73

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 review and try to understand why exactly have you lost. Your analysis should depend on your chess level. Learn standard openings (first starting moves and be sure ...


47

Avoid the trap of studying openings, they don't improve your game. Say, at most 10% of your training time before you start making IM norms. They can be addictive and maybe even improve your results in the short term, but in the long term they just don't improve your chess playing. The basis of improvement: playing serious, slow games (say at least half an ...


46

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 more. I am aiming for a GM title in 5 years time. I don't doubt my learning abilities or memory, as is usually the case for the older aspirants, since I ...


46

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 amateur chess in a convincing way. Can a program pass a sort of chess Turing Test where a human-player couldn't tell if they were playing an AI or playing a ...


38

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 world which takes a lifetime of work starting at a very young age. If you want to support yourself by playing and teaching, that is much more feasible. ...


38

Very simple. Join a chess club and play people face-to-face.


37

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 50 percent of the time. Furthermore, playing online as well as studying chess will immensely improve your chess, and maybe you'll play your friend again and ...


37

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 word "tactics" there, I would say "tactics and calculation". When you are beginning, I firmly believe that spending 90% of your time on tactics will be the ...


36

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...). This article in Dutch is about a (strong, 2200 or so) player who started playing again at 60 and scored an IM norm with a huge overscore a few years later, ...


36

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 I am developing each one after only one move, soon you will be fighting with only two or three pieces against me with 5 or 6. You will not win that way. Other ...


35

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 replaces their queen with a bishop/rook, or starts with some of their pawns missing - anything that weakens one player's starting position can be used to even the odds....


33

Getting too used to playing with takebacks could be somewhat detrimental if you were to transition to tournament chess at some point, since it downplays the importance of keeping your guard up and being vigilant about tactical possibilities in positions. Nevertheless, I think that in the setting you indicate playing with occasional takebacks (especially for ...


32

Here is a quick an dirty analysis based on the "Million Base" PGN database. I did this in a bit of a rush, so there may well be errors in my programming or logic. Please don't use it for anything too serious. Update - Note: Actually, I've just noticed I made a mistake with the data set, and limited it to the first 1 million records. I'll post an update ...


31

@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 has been a reasonably strong player for over 30 years. At your level, memorizing theory is mostly a waste of time. In 40 years of playing, I cannot tell you ...


31

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 will have solved itself as your child's brain develops enough to satisfy your expectations.


30

In principle, the middlegame is indeed just raw calculation. In principle, the entire game of chess boils down to only that. But since the space of possible move sequences is so vast, chess is of course too complex from the standpoint of pure calculation for that to be all that we do when we play. And after all, even our computational superiors (chess ...


30

If you want to avoid "dumb blunders" - i.e. just dropping a piece you've left hanging on the other side of the board - a simple method is to take an inventory of the position before you do anything else on each move. Checking which of your pieces are attacked and which of your pieces are hanging would be a good start. The brain will catalogue this ...


29

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 cases, if you can trade a rook for a knight, you should do it. This does beg the question, however, about why a rook is considered more valuable. At its best, a ...


27

Napoleon put it succinctly: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon. Just a couple of points: It is the same reason that students love getting "gold stars," and why there are so many badges on StackExchange itself. There have been volumes written on the power of peer recognition. In particular, chess titles (for the most part) are ...


27

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 learn typical turns of phrase. You get a feeling which phrases and expressions go together and which don't. One day you just know where to put your pieces in ...


25

There are two broad-brush categories of players: positional and tactical. Positional players' styles tend to lead them to play moves that choke out their opponents. They are patient and bide their time. There's no better proponent of this type of play than Tigran Petrosian. He's recognized as one of the hardest players to defeat. A more recent example ...


25

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 commonly observed that some people are more "gifted" when it comes to memory (and other brain functions) than others. To play blindfold chess, you need three ...


23

After you blunder, it's incredibly common to blunder a second time over the next few moves. The most important thing you can do is to avoid this second blunder. In order to do that, you should take a few deep breaths and even get up and walk around. Although it's nice if your opponent doesn't know that you blundered (i.e. your "blunder" could be part of a ...


23

EDIT ( edited on January 8th, 2014 ): Some of the other excellent answers pointed out a flaw in mine: I have failed to mention the importance of analyzing one's own games. This is corrected below, for the sake of completeness. I apologize to the OP and others who found my post useful. First off, let me say Happy New Year and Marry Christmas to you! Second,...


23

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 moves. This is referred to as tactical motif/pattern and for a list of all kinds of motifs take a look here. You don't need to start learning all of them at ...


23

"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 continuing to study. Sometimes, it is a matter of patience. Here is a set of comprehensive answers to questions I previously gave in various chunks, that are now ...


22

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 a question here, where the person gave a computer line that made no sense as far as the plans for the position were concerned, so the computer was really no ...


21

I think you partially answered your question. The main fact that you can "...execute tactics now without thinking..." is definitely a good start. Also that fact that you said, it "feels right" is also a good start although you don't really want to play a tactic just because it "feels right". Information on tactics can be found from Louis Holtzhausen site ...


21

Depending on exactly what you mean by "playing chess against yourself," I would say it can be extremely beneficial, and that yes, strong players do this quite a lot. Consider what you do when you have to decide what move to make when you're playing a normal game against an opponent distinct from yourself: you analyze the position as best as you can in your ...


21

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 preparation time could work, but it's not the most important thing. Most important is playing serious tournament games. Chess is not about knowledge, it's about skill, ...


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