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Which classic chess masters to learn from?

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Zero2Master_2030

Finally, I am committed to chess!

After watching Youtube and doing puzzles for a few months, I have decided to practice chess with the goal to become a FIDE tiled player in 2030. There are two questions I really need your expertise and advice on.

1. Which opening to play?

I don't mean an opening that gives me advantages or anything. I am looking for openings that teach me specific skills and techniques in chess. I have googled and most websites recommended similar openings, but they don't explain to me how a beginner benefits from these openings, besides center control, fast development. For example, if I want to learn how to handle doubled pawns in the endgame, then I may want to play Ruy Lopez Exchange. I wish to know specific reasons!'

2. Which classic chess masters to learn from?
Instead of calling them "old" masters, I prefer "classic" chess masters. I believe that the greatest chess players in 2021 have learned from these classic chess masters. Similar to openings, I wish to know specific reasons why I should learn from these chess masters. I have heard that Capablanca is excellent at the endgames, and Tal is famous for insane sacrifices. Up to this point, we have 16 chess champions and many other chess legendary. So, it is very helpful if we know why they are famous and their style is unique. This is a good starting for beginners like myself.

Thank you!

ChessHistoryRocks

I think e4 is a good choice and I actually really like the Bishop's Openings. It teaches traditional e4 e5 positions so to speak plus it is very flexible and rare for all levels. For black, I recommend the Caro-Kann which is just really solid and leads into all sorts of positions(sharp and dynamic positions, positional ones, closed and semi-closed, and endgames)depending on the variations Black and White go for. I think looking at the games of Alekhine, Capablanca, and other masters from this period are really important. They saw the dawn of modern chess and were pioneers of it.

Contenchess

All of them! 😉

BlackKaweah
Rut Lopez

Morphy/Steinitz
KeSetoKaiba

For openings, basically at any level, you are simply trying to experiment and see which openings fit your playstyle or which ones give you middlegames you are comfortable with. In this quest, you'll find that every opening basically can teach you something wink.png

The old Russian school of thought on chess (at least according to Grischuk) was that they learned openings as they were created historically. You would begin with the standard 1. e4 e5 stuff, then venture into some basic gambit etc. and slowly work your way to the more modern openings. The reason for this path is its natural progression. For example, playing gambits (even if objectively not sound) will teach you about elements such as the initiative or the power of opening lines of attack (even at the cost of material). 

You may also want to try following the classic masters in the same way; begin with the older ones by year such as Morphy, Steinitz etc., progress to Fischer, Kasparov etc. and finally to current players like Carlsen or Nakamura.

SwimmerBill

2. Chernev's book on Capablanca is a great place to start. Then I'd suggest books by world champions annotating their own games by Smyslov then Botvinnik. The play and explanations of these 3 are crystal clear.

1. I'd suggest get a book explaining the ideas behind openings and learn 5-10 moves with understanding in a few. Play those, study -esp. your losses then repeat with a few more. In time you'll develop a preference and narrow down your openings. At the start it's more important to play varied structures and expand understanding.

 

And Have fun!

-- all just my opinion. Bill

Ziggy_Zugzwang

I recommend Irving Chernev's "Most Instructive Games Of Chess" for the level you may be at, to answer your question specifically, or prefaced perhaps by his "Logical Chess - Move by Move" if you haven't yet worked through it. These will expose you to various openings and the middlegame themes arising from them.

Chr0mePl8edSt0vePipe
Kind of off topic but I advise against not setting outlandish goals such as “FIDE titled player by 2030”. Outlandish as in far off. I’m not saying that it’s not realistic. You should make short term rating goals. Such as 1200 by the end of next month. But even some people say to not make rating goals at all. Just make goals such as “I want to read through all of My System within the next 2 months” or “I want to get better at my pawn and king endgames by the end of the month(chess.com has a good lesson series on that)”.
Zero2Master_2030
Chr0mePl8edSt0vePipe wrote: Kind of off topic but I advise against not setting outlandish goals such as “FIDE titled player by 2030”. Outlandish as in far off. I’m not saying that it’s not realistic. You should make short term rating goals. Such as 1200 by the end of next month. But even some people say to not make rating goals at all. Just make goals such as “I want to read through all of My System within the next 2 months” or “I want to get better at my pawn and king endgames by the end of the month(chess.com has a good lesson series on that)”.

 

I appreciate your input! This User ID serves 2 purposes.1

1. It reminds me not to cheat because my goal is to win OTB to get the title, not to become king of online chess.

2. It reminds me to learn and play "real" chess, not "hope" chess, or chess for fun.

Donnsteinz

Good question! I would suggest that you first go through the games of the world champions first (from Steinitz to Kasparov). Not Steinitz to Carlsen because in my opinion is is difficult to understand the play of the current grandmasters and also other factors (will be too long if were to elaborate, so just trust me *wink*).  Garry Kasparov's book My Great Predecessors (vol.1,2,3,4,5,6) is brilliant for just that. In this book GK touches on the classicest of the classic games in chess history and also gives the rich history of chess and other interesting stories. Also, the book contains all classic players and not only world champions. It's a must read, and will 110% make you fall in love with chess if you already aren't. 

verylate
KeSetoKaiba wrote:

<snip a little>

The old Russian school of thought on chess (at least according to Grischuk) was that they learned openings as they were created historically. You would begin with the standard 1. e4 e5 stuff, then venture into some basic gambit etc. and slowly work your way to the more modern openings. The reason for this path is its natural progression. 

