91 votes
Accepted

Can I improve my chess? Or am I too old?

There is never too late to learn anything (chess, phd, new job, skateboarding). Also you have really small chances of being new superGM :-). Analyse, not just play. Each game you lost you should ...
user avatar
50 votes
Accepted

Chess PhD topic in machine learning?

You have little chance in your dissertation of surpassing state of the art chess engines. Perhaps you could find a hook which hasn't been explored so much. One idea is to train your program to play ...
user avatar
  • 2,441
47 votes
Accepted

Is it too late for me to start professional chess?

I will write from the perspective of my home country, USA. If you are in a different country, you can likely find parallels. Is it too late for me to be ambitious? It is never too late to learn ...
user avatar
  • 19.8k
44 votes

Can I improve my chess? Or am I too old?

You can still improve, 25 years is not old. At 40, I'm rated about 300 points higher than at 25, and I hope to improve further (although that isn't realistic as I'm not spending any time on the game......
user avatar
  • 25.8k
44 votes

How do you keep chess fun when your opponent constantly beats you?

There are many people who want to play chess with you. You can play chess online! Online sites such as chess.com and lichess.org will match you with opponents of similar rating so you should win about ...
user avatar
  • 4,897
41 votes
Accepted

Why does the engine tell me to sacrifice a queen for bishop after a failed Scholar's mate?

It's basically a trade. After you take the bishop, if the opponent takes your queen with the knight, then your bishop is no longer blocked by the knight and you can take their queen too. The advantage ...
user avatar
  • 534
39 votes

Is it too late for me to start professional chess?

It depends what you mean by 'professional'. If you want to support yourself solely by playing tournaments, the answer is definitely no. At the very least that would require being in the top 50 in the ...
user avatar
  • 7,388
39 votes

How do you keep chess fun when your opponent constantly beats you?

There are lots of ways to play with a handicap in chess. One way is to give one player a starting material advantage, where the weaker player starts with an extra queen, or the stronger player ...
user avatar
38 votes

How to learn chess if you're still a 3-digit rating after a few years

Very simple. Join a chess club and play people face-to-face. You'll improve rapidly after that.
user avatar
  • 74.5k
38 votes
Accepted

What should I do when I have no ideas and no strategies?

This is very hard to answer since the question is very broad, but in the opening, always ask yourself "what piece haven't I moved out yet?" If you move pieces twice or three times in the opening, and ...
user avatar
  • 31.9k
37 votes
Accepted

"Chess is 90% tactics" - should a player focus more on tactics in order to improve?

Although I agree that chess is 90% tactics when actually playing at the board, it really depends on where you are strenght-wise as to how much time you spend on tactics. By the way, when they use the ...
user avatar
  • 31.9k
37 votes

Why does the engine tell me to sacrifice a queen for bishop after a failed Scholar's mate?

As @Ibrahim explains, you'll win the queen back, but after that White can even take the pawn on f7: [FEN ""] [StartPly "10"] 1. e4 e5 2. Qf3 c6 3. Bxc4 Nf6 4. d3 d6 5. Bg5 Bg4 6. ...
user avatar
  • 23.8k
35 votes
Accepted

Advice for breaking Lichess's 2000 rating mark

"PhishMaster's Complete Guide To Improvement": What to study, and how. Every player has times where they "plateau", and have trouble moving on, but they usually get past it eventually if they are ...
user avatar
  • 31.9k
33 votes

How to improve from ~1200?

@Arka Mukherjee, I find most players under 2100 weak tactically, so at 1200, you are certainly weaker than you understand you are. I do not say that to be mean, but just as a very logical person, who ...
user avatar
  • 31.9k
31 votes

Can playing blindfold chess be learned or is it a natural skill?

In essence, you are asking- Can memory (or other brain functions) be improved or is it a natural trait? The answer is yes to both. While it is true that one's memory can be improved, it is also ...
user avatar
  • 9,215
31 votes
Accepted

Is there a trick to help kids know which direction pawns are going?

At 5 years old a child's brain is still very immature. The good news is that it is also developing very fast. The easiest and most effective solution is just to wait. Within a year or two the problem ...
user avatar
  • 74.5k
31 votes
Accepted

Why do points matter in trading pieces?

The point system in chess gives a rough indication of how strong each piece is. So the short answer to your question is, yes, a rook is more valuable than a knight, and so in the vast majority of ...
user avatar
  • 398
29 votes

Making my own chess engine for a college project

The number 1 goal is to make an engine that makes a legal move. The immediate next goal is to make an engine that calculates all legal moves - you can choose one at random. Next up is an evaluator - ...
user avatar
  • 441
27 votes

Is it too late for me to start professional chess?

I think there is only one reasonable answer: You're too old. Learning chess is like learning a language. And that's not a metaphor. You learn "chunks" of piece constellations, just like you would ...
user avatar
26 votes

How to learn chess if you're still a 3-digit rating after a few years

The first thing to learn once you know how the pieces move is basic tactics and general strategy. Tactics: In certain positions it is possible to gain an advantage doing a certain move or sequence of ...
user avatar
  • 20.3k
23 votes
Accepted

How do I promote my pawn when the king blocks it?

This position is a draw with White to move. However, the same position would lead you to win if it was black to move (Zugzwang). The basic theory for you to promote the pawn when the opponent king is ...
user avatar
  • 1,289
22 votes
Accepted

What does it mean to ''analyze grandmaster games''?

I agree with you, more than your coach. Just analyzing a GM game, even with a computer, is not helpful just by itself if you have no idea what is going on. For example, just earlier today, I answered ...
user avatar
  • 31.9k
21 votes

Is it too late for me to start professional chess?

I think aiming for GM is really unrealistic. Aiming for the GM title is something that players do who are IM, have improved since, and feel they want to push further. I think that amount of ...
user avatar
  • 25.8k
21 votes
Accepted

Would studying the games of old players hurt my progress?

The answer from SmallChess is good. There's also an illustrative tweet from Garry Kasparov on the subject: For beginning chess players, studying a Carlsen game is like wanting to be an electrical ...
user avatar
  • 7,388
21 votes
Accepted

Improving the observation skill & making less blunders

I will go back to what Artur Yusupov, three-time World Championship Candidate, former top-10 player, and one of the greatest living trainers recommends in the first book of his 10-volume series. In ...
user avatar
  • 31.9k
21 votes
Accepted

Do grandmasters think on every move?

I will try to answer this in a different manner, the way I understand this topic. Do we think on every signal, turn, fork when we drive? Do we think every time we eat food or walk on the street? The ...
user avatar
  • 620
20 votes

How do you keep chess fun when your opponent constantly beats you?

If you can change your attitude from this being a competition that you are "losing" to this being a tutorial, that should help a lot. Every time you play a game, you get more famailiar with lines and ...
user avatar
19 votes

How to learn chess if you're still a 3-digit rating after a few years

I recognize that attitude. Remember, first, that chess is HARD. That's why it took so long to get computers to be able to play it well. The rules are simple enough but understanding how those rules ...
user avatar
  • 291
18 votes
Accepted

Who has the advantage at this point in the game?

In this position, the material imbalance pretty much tells the whole story, as a queen and two pawns against two knights is, barring significant positional compensation, an overwhelming material ...
user avatar
  • 23k
18 votes

Can I improve my chess? Or am I too old?

It's never too late for you to start or improve in chess. I used to play in several FIDE and USCF chess tournaments. I played against a wide age range, from 5 year olds to 70+ year olds. There are ...
user avatar
  • 181

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible