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buddy2 66 ( +1 | -1 )
The one best thing What is the one best thing Gameknot players have done to improve their game? For me it's playing over master games slowly and deciding the best move of the winning player before uncovering it. I used to spend a lot of time memorizing openings before realizing, all i had to do was reach a playable position. But that's me. For some people studying openings might be the answer, or tactics or simply playing against the computer OR the slower games here at Gameknot might be the answer. A few people (like Capablanca) think the endgame is the most important area. I've heard all kinds of ideas. I'd like to know what Gameknoters think.
myway316 22 ( +1 | -1 )
Capablanca was right: the endgame is the most important area of the game,and the one most players below master level can't play worth a damn. Going over master games is excellant,as is playing stronger opponents whenever you can.
spurtus 46 ( +1 | -1 )
I'm very different..I dont like going over GM games at all!

Why?

Its depressing!... ok there are some good games you can enjoy to read about them... fine!.. but mostly you cant get a grip on them in the entirity of their comlexity!... face it!... its hard enough understanding one players strategy but both when it is bith GMs! Geez!

Sounds ironic, but I feel to develop I need to not get confused by the stigmas of GM standards. anyone feel the same?

Spurt.

spurtus 32 ( +1 | -1 )
Oh, and my 'best thing Gameknot players have done to improve their game' is probably playing this site!... taking exactly the amount of time I feel I need, and making a decision makes for a big difference in play quality....i.e. blunders should NEVER occur!

Thanks Gameknot!

Spurt.
baseline 21 ( +1 | -1 )
You are following in the footsepts of such greats as Steintz,Lasker,Nimvozitch,Alekhine,Botvinnik,Fischer etc.

Purdy recommends your method, so does Silman. You are studying all phases of the game that way, You are getting a balanced education.
spurtus 4 ( +1 | -1 )
Sorry which method baseline?
baseline 28 ( +1 | -1 )
spurtus Studing master games, by taking one side, covering up the moves and trying to guess the masters next move. then reveling the move and his comments if any, playing the other guys move, and then trying to guess the next move of the master you are playing with.
spurtus 29 ( +1 | -1 )
Base... this is fundamental now... try to understand the question... cos I dont get it...!

why does studying GM games improve you?... is it subconscious?... is it abstract learning?... is is aspirational/inspirational!!! ?... is it really improving and if so EXACTLY why?

Sorry to be a cynic but it doesnt work for me because I dont undertand the merits.

