Yet Another Improvement Advice Thread

renny379

So I have been all over the place as a chess player. After some lucky wins early on after joining this site I dropped down to as low as 640. From there playing on and off I slowly climbed to my current rating band where I swing from 930 to 960, though I did taste a round 1000 for 1 game. I really want to break regularly into the 1000s rating band on a permanent basis. Not due to any real love of ratings but more as a measure of personal improvement.

I'm doing this by getting a membership, working through all the new lessons, doing a 20-30 tactics puzzles a day and anaylsing every game with the chess.com analysis engine to see my errors and replaying the error moves to try and learn the best result. I don't have access to a chess coach or more skilled friend to teach me. Does this sound good?

At this rating band, am I better served by say only playing a couple openings so I can get clearer feedback about what I'm doing wrong? Or would it be better to keep doing what I'm doing but try to play many kinds of openings so I develop a better instinct for not hanging pieces? When I do play games I've been playing 10 minute blitz games. They seem slow enough that I have some time for thinking but fast enough I feel like I can experience many games.

Any thoughts? General advice? Is it a waste of time using engines? Can I achieve my dream of maybe one day reaching 2000 rating online if I do this consistently?

notmtwain
renny379 wrote:

So I have been all over the place as a chess player. After some lucky wins early on after joining this site I dropped down to as low as 640. From there playing on and off I slowly climbed to my current rating band where I swing from 930 to 960, though I did taste a round 1000 for 1 game. I really want to break regularly into the 1000s rating band on a permanent basis. Not due to any real love of ratings but more as a measure of personal improvement.

 

I'm doing this by getting a membership, working through all the new lessons, doing a 20-30 tactics puzzles a day and anaylsing every game with the chess.com analysis engine to see my errors and replaying the error moves to try and learn the best result. I don't have access to a chess coach or more skilled friend to teach me. Does this sound good?

At this rating band, am I better served by say only playing a couple openings so I can get clearer feedback about what I'm doing wrong? Or would it be better to keep doing what I'm doing but try to play many kinds of openings so I develop a better instinct for not hanging pieces? When I do play games I've been playing 10 minute blitz games. They seem slow enough that I have some time for thinking but fast enough I feel like I can experience many games.

Any thoughts? General advice? Is it a waste of time using engines? Can I achieve my dream of maybe one day reaching 2000 rating online if I do this consistently?

 

 

 

I looked at one of your games and was very puzzled.

Please explain 20 Bxh6 and 22 Rxh6.

You had plenty of time. You were about to lose a pawn.  Why was that so hard to accept?

If you say you just miscalculated, I would suggest you play Puzzle Rush 50 times a day. You don't need advanced puzzles  You need to learn to calculate basic tactics.

renny379

It was bad move I played because I was tired and feeling time pressure. I did it because I felt time pressure and thought I'd just try breaking open the pawns in front of his king. It was bad calculating. I'll do more puzzle rush.

notmtwain
renny379 wrote:

It was bad move I played because I was tired and feeling time pressure. I did it because I felt time pressure and thought I'd just try breaking open the pawns in front of his king. It was bad calculating. I'll do more puzzle rush.

You have to hang tough in those situations and resist the temptation to play wild moves unless you have calculated them out.    I believe that you should have been able to see at a glance that 20 Bxh6 had no chance of succeeding but you had eight and a half minutes of time on your clock. You could certainly have spared one minute to calculate in that situation.

Holding on and at least drawing in those types of situations is what is going to put you over 1000. You weren't even losing. The computer evaluation there was still almost completely even. There was no reason to go nuts.

renny379

Well no excuses then.

 

I went wild for no reason. 

 

I'll sleep on it.

kindaspongey
renny379 wrote:

... I slowly climbed to my current rating band where I swing from 930 to 960, … At this rating band, am I better served by say only playing a couple openings so I can get clearer feedback about what I'm doing wrong? Or would it be better to keep doing what I'm doing but try to play many kinds of openings so I develop a better instinct for not hanging pieces? ...

I do not remember anyone ever advocating the playing of many kinds of openings as a way to develop a better instinct for not hanging pieces.

There are those who will tell you that you should not be thinking about specific openings. I am not in that camp, but I think that there is widespread agreement that one should not get very preoccupied with opening study while there is so much else to begin to learn.

"... Overall, I would advise most players to stick to a fairly limited range of openings, and not to worry about learning too much by heart. ..." - FM Steve Giddins (2008)

kindaspongey
renny379 wrote:

... When I do play games I've been playing 10 minute blitz games. They seem slow enough that I have some time for thinking but fast enough I feel like I can experience many games. Any thoughts? General advice? ...

"... 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

nexim

Protect your pieces. Take unprotected pieces. Try to get all of your pieces in the game quickly and avoid moving the same piece multiple times in the opening, unless your opponent makes an obvious blunder you can capitalize on. Your opponents at that rating will leave their pieces en prise (or at least in danger of being en prise with a two move tactic) few times a game, take advantage of that. When you have the material advantage, trade pieces and simplify to a game with less pieces, unless there is a forced mate on the board.

I don't think you really need to know much more than that to make it to 1000+ rating. 

