View Full Version : How to study master games?

31-08-2006, 02:35 AM
One thing that is often suggested by good chess teachers and players is to study the games of masters. This is something that is mostly missing from my current study plan because I have never had success with it. I think the problem is that I don't know how to study master games.

In the past I have tried a few different things. These include simply playing out annotated games on a real chess set following all the annotations and variations and trying to understand the reasons for all the moves. Also include trying to predict the next move, analyzing moves that weren't included in the notes, trying to figure out the plans of each player before they are told to me, etc.

The biggest problem I have is that so much of my energy goes into translating the moves from the book to the board. This consumes so much time and effort that I can rarely get through a single games satisfactorily in one sitting. This is especially true when there are long variations to follow and I have to go back to a previous position afterward.

I would like to hear from people who have found success in studying master games. What was your approach to studying them? How much time did you spend for each game? What helped you learn from the games and what kinds of things can I expect to be learning from this?

Thanks in advance, I look forward to all your replies!

31-08-2006, 12:30 PM
One tip is to use two chessboards. One is for the main line, and the other for variations. This will reduce the amount of time that you take having to reconstruct the original position.

31-08-2006, 02:25 PM
I can see this is going to take a bigger table... Seriously, that is a good suggestion.

Eagerly awaiting more tips,

Kevin Bonham
31-08-2006, 02:39 PM
Many computer chess programs will allow you to input variations while still being able to go back to the main position at the click of a mouse button. However some players find that playing through the game on a screen is not the same as playing through it on a real board.

01-09-2006, 01:33 PM
> Also include trying to predict the next move, analyzing moves that
> weren't included in the notes, trying to figure out the plans of each
> player before they are told to me, etc.

A stronger player told me it's more instructive to watch grandmasters beat players at your own level than to watch them play each other, because you'll learn how to exploit the common errors at your level.

I also figure it's better if most of the games you study fit into your opening lines, because those games have the best chance of improving your over-the-board play... but a little variety can be good.

I use the predict-the-moves method and set a game-like time-limit. Sometimes I overlook a clever move. Others, there's no way to judge whether I or Kasparov made the better move.

Either way, exposure to top-form games can't hurt.

04-09-2006, 11:14 AM
I've been a little frustrated with this too.
I reckon that what I'm doing wrong is that I'm not remembering the lessons from the games.

I don't revise often enough. So that's gonna change.

I'm going to decide on a list of games.
Every time I read a new game, I'll compare it to that list and decide whether I need to remember an extra game or whether it might be better to just save a few instructive positions.

That said, I've not had much time for chess lately. So this will probably have to wait a month or two before I get really involved. I'll probably re-read Chernev's Move by Move. I know there was a game by Rubinstein that I really liked. I don't remember it in detail, but Chernev writes it up with what is probably a "hindsight plan" where one square gets occupied by knight, bishop, rook then queen.

It's a good game and it's sad that I've forgotten it. I'm too sleepy to read it now.