PDA

View Full Version : Baptisms of Fire - Newbie Hell



lithium
15-10-2007, 10:53 AM
Hello everyone,

Been a little while since my last post but I thought some feedback here would be helpful.

At the moment I'm a member of a really good local club, the guys there are great and the level of ability in general is really high. :owned:

Only trouble I'm having at the moment is holding my own at the board. From the moment I arrived at the club I've been given something of a baptism of fire in being paired to play competitively from the get go. This makes it difficult when there's a certain level of expectation from participating members that assumes a certain level of prior knowledge. As such, it can be something of a demoralising experience playing the big guns when ever you show up, when you're really still just trying to learn to swim.

I played a really tough game against an unranked player last week. Our club champs have classes A to C and naturally I'm in the bottom group - but as a player who's only been playing less than 3 months, I'm finding that playing against the 1300 and 1400 players very difficult indeed and we have over 1500s in our division alone. I'm really getting crucified each time I play and it's quite a demoralising experience.

I am just wondering if I have the wrong impression of what chess clubs are meant to be? Do all chess clubs focus mostly on the competitive aspect, or are there clubs around that have some kind of induction process where they spend time on study and training those new to the game, before putting you beside a clock and numbered board?

This is not to say anything bad against my club at all as I think it's a fantastic club with really great people and some real hot shot players, but rather help manage my expectation of what a chess club experience should entail - especially from a new chess player's perspective. I'm finding it really hard at the moment to get better when most of my experience with other chess players is in a competitive majority environment. :hmm:

Should I stop playing these competitive games until I get my head around the basics properly first?

When should a player enter into competitive play generally?

Am I just being a sook and should suck it up and go with the flow? :lol:

I just want to set more realistic goals and expectations before I re-think playing the game.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Cheers

Basil
15-10-2007, 11:19 AM
Hi Lith

Good post. I'd like to suggest you make that identical point to your favourite club official. The conclusion of that discussion will have answered all your questions and provide some of the solutions.

Yes, the largest component of club activity revolves around competitive chess.

If all of that doesn't work, come back and talk some more.

Southpaw Jim
15-10-2007, 12:36 PM
Lithium,

It's hard on the ego, but I think that it's ultimately good for you providing you can endure the heartache.

I'm in a relatively small club that is predominantly made up of strong, experienced players - the average rating in this year's club championships was around 1600. Last year was my first year of club chess, and I won 2 of approximately 25 games. So, I know how you feel.

Ultimately, you need to accept that - for a while - you will lose a lot more than you win. Try and look at each game as a learning experience, mistakes not to be repeated etc. I think that you tend to learn more from your losses than from wins, because there's that stinging impetus not to repeat the mistake.

Also, I feel that playing against significantly stronger opposition will actually help you improve faster - small mistakes get punished quickly. Conversely, where you've got 2 beginners playing, they can both get away with several blunders before one punishes the other. In other words, a stronger opponent will (should) force you to play better chess.

My advice: look at your first year or two as a learning experience only, and try and focus on improving your tactical knowledge/vision. Whilst you may not see results (ie wins) for a while, you'll find that your games are closer contests.

Capablanca-Fan
15-10-2007, 12:53 PM
Lithium, why not follow Euro's example and post some of your games here, getting them torn apart by some of the experienced players?

Basil
15-10-2007, 01:52 PM
Lithium, why not follow Euro's example and post some of your games here, getting them torn apart by some of the experienced players?
Lithium, please don't under-estimate the value of Jon's suggestion. One is indeed fortunate to have such a 'service' offered. Please consider it.

Intuition
15-10-2007, 03:05 PM
If you live in Melbourne try heading down to the chess section of the State Library of Victoria for a few games (3rd biggest chess libarary in the world). I've been playing for about 3 years and have only now just ventured to a club. I used to play alot down there and you get a decent mix of opponents about half who dont play in clubs and are social players. It is an absolute fantasic place to start out and bulid up some experience before getting serious and they have basically every well known chess book in existence...before buying a book I go check it out here first

Keep working on your game and progess will come naturally..cheers :)

Axiom
15-10-2007, 03:23 PM
Focus on the joy of learning and not on the results( nor the slings and arrows that may come your way)
If you enjoy the learning, the results will come.



and as stated above ,here is a good central resource point.

