Should I quit?

masjas2016
I’ve been playing chess for about a year and I am terrible. I lose most games while winning only against players ranked between 600-750. I can only beat the computer up to level 4 (800). I have read a few books and “how-tos” online. Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess was probably the most helpful. But my game has only improved incrementally. Moreover, I have learned that I am grossly inefficient at seeing multiple moves ahead and predicting my opponents’ moves. I am 33 years old, so I don’t have the luxury of early learning advantages. Should I quit now, or is there actually hope of getting good at chess?
kindaspongey

It may be that, for one reason or another, chess is not a game that you will enjoy. However, it is fairly common for someone to have a lot of trouble in the beginning because of various unwise decisions. A fairly common mistake is to focus on fast games.

"... 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. ..." - NM Dan Heisman (2002)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627052239/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman16.pdf

"... Most internet players think that 30 5 is slow, but that is unlikely slow enough to play 'real' chess. You need a game slow enough so that for most of the game you have time to consider all your candidate moves as well as your opponent’s possible replies that at least include his checks, captures, and serious threats, to make sure you can meet all of them. For the average OTB player G/90 is about the fastest, which might be roughly 60 10 online, where there is some delay. But there is no absolute; some people think faster than others and others can play real chess faster because of experience. Many internet players are reluctant to play slower than 30 5 so you might have to settle for that as a 'slow' game." - NM Dan Heisman (2002)

https://web.archive.org/web/20140627010008/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman12.pdf

antisunechess

At the age of 33, you have a lot of possibilities. I know a person who started at 48 and achieved 2000 elo! Don't give up! I think tactics will help you. Get a diamond membership. Take all the lessons here. Then, do tactics, tactics tactics. Anayse your games to learn your mistakes. Get a book with opening principles, a book for the middlegame and a book for the endgame. Every endgame you learn practice it on the drills section. Then you are ready to start learning proper openings. I know this sounds like a lot, I've hardly finished it myself. It is indeed a lengthy process. In a year, if you're willing to devote 3-6 hours a week to playing chess, lessons and tactics you will be definitely ready to study books, and will probably reach 1200 elo. A coach helps in the process, but you just need to put some effort, to get past the 1000 burden and then you will be ready. Also, wait for  kndaspongey's post here, it will probably help and it will definitely come

kindaspongey

"... for those that want to be as good as they can be, they'll have to work hard.
Play opponents who are better than you … . Learn basic endgames. Create a simple opening repertoire (understanding the moves are far more important than memorizing them). Study tactics. And pick up tons of patterns. That’s the drumbeat of success. ..." - IM Jeremy Silman (December 27, 2018)
https://www.chess.com/article/view/little-things-that-help-your-game
https://www.chess.com/article/view/how-to-start-out-in-chess

https://www.chess.com/blog/michechess89/8-tips-to-increase-your-online-rating

https://www.chess.com/news/view/rapid-chess-improvement
https://www.chess.com/news/view/a-new-years-resolution-improve-your-chess-with-new-lessons

https://www.chess.com/article/view/mastery-chess-lessons-are-here
"... In order to maximize the benefits of [theory and practice], these two should be approached in a balanced manner. ... Play as many slow games (60 5 or preferably slower) as possible, ... The other side of improvement is theory. ... This can be reading books, taking lessons, watching videos, doing problems on software, etc. ..." - NM Dan Heisman (2002)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627084053/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman19.pdf
"... If it’s instruction, you look for an author that addresses players at your level (buying something that’s too advanced won’t help you at all). This means that a classic book that is revered by many people might not be useful for you. ..." - IM Jeremy Silman (2015)
https://www.chess.com/article/view/the-best-chess-books-ever

antisunechess

WTH kindaspongey posted before I even finished my post!

antisunechess

That's what I call devotion

kindaspongey
masjas2016 wrote:
... I have read a few books ... Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess was probably the most helpful. ...

It can be surprisingly difficult to find a book that is right for you. Here are some reading possibilities that I often mention:
Simple Attacking Plans by Fred Wilson (2012)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708090402/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review874.pdf
http://dev.jeremysilman.com/shop/pc/Simple-Attacking-Plans-77p3731.htm
Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev (1957)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708104437/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/logichess.pdf
The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played by Irving Chernev (1965)
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/most-instructive-games-of-chess-ever-played/
Winning Chess by Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld (1948)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708093415/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review919.pdf
Back to Basics: Tactics by Dan Heisman (2007)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708233537/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review585.pdf
https://www.chess.com/article/view/book-review-back-to-basics-tactics
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5856bd64ff7c50433c3803db/t/5895fc0ca5790af7895297e4/1486224396755/btbtactics2excerpt.pdf
Discovering Chess Openings by GM John Emms (2006)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627114655/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen91.pdf
Openings for Amateurs by Pete Tamburro (2014)
http://kenilworthian.blogspot.com/2014/05/review-of-pete-tamburros-openings-for.html
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/openings-for-amateurs/

