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Stuck in a rut?

  • #1

    So, I taught myself to play a little over a year ago...

    and I've been stuck in the 1400 range (give or take a 100), for months now (about a half a year).  It seems I've progressed pretty fast initially but am now just hovering around this range...if not regressing.

    For example...my highest tactic was 1495 a few months back...and now I can barely break the 1400 range. 

    I admit I do not study as much as I should...openings, midgames, endgames, etc...I just do tactics...which I hear is the heart of chess, but for the amount of tactics I've done (10,000+), I feel I should be much better off.

    Is this normal?  Do you think there's a possibility that I can eventually break 2,000+ with dedication and practice?

    What say you, chess.com?

  • #2

    Tactics might be the heart of chess, but it's only one part of the body. Study your endgames and midgames. Strengthen the veins and arteries for your heart to pump through.

  • #3

    Yeah, I'm sure you're right.

  • #4

    The problem with tactics exercises here is that they are not done by themes but random. If you have studied 100 by one theme (lets say weakness of beck rank) , then 100 in a row with another theme you would better memorize the pattern then you do in random order like they are presented here. After 10 000 that you did your play would be better. Quit them for some time and practise other stuff-endings for start.

  • #5

    Stuck at 1400?! I should be so lucky! My rut is that I'm going down, down, down...

  • #6

    She has been playing for only 1 year.

    wow  My story not the same at all.

  • #7

    1400 is good for one year. Best advice is.... when you do the tactics, don't move to the next one quickly if you get one wrong. Set it to stop. Then go over it to understand why the best moves are what they are.

    A lot of my students think by moving quickly after a loss that it will help, but this is when to slow down and understand things.

    Better still, if you can afford to get a coach, they can pinpoint your weaknesses much quicker.

  • #8

    I think this happens to everyone at times. 

    Look at Carlsen. He's been stuck at 2800 for 4 years.Laughing

    Okie, bad example maybe.

    What's happened is you've reached the limit of your applicable knowledge. It is not too much different than a nurse compared to a surgeon. The nurse cannot do surgery because that is beyond here applicable knowledge.

    The only way to break out of this 'rut', as you put it, is to expand your applicable knowledge. And you will NEVER be able to do this just by solving tactics problems.

    So, what to study?

    I tend to agree that heavy opening study is most beneficial to higher rated players. Not to say you should not learn some openings. But lerning 10 lines for each opening is pretty heavy and may not really benefit you if you don't understand other parts of the game.

    End game, to me, is boring but critical to knowing how to formulate your strategy during the middle game.

    Middle game study is, for me, the most interesting. And there is LOTS of great free material on the internet. Here is a good place to start: 


    Tactics may be the heart of chess, but strategy is the brains. WIthout it, you are just striking out in random disconnected ways.


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