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Beginners gripe - any help?

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  • Beginners gripe - any help?

    It seems I've plateaued around 1500 all of a sudden, and the worst part is I don't know how to get over it. I just lost a tournament game and I have no idea after playing tonight what I should do to improve.

    I study tactics every day, Im doing a variant of de la Maza's 7 circles technique with CT-ART, except I'm doing the 7 circles 1 difficulty at a time (7 times through diff 1, 7 times through diff 2, etc) instead of doing the WHOLE program through 7 times at once.

    My tournament games don't seem to produce many tactical opportunities so it seems like all my tactics training is basically good enough for me to threaten a tactic that is then defended against, or to see a tactic my opponent has and to defend thusly.

    When I lose my games, it seems more like I make an error in calculation - where a move satisfies the needs of the board for maybe 5 moves but loses afterwards. It also seems like I can't make powerful enough moves that result in my opponent weakening his position, or even enough to maintain the initiative - no matter what side of the board I'm playing.

    Can someone help me put together a study plan? Tactics alone with playing games on FICS regularly isn't helping me improve as much anymore.

    Heeeeelp...

  • #2
    Study endgames as well, using either Alburt's book 'Just the Facts', 'Silman's Complete Endgame Course' or 'Fundemental Chess Endings' by Muller and Lamprecht.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yup study endgame as well. Also try a different approach in studying tactics. Aside from solving tactical problems like mate in 4 moves or pin and skewer type of problems that wins material, try a different set of problem.

      Byron Jacob's Analyze to win is a good book on that. It's not a find mate in 4 moves or win material type of book. It give certain positions in which there are set of candidate moves that you need to calculate each in order to find the best move that will create the winning attack, defend your position or win in an endgame.
      Last edited by ryan_c; 05-01-2009, 04:36 AM.
      " Deep calculation is not what distinguishes the champions. It does not matter how far ahead you see if you don't understand what you are looking at. When I contemplate my move, I first must consider all the elements in the position so that i can develop a strategy and develop intermediate objectives"

      -- Garry Kasparov--

      "Tactics must be guided by strategy"

      --- Garry Kasparov--

      Comment


      • #4
        Have you had your games analyzed anywhere?
        I float like a pawn island and sting like an ignored knight

        Comment


        • #5
          Yeah. Asking for advice like this is hard, because there isn't one piece of advice for every player at your skill level.

          Why don't you post a couple of games (losses, preferably). And we'll see what we come up with.

          It's possible you need to switch to playign wilder, attacking chess for a while, however, to learn how to attack and generate opportunities. Working on your analysis skills, so that your threats are deeper, may help.

          One piece of advice I was given for working on my dynamic play was: read through 30 alekhine games.

          Comment


          • #6
            My best bet is that your "miscalculations" are actually you trying to force things. When I learned to be patient, and wait to see what my opponent is doing (unless of course, there IS a way to force the game in an obvious direction), and ask myself "now why did he do that?", I jumped from 1850 to over 2000 very quickly.

            Try and own the center, watch which squares are being played for, and stop your opponent's plans. Following those simple rules consistently can net you hundreds of points.

            Good luck!
            Alexander Alekhine is my chess hero.

            An eerie chess short story: The Empty Chair

            My newest chess story: Gamble: A Supernatural Chess Tale

            Comment


            • #7
              Here's the game that led me to create this post, it is the tournament game I lost yesterday:

              Ex5k v 1675

              1. e4 Nc6 - Immediately I'm out of the book, as my opening knowledge is limited (as apparently it should be at my rating.) I intend to follow basic opening logic until a middlegame is reached.
              2. d4 d6
              3. Nc3 Nf6
              4. Bb5 a6 - I played the Bishop to the Ruy Lopez diagonal, which ultimately ends up exchanging the Bishop for a Knight. Perhaps placing the Bishop on c4 would have been better.
              5. Ba4 b5
              6. Bb3 Na5 - I realize that the Bishop is lost, so I continue development and hope that the open file for my rook that is hitting a backwards pawn will be compensation.
              7. Nf3 NxB
              8. axN Bg4 - Pinning my Knight. I see there's no immediate way to stack up on my Knight so I play a few developing moves before breaking the pin. Breaking the pin immediately might be better though. Also this defends his b-pawn inadvertantly which was hanging due to tactics.
              9. 0-0 e6
              10. Bg5 Be7 - I didn't know where I wanted to develop my Bishop to, so I figured pinning his Knight was as good of a place as any.
              11. Re1 0-0
              12. Qd3 c6 - Finally breaking the pin. I don't fully understand the idea behind all of my opponents pawn moves. It seems like he's trying to smother my pieces with his pawns.
              13. e5 Nd7 - My plan here was to exchange bishops if he moved his knight to get an easier 2 Knight vs Bishop and Knight game (as was played.) If he played dxe I'd re-capture with the Knight hitting his undefended Bishop with prospects of taking with my knight on c6, which also trades my Knight for his Bishop.
              14. BxB QxB
              15. Qe4 BxN - BxN seems forced to me, as I have a double attack on the Bishop and c6 pawn. This gets all Bishops off the board. A master who saw the game at my club said 15. Ne4 would have been strong. But after 15...dxe 16 dxe I see my Knight would have had a nice outpost on d6 - I wonder if this is what he meant?
              16. QxB d5 - protecting his c pawn. This is a closed position, both players have a knight, my opponent has weak dark squares, and I'm the only one with a half-open file for my rooks. This lead me to believe that I had advantage still (and indeed I think I do.) This assesment also lead me to my next plan, which was to develop my rooks to the half open file and try to win the a-pawn. This never comes to fruition however.
              17. Ra2 f6 - The pawn lever on the f-file will allow his rook to his my Queen, his plan seems faster and it's almost as if he takes the initiative at this point.
              18. exf Rxf6
              19. Qg3 Qd8 - I didn't know where the best place to put my Queen would be. I decided to put it on the dark squares to take advantage of that weakness. I also considered Qg4 threatening to take the e-pawn, but this is a simple threat.
              20. Nd1 Qb6 - I saw that my opponent was going to hit my undefended d-pawn so I moved my Knight to allow c3. Also I want to make my Knight superior to his, so I'm imagining something like Nd1 e3 g4(hitting his rook) and then finally play the Knight to the nice outpost on e5. Its a long journey, but it's the best place I can find for my Knight. Incidentally, it also protects f2 which my opponent is now threatening to stack up on. Unfortunately it blocks my rook from swinging over to a1 and my Knight never does make it to e5.
              21. c3 c5 - I saw this move coming, this really disrupts my plans because now I wont have the outpost for my Knight, and my pawn structure is getting mangled.
              22. dxc Qxc5.
              23. b4 Qc6
              24. Qd3 Rg6 - I was worried about the d-pawn advancing. I wanted to provide my Knight some security when it goes to e3. His rook of course pins my g-pawn. Now when he pushed his d-pawn he gets a powerful position.
              25. Ne3? Ne5 This is a blunder on my part. It allows my opponent to make his d-pawn push even more powerful. I could not find a way out of this position that didn't result in losing a piece or the game. The knight check and after the d pawn is pushed is scary. This lead me to make a desperate move that loses very quickly, I was trying to save material and diffuse the attack, but unfortunately my rook is ill-placed.
              26. Nf5?? NxQ
              27. Ne7+ Kf8
              28. NxQ NxR

              The game went on to 37 moves, but I'm a rook down now and I pretty much just get mopped up after this. Clearly my 25th and 26th moves were losers and a tactical oversight, but puzzle solving doesn't seem to prepare me for not making blunders - only for winning material from my opponent.

              Also the game had deteriorated to a game that advantaged black before my major blunders, and I have no idea why. I played to the very best of my ability and cannot understand why my plans were weaker than my opponents.

              *Edited for correctness
              Last edited by Exodus5000; 05-02-2009, 11:33 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                One thing I would look at (maybe I'll have time for more notes later) is how you had a big space advantage on move 12 ... but you promptly traded off some pieces, helping your opponent immensely.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Expanding on Ronaldinho's post, there is a general principle in chess which states that 'the side with more space should keep more pieces on the board, whereas the side with less space should try to exchange some pieces so that his remaining pieces have enough room to operate.' Obviously there are several exceptions, but this certainly applied in your game.