Denis_Jessop
15-10-2007, 05:26 PM
Clearly you have run into the problem faced by most newcomers in that you have joined a chess club but there is no opportunity there for "social" or practice games nor is there anyone to give you any tips. This unfortunately is almost standard for chess clubs - those who attend are intent on playing tournaments and rarely does anyone give you any tips or even in some cases speak to you.

It is very hard to get around the basics without playing any games though it can be done so as to let you reach a reasonable standard. Reading books and playing over games always helps and now, as contrasted with years ago, there are two other avenues - computer chess playing engines and programs and coaching. If you live in a capital city the latter is a possibility as a good coach should be able to assess your ability and give you valuable assistance.

DJ

Kevin Bonham
15-10-2007, 06:03 PM
My suggestion is that newcomers need to have an idea of what they are getting themselves in for before they enter a tournament, and the way to do that is to ask before you join. If your aim is to just play casual games until you feel up to tournament strength then do that, and don't enter tournaments until you feel you are ready. Tournaments are full-on and competitive; that is a big part of the point of them for many players.

Some clubs handle the casual games aspect better than others. My own is pretty lucky in that regard - there are quite often players free and people generally will get a casual game if they're willing to wait a bit for it. At other clubs it may be that virtually everyone is playing in the tournament on any given night.

When new players show up at our club, I generally try to encourage them not to enter tournaments until they feel ready and competitive against the other players. If you're only scoring, say, one out of every ten you will still get quite a few close-ish games and learn a lot. Players who are going to get annihilated by every other player in the club are a different matter and I try to discourage these from entering events until they are stronger, but strangely enough a lot of them are absolutely determined to pay their $40 on their first night at the club, lose three in a row and then never show up again.

DanielBell
15-10-2007, 06:49 PM
Don't lose spirit mate, you should start getting paired against lower rated opponents now... But even then you'll get better playing against the stronger guys..

I was fine diving straight into tournaments fairly quickly but I really enjoy even the games I lose, lately I've been playing pretty badly but I also got lazy with my tactics and studying so perhaps I've taken myself out of the 'zone'.

I have learned quick not to judge by opponents ratings, all that has done for me is got my draws against players where I was _WINNING_. Don't hope for a low rated player because if you do and you get one it's likely you'll take it for granted, I sure have been. I played good games against players rated between 1400 - 1700, based on the idea that I went into the game knowing if I had any chance of winning I had to take my time, and had to give it my all. I need to start applying the same mentality to weaker players and perhaps I could get a few more points on my belt. You watched the game I won the week before last and you would have likely saw we both played moves quickly and made some terrible errors.. I think we were both under estimating each other.. I've got to learn to play the board not the person! If you worry too much about ratings you might be doomed to do the opposite!

Basil
15-10-2007, 07:10 PM
My suggestion is that newcomers need to have an idea of what they are getting themselves in for before they enter a tournament, and the way to do that is to ask before you join.
Right.

And perhaps a timely reminder for clubs' first point of contact to be aware that sometimes newbies might not be aware how serious/ tough club chess can be, and therefore make a point of probing regarding expectations.

Desmond
15-10-2007, 07:22 PM
I'm against new players entering a tournament on their first night. In addition to often scaring them off, it's good to see if they come a few weeks in a row before commiting to an entire tournament.

CameronD
15-10-2007, 07:23 PM
It also depends which club you choose to join. Different clubs have different strengths.

In brisbane...

Redcliffe/Brisbane City clubs are the strongest with players up to 1900 and the most serious. To be competitive overall (score around 50%), a player would need to be around 1300 level.

The Gap club is a lot more social, though they do have some rated tournaments. the rated games are usually played fortightly when played. The top player is 1650 and a player would need to be around 1050 to score around 50%.

Samford are really casual and have no rated events.

After all this rambling... I think its best to find a club that challenges your level without demoralising you, and has the social atmosphere your after.

littlesprout85
15-10-2007, 07:35 PM
Wazz^ Liths :)

Good to cya joining up with a club. Shows that your serious about chess & that you want to take it to the next level.

Just take it easy & enjoy. usually it is best to start off by playing some of the members just during free chess where ratings dont matter. Play some Speed rounds with em-just loosin up a bit. Jumping into club tourney isnt a good place to start. The membership gots to get to know yea- & vice-ersa.:uhoh:

Then like get into that tourney-Rise to the top of the heap so to speak & gain confindence along the way. Youll then know when your ready to represent the club in the big show & the club will encourage you & stand behind yea. RawR !!! :D

Also You should also have other avenues for your chess training, Play some online chess. See your Here At chesschats which is a great avenue.:clap:

It is good that your playing better opponents than yourself - for the victory Will be even Greater for you. Feels much better when you earned that first win. Hang in there Youll be fine. Here at chesschats sprouty has Felt the same as you- But meh just play for fun & always try to improve each round because Meh know that usually The oppenents here is rated above 1600 & A Whole lot more :eek:

-Sprout :)

WhiteElephant
16-10-2007, 12:15 AM
If you live in Melbourne try heading down to the chess section of the State Library of Victoria for a few games (3rd biggest chess libarary in the world). I've been playing for about 3 years and have only now just ventured to a club. I used to play alot down there and you get a decent mix of opponents about half who dont play in clubs and are social players. It is an absolute fantasic place to start out and bulid up some experience before getting serious and they have basically every well known chess book in existence...before buying a book I go check it out here first

Keep working on your game and progess will come naturally..cheers :)

Yes, the State Library is a great place to start for social players. Lots of young funky players rather than chess nerds.

Another place I randomly came across today is Gloria Jeans Coffee, inside Borders on Chapel St. On Monday nights they have chess night - a few chessboards set up and a regular crowd coming in for games. The standard is pretty varied, I'd say the strongest there would be rated around 1200 so a great place to start for a few games and a coffee.

Garvinator
16-10-2007, 12:59 AM
It also depends which club you choose to join. Different clubs have different strengths.

In brisbane...

Redcliffe/Brisbane City clubs are the strongest with players up to 1900 and the most serious. To be competitive overall (score around 50%), a player would need to be around 1300 level.

The Gap club is a lot more social, though they do have some rated tournaments. the rated games are usually played fortightly when played. The top player is 1650 and a player would need to be around 1050 to score around 50%.

Samford are really casual and have no rated events.

After all this rambling... I think its best to find a club that challenges your level without demoralising you, and has the social atmosphere your after.
You forgot Logan :uhoh:

Capablanca-Fan
16-10-2007, 01:10 AM
You forgot Logan :uhoh:
Disgraceful that. We have people who are very good at taking newbies under their wing, explaining chess clocks and notation, tournament etiquette, etc, e.g. Jim Ritchie and Andy Orchard when he's around.

CameronD
16-10-2007, 07:52 AM
You forgot Logan :uhoh:

Can only explain clubs that I have some knowledge/know exists.

lithium
16-10-2007, 08:10 AM
It's not so much a case of wanting to take the bat and ball and go home in a sulk, but rather manage what I expect to get from my club experience better. I like to win games (don't we all?), but I'd feel better about losing if I was learning through the entire experience as well, and that can be tough sometimes in a tournament heavy club environment.

Our club is strong with a number of 2000+ rated players who are regulars and I've paired against them recently in open comps and gotten thoroughly thrashed. The current comp I'm playing is over 9 weeks and at least I'm in a lower division that tops out at 1600 - but as many of you will realise, a 1600 player or a 2000 player against a player who's been at the board for 3 months will provide just as sound a beating. :wall:

I want to play out my comp though. The experience will be good for me although I expect to lose pretty much every game (Plus, I get a standard rating out of it too!). That said, I'd enjoy an avenue for just relaxed and social gaming, with perhaps an opportunity to sit and look at tactics with good players. I can learn by losing tournament games for sure, but I find the process more rewarding and attractive when it's a social game and we are okay to go back a step and look at some different opening lines mid game. We have a couple guys at our local club (Nick and Shane) who have been fantastic in that regard, I'd really like to have that kind of approach to my chess at the club on a more regular basis.

Plus, it's nice to actually win the odd game ;)

I guess the point of the post overall isn't just about focusing on my personal experience, but rather looking at the club experience from a new player's perspective in general.

When the time comes, I have no problems mixing it with the big boys playing competitions ad-nauseum - but until then, I feel I need more time running through my groundwork first and build a little confidence before I venture into the water to swim with the sharks. It's tough!!!

Thanks for everyone's feedback and advice! :clap:

DanielBell
16-10-2007, 04:46 PM
It's not so much a case of wanting to take the bat and ball and go home in a sulk, but rather manage what I expect to get from my club experience better. I like to win games (don't we all?), but I'd feel better about losing if I was learning through the entire experience as well, and that can be tough sometimes in a tournament heavy club environment.

Our club is strong with a number of 2000+ rated players who are regulars and I've paired against them recently in open comps and gotten thoroughly thrashed. The current comp I'm playing is over 9 weeks and at least I'm in a lower division that tops out at 1600 - but as many of you will realise, a 1600 player or a 2000 player against a player who's been at the board for 3 months will provide just as sound a beating. :wall:

I want to play out my comp though. The experience will be good for me although I expect to lose pretty much every game (Plus, I get a standard rating out of it too!). That said, I'd enjoy an avenue for just relaxed and social gaming, with perhaps an opportunity to sit and look at tactics with good players. I can learn by losing tournament games for sure, but I find the process more rewarding and attractive when it's a social game and we are okay to go back a step and look at some different opening lines mid game. We have a couple guys at our local club (Nick and Shane) who have been fantastic in that regard, I'd really like to have that kind of approach to my chess at the club on a more regular basis.

Plus, it's nice to actually win the odd game ;)

I guess the point of the post overall isn't just about focusing on my personal experience, but rather looking at the club experience from a new player's perspective in general.

When the time comes, I have no problems mixing it with the big boys playing competitions ad-nauseum - but until then, I feel I need more time running through my groundwork first and build a little confidence before I venture into the water to swim with the sharks. It's tough!!!

Thanks for everyone's feedback and advice! :clap:

If you stick around after your game usually when one of the better players finishes im sure they wouldn't mind going over your game with you.. Trent Parker (TCN) went over mine with me last week.. It was good.

You usually play your game then all of a sudden you're gone! Not even a good bye :(

lithium
16-10-2007, 10:15 PM
Well I did the week before last and that really helped (stayed until midnight).

But last week was a game that got to me a fair bit so I left after the match. No biggie, I'll stick around longer this week and have a little fun as I don't have to work on friday (woohoo!)

As a small sideline positive, played on babas tonight and actually scored a win.

yay.

:)

Event: unrated standard match
Site: Free Internet Chess Server
Date: 2007.10.16
White: Lithium
Black: Paddylicious
Result: 1-0
WhiteElo: -
BlackElo: 0P
ECO: C20
TimeControl: 900

1. e4 e5 2. d3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bd2 Qd8 6. Nge2 Nc6 7. g3 Nf6 8.
Bg2 Bg4 9. O-O Nd4 10. f3 Nxe2+ 11. Qxe2 Be6 12. Qxe5 Qd6 13. Qb5+ c6 14.
Qxb7 Qc5+ 15. Kh1 Bxc3 16. Qxa8+ Ke7 17. Qxh8 Bxb2 18. Rae1 Qxc2 19. Rxe6+
Kxe6 20. Re1+ Be5 21. Bh3+ Ke7 22. Rxe5+ Kd6 23. Bf4 Qd1+ 24. Re1+
{Paddylicious resigns} 1-0

I played a slightly bastardised version of my favourite opening (kingside indian attack) that did the job pretty well considering. It was obvious we were both rank ametuers with plenty of mistakes being made, but hell, a win is a win and at the moment I'll take what ever I can get! :lol:

I'll plan on playing a LOT more on Babas and supplement with games at the club and just see how it goes. Should be fine. I expect the table to remain tough going for some time, but I really want to stick with it... I'm addicted to the bloody game now and no matter how frustrated I get with it... a couple days later I'm shuffling pieces around again.

:rolleyes:

DanielBell
19-10-2007, 06:59 AM
Well I did the week before last and that really helped (stayed until midnight).

But last week was a game that got to me a fair bit so I left after the match. No biggie, I'll stick around longer this week and have a little fun as I don't have to work on friday (woohoo!)

As a small sideline positive, played on babas tonight and actually scored a win.

yay.

:)

Event: unrated standard match
Site: Free Internet Chess Server
Date: 2007.10.16
White: Lithium
Black: Paddylicious
Result: 1-0
WhiteElo: -
BlackElo: 0P
ECO: C20
TimeControl: 900

1. e4 e5 2. d3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bd2 Qd8 6. Nge2 Nc6 7. g3 Nf6 8.
Bg2 Bg4 9. O-O Nd4 10. f3 Nxe2+ 11. Qxe2 Be6 12. Qxe5 Qd6 13. Qb5+ c6 14.
Qxb7 Qc5+ 15. Kh1 Bxc3 16. Qxa8+ Ke7 17. Qxh8 Bxb2 18. Rae1 Qxc2 19. Rxe6+
Kxe6 20. Re1+ Be5 21. Bh3+ Ke7 22. Rxe5+ Kd6 23. Bf4 Qd1+ 24. Re1+
{Paddylicious resigns} 1-0

I played a slightly bastardised version of my favourite opening (kingside indian attack) that did the job pretty well considering. It was obvious we were both rank ametuers with plenty of mistakes being made, but hell, a win is a win and at the moment I'll take what ever I can get! :lol:

I'll plan on playing a LOT more on Babas and supplement with games at the club and just see how it goes. Should be fine. I expect the table to remain tough going for some time, but I really want to stick with it... I'm addicted to the bloody game now and no matter how frustrated I get with it... a couple days later I'm shuffling pieces around again.

:rolleyes:

Where were you last night? You got paired against a player rated around 1000!!

lithium
24-10-2007, 07:17 PM
Where were you last night? You got paired against a player rated around 1000!!

Good question mate.

I actually was at the venue, I came early and was psyching myself up to go play. But then I couldn't do it. I just couldn't come down into the room to play in the end. Not physically, but mentally. My heart just wasn't in it. I'd had a pretty long day at work and just couldn't get into the right frame of mind, already deciding I was going to lose the game before it even happened.

Maybe it's a copout, or maybe it's just a defeatist attitude, but seriously, I just couldn't get motivated to come and play that night and probably will be the same tomorrow.

I guess I was expecting either quicker progress with my chess or perhaps more newbie friendly environment. The level of competition (despite some really great people at the club) just reduced my enthusiasm to a point where I can't be bothered. I'm competitive by nature, and being so outgunned even on the bottom rank is a little hard for my ego to cop at the moment I have to say. Chess is my passtime. It's my escape from the world and what I do for fun. If it's not fun, there's no point in my book.

Lately, it's just been no fun to get walloped over and over. I've won only 1 official game since joining the club. Just 1. And I'm in my 3rd month at the moment where we meet once a week.

I hope you and the other guys at the club understand. It's nothing to do with the people there mate. They're great people. I just had a different expectation of what my chess club experience should be. I gave it a couple months but in the end, I guess it just wasn't for me right now. I really need to get some level of ability so I can at least give it a good go of it. Right now, I'm learning nothing from spending several hours of my time per week to lose games in competition over and over. It's not fun either.

Maybe later when I've gotten a little more ability or gained some confidence to enjoy the game a little more. Right now, i just need to play the odd social game with people around my own level. Work on my frame of mind a bit and gain a little confidence.

Once I start enjoying my chess and I'm looking for a challenge, then I'll look to come back to a chess club. But right now, I don't think this experience is for me.

Please don't think bad of me. I hope you understand.

Cheers and thanks for your help. Shane, Nick and Bob at Parra chess club especially who were really supportive, friendly and encouraging for a frustrated newbie.

Axiom
24-10-2007, 07:59 PM
Lithium, use this experience as fuel.
Enjoy studying at home,enjoy learning from online games.
Enjoy the battle, for chess is a violent sport, expect little or no quarter given.
You are a combatent, see yourself as such, develop your skills.
You must ready yourself for the fight ,enjoying each step in understanding
You can return to the ring stronger and fitter, you can revel in new victories, you can do all this, but first you must want to, must really want to.

and in the spirit of the great Siberian Chess Tigers -

"May you taste the wood of the king in your hungry expectant jaws "

DanielBell
25-10-2007, 06:52 PM
Good question mate.

I actually was at the venue, I came early and was psyching myself up to go play. But then I couldn't do it. I just couldn't come down into the room to play in the end. Not physically, but mentally. My heart just wasn't in it. I'd had a pretty long day at work and just couldn't get into the right frame of mind, already deciding I was going to lose the game before it even happened.

Maybe it's a copout, or maybe it's just a defeatist attitude, but seriously, I just couldn't get motivated to come and play that night and probably will be the same tomorrow.

I guess I was expecting either quicker progress with my chess or perhaps more newbie friendly environment. The level of competition (despite some really great people at the club) just reduced my enthusiasm to a point where I can't be bothered. I'm competitive by nature, and being so outgunned even on the bottom rank is a little hard for my ego to cop at the moment I have to say. Chess is my passtime. It's my escape from the world and what I do for fun. If it's not fun, there's no point in my book.