If you can do that and practice the simplest 2-3 move tactical combinations and motifs that occur the most often (forks, pins, skewers and basic checkmates), you should be well on your way to 1200s.

Remember that chess is a mentally taxing game. If you don't adapt to a mindset, where you scan the board for threats and hanging pieces (yours and opponents) before every move, you will never improve. Luckily the more you play while seriously concentrating on these basics, the less of a burden it feels as your brain will slowly automate the process. That's when you can start learning all the deeper nuances of the game. 

qrayons

You need to understand why you are losing. You should be as detailed as possible. Then you can come up with a plan that addresses that specific weakness. For instance, I know that I often lose due to tactics. But more specifically, I tend to miss my opponent's tactical opportunities. To address this, I'm doing tactical puzzles with the board flipped so that I get used to looking for tactics from the opposite side.

JosephReidNZ

Triumph is a little more than umph

kindaspongey

Three umphs?

ghost_of_pushwood

Actually, you have to try to umph.

RussBell

Play mostly longer time controls, including "daily" chess, so you have time to think about what you should be doing - blitz and bullet chess may be fun, but at this stage of your development they will do little to promote your rapid improvement or your understanding of how to play correctly.....
https://www.chess.com/article/view/longer-time-controls-are-more-instructive

https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/how-blitz-and-bullet-rotted-my-brain-don-t-let-it-rot-yours

https://web.archive.org/web/20140627052239/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman16.pdf

discover...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell

Ziryab

Weren’t the umpha loomphas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

Caesar49bc

It's been said over and over to play slower chess. Excluding daily or correspondance chess, it's very difficult to find players for slower games. 

30 minute games or an equivelent increment time control is about the longest you can find opponents for without waiting a long time. This applies to about every chess server out there.

For the most part, it gets more and more diffucult to find players willing to play 30+30 to 90+30.

Pre digital age, the major time controls were:

5 minute to 10 minute chess at clubs (not rated).

30 minute rated play. Often for a rated club level Saturday or Sunday event  and pernnial favorite for the scholastic crowd.

Classical time controls.. often with 3 time controls. For example 30 moves in 90 minutes, followed by 20 moves in 60 minutes, then a final sudden death 30 minutes.

You didn't actually beed to train people to try and play a nearly 7 hour game. Outside of places like NYC or other large metropolitan cities, most players didn't play chess but once a week for a few hours and didn't get conditioned to play every move inside of 5 minutes. The vast majority of players didn't specialize in speed chess. 

-bullet chess has it's own history, but for pre digital age, 2 minute chess was mainly relegated to chess hustlers. The roots stretch back to before chess clocks when a guy would yell out 10 second intervals in a room full of chess players. The true origin of bullet chess, even though the games often ran longer than 5 minutes, it still had to be a lot of pressure having only 10 seconds for every move.

Of course most digital clocks support that and hourglass time too, plus many more.

I wish chess.com did have a classical rating, with the minimum time control of 60 minutes, or 30+30 increment. I suppose the max time control would be whatever is equivelent to a FIDE standard time. I only suggest a maximum time control so that players don't start creating time controls better suited for daily chess, which is far more suited for long time controls.

In any event. A classic time control rating might spur more games played at a slower pace. Perhaps some features could be implemented to help that. For example, allow reconnects inside of a 5 minute window up to 3 times per game, and suspend/resume options outside of tounament play, making it somewhat a cross between regular and daily chess. But both players would have to be online to resume.

Caesar49bc

A couple perennial problems I have is.

1. Rushing. Mostly getting comfortable in a position and playing a bit too fast, missing an important move.

2. Getting lost. Finding a combination or line of play that's best to play. Looking at other moves to make sure that one line is still the best... then trying to remember the exact sequence of moves in the line you wanted to play. It happens more often in slower games because I have much more time to ponder the board and not worried too much about the clock.

Tripping down memory lane, in 1989 I played a nearly 7 hour game. Don't remember who won, but I was a rank beginner. USCF rating 1125. Which is probably closer to 850 nowadays just due to the ease of obtaining chess knowlege in 2019.

Anyway, I have to wonder, considering how little I knew about chess, what exactly was going through my mind for 7 hours. 😋

Daybreak57

You wrote:

So I have been all over the place as a chess player. After some lucky wins early on after joining this site I dropped down to as low as 640. From there playing on and off I slowly climbed to my current rating band where I swing from 930 to 960, though I did taste a round 1000 for 1 game. I really want to break regularly into the 1000s rating band on a permanent basis. Not due to any real love of ratings but more as a measure of personal improvement.

 

My response:

You're still wading through the mud.  I imagine this always has to happen no matter what you are trying to be good at.  