                  Additionally, I don't see why White should be any more than slightly worse after 25.f3 followed by Nf2. (No board so I may have overlooked something).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Meister View Post
                    Expanding on Ronaldinho's post, there is a general principle in chess which states that 'the side with more space should keep more pieces on the board, whereas the side with less space should try to exchange some pieces so that his remaining pieces have enough room to operate.' Obviously there are several exceptions, but this certainly applied in your game.

                    Additionally, I don't see why White should be any more than slightly worse after 25.f3 followed by Nf2. (No board so I may have overlooked something).
                    Wait, are you telling me you played my game out in your head without a board?? Holy crap, thats crazy good memory.

                    I've read about the rules of space in Silman's various books. It's clear that I'm not applying the guidelines about many positional factors into my thought process when considering moves.

                    My current though process is:
                    1.) Identify any checks

                    2.) Find any unprotected pieces

                    3.) Try to find weakest spot in enemy position

                    4.) Look at most forcing moves:
                    -Double Checks, checks
                    -Taking a piece
                    -Mate threat
                    -Other threats

                    5.) Make a move that either develops a piece, improves mobility, or that will weaken enemies position.

                    This thought process it seems only takes into account tactical considerations. I've read Silman's books on building a position, however it seems that implementing these ideas into my over-the-board play is the problem?

                    How do you better players incorporate these ideas into your thought process, do you literally tick off the positional ideas?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You're going to kick yourself when you read this: Black blundered with 5...b6, but you didn't see it. You could have won significant material with 6.Bxc6+ Bd7 7.BxRa8 QxBa8.

                      And you're correct, 26.Nf5 was a tactical blunder.

                      It looks to me like you're not looking for checks, captures, and threats for your moves and your opponents moves. You have to do this check on every move, both for your moves and after your opponent moves.

                      Keep at the tactics, it will definitely help. But you have to apply your tactical skill on every move.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ponzi's Scheming View Post
                        You're going to kick yourself when you read this: Black blundered with 5...b6, but you didn't see it. You could have won significant material with 6.Bxc6+ Bd7 7.BxRa8 QxBa8.
                        Ahh - hehe sorry, that's actually a typo I made posting the game, the correct move was 5...b5. If only he did play b6! Would have been a much better game for me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Basically, when it's your opponent's turn, think strategy. When it's your turn, think tactics.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Exodus5000 View Post
                            Wait, are you telling me you played my game out in your head without a board?? Holy crap, thats crazy good memory.

                            I've read about the rules of space in Silman's various books. It's clear that I'm not applying the guidelines about many positional factors into my thought process when considering moves.

                            My current though process is:
                            1.) Identify any checks

                            2.) Find any unprotected pieces

                            3.) Try to find weakest spot in enemy position

                            4.) Look at most forcing moves:
                            -Double Checks, checks
                            -Taking a piece
                            -Mate threat
                            -Other threats

                            5.) Make a move that either develops a piece, improves mobility, or that will weaken enemies position.

                            This thought process it seems only takes into account tactical considerations. I've read Silman's books on building a position, however it seems that implementing these ideas into my over-the-board play is the problem?

                            How do you better players incorporate these ideas into your thought process, do you literally tick off the positional ideas?
                            You should add: 6. How can your opponent improve his position in the next moves? Check his strategic possibilities and try to disturb or prevent his plans! This is called prophylactic chess (played by Anatoly Karpov) and recommended in the books of the russian chess trainer Mark Dvoretsky.

                            If you can apply this your rating will go up immediately.
                            This means you are in constant search of your opponents plans and try to stop them, if possible or reduce their effect to an absolute minimum.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by nobi View Post
                              You should add: 6. How can your opponent improve his position in the next moves? Check his strategic possibilities and try to disturb or prevent his plans! This is called prophylactic chess (played by Anatoly Karpov) and recommended in the books of the russian chess trainer Mark Dvoretsky.

                              If you can apply this your rating will go up immediately.
                              This means you are in constant search of your opponents plans and try to stop them, if possible or reduce their effect to an absolute minimum.
                              A significant difference between master thinking and the average player is that the master generally tends to falsify his hypothesis.

                              That is, the average player reasons, “If I go here, he plays there and then I play here.” type of thinking. Often “there” is a move that accommodates whatever plan he thinks best. On the other hand, the master tends more towards thinking, “If I play here, how can he refute my intended plan,”
                              Last edited by JacksonWShowalter; 05-27-2009, 10:38 AM.
                              The Hoppers

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