I need a plan, how can I become a good chess player?

Jenium
BatusChess wrote:

Hello guys,

my english abilities are not so great, but I hope I am able to communicate with you. My dream is it to become a grandmaster. That's my destination. I am very young (20) and it's a life goal for me. So, I have time to release it, but I need a training plan. Nowadays it's very random. I play blitz games, I read books, I do chess stuff, but without discipline, just "just for fun". I want to change that. That is really randomly, so I ask for usefull tips ^^.

You would have a realistic chance if you were 14 years younger, or rated 1200 points higher...

icecoolpool
CelticG wrote:

I think it may be you who is operating on an emotional level. Perhaps instead of spending  time writing such long messages, you should be brushing up on your cognitive skills. Methinks you protest too much. 

 

Once again you've provided no argument, no evidence, no rational, no logic. It's schoolboys' own stuff: "I know you, you said you are, now what am I." Embarrassing, quite frankly. 

 

The reason I've written long messages is because my original pithy response on this topic, informed by years of working in this subject area, was deemed "mostly nonsense". When a teaching opportunity presents itself, it seems foolish to waste it. Whether or not you wish to learn, well, that's up to you. You can lead a donkey to water and all that.

 

Anyway, as I stated my last post was written mostly for the benefit of lurkers who are interested in this subject area. I can't let your uninformed drivel frame the debate.

ChillyChar
BatusChess wrote:

Hello guys,

my english abilities are not so great, but I hope I am able to communicate with you. My dream is it to become a grandmaster. That's my destination. I am very young (20) and it's a life goal for me. So, I have time to release it, but I need a training plan. Nowadays it's very random. I play blitz games, I read books, I do chess stuff, but without discipline, just "just for fun". I want to change that. That is really randomly, so I ask for usefull tips ^^.

The first step is to grasp reality. Not everyone can do everything. This is the worst lie a parent can tell a child, or an adult to themselves. It's like believing in Santa, it may give you the warm fuzzies for a lil bit but you eventually either learn the truth or live diluted. And yeah, you might have behaved a lil better as a child to get those toys, but your behavior would have prolly been similar if your parents simply told you they wouldn't buy you presents if you misbehaved. 

The second step is to set realistic goals. I play chess for fun on my phone and have never really taken it seriously. Maybe one day I will, but for now, my life is full of other things. As a 30 y/o, there is no way on earth that I could become WC, and it's not because I'm being "negative," it's because I started playing chess in my 20's and I definitely do not have the mind to be a WC. Few people are able to be the best in the world at something, but the VAST majority of us are not. That is just how it goes.

The third step is to invest in your chess education. It is possible to improve on your own, but if improving at chess is as important to you as it seems to be, much time and effort will be saved through hiring a legitimate coach or something of that nature. Find a coach who will work with you and your personality, make them a mentor, and learn from them. Books are prolly good too but having the dynamic analysis of a human coach is most likely better than a static book.

The fourth step is to enjoy the journey. Once you give up on WC, work on reaching 1600 elo (for example) and holding it for x amount of games. Then do the same for 1700, then 1800: you get the picture. Chess is one of those things that can be done for the rest of your life. This isn't a sprint, it is a marathon, but to be capable of running a marathon you need to train your way up. You don't start out by getting off your couch and running 26mi your first day. Set manageable goals and reward yourself for reaching those goals. (example: buying yourself a high-quality chess board when reaching and holding a certain elo., and then buying yourself high-quality chess pieces for that board when you reach a little higher elo.)

Takeaways are: (1) be honest with yourself; (2) set realistic goals; (3) invest in quality chess education (coach, etc.) and (4) enjoy the journey. 

It is easy to make a plan. It is harder to execute that plan as execution actually takes discipline to stick with over the long term. Good luck on your journey. 

P.S. I don't believe in luck, but my high school basketball coach said something to me once that always stuck with me. He said, "luck is when preparation meets opportunity." He prolly heard it from somewhere, but I first heard it from him. Control what you can (preparation) and when opportunities present themselves, you will be ready. 

chessplan5656

Assuming someone has perfectly health and have enough time to live i dont actually believe its impossible to be better than everyone else. Relative distance is not a big issue, someone is rated 800 and other one is 2600 isnt a that big problem. But the player behind should be closing the distance. But how ?
Someone with no experience, doesnt know best practices, probably have other obligations and doesnt have proven personality suitable for the job against someone taught by best trainers, did what he had to do for all his life, have knowledge and experience and spending all his time professionally improving his skills and knowledge. And even if some miracluous technique was invented professional due to nature of his job will have to adapt and use it even before you ever hear it. Besides if you have what it takes is not proven yet. "If you had what you need to be a professional why you didnt become yet ?" needs to be asked. 
I dont say anything is impossible but i dont think many can answer this questions in favor of themselves. And dont answer to me but answer to yourself.

Dont think grandmasters are some people get tutored a few years when they are young and and staying there doing no effort at all. Imagine they are in a race and they are doing whatever they can to stay ahead and work 8-10-12 hours a day and they did this all their life. When they feel they cant keep up they retire and become trainers instead because playing chess and earning your life by winning chess games is really really hard job.

icecoolpool

Well said, ChillyChar. Excellent advice all round.

 

Good post, Chessplan, you've obviously thought this through and made some good points. 

 

"I dont say anything is impossible"

 

Interesting thought. I would say anything that violates the laws of the universe is impossible. Is it impossible for a 40 year old beginner to become World Chess Champion? No, as I don't think it goes against the fundamental laws of universe (even though it goes our understanding of brain development and what we know of the capabilities of adults to learn).

 

In fact, I can think of some hypotheticals that could lead to this potential scenario: a disease wiping out 95% of humanity; new research in neuroscience altering the structure of the brain; undetected cheating.

 

But what's the probability of any of these things actually happening? Low enough for this hypothetical to be statistically, if not actually, impossible.

chessplan5656

If you read my previous comment really carefully and you are still want to try your best ? Ok no problem i will try to give best advice i can give.

  • Go with baby steps, dont try to take shortcuts. If you will reach GM status somehow it wont be due to some intense miracle trainign technique in a year (or two) it will be a long game (probably a very long game)
  • Since you are playing long game, you want to build your foundation solidly as you can. Dont think about fast and effective. Try to think what you can achieve lasting and effective.
  • First thing i would go for would be discipline and attitude. Try to devise a plan in a way you can do every nonchess you are supposed to. But you will have enough time left for studying your chess, you do it regularly with all your attention and not burning out.
  • You need to play regularly, frequently but not too much. Playing have only one purpose, testing yourself. Play with your best effort try to apply everythign you learn. Then analyze every game you played, search hardly for your weaknesses. Analysis is only usefull if you can find a real weakness of yourself and come up with a method of getting rid of it. Naturally you have to proceed and get rid of that weakness.
  • If you somehow managed to learn doing everything i said above then you may have some chance.

The games you play should be slow enough so you can apply your best, so when you analyze your games there shouldnt be an excuse i didnt have time to calculate x here.

Dont be me. Finish your university. I was planning to a GM when i was 20, now i am 30 still nowhere close. I could have finished my university and keep trying to be GM probably with better results. Devoting too much time worked agaisnt my chess paradoxically since i had other troubles frequently and had to quit my training for years many times. had to spend too much time stabilizing my life so i can return studying chess with peace. (Also get a good job after graduation) I knew people managed to spend 10 hours/week on their chess when they have full time intense jobs also having a family and keeping everything good and managing to improve 300 rating in 7 years. Some of them 30-35+ when they started doing this and they were already 1800+ when they started. I dont know 10-20 or 30 years they need but they have better shot than me being a master. On the other hand i can spend full time on chess and have a leap like 80 points in 4-5 months. Then i cant train for years and lose some of it. Going forward twice going backward once isnt better than slow and steady.

 

chessplan5656

If you read my previous 2 comments and not discouraged yet ? Then i may give some practical advice.