Please try to explain?
Spurt.
baseline 81 ( +1 | -1 )
I'm glad you asked that question imange having your favorite GM standing over your left shoulder, he is going to help you play the dreaded Antoly Karpov! You sit down to play, karpov moves you consider all your options and decide upon a move so you consult your GM helper. He may say good move play it. or he may say no not good play this instead, sometimes he explains and other times he just says trust me! You then turn back to the board and see if you can figure out why his move is better. By continuing this move after move game after game you'll find that you are getting more and more moves right and you relize you are learning because you are thinking for yourself and if you make a mistake you are getting nudged in the right direction by that GM standing over your left shoulder.
mbeaver 7 ( +1 | -1 )
at my level it's studying tactics. tactics, tactics and more tactics.
achillesheel 76 ( +1 | -1 )
Right mbeaver I think it depends on where you are at. I tend (except in team matches) to play higher rated players and never worried much about endgames because I never got to any!! In the past few weeks I have started reaching endgames and two matches leap to mind in which I outfoxed much better players the whole game only to lose in the endgame (and lose badly in the endgame). Now I am starting to appreciate its importance! It just didn't matter as much before because of my skill level and the sorts of games I was playing. Also, I am only now beginning to appreciate long-term strategy and getting beyond tactical exercises. I think every facet of the game is important, but what is most pressing depends on who you are, who you play, and how you play.
buddy2 120 ( +1 | -1 )
Interesting I brought this up because i think the major goal of all chess players is a feeling of improvement. If they don't feel as if they're getting better, they get discouraged, and some even quit the game in disgust. But HOW to improve is the question, and we all seem to have different ideas. I remember as a kid reading a chess book that showed how to mate with queen and bishop on f7 right in the opening. It was a revelation! I beat hundreds of other kids. Then you meet a kid who brings the KN out and you're stuck. You realize you didn't improve your chess; you just took advantage of ignorance. What i'm looking for is steady improvement in all areas and I think that working through grandmaster games (with apologies to spurtus) is the best way. Not just playing through...working and trying to figure out WHY Karpov played here instead of there. There is no magic in chess. Kasparov has the same pieces, squares, etc. It's his move selection that makes the difference. But it's the old what you put in, you get out principle. Just playing over for enjoyment is fine (like listening to good music) but "working" out the next moves by choosing them ahead of time is a solid way to improve anybody's game (in my humble opinion).
ir0nh0rse 67 ( +1 | -1 )
endgame brings it all to light Although I have played chess all my life, I just started to study the game to improve. Studying the end game has been the number one asset to learning the entire game. It taught me about pawn structure, positional placement of pieces, when to trade or not trade, and gave me confidence of when to move into an endgame with winning chances. Studying the endgame helped out my middle game as much as my endgame. Concepts of say good and bad bishops are determined in the middle game but there value is mostly realized in the end game. Learning the endgame has given me a lot more confidence in my decision making in the middle game. Now, if I can only get rid of ignorant blunders... =)
baseline 58 ( +1 | -1 )
Limited Time Let's face it most of us work and only have limited time to study chess.
There are many good techniques for learning chess and studying master games especially the old masters who because of weaker opposition were able to carry out their plans to completion is a great way to learn all phases of the game as you go along. Regardless of the method you use to study you should allways annotate your own games start to finish looking for improvements for both yourself and the other guy. In this way you transferr what you have learned from the masters to your own game.
jeffz_2002 3 ( +1 | -1 )
The one best thing I've done to improve is to not play when I'm hammered.
ir0nh0rse 5 ( +1 | -1 )
being drunk and stoned has cost me a few games =)
chessnovice 6 ( +1 | -1 )
... Nonsense! Blackbourne played better when he was drunk, and so can you!
umpito 16 ( +1 | -1 )
Spurtus, I would recommend "Logical Chess" by Irving Chernev. It is a collection of annotated games and after each move, Chernev explains why it was played.

Dan
achillesheel 39 ( +1 | -1 )
Excellent Choice Umpito _Logical Chess_ is the best chess book I have found ... largely because I have a job and kids so rarely do I sit down and work out lines in books such as Silman's. Chernev's book has a diagram about every third or fourth move, so you don't need a chess set on hand to follow the game. His explanations are great. Definitely worth the $20 (or less if you can find a used copy).
dysfl 204 ( +1 | -1 )
Computers can fiind your bad habits I'm not strong (1400+ in here at this point of time), that said, my 2 cents for other biginners :

1. Learning from a strong human player should be the best option, if available. I don't think any other way can beat it. One example? He/she can tell you what to do to improve 'your' game, not in general sense.

2. Use a computer to analyze your own game. It will identify your bad habits easily. Don't need to run it 5 minutes per move, you're wasting the cpu power. I use 10-15 seconds to check the blunders. You'll find a pattern. For me, I usually miss discovered check from a Bishop. Free chess engines like Crafty is enough for this, but Fritz is so good to pass.

2. End game study was recommened by masters for many valid reasons. Is it for biginners? I doubt it. More than 95% of my games are decided before reaching an even end game. If I'm fighting against 1600 player with even materials, whatever I do, I'll lose. I've read end game books. I should admit that they were entertaining, but not enlightening that much. Again, computer analysis will tell your bad end game habits. So just read one or two books and put them away till you're ready to 'study' them.

3. Opening study is fun when you're trying to start building your own tree. But, soon you will find it would take beyond your next life to complete it. Most of the opening books are too much detailed, but not easy to read. Whatever they say, if you lose a Bishop during opening against same ranking player, you'll just continue to find a good timing to resign. Study and memorize several popular opening's mainlines. I've seen many stronger players than mine who deviates from mainline so easily. If it suits you, you don't need to study opening now.

