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I agree. However, if you turn the whole thing inside out and view it as a syllabus: a schedule of what everyone at that level SHOULD know rather than what they DO know - it becomes potentially useful as a study framework.
There are several interesting chess syllabuses out there. e.g. The National Chess Syllabus™ featuring The Bandana Martial Art Exam System™ is a fun & funky way of learning how to play chess. http://www.trafford.com/04-2350 (see page 2).
That's a good observation! That was the approach Jeremy Silman (who else?) took in his Complete Endgame Course where he presented the endgames according to what he thought players of each rating class SHOULD know. I thought it was a very effective approach to teaching the material. It would be WAY COOL if someone could do that for each of the other aspects of the game (tactics, openings, middle game -- and maybe opening-to-middle game transitions and "strategic endgames" if you like Bo Lars Hanson's additional catagories).
YeOldeWildman, I think that your input is very well thought out and formulated. There is definitely something to the way that people think about chess...which, I suppose, answers the question that was on the poll the other day: "Does psychology play a factor"...I would say YES, absolutely it does. I have played people +400 points above me, and while I cant win against them, I can at least get a stalemate. Arguably, they should have had an easy time beating me. But, and this is one of the hard things that Im having trouble with, they werent able to anticipate my next move. Im the kind of person that if I were in a pool of 100 people and 99 of them did it this way, I would be the one person who did it that way. This throws off thier game. ...subsequently it also throws off my game because I try to anticipate moves based on what I would do in a given situation. Its taking me some time to realize that my opponents think differently and thus will make different moves. So yes, I compeltely agree, playing style has a lot to do with ratings. But, I also agree with Artfizz, even if a study into this area doesnt produce any clear-cut definitive results, it still will give us an average or a baseline. Heck, we could even make an "introductory survey" and have it include questions like: "how often do you play?", "why do you play?", "have you played in a tournament?", "wich of the following do you see yourself as: Casual/social, semi-serious, serious, semi professional, professional" etc, etc. This information would help us categorize the study participants into generalized categories. It would be interesting to see if there are any trends or tendancies that any particular sub-group of chess players have that other sub-groups lack. I would suspect that the 'serious' players have a better understanding of theory and history, etc. Take 2000 or so players, and dump them into the five major categories and see what trends emerge. Also include things like age and sex and location. See if there is a difference between the way that men and women process chess moves, or between adults and teens and children, etc.
900: This player pretty much a patzer at chess.
1250: This player is pretty much a patzer at chess.
1400: This player is pretty much a patzer at chess.
1650: This player is pretty much a patzer at chess.
1900: This player is pretty much a patzer at chess.
2150: This player is pretty much a patzer at chess.
2400: This player is pretty much a patzer at chess.
2650: This player, whle predominantly a patzer, often plays a nice game.
2900: This player, while usually a patzer, often plays creatively and brilliantly.
3100: This player will be considered a patzer by the next version of the software.
The point? We're all patzers, just on different levels.
i like this philosophy i just enjoy the game . it helps me unwind after a long day. ya know!
Thank you. What you're proposing is interesting. Hey, I'd by the report when it came out in paperback! I think it would go hand in hand with what I was thinking which would be to try and do what Silman did in The Amateur's Mind, only do it in a systematic and controlled way. If you're not familiar with it, the book consists of a number of positions where he analyzes it for you first, and then puts the position in front of one or more of his students and has them play it against him while they tell him what they're thinking -- and he tells us what he's thinking about what they're thinking.
The book is both educational and quite funny in places. Most of us who have read it probably recognized ourselves repeatedly. But what if you put together 100 carefully selected positions, stuck them on a DVD along with a chess engine (or made it downloadable over the internet), sent it to any chess player that volunteered, recorded their moves as they played the positions against the engine (as well as some data about the player), and then sent the results back to be analyzed? Or do the same thing on a website? My guess is that we'd learn a great deal about what players of different rating levels (en masse, since everyone is different) ACTUALLY know. Then it would be interesting to see how that stacks up with what players of each rating SHOULD know (however we determine that...).
Wild, you're a genious! If we coupled a survey form along with pre-defined study moves like that I think we could really get somewhere. Heck, make the website chess-study.chess.com or chess.com/study or something. Have people log in, fill out the survey so we know which group to categorize them into, and then give them like 15 or 20 scenarios to perform. have them make a move, and then the page can ask them to explain why they chose that move. We can then post analyze thier responses and correlate them against the charts that artfizz has identified as areas of focus. I think that would work wonderfully, and, the best part is that it would be very easy to implement. ...actually sorting through the data...now that'd take a lot more time, but definitely doable and definitely worthwhile, in my opinion. Im just jealous that I didnt think of that sooner. ;)
Yes, I agree. A solid plan. I would do it. Actually I'd love to do it.