  • Use chess board and kill all your electronics when you work (phones, pc, tv, radio)
  • Since you are rated 1000-1400. I would start with steps books. I worked some of them with children and i think they are good. Also i go through them as a warm-up when i quit chess for a few years. This is your basement of calculation. Do first 2 or 3 books.
  • Get capablanca chess fundamentals. This is best book written ever and you can read as a beginner, intermediate even as a advanced player. You will go through master games analyzed by a world champion and its accessible. You learn some of basic endgames, some combinations some strategy. A little bit of everything dont waste a bit of it.

Just using two sources should give you enough of basics. They were enough for getting 1600 OTB for myself when i was a kid without any trainer or any club. That being said i analyzed many positions in the book and mastered any technique mentioned. I spent 3-4 years with capablanca (7-11 years old) You dont have to spend that much time but be sure you mastered everything. Step books are puzzle book so it can be finished fast 1-2 months each month. You wont miss anything as long as you are doing correct.

Next step (Not absolute beginner)

  • Grab an endgame book (I like 100 endgames you must know)
  • Grab a strategy book ( I like sergiu samarian book who is trainer in your country written a book named "systematic training" other books i can recommend are israel gelfer's "positional chess handbook" and a recently published herman grooten's "positional chess for club players")
  • Get John Nunn's learning chess tactics book. (Its mix of primer and question bank mixed) Its not a big book but teaches most of basic themes
  • Pick an opening as a white, against 1.e4 and 1.d4. Do this arbitrarily. I will explain it later.

Make yourself a schedule like

on mondays 1-2 hours on endgames learning 1-2 positions best you can

on tuesdays 1-2 hours playing slow 1-2 chess games (30 minute/game etc)

on wednesdays study a chapter on strategy book 1-3 hours

on thursday resting

on friday find a master game played on one of your interested openings and look through

on saturday study some more endgame or repeat strategy chapter depending on your mood

sunday rest

 

Everyday on you spare time or when you are at metro etc spend some quality time with your tactics book. It should take you 8-10 months you eat everything in your strategy book and in your endgame book.

1000 checkmate combinations (victor henkin) is your follow - up tactic primer its from Tal's games and very good. You can't and shouldnt do more then 2-3 positions a day.

As strategy follow-up many options. I find micheal suba's dynamical chess strategy very interesting book. But may a following with a classic my system can be good idea as well. Old pachman books have good reputation. If you feel you are up to challenge "complete manual of positional chess" by sakaev is great book. As a endgame follow up Müller's fundamental chess endings or Dvorestky's endgame manual are very good.  As tactic puzzle books there is many good options but i personally like manual of chess combinations 2 & 3. Also John's Nunn's Puzzle book for hardcore but entertaining gym. Try to learn from Botvinnik, Karpov and Fischer games. Follow modern chess players you like and analyze every game of them on your own. Dvoretsky, Yusupov, Soltis are great authors i can recommend. Soltis books are more accessible at lower levels and Dvoretsky books are top notch quality but hardest ones to read.

MyGreatMethod1

A 2400 Fide rated 40-year still possible to become World Champion. But a rated 1000 never. Common sense is not common. **/Eats Popcorn.

BobbyTalparov
icecoolpool wrote:

The chances of a 40+ beginner becoming World Champion is statistically impossible. I've bolded those words so that we're both on the same page, and we're left with no misunderstandings.

On this, I agree; however, the probability of any beginner becoming world champion is also quite low (less than 1 in 300M).  Granted, the adult beginner has an even lower probability, but "almost zero" and "even closer to almost zero" is simply semantics :-)  That said, I never claimed an adult beginner could become world champion.  I simply claimed that asserting that it is impossible for an adult beginner to improve enough to become a GM is an unfounded claim, and you are misrepresenting the journal articles you linked to support your assertion (more on that in a bit).

