I am a 17 year old chess enthusiast who is having a lot of trouble getting better. My parents have never supported chess and them saying chess is stupid and will get me nowhere in life I feel is limiting my success. I am self taught and I believe I am an ok player. I am having trouble with positional play and being able to analyze a position and calculating what the best move is. I have a few resources such as CHESSMASTER 10th Edition and 4 books but it is still hard for me to improve. I would like to know what would be a good way for me to actively study chess to improve my game. For example, studying tactics for an hour and studying endgame for an hour each day. Please give me some ideas about how I can go about this.
Studying tactics is a good idea. Honestly just studying chess will help you improve. May I ask what books you have?
I have Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 1, Pandolfini's Ultimate Guide to Chess, The Complete Book of Chess Strategy (Grandmaster Techniques from A to Z), and Starting Out: The Sicilian.
Those are good books. For tactics 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate is a great book (and cheap). I can speak personally that it really helped my play.
Make sure you don't get to caught up in opening study though, it only becomes critical at 2000+.
Not sure if can order these books in US, but these books helped me a lot:
- School of Chess Excellence 3 Strategic Play, M. Dvoretsky. Most books by M. Dvoretsky are good, but some are really complicated.
- The classic: My System 21st Century Edition, A. Nimzowitch
- Understanding Chess move by move, John Nunn. This book does exactly was the title says. A GM telling you what is going on in a clear and understandable way. Personally i liked this book very much because he explained everything so clear.
- Winning chess middle games , Ivan Sokolov.
If you are looking more for a book(s) which explains the basics how to analyse the imbalances in a position, i think most books from Jeremy Silman are ok.
I am personally not a big fan of constantly practicing tactics, those only work vs weaker players. Against strong players you need to understand the position, what are the imbalances, short and if possible long term plans/themes are more important.
Analyse your losses for like an hour(s), look for patterns/weaknesses(did i make this mistake(s) in other games too) and make conclusions why and especially where in the game my disadvantage started. Write everything down, after lots of analysed games you will see the same patterns/mistakes and you know where to improve.
Don't use an engine to analyse your games btw, only use an engine to check if your analyse is correct afterwards.
Thank you for the comments Chess_Enigma and TwistedLogic. There is a problem though. I live in a rural area where theres not many book stores and my parents won't get me anymore books online besides the ones I already have. And Chess_Enigma, can you explain to me why studying openings is not advised until 2000+?
And can someone give me some sort of schedule that I can follow similar to what I mentioned in my original post? Perhaps a way that helped you get better.
I personally study openings quite a lot, but just because I like the challenge of memorizing as many opening moves as I can. It may not be the best use of my time, but it helps me to know what I should "aim for" when my opponent plays a non-book move (such as whether to castle king-side or queen-side, to fianchetto [and if so, which side], and so on).
When I first got Nunn's Understanding Chess Move by Move, I really wasn't too great a player and didn't get too much out of it (I'll be honest - I only went through seven or eight games probably). But now that I'm better and I'm seeing good reviews for it, I'll go through it again from game one starting tonight
Twisted mentioned Nimzowitsch's My System, which I have as well. I must say that it is the best book on chess I've bought. It gives you a very good idea of what move to make when no tactics look available to you.
I also have and currently study Kasparov's On My Great Predecessor's Pt. V. I find a lot of the moves difficult to understand but I still feel I get a lot out of it. Part five contains a lot of 1. d4 games (compared to the other in Kasparov's series), and I find it helpful to study them in particular as I've switched from 1. e4 to 1. d4 a month or two ago.
As to a schedule:
6:00 am - Wake up, have breakfast, drink coffee, go over twenty or thirty checkmate in two moves.
8:00 am - Invest in a diamond member account here on chess.com and do the Tactics Trainer until your eyes bleed.
3:00 am - Sleep.
Unfortunately this schedule it too demanding for me.
I've recently put myself on vacation time to take a break from making moves. I feel I'm about to make a big improvement (I've been watching chess.com videos, I watched the 2010 U.S. Championship closely [I was even there one of the days], ect.). I'm trying to take a week or so off from making moves and just concentrate on lots of tactics and now go over some of Nunn's book.
The reason I say tactics so often is because the majority of the time, when I see a thread like this, those rated in the 2000s usually say tactics, tactics, tactics (not all of course. Twisted said he's not a big fan of constantly doing tactics, and he's rated well over 2000). I consider myself more of a positional player (mainly thanks to Nimzowitsch's book), but I need to work on tactics much more, so combined with my positional play I'll hopefully go over the 1750-1825 player I am now to hopefully 1900+. Wish me luck! As I wish you luck.
I am also in possession of Silman's Complete Endgame Course. I personally find it more difficult than my other chess books, possibly because I feel my endgame is my worse part of chess (hence why I bought the book to begin with). I consider reading the book and playing through the book's examples to be "homework" as opposed to enjoyably reading and studying Kasparov, Nimzowitsch and others. Of course, I need to do my homework!
