Pick your choice:
1. endgame : Boring
2. Tactics and Middle game : Complicated.
3. Opening : Not so important at your level.
4. Checkmate: 1 or 2 moves. If you can try 3 or 4 moves.
5. Positional: Boring and dull.
My pick No. 4 and 5.
Gee, bean, you make it sound like so much fun ;p
Agree with bean fischer. I think that the basic positional understanding is the most important thing that needs to be first.
I mean really basic positional understanding, like "the most important idea in chess is activtiy.."and stuff like that which everyone needs to know.
The basic mates are a good place to start too. Lots of trainers use those for beginners. I dont' know why they are so good though. Those basic mates hardly ever come up in the novice games I've seen. It's just mainly hanging pieces and losing to basic tactics.
Thanks Auntie_Maim and crtexxx.
Just throwing in here real quickly that others mentioned that the opening isn't important at your level; that is referring to opening theory. Making good opening moves is one of the first things you should look into (I looked at your games, and it is definately an area of study that would benefit you). Studying good openings moves is great because it's not difficult to learn. A few days of dedicated opening practice, again, making good moves, not lines of theory, will give you the most bang for you buck when it comes to time, effort, and improvement and will give immediate results in your games. Throw in some basic tactics, and you should be able to get to 1,100 without an overwhelming amount of effort.
NM Dan heisman has a lot of good online resources for the beginner and club level players: on his series: "novice nook".
Award winning and not just for novices. It contains some really great free advice!
Follow the sequence in José Capablanca, Chess Fundamentals. First, basic checkmates. Then, basic pawn endings. Followed by tactics with emphasis on common checkmate patterns, and then general opening principles. Cabablanca follows that with more endings, more middle game tactics, further opening ideas, and so on.
There is no sequence better than found in Capablanca's classic text.
Even if you don't use Capablanca's text, this is how 900 rated players should order their study time. End of Story.
P.S., if the OP can play only play 3 games in 5 years(!), it's not looking good for him improving anytime soon.
P.S., if the OP plays only play 3 games in 5 years, it's not looking good for him improving.
According to Heisman, 60 slow games per year is a good minimum for ongoing improvement...even better if they are a classical event.
I've found that analyzing games can also be pretty useful too. Analyzing positions gives you the slow game experience to a point.
My current USCF rating is 1970, quick rating of 2057 (USCF ID#10130158). For players of our level, studying openings and middlegames is how we stay there (I've just dropped below 2000 for not doing my homework--blowing middlegame wins in the ending, btw), but for someone just starting out, you have to have some idea of where you're going (and why you're going) in order to get there. The basics--mating with the K&Q, K&R, K&2Bs--need to be perfected first, then basic king and pawn concepts (passed pawns, the opposition, triangulation), and basic rook and pawn endings (Lucena and Philidor). Only after that should progression to basic ideas in the opening (developement, the center, etc.) and the middlegame (attack and defense, hanging mate/pieces) be approached. I've used this system with most of my students and they progress rapidly. But, again, let me stress--if he doesn't work hard at his game, it doesn't matter if he follows my advice or yours, he will not improve much. It's almost impossible to teach a lazy student.
If you want to advance as a serious player you'll start with the endgame. That's the part of the game where you finish your opponent off. Endgames kill, and you'll need to learn this, the earlier the better. When you know how to finish them off, you'll have better ideas in the middlegame and opening as to what pieces you want to keep on the board and what you want to exchange, which files you want to open or keep closed, etc. After the endings, learn basic tactics--like the Bxh7+ sac (mostly seen in the French), the double-Bishop sac from Lasker--and go over Morphy's games, especially the N-odds and blindfold games. He'll show you how good activity can destroy weak defenses, and you'll probably see the same or similar defenses played by players at your level. The opening is the last part you'll need to address--if you understand middlegames and endgames, good openings moves seem to come naturally. Being expert at the opening is only required when you reach a very high level. But whatever you choose to start with, work hard at it--the hard work will pay it's own rewards.
Got to say I must disagree with this guy...
I'm 1900+ OTb. I've played a decent number of otb games against pretty strong opposition, most recently 1800s-2100.
Only in 2 games were competitive endgames actually reached. I lost one and outplayed my opponent and won in the other one. Point is, most of the games didn't stay competitive until the endgame phase. I'm poor at endgame play, but I still managed to get to my level without seriously studying any endgames at all! Just the most basic principles are needed and I only have knowledge of 2 theoretical positions in an endgame: the king+pawn opposition and pawn baiting. I was a pawn up in a game vs A.Shusterman, a pretty strong player. I simply calculated that the simplification to an endgame would let me win by one tempo: middlegame calc skills there...
You've played nine USCF events. Get your number over one hundred, and I will guarantee that you will have seen many more endings. Moreover, one needs to understand the ending not only for games that get there, but for those that might. Some players after reaching a superior pawn structure will swap everything off to go into an ending that they have zero chances of losing.
I've had quite a few games decided in the endgame. My most significant win in terms of money won and place in the event was won in the middlegame by calculating exactly the winning pawn endgame before swapping off all the rooks. My opponent was an Expert and I was just under 1900.
I made this account 5 years ago when I was still in high school. For years I've, off and on, wanted to get better at chess but didn't have any friends that were nerdy enough to play it with me. Luckily I found someone, my now girlfriend, who is (comparatively) fantastic, and whoops my butt every game OTB. So it's given me a bit of motivation to take a new serious look on chess and actually get better. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, just never had the proper reason to until now.
Other than that, I've sort of noticed a trend of higher rated players suggestiong Casablanca's book among other resources. I'm not actually a platinum or whatever member, I just logged into chess.com recently for the first time in maybe 5 years and noticed it was there, so I guess it was some free trial or something. It's gone now, obviously, so I don't have those resources. But I don't mind spending a few dollars on capablanca's book, and I've been hitting up chesstempo every day now for a week. I know I need to start playing more games in general and get over the fact that my rating is going to go down at first before it goes back up, so maybe I'll see some of you around in the live chess lobby.
Thanks again for all the words of advice, I learned quite a bit just from reading what some had to say, and overall it was veyr insightful. Thanks again!
If you have an iPhone or iPad, get the e+Chess Books reader. It comes with Capablanca, Chess Fundamentals.
I'm poor at endgame play, but I still managed to get to my level without seriously studying any endgames at all!
You've been really,really lucky don't count on getting away with no endgame knowledge when you come up against tougher and stronger opposition in OTB chess who mean buisness if your opponents do their homework and they find out have no experience in the endgame it's given they'll steer the game in that direction and when they do your in trouble.