 

icecoolpool wrote:

 

This FIDE-Norm Tournament contained 3 GMs, an IM, an FM and 5 other strong players without titles. The winner of the tournament, Sviridov Valery, a wonderful chess player with a current FIDE rating of 2528, won four games (including a win against a GM), drew four games (including two against both remaining GMs) and lost only one game - which was against a titled FM. Surely that was enough to secure one of the norms needed to be a GM? Nope, Valery had a performance rating of 2506, 94 short of the required level. As of writing, Valery is still an untitled player despite his high rating and a winning a FIDE GM-Norm tournament. 

Yes, achieving the level of a GM is difficult.  I don't think anyone claimed it was not.  Also, Sviridov Valery would be an FM (with 2 IM norms) if he simply paid for the title.  I can understand him not paying for the FM title when he only has 1 norm remaining to apply for the IM title (and while he did not get a GM-norm at the tournament you mentioned, he did get an IM norm).

 

icecoolpool wrote:

 

Our hypothetical 40-year-old has to do even better than that. To be a GM, means you have to play consistently well against other highly ranked players. It hasn't been done before and it's very very very unlikely to happen in the future (which is why I used the phrase statistically impossible).

True, a 40-year-old beginner has not achieved the GM title (at least not through the norm process - it is possible one has through winning the Senior World Championship, but it is hard to find out when many of those players started playing, making it difficult to gauge).  However, as mentioned several times already, Ye Jiangchaun learned to play at age 17, and peaked at #15 in the world by age ~35 (competing against the likes of Karpov, Kasparov, Anand, and Ivanchuck, among others).

 

icecoolpool wrote:

For those lurking, BobbyTalporov and CelticG have tried to frame my evidence as quack science but I've only used papers published in peer reviewed academic journals and data from FIDE. I'm basing my arguments on the best model of the brain we currently have. These posters are not able to undermine my arguments academically by linking, say, to a respected journal article that says the brain only declines due to environmental factors (which are certainly very influential factors nonetheless) because it doesn't exist (genetic and vascular factors do play a role in cognitive decline even from a relatively young age; this was in the literature I linked to earlier, but clearly not all posters here want to read it - fair enough - but it weakens, rather than strengthens, the points they're making). I can only assume they're arguing with me because they're angered by the science on an emotional rather than on an intellectual level. 

I didn't "frame your evidence as quack science" (that would be a different discussion entirely).  I quoted directly from your own evidence.  Perhaps you should actually read the articles you posted (and I mean more than just the abstracts!).

 

Now, if you really want to get into my disputes (which are shared with many in the neuroscience field, mind you) with those types of studies, it starts with the notion that you can make such determinations using cross-sectional studies.  That is, (simplifying this explanation down a lot - so forgive the lack of technical details as I'd rather not bore people to sleep) they basically take the average cognitive levels of various age groups and look at the trend.  When you look at longitudinal studies, the data doesn't show a decline (in healthy individuals) until well into their 60s.  One of your links even went into those details - the author of it simply dismisses it as a testing effect, which is a bit tongue-in-cheek (you could explain some variance in results that way, but a ~35 - over 100% - year difference in results is a bit extreme).  Cross-sectional studies are good at determining averages of similar data (i.e. the average IQ of 25-year-olds).  When you start trying to use them to compare across disparate data sets (e.g. the average IQ of 25-year-olds in comparison to the average IQ of 35-year-olds) you are comparing apples to tomatoes.  This is one of the biggest complaints in the field of neuroscience with regards to these studies.

FunMasterChris

IAMBBW

To become a good player you just need to follow a step

Colin20G
MyGreatMethod1 wrote:

A 2400 Fide rated 40-year still possible to become World Champion. But a rated 1000 never. Common sense is not common. **/Eats Popcorn.

If you're 2400 fide at 40 you will never become a world champion.

Magnus would easily crush people who would easily crush you in fact.

MyGreatMethod1
Colin20G wrote:
MyGreatMethod1 wrote:

A 2400 Fide rated 40-year still possible to become World Champion. But a rated 1000 never. Common sense is not common. **/Eats Popcorn.

If you're 2400 fide at 40 you will never become a world champion.

Magnus would easily crush people who would easily crush you in fact.

