25 years old & learning chess - my practice blog

Taskinen

Milestone reached!

After attempting over 5500 tactics puzzles on chess.com, I've finally broken the troubling 2000 rating barrier. It took in total 5613 tactics puzzles with a success rate of 59%. I will continue completing tactics puzzles, albeit on a slower pace. I had this 2000 rating milestone in eyes ever since I first hit 1900, so having reached it I can focus on other things. Also, my next goal regarding tactics training is to increase my success rate. I've been attempting to increase tactics rating, which demands a certain speed of solving to do efficiently. Now I'm going to focus on solving puzzles for accuracy alone, not really caring about the speed I solve them.

Future goals rating wise are probably trying to break 1400 rating on both blitz and rapid. In the meantime I'm working on my Chessable repertoires and maybe occasional tournaments on Lichess. I have plans about starting to practice longer time control games (1h+), because I would like to go to an OTB tournament one day. 

jambyvedar

There are many players, who are just learning chess, joining chess tournaments. So i think you should join otb tournament now. Win or lose, it will be a nice and good learning experience for you.

TitanChess666
I think it's good to improve before going to tournaments because you can start from a higher point. If you are 1400 on chess dot com you will crush the unrateds you will most likely face at your first tournament
jambyvedar
TitanChess666 wrote:
I think it's good to improve before going to tournaments because you can start from a higher point. If you are 1400 on chess dot com you will crush the unrateds you will most likely face at your first tournament

 

I disagree. As long as you know how the pieces move, you can join otb tournaments. Many kids who are just starting at chess, join tournaments. OTB tournament is a good learning experience that will help you improve. There you can share or watch analysis of different people and this will also help your game.

ernestoalka

 I like your blog, like you, I started playing chess in January and my elo has gone up from 1100-1450 now.

congratulations, keep going up.

sorry for my english ...

Taskinen
ernestoalka wrote:

 I like your blog, like you, I started playing chess in January and my elo has gone up from 1100-1450 now.

congratulations, keep going up.

sorry for my english ...


Thanks for the feedback. It seems that you're also progressing well. I think it's a good idea, that you are playing mostly rapid games. Those are probably the best one for beginners to learn from. Fast enough to get accustomed to a lot of different positions, but slow enough to give you time to think your moves through. I know everyone here advocates for even longer time controls, but I think 15 minutes + works just fine. At least to me they are more enjoyable than say 45 min+ games, and enjoying chess is the first step towards improvement.

Lately I have played some 20, 30 and even 45 minutes game though, and enjoyed them too.

daxypoo
i agree op; i was long an advocate of 30 min games but after classical time controls 30 is still way too short; in some instances 15/10 is better when an endgame is reached since the increment helps a ton

and

can get more games at 15/10 as well

my coach told me 45/45 is the best time control to prepare for tournament time controls anyways

but different time controls suit players for all kinds of reasons
Taskinen

As I am close to passing the 1400 mark here on chess.com (and actually already did with rapid!), I can consider myself more of an advanced beginner, than a complete novice. As a self-learner I can't really speak on the mind of an esteemed chess coach, but I can based on my own experiences, and to share my thoughts on effectively learning chess. I think that the rapid time control is best suited for novice players, because novice players don't really need to know or understand deep strategic ideas behind certain moves. It's enough that you make principled moves; protect your pieces, develop towards the center, get your king to safety and push pawns when they have enough protection. With 15|10 games you have plenty of time to do that, without being stuck in situations, where you have 30 minutes left on the clock when the game ends. Because let's be honest, beginners don't really know what to look on the board after making what they consider to be the principled moves (and thus how to use all the time in a 45 minute+ match). As you progress further, and your understanding grows, you are able to visualize positions and calculate lines multiple moves forward. In order to do that, a beginner needs quite a bit of time. So a novice wouldn't understand the idea in Closed Ruy Lopez of making the known knight re-route from queenside to kingside, and as such wouldn't even realize to look for such an option. As you play more games, you get more accustomed to different positions, and you already know some moves that work, and you can save time by thinking about other options as well. Once your basic chess play is on a certain level, that you don't hang up too much free material, you have your pieces protected and some kind of a coordination and a plan, the complexity of your ideas and plans grow. And therefor having more time can lead to better games, which in turn helps in understanding the ideas behind your play.

Regardless, I think the best time control (I think 15|10 the minimum, any shorter than that is too short) for any beginner, is the time control they feel comfortable at. If 15|10 feels too quick, then just play a 30 minute game instead. Personally I think 15|10 has been the perfect time control for me, and I am much more comfortable playing 10 minute games without ending often in a time trouble as well. The main point is that too long time control might make the games feel too slow, boring and reduce the interest in playing. I think that is much bigger obstacle in learning than playing faster time controls. I don't even see an issue in playing occasional blitz and bullets, as long as you understand, that it's not going to really benefit your chess playing.

If at some point I'm considering about joining an OTB tournament, I'll start practicing longer time controls more. Now I'll play occasional 30, 45 minute games if I feel like it. 

Taskinen

Milestones reached!

It has been 7 months since I started playing chess regularly. My lowest blitz rating (which I played almost exclusively at the beginning) was whopping 671 on 21st of December! Today my blitz rating is 1401. That means my blitz rating has increased 730 points in 7 months. I'm pretty satisfied with that! During these 7 months I have played 2148 chess games in total (majority being bullet). That sounds like a lot, but I sort of wish I could change some of my bullet to longer time control game. Then again, I enjoyed playing bullet, and in the end that is what matters the most: having good time. It didn't make me a better player, though.

Learning chess is an interesting experience: with every rating range it feels like struggling. You feel like you are constantly being outplayed, and in order to win your opponents you have to play your best. Then again, once you go up 100 rating points and play people 100-200 rating points lower, winning gets much easier. Against same opponents you struggled massively few months earlier.

Couple months ago I set myself some rating milestones I would like to reach in the future, and today I have reached all of them. I have 2000+ tactics rating, 1400 blitz and rapid rating, and 1300+ bullet rating. It felt like such a far away goal only few months ago, but with enough practice and motivation, you can reach them.

Even though I feel like I have learned massively about chess, and consider myself an okayish player, I know there is still just as much to learn (and more). The more I learn about chess, the more stuff there is that I don't know. But I guess that's the fun part. You can play this game for a lifetime, and you'll never know it all.

For the next 5 months I'm going to set myself a bit more relaxed rating goals: I would like to reach 1500 rating in either rapid, blitz or both, and perhaps 1400 in bullet eventually. I'm going to focus on playing rapid time control, since it feels like the time control that helps me learn the most. I will also continue working on my Chessable repertoires, and hopefully go through some of the great books they have. Currently I'm working on John Bartholomews Scandinavian repertoire and GermanMC's Ruy Lopez: Masterclass edition. I'm interested in getting the following two books on Chessable and work through them slowly: 100 Endgames You Must Know by GM Jesus De La Villa and Mastering Chess Middlegames by GM Alexander Panchenko. In the meantime I'm waiting for some other interesting books to be added to Chessable for study. I will continue doing some tactics trainings and lessons here on chess.com and enjoy watching gameplay footage from my favorite YouTube channels ChessNetwork and John Bartholomew. I'm really excited about the starting Speed Chess Championship (I love watching those games) and the World Championship match between Carlsen and Caruana.

When I started to play some chess just to pass some time, little did I know what rabbit hole I was getting myself into... Thank you all for your continuing support and advice on this journey, it's very much appreciated!

Stay tuned, more to follow!

EOGuel

Very inspirational... thanks for sharing!