Rae1 ~ IMO Great Thread idea~! Someone asked what is the difference between 2000 and 2200, & suggested Openings. For me the difference was endgames. I was determined to make 2000 in Postal Chess without endgame study, other than from my own games, and did that. Then after 2000 actually studied some endings more in-depth, with emphasis on K+P, R+P, N+p endings, Opposite Color B endings, and less on others. It was then a quick rise to over 2200. But in my case, I was already an Openings specialist, being very interested in that Theory since the time I was rated under 1000. Perhaps that matters!? I have known successful players start either way; openings or endgames first.
Here are some I have noticed since starting tournament play in 1972 ...
EVERY Master will understand how to perform forcible line opening, and be able to state the method in less than 20 words. Being THE primary attacking skill, imo. If they cannot, they are probably not "Real". Don't recall what level it comes at tho.
Defending a Pawn Roller aka Pawn Storm ... in playing Against the attacking side of them, it seems to me very few under Class B are able to defend cleanly or without fear (for good reason, if one has not this defensive skill). I suspect most start learning by 1600's, tho it may take to well into Class A to get proficient at it. For instance, even if it came up outside ones "own" usual opening choices. I recall blowing one myself, when over 2000. It is not just how to keep lines into your position Closed, but when to allow an opening that will ease a cramped game, or in order to permit some piece trades. Inversely, you can use this type attack yourself. Well worth mastering.
IMO most players will play a good Rook ending by Expert or K+P ending by Class A. Some perhaps a 100 points lower. The two most common endings, btw, in my experience.
Playing a Wing attack with closed center. (Not only by pawn storm, but also use of selective line opening, & primarily piece play...) I believe can be effective at many levels, since defending it is the higher level skill. Many 1400 players seem to have a good grasp of it, and may score even vs much higher rated players, as it is in part "A Race" as to who gets there first, where neither side may be able to see the finish line. It gets harder when facing someone that knows how to defend it, or moreso, how to counter-attack visciously and Only make such defensive moves as are needed to delay the other side enough so that He/She can "get there first". Facing such a player, then you really Need to know how to perform forcible line openings. And cannot afford to "hope" the opponent does it for you. And to be able to see when piece sac's are present & called for. This is especially helpful if used in your BLACK defenses, since it comes down to who sees a move further or knows a bit more of it; which is often the case up to perhaps Class A or B, until the Defenses used (often begun to be studied while in Class C, by many.) are well known to a player, and they can put more time into learning an expanded WT repetoire. Until then a player might do well to use a WT opening that has much the same formation vs a number of defenses, such as a KIA has.
Wing Attacking ability seems to come earlier than really good Center control, which I have seen differences in ability to handle the Center be present even among the best Masters vs lesser Masters. So Center is perhaps a continual learning experience, to some level beyond mine. Personally it was not until Master that I sat and defined a number of possible Centers and how to play with or against them.
[EG To actually understand situations such as having d&e pawns vs open d&e files of an opponent, he still having c&f pawns (aka "Lever Pawns") and having Rooks to place on those open files [What I call a Type-5 Center] ...where advancement of such a strong Seeming center must be cautious than first meets the eye, unless striking to capitalize on opponent's experiencing of piece discoordination, for instance. Some specific reason.]
That's all I have time for right now. It seems to me players who have had coaching may have very different learning curves than those without. I was not, & most players that I know were not coached on the complete game of Chess.
Also Openings one uses may hasten or delay development of certain skills. EG A King's Indian player MUST know how to open lines, sac, and judge the value of passive sac's and delay moves, to survive & thrive with it. Unless the WT player is considerably less skilled. Skills less frequently found in a Slav or QGD, so less likely learned there. This is one reason I favor players learning an opening involving wing play first, then learning those needing Center technique later, as they progress.
Oh yes, one last mention, being Critically Important. (Both in openings with or without a fixed Center, as long as there exist Lever Pawns.) As Rael mentioned; TENSION. To me, this is The Big Skill to know along with Line Opening. It is used in Wing & Center oriented openings. And most players, many even beyond Expert, do Not seem to "Get It".
Regardless of your present level/rating; IF You are one who does "NOT Get It" ... then Please, learn it NOW. TONIGHT, tomorrow; certainly before your next tournament. IMO, learning this single skill properly will do more to elevate your game, particularly in Class play, more than any single skill you can learn. And it will make you And I feel very good to see how much more effective your middle-game becomes.
Learn Line Opening with it so you know HOW, and knowing Tension handling will do much toward telling you WHEN. & the WHEN of TENSION RELEASE will ideally be just at such time that your opponents pieces can were no longer possessed of sufficient mobility to prevent your infiltration and material gain.