This thread, they are arguing that a 40 yr-old BEGINNER can still become a world champion. You can still become a world champion then. In fact you do not consider yourself as a beginner. LOLZ.

icecoolpool

Bobby, that's a very well written reply. You've framed your argument in a logical and coherent way and you deserve to be commended for that. A few points:

 

1) Yes, the first part is a purely semantic debate, I agree. Not a big deal, I don't think we even disagree on the general unlikelyhood of 40-year-old beginner becoming a GM.

 

2) You've brought up examples of teenage learners later becoming masters here. There’s no debate to be had here, clearly it’s possible. Point well made.

 

3) Yes, you are right to criticize the research methodology of cross-sectional studies and not take them for granted. Having read your post, I knew straight off that you read the Saltman paper (therefore there’s no need for saltiness (pun intended) about me only reading the abstract!). Unfortunately, you seem to have skimmed over his conclusion:

 

"[W]hat does appear clear is that several different types of results converge on the conclusion that age-related cognitive decline begins relatively early in adulthood."

 

Which has been my point since my first post. Let’s look a bit closer as to why I agree with Saltman on this topic.

 

You have chosen to ignore data from cross-sectional studies – which do have research flaws as you’ve explained (courtesy of Saltman’s own devil's advocate arguments). But that doesn’t automatically result in the non-medical longitudinal studies being of inherently more value. These studies, because of the retest effect - which you know about and understand - are also far from definitive.

 

So it would seem we’ve reached a stalemate at this point. One data point suggests one thing. Another data point suggests another.

 

Unfortunately, as you’re new to this subject area, you’re also unaware of the huge amounts of medical longitudinal data that show structural and physiological changes in the brain (such as reduced cortical thinning, smaller prefrontal and cerebellar volume) have already started to occur by mid-thirties (with more rapid changes coming after 70). If you have access to an academic or student library account, you can find an abundance of academic medical papers on this topic. If not, you could always read Scahill et al’s “A longitudinal study of brain volume changes in normal aging using serial registered magnetic resonance imaging” (2003). Do you know what their finding was?

 

They found that brain volume decreases throughout adulthood and not only in old age (just look at that volume decline on page 992 from 30 – 40!). Interestingly, when it comes to medical research, the longitudinal and cross-sectional data are actually very close in the results produced. They also lineup nicely with the cross-sectional data from intelligence studies.

 

The problem with the medical data (and there’s so much of it!), with regards to this topic at least, is that there isn’t an exact one-to one-correlation between intelligence and brain volume. However, we have two data points (both cross-sectional and longitudinal) that show that certain areas of the brain lose volume in early adulthood. We also have the cross-sectional data that suggests intelligence starts to decrease, in certain areas at least, at 25. On the other hand, you’ve rightly pointed out that the longitudinal data from intelligence tests suggests that this isn't that case. Nonetheless, I think you'll agree, that there are more data-points supporting my position than your contrarianism.

 

Regardless of your views on this topic (if regurgitating devil’s advocate arguments from someone who agrees with me counts as a view!), all you really need to know is that by keeping physically and mentally active, you’ll be better able to deal with the issues of cognitive decline, so keep playing and trying to improve at chess as part of a balanced healthy lifestyle! Just don’t expect to become a GM!

 

Best of luck!

BobbyTalparov

@icecoolpool,

 

Just a couple of counter points:

 

1)  I do not completely discount the cross-sectional studies, but rather discount their value in assessing an individual's capabilities.  To give an analogy:  on average, the stock market grows at roughly 12% per year (effectively, a cross-sectional "study").  Using that to say, "It is not possible to maintain a growth rate of more than 12% per year" would be inaccurate (Warren Buffet has averaged ~20% annual returns for the last ~50 years).  In short, the cross-sectional studies are good at giving a benchmark, but not very good at defining limits.

