How do you actually learn chess? Not improving from games, lessons, or tactics.

mbzzmn
 
In this game, I just got lucky that my opponent blundered from a crushing position and I was able to strike back after they played Kc7. I drew because while I know how to queen/king mate, doing it under time pressure is extremely hard.
 
I still have no idea what happened in this game, or how to prevent it. After Nf3 I had no good developing moves, so I tried to pawn break in the center and..lost instantly? Like, obviously taking with pawn there was a blunder, but I couldn't figure out how to attack that knight and there's no way I would have seen that mate; I've never seen that before.
 
This last one, according to the analysis I was winning for a large part of it, but then lost my advantage. I couldn't figure out how to convert this to a winning position - I was even trying to calculate out the moves with the king/knight/bishop/rook tension on c6 and d7, but I never would have seen the best move - taking with the rook - because it looks like just a terrible trade of rook for bishop. How do you see these things?? 
 
People have told me to do puzzles, so I do - hundreds. I've done dozens a day, and I try to take the time to understand all the ones I can't solve. They don't seem to be helping. The lessons hold my hand and gently guide me to a concept, which is great, but that's not really how I learn best.

I've also been advised to play longer games, but the issue is not that I need more time to see things, it's that I just don't see things. Besides the fact that it takes me about 5 seconds every move to look at the board and figure out where the pieces are, it's not that I'm wasting time calculating - I'm sitting there going "I don't know what I'd even consider doing in this position", in all phases of the game.

Hell, it takes me a few minutes to understand why the engine best move is the best move and that's with the engine *telling* me I missed a tactic.

It's just really really brutal, and I want to figure it out instead of giving up.
 
 

 

jerrylmacdonald

Game 1

9. Qxd8 Kxd8 10. 0-0-0  would have been pretty brutal. 

Game 2

3. ... Be6 is probably a bit of a panic.  I think your pawns were covered and Be6 blocks your e-pawn.  Cramping your King comes back to bite you.  In that position castling was probably more important than anything else.  Even losing a pawn to castle would have been better.

Game 3

Instead of 5. e4 try Bb5.  You might be able to win the middle by pinning the Knight.

Instead of 10. Bg3, maybe take his strong bishop and castle.  Not sure if that is analytically better, but it seems safer.

12. hxg3, take with the f-pawn and castle.  Gives you a safe king and an semi-open file for your rook

Towards the end you probably should be thinking pawn end game at that point.  You have doubled pawns so you have to be very precise.  Especially near the end his passed pawn is very dangerous.  Once he gets that passed pawn, your main goal should be to stop that. You lost a move that could have been used to take.

Overall you are doing good.  Keep going!

 

 

olw1212

eh

blueemu

I learned the easy way.

By losing thousands of chess games.

catmaster0
 
 
 
 

 

catmaster0
mbzzmn wrote:
 
In this game, I just got lucky that my opponent blundered from a crushing position and I was able to strike back after they played Kc7. I drew because while I know how to queen/king mate, doing it under time pressure is extremely hard.
 
 
I still have no idea what happened in this game, or how to prevent it. After Nf3 I had no good developing moves, so I tried to pawn break in the center and..lost instantly? Like, obviously taking with pawn there was a blunder, but I couldn't figure out how to attack that knight and there's no way I would have seen that mate; I've never seen that before.
 
 
This last one, according to the analysis I was winning for a large part of it, but then lost my advantage. I couldn't figure out how to convert this to a winning position - I was even trying to calculate out the moves with the king/knight/bishop/rook tension on c6 and d7, but I never would have seen the best move - taking with the rook - because it looks like just a terrible trade of rook for bishop. How do you see these things?? 
 
People have told me to do puzzles, so I do - hundreds. I've done dozens a day, and I try to take the time to understand all the ones I can't solve. They don't seem to be helping. The lessons hold my hand and gently guide me to a concept, which is great, but that's not really how I learn best.

I've also been advised to play longer games, but the issue is not that I need more time to see things, it's that I just don't see things. Besides the fact that it takes me about 5 seconds every move to look at the board and figure out where the pieces are, it's not that I'm wasting time calculating - I'm sitting there going "I don't know what I'd even consider doing in this position", in all phases of the game.

Hell, it takes me a few minutes to understand why the engine best move is the best move and that's with the engine *telling* me I missed a tactic.

It's just really really brutal, and I want to figure it out instead of giving up.

