working on these will get you to start building up your “blunder” resistance

so, in short, stick to the one “undefended pieces” video, get a tactics book, and go over your games (hopefully played at 30 min or more) as soon as you finish it
also, i just peeked at a couple of your games and you have already improved significantly from your earlier threads so you are obviously doing something right

good job
and one more thing

lol sorry

but you are now in the dreaded trenches of the 800-1000 pool

where fried livers, scholar’s mates, and all kinds of mayhem await

it is kind of a rite of passage for us lowbies who arent like these prodigies who say they just started playjng and are 1600+ after 5 games

i strongly recommend looking at your games after you play; your last few are all e4 ...e5 and- as you no doubt are realizing- are highly tactical if one does not accurately address the potential/danger in these positions

you are basically learning from scratch- and playing with fire in these e4 ...e5 games so go over them and watch where the computer evaluation of a position jumps from +/- .2 to .5 to +/- 2 or more- it is here a blunder has happened and then play through the recommended computer moves to see how it is exploited

then try and see how it transpired and how it can be better handled; you can also do this with your opponents blunders as well as there are learning opportunities in abundance on both sides

Thank you. I take it, you just saw my absolute masterpiece of a game where my lower rated opponent triple-forked my king, queen, and rook before we even reached mid-game.


and in that game after you captured with your queen and your opponent jumped his knight in the best move was to retreat your queen to defend that vulnerable square where your opponent wanted to execute the fork

nevertheless, in my games i make it a point and even a part of a plan to really try and negate where my opponent can move his knights in my territory

i have lost so many games because i failed to evaluate my opponents plans (especially when it comes to his knights) that i make it a point to really be aware of this as best i can

good luck

F gave you the best advice when he said that you should look at your own games. If yoy look at your own games, you will be able to see why you lose.  Slowly eliminate those errors you notice in your own game.  I highly recommend Why You Lose at Chess

By Tim Harding, especially chapter 2.  Why You Lose Material.


Okay, I just played a 30 min game for the first time in a while, thought about my options each move (and not just for 10 seconds like I normally do), and managed to pull off a (in my mind) very tactical win compared to my average wins. Thank you again everyone!

Whew, that was mentally tiring. I think I'm going to have to stick to one game a day.


One game a day is good, especially if you take time to examine it before playing another.  At the beginner levels, games are won by tactics.


Okay good, phew. I just thought something was wrong with me compared to everyone else here who seemed like they could just jump from game to game without ever tiring


I strongly recommend playing OTB as much as possible, even joining a club and playing rated games with standard time controls if you can.


I agree with pulp.  

daxypoo wrote:

but you are now in the dreaded trenches of the 800-1000 pool

where fried livers, scholar’s mates, and all kinds of mayhem await

Ahh I remember these traps. The good old days.

One of my first tournaments I ever went to, I was 10 years old and playing against kids from other schools. They tried all of these traps on me: scholar's mate, fried liver attack, lots of "cheapos" involving simple threats that could easily be defended against... and it worked! I got slaughtered that tournament. Scored 2/7 points.

Then 2 years later, I was 12 years old, I played in the same tournament against other school kids, and I came 1st place. Undefeated. I learnt all these cheapos, I learnt how to defend against them, and if anyone wanted to beat me, they had to outplay me, because I wasn't going to fall for any cheap tricks.

The easiest way to improve is to learn the hard way: keep losing games to simple tricks and cheapos, and eventually, you'll figure out how to stop that from happening again in the future.


"... thinking correctly in most positions takes time. Playing almost exclusively fast games obviously precludes practicing correctly, and so you will never get very good! Sure, fast games are fine for practicing openings (not the most important part of the game for most players) and possibly developing decent board vision and tactical 'shots', but the kind of thinking it takes to plan, evaluate, play long endgames, and find deep combinations is just not possible in quick chess. … for serious improvement ... consistently play many slow games to practice good thinking habits. ... I know that a large percentage of my readers almost exclusively play on the internet - after all, you are reading this on the internet, right!? But there is a strong case for at least augmenting internet play with some OTB play, whether in a club or, better yet, a tournament. Tournament play gives you the kind of concentrated, slow chess that often helps improve your game, especially if you are inexperienced at slow play. I would guess that players who have never played OTB usually gain 50-100 points of playing strength just from competing in their first long weekend tournament, assuming they play five or more rounds of very slow chess. ... Sure, an occasional weekend event takes a lot more of your time, but the benefits are comparatively greater if improvement is your ultimate goal. Don't have two day? Try a one-day quad (a round-robin among four similarly rated players). How often should you play? ... A minimum of 8 OTB tournaments and about 100 slow games a year is a reasonable foundation for ongoing improvement. ... Can't make 100? Then try for 60. If you only play three or fewer tournaments a year and do not play slow chess regularly at a club (or on-line, where G/90 and slower play is relatively rare), then do not be surprised that you are not really improving. ..." - NM Dan Heisman (2002)






All you can do to decrease the number of blunders you make is play as many games as you can, and analyze the games you play and correct your mistakes, and do tons of tactics.  You will also need good ideas.  Annotated master games.  Logical Chess Move by Move.  That book has gotten a lot of flack but I don't think the arguments based on the reasoning behind saying it's a bad book for beginnings hold any water.  That's the best book I know that has annotated master games for a beginner.  I've done some of the games in that book myself.  Try and do at least one of those games per day.  Spend a lot of time on that game, as much as is necessary. 


When I was at your level I didn't have very many resources at my disposal for becoming a better chess player, though, if I wanted, I could have found some old classics to read.  What I remember from those games is that I played a lot of my moves randomly.  I randomly switched my opening moves every game just to "change it up,"  I now know that this isn't really the best strategy because you often find yourself trying out a bunch of different openings and not really getting good at any one of them.  The trick is to find an opening you like and play that opening when you want to play serious chess.  I'd say you should play some strange stuff just to keep your sanity, but only for fun.  You can build an opening repertoire from scratch by process of elimination, over time, by just looking up the openings you play when you know something went wrong in the opening, and drilling the new opening later.  Dan Heisman suggests to create your own opening book, that shows the traps and all the zaps you fell for in all the games you've played, so you can take them out and drill them whenever you want, so you don't make the same mistake again.  As you can see this all requires a lot of work.  Chess takes time.  Time most adults don't have.  That's why you don't see people in their 30's getting a master title usually.


You should figure out why you want to get better at this game.  Make sure the reasons are good reasons, and not because you want to make a lot of money one day....


To be able to understand what John's Algebraic notation means you could look at the board that is showing when he is playing and just use the board as an aid.  That's what I do sometimes.  Just look at the board, find the letter, then find the number, and that's the square he is talking about.  You can pause the video while you are doing this if this takes a long time for you.



ISBN: 0671211145

ISBN13: 9780671211141

Winning Chess


Logical chess,  By Irving Chernev is well written,  and a book I go back to every couple of years...and see and learn more.