 If I am reading you right you are saying you went from 600 to about 900 in rating just by playing.  You didn't say how long this took though...  You should tell us.  Anyway, I remember playing and playing and playing and playing and never getting any better when I was about your rating.  The two things I noticed that I needed to change for me at least was 1.)  I needed an opening repertoire 2.) I needed to seek help from reading books and studying also 3.) I needed to do as many tactics as I possibly could

It's not as important to get an opening repertoire than to start studying annotated master games.  You could skip getting an opening repertoire for now, however, you will then be stuck playing random moves and suffer by "trying out" a lot of openings and not getting good at a single one of them.  Hitler lost the war because he went to war with both US and Russia.  A battle on two fronts.  Spread himself too thinly.  That is most definitely a good thing, but, don't do the same thing by playing so many openings.  Limit yourself to a set opening repertoire, and you won't find yourself making random moves, and you won't find yourself playing very different openings all the time, and not getting good at any one of them because your brain, as big as it is, can't learn everything.  You have to "specialize."  Now, on a side note, I'd like to say that a lot of people say not to study openings at all.  I have even said that in the past.  The truth is your better off learning principles of play by studying master games than studying openings.  You get more bang for your buck.  However, Opening books are now nothing more than a collection of annotated master games, however, so long as the intent is to just go through the games, and not try and "memorize the moves," you should be fine.  Another thing, there is a thing called serious chess, and "trying stuff out."  I've seen higher rated people tell others not to play such and such opening, ever, but in reality, we play chess for fun, especially us at the lower levels.  If you want to experiment from time to time that is up to you but remember to play serious chess when the time calls for it.  There is no definite answer on opening study.  Just that at a certain point, you should study openings, it's just that most of us disagree were that certain point it.  Some say 1500, some say 2000.  It depends on who you are talking to.  In my personal experience though, as I have said, I found myself making random moves a lot because I had no opening plan.  The only way to avoid something like this, in my point of view, is to get an opening repertoire.  It's up to you though.

You wrote:

I'm doing this by getting a membership, working through all the new lessons, doing a 20-30 tactics puzzles a day and anaylsing every game with the chess.com analysis engine to see my errors and replaying the error moves to try and learn the best result. I don't have access to a chess coach or more skilled friend to teach me. Does this sound good?

My response:

 

The lesson plans coupled with chess mentor may be all that you need to improve.  You could also run searches on youtube to find good chess videos to watch for free.  If you ever run into an opening that you don't know this is a good thing to do look up the opening on youtube 9 times out of 10 you will find a video on that particular opening.  I would just advise against using computer assistance until you have analyzed the game once on your own without computer assistance.

 

You wrote:

 

At this rating band, am I better served by say only playing a couple openings so I can get clearer feedback about what I'm doing wrong? Or would it be better to keep doing what I'm doing but try to play many kinds of openings so I develop a better instinct for not hanging pieces? When I do play games I've been playing 10 minute blitz games. They seem slow enough that I have some time for thinking but fast enough I feel like I can experience many games.

 

My response:

 

I already answered this in my first response.  My advice is to get an opening repertoire, however, you can delay this, and just study annotated master games, and play "whatever," both routes are fine, however, you will find yourself making random moves and you will play more openings, and not become an expert at any of them, because you are playing so many you do not have a set response for x move you just play "whatever."  This can work, but in my opinion, getting an opening repertoire is the best thing you can do because nowadays it's easy and cheap.  Well, maybe not cheap, but easier than before, more books on the subject than ever.  

 

Tips on picking an opening repertoire

 

Don't pick trappy lines.  trappy lines will serve you well up to the 2200 level, and then you will be left to sit there and think, why did I pick this opening repertoire?  You will have to at that point re-learn how to play.  If you don't plan to reach 2200 ever, then, by all means, pick a trappy line if that is what suits you.  There are certain openings that are just busted at the higher levels.  I'm not going to list them, because I will get people that will start arguments.  So I will just leave it up to you to read books and find out what openings not to study.  You can go the gambit route or the other safer route.  Up to you, but some gambits are refuted at the higher levels.  I have been obliterated by gambits my fair share of times so I know how good they can be to the unsuspecting victim, but just know these are the lines that I am talking about, that are trappy, usually the gambits, and other lines.  

You wrote:

Any thoughts?

 

My advice:

If you can't get passed a barrier in the study plans I recommend that you find books to study.  You'd have to find out what areas you are weak in and improve upon them.

 

You wrote:

General advice?

My response:

I think you should buy tactics books of some sort and go over the material in that till you can do the tactics in your sleep without thinking.  You are still a beginner and need tactics ingrained into your memory.  There are various methods for tactics, however, I know if you do this method, you should improve on the tactics part of the equation quite significantly, depending on how many tactics you learn.  If you feel you are up to doing this, I recommend you create a separate thread to find out what tactics books are good for you.  You may find more insight from higher-rated players.

You wrote:

Is it a waste of time using engines?

My response:

No, but you need to analyze the game first on your own without assistance before you use the computer to help you.

You wrote:

Can I achieve my dream of maybe one day reaching 2000 rating online if I do this consistently?

 

My response:

 

Sure why not?

 

 

ghost_of_pushwood
Ziryab wrote:

Weren’t the umpha loomphas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

We just did that for Halloween (where I work).

Kubuu71

JosephReidNZ napisał:

Triumph is a little more than umph

JosephReidNZ napisał: Triumph is a little more than umph

Kubuu71

JosephReidNZ napisał:

Triumph is a little more than umph

JosephReidNZ napisał: Triumph is a little more than umph