 

Try to find every check and capture on the board. Play out what would happen if you put them in any of those checks, and if you took any of their pieces. This is an easy way to find possible moves and calculate them out. Yes, even the checks/captures that look silly should be checked, they might be better than expected, or become good later. Noticing if you have pieces x-raying the king, and how quickly those can get out of the way, as those can often lead to tactics. Early in the game the best moves will be basic development, but just seeing the possible checks and captures for both players can raise some points that influence how you think of your moves. Giving away pieces for free is a common theme to watch out for, just another reason to look for all captures and checks available if a certain hypothetical move was made. (Free pieces can be taken by a simple double attack that involves giving a check and attacking another piece that can't be used to block the check at the same time.) 

No one catches everything, and playing games can be a large part of just building up the experience and habits of doing the things I mentioned. One common theme in all 3 of the games shown was the kingside diagonal being a brutal avenue for attacks. This is something you should pay attention to. Again, looking at checks would be huge here.

king5minblitz119147

all these lessons are supposed to improve an aspect of the entire thinking process. i think maybe you need to write down exactly what your thinking process is at this point so you can try to refine it and practice it. how do you choose a move? what criteria do you use?

in order to be a better player, you need to make better decisions. but first you need to know how you arrive at your decisions. there could be something wrong with that part.

try this: find a position after say 10 moves or reasonable opening play from both sides, and then for the side to move, write down your thoughts on how you are going about choosing the move you are going to play. it will reveal a lot about the structure of your thinking process, and then maybe people can help you better afterwards. 

Quts

regarding your decision to draw because of time pressure. helpful fact: chess.com doesnt let you lose if your opponent has "insufficient material". king or king knight. if you had ran out of time there it would have said draw. so go for it!

1Na3-10

by analyzing games and reading books.

Bgabor91

Dear Mbzzmn,

I am a certified, full-time chess coach, so I hope I can help you. happy.png  Everybody is different, so that's why there isn't only one general way to learn. First of all, you have to discover your biggest weaknesses in the game and start working on them. The most effective way for that is analysing your own games. Of course, if you are a beginner, you can't do it efficiently because you don't know too much about the game yet. There is a built-in engine on chess.com which can show you if a move is good or bad but the only problem that it can't explain you the plans, ideas behind the moves, so you won't know why is it so good or bad.

You can learn from books or Youtube channels as well, and maybe you can find a lot of useful information there but these sources are mostly general things and not personalized at all. That's why you need a good coach sooner or later if you really want to be better at chess. A good coach can help you with identifying your biggest weaknesses and explain everything, so you can leave your mistakes behind you. Of course, you won't apply everything immediately, this is a learning process (like learning languages), but if you are persistent and enthusiastic, you will achieve your goals. happy.png

So, the question you asked is not so easy to answer, but I can tell you one thing for sure. In my opinion, chess has 4 main territories (openings, strategies, tactics/combinations and endgames). If you want to improve efficiently, you should improve all of these skills almost at the same time. That's what my training program is based on. My students really like it because the lessons are not boring (because we talk about more than one areas within one lesson) and they feel the improvement on the longer run. Of course, there are always ups and downs but this is completely normal in everyone's career. happy.png

I hope this is helpful for you. happy.png Good luck for your chess games! happy.png

katerinah337

I think you should create study plan and learn all aspects of the game, for example: Monday: Endgames 30 minutes a day, Tuesday: Studying openings for 30 minutes, Wednesday: Studying tactics principle (Not exactly solving puzzles but learning new concepts) etc... Play longer games and be patient. It is not about seeing things it is also about finding them, this is what I am trying to do. I always ask myself what piece I can move. There is no only tactics, sometimes you need to defend, sometimes place your piece to better square. Play 1 or 2 rapid games a day, analyze them properly. If you see you did blunder try to find the best or good move again by yourself and then look what computer analysis suggested. If you do not understand why this move was the best, try to find a plan behind it, every move has some plan. Chess is about patience. Just wait, enjoy the game and create good studying habits. Do not overwork - it will not help. It is better to spend 30 minutes in quality than studying in bad ways for 2 hours. Make sure you made the most of your studying. If you have the option play with someone who is better about 100 elo rating. This player will probably beat you but you will find out what is your most weakness. For example I am 1455 now and I played with someone who was 1600 yesterday and I lost in endgame - I looked at lessons about endgames today. And this is what I was doing from my chess start and it helped everytime. If I lost in opening there were probably a trapped I did know. I analyzed it, I studied how to defense against it. Another day I stay alived a little longer but lost in middle game. My queen was pinned to my king for example I learned from it as well. Do you know what? I always learned much more from lost game than from winning one, do not be ashamed of lost, keep your chain up, stay positive and learn from it. You need to lose many many games to play one that you will be proud of. And thats the beauty of the game. 