The skills to GET ASAP if you don't have them:
FORCIBLE Line Opening
CENTER types, control & techniques to use
K&P Endings and R+P Endings
TREE Analysis with use of Candidate Moves
STATIC Assessment of Position (always yields a Plan, hence Candidate Moves, and easier to understand First, than Dynamics, or what Silman calls "imbalances". It is Planning from Pawn structure, basically.)
IMO. No doubt many will disagree. But these were skills I had by Expert for the most part. And that I expect others to have, if we meet in play. There is something of a saying, almost a mantra for masters to say to themself during those uncomfortable moments of finding you know how to crush yourself from your opponents position ... and he/she is an "A" player. (So you must Win or lose 8 or16 points for a Draw or Loss, and maybe no longer Be a Master!?) It goes something like: "Be Bold, remember there is Always SOME weakness in a Class players Game" and "It is Often the Endgame, so Test my opponent thru All Phases of play". There is a well worn corollary stating players should be "solid" by Expert. And able to Defend well also. No insult to Class players either, as I have been on that side vs an OTB Master all too many times, and I can tell you with certainty, they will seldom take a Draw even from unfavorable positions. Nor even from a dead Lost position, if it means going below 2200 for Drawing! But it is also said, "...a player is likely a good Attacker by Class A".
That is another big difference I see by the time of reaching Master. By then a player has developed a Maximizing Attitude and not likely to give anyone an easy 1/2 point without a specific motive. Perhaps a tournament First, or an IM Norm ...
There are several fascinating threads to this discussion running in parallel - all to do with getting the bare rating number to make more sense.
One theme (courtesy of hicetnunc) is Rating Class Labels or ranks. The United States Chess Federation [USCF] uses these:
National Class A
Top Amateur Class
National Class B
Strong Tournament Player
National Class C
Average Tournament Player
National Class D
Strong Social Player
National Class E
It shouldn't be too hard to come up with a more relevant set of ranks for informal use within chess.com - and to extend the range above 2000 (which, in the real chess world, is covered by International or Professional Titles: GM, IM, FM, SM, NM and Expert/CM).
Here's a possible set of ranking class labels for Chess.com:
2000 - 2199
That looks okay to me.
Updated list of 'everything you ever wanted to know about chess - but were afraid to ask':
OKay, this is a very good start. It seems like we have a basis for what to test them on. Maybe find a battery of 20-50 scenarios to present to everyone uniformly and measure thier responses.
I suppose the next question is how to break the study participants down into control groups? In my honest opinion, Chess seems pretty universal across the globe, so I believe that breaking the control groups down based on spoken or written language would not be beneficial. However, breaking it down by sex, age, and rough geographic location as well as rating level seems like the most logical way of examining the data.
Your honor : I disagree!
One source of data about the performance of different rating levels would be to review past games.
If I look back over all of the games I have won, and note the rating level of my opponent, and the reason(s) why they lost the game (e.g. hung pieces, weak plan of attack, fell for trap, unsupported pieces, pin/skewer, brilliant move, etc.), this may suggest a pattern about what levels of player don't know.
If I do the same for games I have lost, and note the rating level of my opponent, and the reason(s) why they won the game (e.g. hung pieces, weak plan of attack, fell for trap, unsupported pieces, pin/skewer, brilliant move, etc.), this may suggest a pattern about what levels of player do know.
On the other hand, it may just indicate what I don't know!
It would probably work for tactical patterns, but would be much more difficult to implement if you've lost a game for strategical reasons.
I think it's very difficult for any player to correctly assess his own weaknesses (and their relative weight). The best diagnostic would come from a stronger player, or even better, a good chess coach.
This (http://www.chess.com/forum/view/community/catalog-of-all-chess-themes--ideas) was an interesting taxonomy - which Erik initiated earlier.
I must concur with hicetnunc, I honestly think that the best analysis of a player's performance will come from a stronger rated player. Another player of similar ranking may provide some insight, but I think it would extremely difficult for people to analyze thier own games.
Now there are special cases of rating differential that are just plain suspicious. If a player has a 1200 rating in quick, but a 1900 rating in long, that smells like engine use.
hehe ...my mind is an engine?
though i am not 1900..but close...
I think its something like this
1000 - "I am useless"
1500 - "I am amazing"
2000 - "I am useless"
2100 - "I am always going to be useless"
I'm with the guy above. e.g. a player could play at 1700 level but only have a 1400 rating because he hasn't got the patience to grind out and create an opening for himself. I know of several people where this is the problem.
But since nearly everyone has the problem of impacience, all our ratings would have to increase, which would all leave us where we are.Nobody plays his or her best permanently, or up to his or her potential. I disagree to your point