Thank you check2008. I wish you the best of luck as well. However I am not a fan of coffee and I see it hard for me to get a diamond membership behind my father's back. After all this is his computer that I am on. LOL. But I will continue to fight. And to be honest, I was talking to my mom today about chess and she told me to grow up. Oh well, all I know is she is the one who is mistaken.
Does your mom know how to play chess? My mom was dusting my room one day (I'm not lazy, I just was at college) and she decided to put the pieces back on the chess board correctly so it looks better (I had finished studying a game the previous night or so, and had the final position on the board, but hadn't bothered to set up all the pieces to their proper place). She ended up placing them on the board as if they were checkers, so the game started where rooks and queens took take each other right away
My parents are pretty apathetic about chess. They took me up to the U.S. championship this year so I could see some of my favorite players in action, but they just stayed outside (as did my girlfriend - she's not a chess fan at all).
Your should show your mom videos/pictures of these grandmasters in their suits and ties playing chess - see if she can tell them to grow up! If she doesn't know how to play, maybe you should *try* teaching her (if she'd allow that), so she could see how truly complex of a game it is.
Or just tell her that famous chess players like Kasparov, Kamsky, Anand, ect., making lots and lots of money every year by winning tournaments, and that with adequate practice (and funding, for sure) you may be making money from chess too.
I have tried to talk my parents into the idea, and I will probably never stop, but they compare my chess success to some good high school basketball player going into the NBA. They say its just not likely. But I will never stop loving chess and they will just have to get over it I guess.
Not sure whether cost is the issue for your parents buying you more chess books online, but if it is, I recommend abebooks.com.
They have used books in pretty good condition and they are usually a few dollars for the book plus a few dollars for shipping. You can generally get paperbacks for about five bucks...
Don't give up! If this is what you love doing then you gain a lot from it even if you never make a dollar! :)
What your parents are telling is really true. Chess will never get you anywhere you want.
What panandh is telling you is probably true.
Anyway, these sites present their syllabuses on the web. They could be a starting point to enable you to assess what you do and don't already know.
Updated list of 'everything you ever wanted to know about chess - but were afraid to ask':
As of now what I can say is just keep on playing! You can still learn and improve by just playing and analysing your mistakes from your previous games . I understand your situation. I feel sorry that your parents doesn't support you in chess. It's kind of the same for me as well. My mom doesn't really care about my chess. She doesn't even ask about chess or ask me if I'm doing well in our local chess club. When it comes to my dad hmmmm I would say he supports me at least as he is the one who takes me to the club and pay the membership fee in hte local chess club. However there are times that his mates ask him what things I do and when he make a response, I can see he feels a bit shy that his only son play chess and can't do anything else.
Just keep on playing if your really love it. Chess has got benefits as well.
About what panandh said hmmm it can be true but it might not be as well. If you really love chess and you never give up on it who knows you might be able to achieve the grandmaster title or the world champion. It's basically up to you.
You've obviously read some good chess books well enough to obtain some good perspectives from GMs and other top players already, so I don't mean to lecture you in any way. But as one word of caution to you, according to FM Graham Burgess, "the playing standard needed to make a living from chess has increased sharply. In the 1980s, an IM with a rating in the high 2400s could expect to make a living of sorts, while a GM with a rating around 2575 would receive plenty of good invitations [to tournaments], and do quite well from playing chess. Now, in the mid-1990s [15 years ago!], invitations are few and far between for anyone not substantially over 2600, while as for the poor IM, he must make a living in other ways."
But I am struck by your passion for this game, and I loathe to discourage you in any way. Another quote, also from Burgess, I hope you find encouraging: "if, as a young chess enthusiast, you are determined that you will reach international level, then it ought to be possible." Bottom line: You CAN do it, if you work hard enough. Best of luck!
I don't think I believe this, because this sentiment can be applied to absolutely anything. I can't tell you how many times many people told me I wouldn't succeed as a classical pianist, that I had no future in it, I would just starve myself. I'm not saying I have succeeded (success is a subjective thing, after all), but I haven't starved yet!
Still, chess is a game... some say: "just" a game. But does that make it a worthless endeavor? That can be said about virtually anything! Stick to what you're passionate about!
Thank you for all the encouraging comment guys and I am going to look on those sites artfiz right after I post this.
i suggest getting Silman's Complete Endgame Course. great book that helped me out a lot.
quixote88pianist wrote: I don't think I believe this, because this sentiment can be applied to absolutely anything. I can't tell you how many times many people told me I wouldn't succeed as a classical pianist, that I had no future in it, I would just starve myself. I'm not saying I have succeeded (success is a subjective thing, after all), but I haven't starved yet!
When I was quite young , I told my parents I wanted to be a comedian - but they just laughed at me. Well I showed them: I became a comedian. They're not laughing now.
Play a LOT and study every game you play to find your mistakes. If you are having trouble analyzing one of your games just post it in the forums, there will be people willing to help. Lots of people. :)