MarkGrubb

@katerinah +1. I

Komnenos1097

Try to think of every game from both sides, play longer time controls (30 minutes+, or even daily chess). Just focus on what vision your opponent has on your pieces (what they are attacking), what they're planning (how would you attack/defend/develop if you were on their side). For your own moves, focus on all your possible options first, then try to calculate deep into what will happen if you make a certain move. You should also try to look at your opponent's position and figure out what is a weak spot in their defenses.

IMO Recognizing mating patterns without understanding why they work isn't really helpful in the long run. For example, it's better to remember the concept around the rook and king mate rather than the exact steps (For instance, the rook + king mate works when the rook makes the box around the enemy king smaller while defended by the king, checkmate once the enemy king is in the corner and cannot take opposition on their turn, triangulate your king in order to put them in opposition on your turn, and check for stalemates if unsure once the enemy king is close to the corner).

In your second game, the simplest explanation of why you lost was that your king was vulnerable and had nowhere to move, no pieces to block the incoming check, and their queen was able to check. So the easiest way to prevent such a check in the future is to gain more space for your king, so that a) you can develop safely, and b) castle early, c) don't randomly make side pawn moves unless you know you gain an advantage position/material wise from making said move, and you must understand why that is the case as well.

 

Also lots of new players don't think about open/closed positions. They automatically favour one style or another, rather than thinking about it in that specific position and wondering if it benefits them to do one or the other.

EDIT: For your 2nd game, a simple way to think of it would be the following (ignoring the fact that I really dislike your bishop's position personally as it seems really blocked in to me and not active, plus it blocks your pawn's movement too!): White's e5 pawn is super annoying, so getting rid of it would be nice. Attacking it with a pawn and then trading it seems like a reasonable plan. Better yet, when you trade it, if they take, you can take with your knight, developing it in one move + getting rid of an annoying enemy center pawn + not doubling your own pawns. If they don't trade, focusing on finishing development and castling queen-side asap to avoid attacks to your king seems sensible, then you can try working on fixing your bad position slowly one move at a time. Of course, it was your panic pawn move that lost you the game (by removing a potential blocker, but the disadvantages were already stacking against you even without that blunder).

HowFaresTheKing

1. Use the same openings consistently and learn more lines and details over time. 

2. Practice solving puzzles and play puzzle rush. Rework the puzzles you miss. 

3. When it is your move, look for 1. Checks 2. Captures 3. Threats. 

4. Be sure you know basic Queen and Rook checkmates, how to use the opposition. 

5. Analyze your games and learn from your mistakes. 

 

6. Be patient. All players have ups and downs. Improving happens over time. 

Wildekaart

Self-study can go a long way.

I guess I'm kind of a rebel on my own when I say I prefer to ignore all the rules that have been established by grandmasters and GM wannabe's and play chess my own way.

I used to just pick an opening and play out the rest by myself as both sides, analysing move by move what is happening and what I need to prevent or attack. After all the best opponents to get are those of your own rating - or a bit higher. I feel like I get better when doing self-study; am I my best opponent?

cerebov

I think you should take another look at game 1. There are many weird blunders there, very instructive.

On move 9, you can win easily by 9. Qxd8+ Kxd8 10. Nxf7+ winning a rook. This is not hard to see. Instead, you played 9. Nxe4??, a losing move (to Qa5+). It is particularly interesting that you played 10. Nxe4 in 1.8 seconds. In a rapid game, that is very weird.

Instead of winning the knight, black played the inexplicable 10. - f5??. This is the point when you really should stop and think. With that much firepower against a naked king, there must be something. Indeed there is something, mate in 2.

 

archaja

"You may learn much more from a game you loose than from a game you win. You will have to loose hundreds of games bevore becoming a good player" Jose Raul Capablanca

blueemu
archaja wrote:

"You may learn much more from a game you loose than from a game you win. You will have to loose hundreds of games bevore becoming a good player" Jose Raul Capablanca

It worked for me. One quality required of an aspiring chess player: bloody-minded stubbornness.

SharpCube

You should play time controls where you really have the possibility to think abour your moves.

In your game against pazzluck you missed things like 10.Qh5+ (followed by Qf7#).

Against C-Bilal you overlooked more or less the same motive (9.Qh5+.) This is one of the most basic checkmates! I don´t know how much time it would cost you to find the solution if it was a puzzle. But in my experience it is unlikely that players with your rating solve these things in under 30 seconds- no offense! So, it doesn´t make sense to play a time control where you are lacking the time to check the position even for the most basic tactics. You will only develop bad habits. ("9...f5? He attacks my knight, let´s simply move it. I will only get in time trouble, if I am looking for other moves.") Play some daily games so you have the time to look for tactics at every move. Your calculation skills will improve and get faster, well, by calculation! So play games where you have the possibility to do so. Once your skills improved you can go back to shorter time controls.