 

2)  The longitudinal studies over the last 50 years have had mixed conclusions regarding the effects during the early years (age 20-50).  The only thing they really show consistently is declining capabilities after the 60s (though, the rate is often disputed between papers).  What is also interesting:  mental activities (e.g. chess, go, sudoku, etc.) have been shown to slow (and some studies even suggest they may reverse) the effects of such declines.  While it is still an area of significant study (that is, we still do not have a good understanding of this matter), some recent papers (unfortunately, I do not have the links handy at the moment) have leaned towards the idea that the brain is much like a muscle:  you maintain it by using it.

 

Now, another interesting point that corresponds with this discussion is that the skills needed for chess (pattern recognition, prioritization, problem solving, logic) are often used in other areas (mathematics, engineering).  So, it is possible the adult could have developed those skills in other ways and simply need to practice applying them in relation to chess.

Achieving mastery in anything is difficult (on that I think we agree happy.png)  While I would love to reach the level of GM (as it would be great to write a book on how to go from beginner to grandmaster as an adult!), I don't set goals that high.  Going slightly off topic, I subscribe to the idea that if you want to reach a high-level goal, you map out all of the smaller goals you need to accomplish first.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, or so they say.

ChillyChar
 
Achieving mastery in anything is difficult (on that I think we agree )  While I would love to reach the level of GM (as it would be great to write a book on how to go from beginner to grandmaster as an adult!), I don't set goals that high.  Going slightly off topic, I subscribe to the idea that if you want to reach a high-level goal, you map out all of the smaller goals you need to accomplish first.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, or so they say.

 I very much agree with this point of view. Right now I'm focusing on more effective use of my knights for example. It is a very small, focused objective, but like you said, small steps.

icecoolpool

Great post all round Bobby, very good points well made. This caught my eye:

 

"So, it is possible the adult could have developed those skills in other ways and simply need to practice applying them in relation to chess."

 

I read an academic article on that very topic this week (not about chess specifically but about the need to acquire the necessary cognitive skills during the "critical stages" (early childhood) in order to excel in tasks that require those cognitive skills later in life).

 

So I would agree with you that a later learner needs the requisite cognitive development even if it's not directly gained from learning about chess.  

 

I'm also reminded that many shogi players (such as Yoshiharu Habu) are also pretty good at chess (these games are somewhat similar in terms of cognitive thinking but the theory base behind the games is entirely different - knowing the Sicilian and how to establish a strong chess pawn structure won't help you in shogi!). 

fpon

For BatusChess. Many good players here have already commented and provided excellent advice as well as the truth that GM is out of reach. Let me provide another example. I played 1500 games w my friend Ken rated OTB 2150 USCF. Expert level player. I lost 1485 games. I achieved a 1612 USCF rating. We replayed each and every game, and Ken explained how and why I lost, and I did get better over those 3 years. Our paths went different directions so we couldn't play anymore. Before we said goodbye, Ken choose to demonstrate the true gulf between us in knowledge and chess ability. He gave me white and 7 moves, w proviso being no moves across the frontier (4th rank) and thus no capturing any black pieces. Then he made his first move. I lost. Tried again. Lost. On third try, Ken made my 8th move for me winning a pawn. I still lost. I told this story to a few of my other chess friends, friends who never played tournaments. They laughed at me, said, "what kind of idiot gets 7 moves in a chess game and LOSES?!!" I said, ok, take white, make 7 moves. Yep, that's what I did! I proceeded on 3 different occasions to beat 3 different players who were not tournament players yet had played chess for years, with black, after giving them 7 moves. And I'm just a C class player. Just play for the love of the game. To be a GM, I'm not sure when, but I think you have to start around age 5, have talent, and in today's world, have a master coach during your childhood.   good luck. 

icecoolpool

Very nice example, fpon. I remember doing something similar against Stockfish. It calculated that I had roughly a 6 point advantage at the start. It didn't end well.

chessplan5656
icecoolpool yazdı:

Very nice example, fpon. I remember doing something similar against Stockfish. It calculated that I had roughly a 6 point advantage at the start. It didn't end well.

I used to beat rybka for fun with rook odds when i was at 1600s... Yesterday i imagined repeating this against stockfish with only knight odds but honestly i am scared grin.png