https://www.chess.com/blog/ForwardChess/book-of-the-week-openings-for-amateurs
https://www.mongoosepress.com/catalog/excerpts/openings_amateurs.pdf
Chess Endgames for Kids by Karsten Müller (2015)
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/chess-endgames-for-kids/
http://www.gambitbooks.com/pdfs/Chess_Endgames_for_Kids.pdf
A Guide to Chess Improvement by Dan Heisman (2010)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708105628/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review781.pdf
Studying Chess Made Easy by Andrew Soltis (2009)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708090448/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review750.pdf
Seirawan stuff:
http://seagaard.dk/review/eng/bo_beginner/ev_winning_chess.asp?KATID=BO&ID=BO-Beginner

https://web.archive.org/web/20140708090229/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review492.pdf
http://www.nystar.com/tamarkin/review1.htm
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627132508/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen173.pdf

https://www.chess.com/article/view/book-review-winning-chess-openings

https://www.chess.com/article/view/book-review-winning-chess-endings
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708092617/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review560.pdf

LuckyDan74

Dont quit just yet. I started to play at the age of 40 (online) and I know things take time to sink in. I've not read a single chess book cover to cover but I have played many many games against good players and learned from mistakes the best I can by discussing them and analysing with the machine. Watching the Jon Bartholomew 5 part series for beginners on YouTube was a massive help. Also as previously suggested, tactics will help too. Stick with it for a bit...

Typewriter44

Don't quit. 137 games is not enough to see a vast improvement. Do the non-premium max of 5 puzzles, do a survival puzzle rush every day and take your time. Play 3 to 15 minute chess with at least 2 seconds of increment. When you play 1000 blitz or rapid games, your rating will see a big improvement.

1_a31-0

Read Yasser Seirawan

congrandolor

No matter how good you become, there will always be someone better than you, so relax and enjoy destroying those 700 guys

MattHeup

The short answer is no.

The long answer is please no, keep trying.

Noobydee93

Your problem sounds like your not having fun. If you're asking us whether or not you should quit because you're not improving it sounds like your ignoring the more important question of "am I having fun". This is the most important factor. If you need to, take a break. If you really want to keep playing don't think about theory, don't think about abstractions about the game, just think about what it is about your play that is not working. I had a long stage where I "couldn't read the board". I just couldn't do it. I wasn't noticing super basic things and as a result, anyone playing to have a good time could beat me. Anybody. Everybody. If you enjoy chess I recommend doing puzzles on lichess or here. I prefer the ones here and they recently revamped and added a lot, deleted bad puzzles etc.. Develop your sense of noticing basic patterns, basic checkmates, forks etc.. and learn 3-4 openings you can practice; a couple for e4 openings and a couple for d4 openings (i like stonewall dutch personally). Also check out The Backyard Professor on Youtube. He's not the best player, but he brings the emphasis about basic chess using Jeremy Silman's method and the enthusiasm he brings to t he game might be just what you need. Good luck!

Thanoscar21
congrandolor wrote:

No matter how good you become, there will always be someone better than you, so relax and enjoy destroying those 700 guys

Take comfort in that ^^^!

ghost_of_pushwood
masjas2016 wrote:
But my game has only improved incrementally.

lol  So does anyone's.

The short answer is:  if you're only playing chess to get good at it, then obviously you should stop (since you're not getting good).  But if you're playing it for some other reason--like for example that you enjoy the game--then whether you ever get to be a GM or not is not inordinately relevant.

FrogCDE

Chess is a very complicated game. If you try to master all its complexities at once, you will only get confused. The first thing to get right is being able to give checkmate. (This may sound silly, but I know a player who has struggled on for years without ever really being able to see it - when you mate him, you still have to explain it every time.) You won't win games unless you can master the basic ways of mating with (above all) king and queen against king, two rooks against king and then one rook against king. (No need to worry about two bishops or bishop and knight at this stage.) Then simple king and pawn endings. After that you will know more or less how to win with a material advantage - there are lots of exceptions, of course, but mostly the player with more material wins. 

The second stage is to get that material advantage, the easy way. That means a) not putting your pieces en prise, b) taking your opponent's pieces when they're en prise, and c) knowing how to count when pieces are guarded and threatened and exchanges are a possibility.

These two stages should already win you many games at the lower levels. By forcing yourself to pay attention to them, you will be seeing the whole board and looking ahead. Then, when you've got used to that, you add the third stage, which is basic tactics: the fork, the pin, the skewer, the discovered attack.

I'd say there's at least enough there for a year's study and practice, and by the end of it you should be well ahead of your present rating, winning regularly and able to concentrate on the harder stuff like openings, positional play, more advanced endings, combinations etc.

Typewriter44
ghost_of_pushwood wrote:
masjas2016 wrote:
But my game has only improved incrementally.

lol  So does anyone's.

The short answer is:  if you're only playing chess to get good at it, then obviously you should stop (since you're not getting good).  But if you're playing it for some other reason--like for example that you enjoy the game--then whether you ever get to be a GM or not is not inordinately relevant.

For a second there I thought you were actually posting a relevant comment

ghost_of_pushwood

Keep working on it (just takes a little more concentration).

Mclu

I'm only ten with USCF of 996! IT was a hard journey (started a month ago)

ghost_of_pushwood

Looks like your long journey is still pretty much a single step. wink.png