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I am a beginner, I have been playing from time to time with friends since I was a child, but I never studied seriously. I enrolled for fun here on chess.com almost a year ago and have fun so far. A couple of months ago I decided I want to become better, to play more seriously, understanding in a deeper way the game of chess. I have bought some books, I usually look videos on youtube and, of course, I play also here.
My question is: How can one study chess? I am looking for suggestions about method. When reading a book, of course I set everything on the chessboard and I try to guess the right moves. But the point is that if I try the same puzzle a couple of days later I already forgot the solution. And I totally forget also the puzzle, meaning that I do not remember how to put the pieces in the initial position.This it seems to me that I am wasting time, as I do not remember anything. I am really used to studying and learning (I do it for my job, as I am a mathematician working at university). I am really looking for method of learning.
At work, the best I can do is usually to write down stuff (theorems, proofs etc): the process of writing helps me in fixing stuff in my brain. Should I also write in chess? I am not totally used to notation (I know how to read it but I am slow and it takes me quite a lot). Could drawing diagrams be an idea? But how, is there any kind of software that could help me? I want to explicitly remark that I do not care about time, I mean it is not important to me to become a better chess player "in two weeks", I am just looking for an efficient way of learning.
I thank you in advance for your kind pieces of advice.
If writing stuff down helps you, do it. I do, and it helps me.
I'd suggest doing a few tactics puzzles a day, it will help you become familiar with common patterns and will help you recall the solutions faster when you come across it again later. Just as with learning a language, there are many ways to approach learning chess. Do what works for you.
I like to mix it up. I'll watch DVDs or YT lessons when I am a little more tired, I'll throw myself into a book when I have the energy, I'll analyse my games, do some tactics puzzles, or review previous stuff I've worked on, and of course, I'll play chess games!
I wouldn't stress about being slow at the notation - it becomes natural the more you use it, just like sheet music.
Thanks a lot for your answer, it helps me and I find it interesting.
The point is that I have also some doubts also on "how" to write down the stuff... what do you usually do, if I can ask? Do you make yourself diagrams and you write down the solution in algebraic notation? Or put arrows on the diagram showing how the pieces should move? How do you group the diagrams? By theme, by date? Sorry for so many questions, just curious of understanding and learning other opinions...
Ah yes I forgot to say, I usually do the problem of the day here on chess.com and the five tactics given for free. I am thinking that for Xmas I can give myself as a gift a one-year upgrade here on chess.com... ;-) Btw, thanks a lot!
You should consider getting a coach.I am a National Master with 10+ Years of Teaching Experience, available for private and group lessons. To learn more about my chess services and general chess news, see www.premierchess.com or www.facebook.com/premierchess.
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Who closes the bus door after the bus driver gets off the bus?
You'll learn when you are old enough.
It's okay to do only some free tactics. However, really progress you will do when working more intensively with tactics. A child will perhaps do only 30 per day, but more advanced players try at least 30 minutes per day.
The advantage to be allowed to do unlimited tactics here is that you can track every mistake. You will see which kind of motives you are missing often. For me is for example not taking care of making a mating net around the king, or not to do well with things related to en passant moves (you know en passaant, right?). In such cases you can try to find out why you are missing these tactics. You can make also comment the move (you can do this for every position), writing sentences like "I have to take care where my queen can go, also backwards, or taking a rook in a corner" etc. With the time these things get easier.
It is a good idea to be a premium member here, the website is great. But don't forget to check Chessable also, you will find a lot of stuff for free there (really, check it out). And good luck!
Efficient and effective learning of chess? Hmmmm. Is it possible to do what child and teenage prodigies do? Full immersion.
Systematic variety? Planned passion? Orderly paradox? Godel's Incompleteness Theorem? Carefree dedication?
I don't know, lol.
I am not effective in learning chess, not at all, but I am planing to improve this in the future. Especially because I will not have so much time to learn chess.
Regarding 'how' to write stuff down, again it really is down to whatever works for you. I write mine out in notation with notes between, and I often use highlighter pens to indicate where there's a large variation. I don't bother with diagrams in my notes, but if that would help you, go for it - I either try to visualise the games as I go along in my head, or more often I review my notes with a chess board in front of me (physical, or on the computer). For example, this is a sample of some notes I took yesterday (excuse the poor handwriting).
Another idea I might try soon that I haven't yet done is create some flashcards. I recently read about a certain chess player (I can't remember who, sorry, but I'm sure they were IM or [W]GM level) who took a book of 100 endgames every chess player must know, created a flash card for each of them, and then reviewed them at every chance she got. I think the key thing to remember is that this is about you, and what is easier for you, so don't stress over it. Just do what comes naturally to you, and if you find it isn't working, try something else. You'll eventually find a system that works best for you.
andrew, thanks for sharing your notes, this is nice, I try to do the same. Even tactics I am writing some comments on what I could do better (in TT), but only taking notes of the number of the exercise and keeping things simple, like "Easy, I knew this from opening theory", or "Wrong! I have to take first on e1! I simply didn't take the time to calculate my "queen sacrifice" or "Again a HUGE blunder! Key move was okay, but then a could take his queen for FREE! Not calculating, not checking further candidates on the on the second move!"
Concerning flashcards from the book "100 endgames you must know": go to Chessable, there you can purchase a digital version which you can study by spaced repetition (digital flashcards), I really recommend this. All the books in this website can be studied using spaced repetition,. Very interesting opening books there. for the OP is this website also interesting, there is no better way to study chess than by using spaced repetition, especially things that you want to keep longer in your memory.