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Tactics, puzzles, endgame study. Do it all, with as much spare time as you can put to it. Play heaps of games against players-computers rated 200 above your current rating.
I also play through heaps of pgn files of master games. It is a great thrill to match the moves of the masters. It gives you faith that you are improving.
Well, it's up to you, let's be clear about your options though.1). Hearsay advice from a 1600 player.2). Any master or coach you bother asking (they will tell you tactics). Not to the exclusion of everything else (de la Mesa style) but that tactics are a core component.In fact it's a common trap for adult learners to be attracted to the strategy and interesting ideas of chess. They spend years never improving because frankly solving tactics all the time is tedious. So they lack the ability to spot and calculate forcing moves consistently and accurately.A pretty funny/sad example is the backyard professor. Loves the prose of Silman. The idea that concepts rule chess is exciting... and that's not wrong, it's just if you can't spot tactics it doesn't matter what your plan was, you'll lose pieces then lose the game. All the greatest positional players were excellent at calculating tactics.
The example of the backyard professor is sobering. And the fact that you note that adults are often attracted to the strategy stuff, and that this is a 'trap' to never improve has sold me. thank you. and that you note <spot forcing moves consistently and accurately>...VERy important. I often click on wrong answers when I do tactics puzzles, and wonder why I'm not getting better at getting them right. Its because I'm practicing getting them wrong. I have to focus on increased accuracy. That will be job ONE. thanks for your help.
Wafflemaster wrote <Endgames are also very good for calculation practice. They also stress importance of activity and how the pieces coordinate with each other which is also fundamental to chess. Endgames allow you to finish off won positions and salvage difficult positions. The endgame also forms the basis for middlegame strategy.> thank you. Helpful. I will do as I am told by someone who has consistently impressed me.
that's it. I'm done.
You are absolutely right, the greatest players were excellent at calculating tactics. However, the OP asked to get to 1500 ELO, NOT to be one of the greatest ever. For that, tactical grinding isn't necessary at all, and can in fact be a hindrance to a players growth, by not teaching them how the game works.What grandmasters preach is tactics, tactics, tactics. The reason for that is that they all understand the positional nuances, so tactical calculation is their primary divide. However, that's like planning where to armor a war plane based on where the surviving planes got shot. If a plane returns home full of holes in the hull, then it's the OTHER PARTS of the plane that need extra shielding. Grandmasters forget what it's like to not understand how pieces work together, so it all becomes about tactics.
I see what you're saying. I think there may be some bias but I don't think it's because strategy is considered a given among GMs. I've heard commentary about how GMs strength varies from person to person in regard to tactics, strategy, endgames, openings, etc. I think the coaches / advice givers that are bias look at beginner games and see so many tactical mistakes that they downplay strategy. e.g. something like "learn to how keep your pieces, then we'll talk about where to put them"Michael de la Mesa's book is a good example of taking it to the extreme with tactics, and I disagree with his suggested method. As I said earlier in the post for 1500 (I'm always thinking USCF by the way) you need at least the basics of everything. What I said about tactics was it's the fastest way... because if you're a rook and two pawns up, you don't need much beyond the basics. Just capture / trade all the pieces and your opponent will eventually only have a king. But I do think the best way is a little bit of everything.One reason I like tactics / endgame exercises by the way, other than the obvious, is they make you practice visualization / calculation. It's important to be able to see a future position clearly a few moves in advance. Nothing amazing, just a few moves. If most beginners were like me, this is nearly impossible for them... in fact just seeing all 64 squares in front of you is hard (at least for me it was). Tactics also teach this by putting important pieces on the edge.Anyway as I said before, without meaning to I always think USCF. If he means 1500 chess.com online chess then I don't know. I know that's a few hundred points below USCF so especially then I'd agree you don't need to grind tactics every day.
Heh, well, I'm living, breathing proof that you can do some serious damage in USCF tournaments without studying tactics pretty much at all. Had I studied them when I had an active USCF rating, mine would probably be closer to 1800 instead of 1600, true, but I once drew a 2,000-rated player who just didn't see that his position was winning until we worked it out together later on. :-D My opening theory and positional understanding were always what carried me.
One of my most interesting opponents was a guy who only knew chess from playing over games. He carried around these books, he showed me later, and he said he just looks at the games over and over.He was rated about 100 points lower, but In our game he got a better position out of the opening, I was unfamiliar with the variation played. His position got even better through the middlegame. I defended and defended into a worse endgame but he wasn't sure how to finish me off and we drew... I was so lucky!He probably wouldn't enjoy it, but if he just studied endgames his rating would probably go up 200-300 points.So yeah, look at how you're losing games... when you're new you're probably losing many different ways. But as you get better it's good to cover these weaknesses.
Try to do chess menter and daily puzzles daily. They will Inprove your eye site to get used to the peices.-IM
GM Polgar, during commentary of the Anand Carlsen match, advised for new players to start with tactics, move to endgames, and do openings last. Also to minimize computer usage until you're a strong player.
Learn an opening with black against d4 Say play d5 same with e4 the ruylopez or something like that, Then learn an opening with white e4 d4 or nf3 or even c4. then learn endgames very important. some tactics are good.
Can anybody tell me what this poster meant by 'with a l;ot of contact, but no contact'?
By looking at an analytical position with a lot of contact, but no contacts, check and evaluate all the forcing lines, and eliminate candidates until you find what you think is best.
I think it meant something u didnt understand..
yes, can someone explain it? An 'analytical position with a lot of contact but no contacts'?
Seems sensible advice to me.
As for openings at low ELO, being Black is often easier as you can just pick a solid opening vs e4 (by far the most common) and d4 and stick with them. Perhaps the answer with white is just to use something fairly non-committal like c4 or Nf3 to avoid any pet lines from Black.
Then just work on tactics and endgames. A good way of decreasing tactial mistakes is playing against a computer set around (or just above) your ELO...for endgames just get a beginner's endgame book and work through it - not that much fun and a bit like practising scales in music - but basic stuff that most sub-ELO 1500 players won't know...
Actually though,as most online low ELO matches are played at blitz or rapidplay time controls, I would add basic time management as a critical skill if you want to raise your ELO at those time controls.
I have always felt I improved most by:
1) drilling easy tactics and
2) studying/learning endgames.
Doing tactics where you get stumped and it takes too long to figure out I have found to be sort of a waste of time.
Also I think getting a basic opening repetoire can be helpful too. But don't spend too much time on that if you want to improve. But if its fun for you to study openings then have fun.
edit: As you can see from the world championship an endgame might be drawn but there is still plenty of room for your opponent to lose the game. If you work and in fact are better in that phase of the game then you often trade down and win the game there. (or draw the game if you see your somewhat worse in the middlegame)
interesting. I'm going to do easy tactics, easy endgames, and play over grandmaster games.
The easiest way to reach 1500 is to establish a rating of 1600 then lose some games.
Isn't enough just to get ELO rating (because you start as 1500) and that's it? :)
And of course, tactics, tactics, tactics.
Play games. Ask for help from someone experienced, what is area in which you are lacking. Improve that area first. Play games. Ask for help from someone clearly more experienced in chess, what is/are your main weaknesess. Work it/them over. Play games with players on your level, above and below. ... Repeat circle of improving.
LOL that is funny. i am at 1600 in online chess, and you lose some games and go under it unfortunatly
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