74

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 ...


48

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 ...


38

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, ...


38

Very simple. Join a chess club and play people face-to-face. You'll improve rapidly after that.


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 ...


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 ...


24

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

It's partially who the opponent is, and partially how much better the opponent is. I've gone from ~1750 to almost 1900 in the last year (approximate as ECF grades - 142-158 to those who understand ECF). In that time I've played a lot of players who are appreciably better than me. But not massively better; most have been 1850-2100. That meant I could still ...


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 ...


19

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 fit together to build strategy when the opponent is also building their own strategy, is very difficult. It's not even quite like backgammon, where I like to tell ...


17

Here are my Chess apps for Android: iChess — lots of chess tactics to solve, all offline. You can also load your own PGN or purchase recent tactics based on openings, or from recent games. Chess Book Study — a very innovative app that shows a board and an eBook in the same screen. It makes it easy to study chess books. You can even dictate and the moves ...


17

One book that I think you might find useful, both at your current playing strength and as you improve, is Mihail Marin's Beating the Open Games. It is a repertoire book for Black based on 1. e4 e5, and it covers all book openings White can use in reply except for the Ruy Lopez. (So for a complete repertoire, you would want to pair this with something on the ...


17

I am a beginner just like you, so I will give advice from my perspective on some of the things that have helped me. Don't get too carried away with learning openings. Focus more on learning opening principles/fundamentals such as controlling the center, developing your pieces, castling early, etc Practice tactics at chesstempo.com. I don't do this as ...


17

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 many chess players of all age ranges and skill levels. I played chess for about 10 years before I actually joined a chess club. At first, I was not able to beat ...


16

Here is a basic checklist you should always consider (in order of priority): Examine all tactics currently available to both players on the board within the next move; these take priority. Usually, each tactic has a purpose, such as check-mate (highest priority), winning material (secondary-priority) and securing a very strong position (tertiary-priority.) ...


16

I'm a FIDE master and in my experience I've never come across any material on how to physically move pieces faster. There's not a lot you have to do: pick up the piece, move your arm to where you want to move the piece, and let go. As you play more this becomes second nature, to the point where training wouldn't make much sense. As for short moves costing ...


15

You say: "Do the same puzzles over and over? I'm worried that once I've memorised a puzzle, then I'm not doing so much calculation as memory retrieval." Memory retrieval is exactly what you should be doing! The brain improves recall not by repeated input, but by repeated output. This is why reviewing notes is a terrible way to study for a test, and why ...


14

There are no shortcuts. Work tactical problems Read highly regarded books to learn why you should make moves. I wouldn't necessarily read, "GM X's Best 50 games", but instead would seek out books about tactics or positional training. "My System" is an example, though probably dated. Get an instructor. He can tell you what you're doing wrong and how you ...


14

A simple suggestion: learn the lines your opponents play. When you finish a game, check the "book" moves for the variation that showed up on the board. Figure precisely how you should have played that game and remember it. Then, the next time you feel lost in an opening, repeat the process. Nothing can be more discouraging than spending weeks memorizing ...


14

I am on the road that starts from the "Beginner" stage, trying to leave this "town". I know and understand the rules, I also understand most of the "classic" tactics. I am able to reproduce some mating patterns (and to understand them I think). Based on your information I think I can safely assume that you would see those blunders if someone pointed them ...


14

Solving alot of tactic puzzles is a fantastic way to improve for a beginner. One of the reasons for my improvement was the constant solving of tactics on chess.com's tactics trainer feature, which basically made me shed my beginner skins, since tactics almost always play a decisive role in the games of beginners. However, you must also play many normal ...


14

It is a common problem to calculate all the variations and then suddenly realize that the first move was simply terrible. Actually, there is a rule that should be applied after finishing a complicated calculation, the Blumenfeld rule! The Blumenfeld rule is formulated roughly as follows. After finishing a complicated calculation, take a fresh look at the ...


14

For now, I am going to assume that you are a somewhat weaker player. If that is the case, virtually 90% of your time should be spent on tactics for now, but you want to find them grouped by category, so you are constantly solving similar problems. Try to do 50 per day, spending no more than two minutes per problem. In addition to that, you want to find a ...


14

And an interesting question you pose as to how good you could become playing 3|2. The 3 min plus 2 second increment you play means roughly say a move rate overall of about say 6 seconds per move for an average game of 50 moves. You try to always play slightly stronger players, excellent idea, so assuming you are not getting trounced ie at least breaking even ...


13

Excellent question and you made a good assumption. I feel like I can execute tactics now without thinking, but I am not really sure what I just did. Maybe I am missing a positional understanding? That's exactly what you are missing, because tactics are the consequence of good positional understanding (this is a startling claim, feel free to disagree!). I'd ...


13

All of the suggested can improve your tactics skills. Anything that makes you think hard about chess positions (particularly sharp and complex ones) will. I would add "perfecting the way you calculate variations", i.e. making sure that your calculation is as effective as possible. This was well described in some book, I think it was "Think like a grandmaster"...


13

I don't know which person you are referring to, or if the exact word "coach" was used, but GMs like Carlsen don't really have coaches in the sense you are probably thinking of; they have seconds, who have the following functions: Opening research. This might mean performing general research, or looking for particular weapons that are likely to be useful ...


12

Here is a list of important points: Pros: Both can continue playing and have fun without the need of starting a whole new game. Cons: You don't take blunders seriously and increase the chance of making them on tournaments or important games.


12

I'll buck the trend here and say it's a bad idea to give takebacks if the blundering player intends to play in tournaments at any point in the future. There are two reasons for this. First, having to finish a blundered game brings home the pain of that blunder more clearly, and makes it more likely that the player will think ahead next time. But even more ...


12

There are many aspects to becoming a strong player. One of the very best books to read is called "Think like a grandmaster" . You can find it at Amazon. It helps you how to think. Chess is about analysis, and this analysis is done in the mind. Hence if you know how to organize this thought process, you'll become more efficient and actually can analyze more ...


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