<snip a little more>

 

solid, traditional advice with the solid reasoning behind it. thumbup.png

With that in mind, I can second Ziggy_Zugzwang's recommendation of  Chernev's  Most Instructive Games Of Chess. That was actually the first chess book that I finished reading from cover to cover. I had started but not finished a dozen or more, and had several opening books that I only used for reference, but that was the first I completed. Also The Development of Chess Style by Max Euwe. Both of these are somewhat dated, but either of them would be a good place to start. One of the things you might be looking for on this part of the journey is an answer to the second question. Which famous players do you think are interesting, which would you like to emulate? A role model. 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but before long you'll start thinking you should have gone to the bathroom before leaving. About that time you'll also start asking "What about the openings? I thought I was going to do that first." Well hopefully your early steps led you to a model player. Once you have him/her, get a book of that player's games. Now is where you take note of that' player's opening preferences. If you like Fischer, you're going to play a lot of Sicilians and Spanish openings. If you liked Alekhine, you're going to encounter a very broad repertoire, so you'll have to narrow it down a bit. No matter who it is, you are going to have an idea of "I like how this works", and that can be your guide for a good part of the trip

 

RussBell

A First Book of Morphy by Frisco Del Rosario.

https://www.google.com/books/edition/A_First_Book_of_Morphy/zW-DI747l5kC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=a+first+book+of+morphy&printsec=frontcover

This is an annotated collection of selected games of Paul Morphy, one of the great chess players of all time, and a master of the open game (i.e., games beginning 1.e4 e5). The book is targeted to the beginner-intermediate player. I highly recommend this as the first games collection book for study by the beginner-novice. One would be hard pressed to find a more instructive introductory games collection illustrating the fundamental principles of good chess. According to the author "Morphy was the first known genius at chess whose games were the first to show the relationship between the attack and the positional features of center control, development and king safety". Bobby Fischer wrote (in 1964) that "Morphy was perhaps the most accurate player who ever lived", proclaiming that "Morphy's natural talents would be more than sufficient for him to vanquish the best twentieth century players". While Fischer's comments may be considered hyperbolic (and must be considered within the context of the time it was made), there are many legends of chess* who would agree that Morphy deserves a place in the pantheon of great chess players in history...

*The Masters on Morphy...

https://www.chess.com/clubs/forum/view/the-masters-on-morphy

also...

Masters of the Chessboard by Richard Reti......

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Masters_of_the_Chessboard/tpBXDwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=masters+of+the+chessboard&printsec=frontcover

A classic. Instructive analyses and commentary of the style of play of most of the great chess masters from the mid 19th to the early-to-mid 20th century, including Morphy, Anderssen, Rubinstein, Steinitz, Tarrasch, Tartakower, Spielmann, Capablanca, Lasker, Alekhine, etc. See also (the chronologically earlier, and also a classic) Modern Ideas In Chess by Richard Reti.

for more game collections of the masters, search "collection" here...

Good Chess Books for Beginners and Beyond...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/good-chess-books-for-beginners-and-beyond

 

ChesswithNickolay
Zero2Master_2030 wrote:

Finally, I am committed to chess!

After watching Youtube and doing puzzles for a few months, I have decided to practice chess with the goal to become a FIDE tiled player in 2030. There are two questions I really need your expertise and advice on.

1. Which opening to play?

I don't mean an opening that gives me advantages or anything. I am looking for openings that teach me specific skills and techniques in chess. I have googled and most websites recommended similar openings, but they don't explain to me how a beginner benefits from these openings, besides center control, fast development. For example, if I want to learn how to handle doubled pawns in the endgame, then I may want to play Ruy Lopez Exchange. I wish to know specific reasons!'

 

2. Which classic chess masters to learn from?
Instead of calling them "old" masters, I prefer "classic" chess masters. I believe that the greatest chess players in 2021 have learned from these classic chess masters. Similar to openings, I wish to know specific reasons why I should learn from these chess masters. I have heard that Capablanca is excellent at the endgames, and Tal is famous for insane sacrifices. Up to this point, we have 16 chess champions and many other chess legendary. So, it is very helpful if we know why they are famous and their style is unique. This is a good starting for beginners like myself.

Thank you!

If you aim to get a title in 2030 then you can forget chess. To get CM, you need a FIDE rating of only 2000. If you are planning on working 8 years for that (probably 20 minutes a day), then why play chess at all? Go for GM in 2030, may be considered "long" at that time, but it is better than going for a title in 2030. 

ChesswithNickolay

If you want to get CM, at least do so faster than in 8 years. Otherwise, you would be just wasting your time.

Rusofil_Petyr_Petrov
https://www.chess.com/bg/games/view/216879
Noskov - Katalimov (1973/Kaz)
Splendor, pure Splendor!!!!
I came across this game by accident!
I am so impressed!...
Final for white is a FANTASTIC!! I LEARN ALL!
landloch

#7 is spot on with Chernev's books. A similar book is Max Euwe and Walter Meiden's Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur

For openings, consider the King's Gambit as white: it will teach you how to turn a lead in development into attacking chances.

yetanotheraoc
ChesswithNickolay wrote:

If you want to get CM, at least do so faster than in 8 years. Otherwise, you would be just wasting your time.

Maybe you are right. But I think your idea of "just wasting time" will find a lot more support in Russia. Here in the USA it is socially acceptable for mediocre players to invest enormous money and time in a hobby, whether golf, chess, fishing, whatever. Also, we are optmistic on the whole, with a rather unrealistic view of individual human potential. Our popular culture is saturated with the romantic idea of the lone hero triumphing against all odds. Please don't kill the dream! Finally, OP said "title" but I suspect this is just a false modesty. It's possible they would not be at all satisfied with CM and mean IM or GM all along.

Zero2Master_2030
yetanotheraoc wrote: ChesswithNickolay wrote:

If you want to get CM, at least do so faster than in 8 years. Otherwise, you would be just wasting your time.

Maybe you are right. But I think your idea of "just wasting time" will find a lot more support in Russia. Here in the USA it is socially acceptable for mediocre players to invest enormous money and time in a hobby, whether golf, chess, fishing, whatever. Also, we are optmistic on the whole, with a rather unrealistic view of individual human potential. Our popular culture is saturated with the romantic idea of the lone hero triumphing against all odds. Please don't kill the dream! Finally, OP said "title" but I suspect this is just a false modesty. It's possible they would not be at all satisfied with CM and mean IM or GM all along.

 

I was motivated by this quote: "“The ability to play chess is the sign of a gentleman. The ability to play chess well is the sign of a wasted life.” – Paul Morphy"

 

Basically, my background is an Asian-American immigrant. So, my younger self spent his time on what were considered "right" and "smart" things to do: joined military, studied for engineering degree, became an engineer. Therefore, I have no hobby at all. I don't consider going to gym a hobby or sport. It is again, a "right" thing to do to take care of our body. With that being said, my goal in chess is like, get a title of CM so that I have something to share with and to teach my future children. At least, my children know that their dad is good at something they may love to learn.

ChesswithNickolay
yetanotheraoc wrote:
ChesswithNickolay wrote:

If you want to get CM, at least do so faster than in 8 years. Otherwise, you would be just wasting your time.

Maybe you are right. But I think your idea of "just wasting time" will find a lot more support in Russia. Here in the USA it is socially acceptable for mediocre players to invest enormous money and time in a hobby, whether golf, chess, fishing, whatever. Also, we are optmistic on the whole, with a rather unrealistic view of individual human potential. Our popular culture is saturated with the romantic idea of the lone hero triumphing against all odds. Please don't kill the dream! Finally, OP said "title" but I suspect this is just a false modesty. It's possible they would not be at all satisfied with CM and mean IM or GM all along.

Yet, I am not from Russia. I live in Canada and I am a Canadian. I agree it is acceptable (and everywhere) to invest enormous money and time into a hobby. I myself invested a ton after all.

ChesswithNickolay
Zero2Master_2030 wrote:
yetanotheraoc wrote: ChesswithNickolay wrote:

If you want to get CM, at least do so faster than in 8 years. Otherwise, you would be just wasting your time.

Maybe you are right. But I think your idea of "just wasting time" will find a lot more support in Russia. Here in the USA it is socially acceptable for mediocre players to invest enormous money and time in a hobby, whether golf, chess, fishing, whatever. Also, we are optmistic on the whole, with a rather unrealistic view of individual human potential. Our popular culture is saturated with the romantic idea of the lone hero triumphing against all odds. Please don't kill the dream! Finally, OP said "title" but I suspect this is just a false modesty. It's possible they would not be at all satisfied with CM and mean IM or GM all along.

 

I was motivated by this quote: "“The ability to play chess is the sign of a gentleman. The ability to play chess well is the sign of a wasted life.” – Paul Morphy"

 

Basically, my background is an Asian-American immigrant. So, my younger self spent his time on what were considered "right" and "smart" things to do: joined military, studied for engineering degree, became an engineer. Therefore, I have no hobby at all. I don't consider going to gym a hobby or sport. It is again, a "right" thing to do to take care of our body. With that being said, my goal in chess is like, get a title of CM so that I have something to share with and to teach my future children. At least, my children know that their dad is good at something they may love to learn.

Okay, best of luck!