In summary, I think you should allocate study time for opening, tactics and end game. Just follow your heart. Again, computer couldn't be your tutor, but it will prove to be a good tool.

blindio 57 ( +1 | -1 )
Endgame analysis I'm reading Mark Dvoretsky's Endgame Analysis at the moment. It's the first of a 4 volume set on all aspects of training. Dvoretsky is one of the top Russian trainers. He recommends concentrating at first on the techniques for the endgame. He says that the skills you learn in analysing endgames (where there are a more restricted no of possible moves, but often only one right way forward to win) will help increase your analytical skills right across the whole game. I'm aware that my OTB scores this season are better than last and hopefully that'll also be reflected in my GK play!
ccmcacollister 406 ( +1 | -1 )
Means OF Improvement Used. Discovered this thread, "searching" for another. But liked this one and maybe some more or new players would comment now? its been awhile.

For me, a huge increase in OTB Elo & tmt improvement came from BECOMING A CORR. CHESS PLAYER ! Worth over 300 Elo points! Went from "B" to "X" in a couple years then. (Before that spent 7 years going from 777 to 1700's, then quitting for a few years. PLEASE NOTE THAT " 777 " !)
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So, to anyone below 1000 Elo now, starting out....still, Yes you CAN become Expert with time, practice experience, and Study. If you keep your interest, to stay with the game and continue the learning process. Strive to learn Something from Every game & Every person you play. Because there usually IS something there to be learned, even after you do make it to Expert or beyond.
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....The greatest aid to my Corr Chess Improvement was probably just my general fascination with openings; sequences; transpositions. Plus looking for sharp, unclear variations to understand. Also Watson's Book "Play the French" was a tremendous help. Giving me a super solid opening to depend upon, and a new type of understanding to add to my prior Sicilian play. In addition to Watson's Book I had the good fortune to be in Iowa, where the state newsletter "En Passant" was being edited by Mitch Weiss, a double Master(Corr & OTB) with exceptional understanding and ability to add to that French Defense basis begun by Watson. While I do enjoy diversity in Corr play, have to beleive it is still very important to have 4 defenses you understand exceptionally well. That's 2 vs each e4 and d4.
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Another good investment for OTB was a hypnosis session. I think the $60 session netted me about 60 rating points that year, over my expected growth. For $1 per Elo. Which was a good rate for me! (I'm afraid to keep track anymore. But sure its over $3.00 now, for all the Ups & Downs between A and Exp.!) It was particularly helpful to focus concentration right at the times I used to start losing it. Like going into Time Trouble or such. And use of selfsuggestion and "sports-Imagery" (where you literally visualize yourself performing and succeeding at the task you will be engaged in) has much the same positive reinforcement effects.
When the "chips are down" your pretournament preparation should kick-in to keep you focused and reminded of whatever important things you've chosen to recall at such time. I think the effect may be much like a well-coached player who hears the "voice of authority" of his coach during times of playing stress!?......
.......A lot like BASELINES 11/20/03 "GM behind your shoulder"! That's a great concept in my view, baseline! Actually that IS part of the approach I USE is that my moves are to be as those of a certain GM, selected from a few that I'm most familiar with. One favorite of mine is M.Tal. [And it was very satisfying the time I felt the game did turn out to be very Tal-like. Tremendous tactics, offering opp 2 pieces at a time sac's, yet a single line where he might have both survived and drawn if he had found it during the struggle. But in the intensity, misstepped. For some reason, it was more satisfying that game, to feel the Talness afterward, than had it been positionally perfect or something. (So I REALLY appreciate where BASELINE is coming from there.)
.....Also DYSFL's 11/25 comment #2 really hit home for me. For otb I once did survey my games of over a year. Got surprised what the stats revealed. Such as: finding that by far the most likely move for me to Blunder or Err was specifically Move#18! With Moves #18 thru #22 being generally a "danger field" for me. Regardless of what opening. But after occassional difficulties during moves #8 thru #11, I'd usually be getting advantage by move's 12 thru #16. So I circle moves 18 & 22 on my scoresheets to remind: extra time & care. Feel that alone gained me at least 75 Elo.
Just some ideas to consider. That I found helpful tho unusual. But for me that is part of the Entertainment I find in the game. Learning some new, unusual approachesllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll Good Chess, Y'all. CAC.