Lately, it's just been no fun to get walloped over and over. I've won only 1 official game since joining the club. Just 1. And I'm in my 3rd month at the moment where we meet once a week.

I hope you and the other guys at the club understand. It's nothing to do with the people there mate. They're great people. I just had a different expectation of what my chess club experience should be. I gave it a couple months but in the end, I guess it just wasn't for me right now. I really need to get some level of ability so I can at least give it a good go of it. Right now, I'm learning nothing from spending several hours of my time per week to lose games in competition over and over. It's not fun either.

Maybe later when I've gotten a little more ability or gained some confidence to enjoy the game a little more. Right now, i just need to play the odd social game with people around my own level. Work on my frame of mind a bit and gain a little confidence.

Once I start enjoying my chess and I'm looking for a challenge, then I'll look to come back to a chess club. But right now, I don't think this experience is for me.

Please don't think bad of me. I hope you understand.

Cheers and thanks for your help. Shane, Nick and Bob at Parra chess club especially who were really supportive, friendly and encouraging for a frustrated newbie.

The thing is that you are now entering the stage in the competition where you play against players that are more equal matches for you. It's just the way Swiss works, I think you're making the wrong decision but if it's battering your head that bad it is probably better to have a rest..

While we are on the 'bottom rank', you've got to keep in mind that like 7 of the people in our division are unrated, including you and I.. Unrated doesn't mean bad! I'd like to see you come back and give it another shot, even if you don't participate in competitions for a while and just play socially. The reason the chess club is good is because of how tough it is. You'll only ever get as good as your best opposition, not even Fischer won all of his games!

Anytime you wanna play on FICS or even OTB man get in contact we can arrange it :)

Good luck with what you decide to do, but as I said.. Swiss is pairing you against people of similar strength at this stage in the competition, sure you might still get a loss somewhere, but it won't at least be a slaughter.

Hopefully I'll see you at the club again soon, I still owe you an orange juice! (you keep pissing off before I can get it for you LOL!)

lithium
27-10-2007, 01:26 PM
Cheers guys, but I think a break for the moment is best for me in truth.

Whilst the swiss system will pair me with like competitors as time goes by, it's not just a single event that's been the issue. I expect too much too soon of myself and until I can learn some patience and get past the fact I won't be a good player for several years, it's best that I start really slow and work my way up.

I do play the odd game online, but if I lose I just turn the game off and walk away. I was reading recently an article done by Dan Heisman on his Novice Nook column about how you approach your chess playing and how it impacts your ability to play. He had a quick quizz on it and on completion I realised at this point in time I can't really get into the game as I really need to in order to get better.

I dunno, I'm just used to playing games where you can get good in a month or two - mostly fun type games with a little luck thrown in. Chess was like a bucket of cold water thrown over my head really and whilst the general mantra is to always play 'up' in order to learn, I generally get sidetracked by my emotions in defeat than being able to stay relaxed, critical and treat it as a learning experience.

My king is just ending up in too many bloody jaws at the moment for me to find the competitive angle of chess enjoyable at all. I need to take time out to reassess what I want and plan some more realistic expectations on what I want from the game. No biggie at the end of the day.

Cheers

brett
27-10-2007, 05:18 PM
Have you considered playing at a weaker club?

Wests Ashfield
Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club
Rooty Hill Chess Club

These clubs have a greater spread of players and not alot of strong tournament players. This way you can build up your confidence and also win more games.

Also taking a few private lessons could be quite useful to get an idea where you are going wrong and how to improve your play.



Brett

lithium
08-04-2008, 08:20 AM
Good morning gents. It's been a while and I've given myself some space from playing just to get my head in order over my chess experience. I felt pretty bad about giving up the ghost on the game as quickly as I did, but I felt it was the lesser of two evils to do so at the time.

My last game at the Parra Chess club was against an indian chap who played damn fine for 'our' division. I actually managed to set up a perfect kingside indian defence and threats to cover the centre but he managed to march pawns right up the middle and before I knew it, he had a pawn forking a queen and a rook. I honestly couldn't believe it when I saw it coming and knew there was nothing to be done and whilst I wasn't chewing up anywhere near the amount of time on my clock the opponent had, he honestly had me covered early from the outset and it was a humiliating 60 minutes that followed as he clamped down and shut me out of the game. It certainly didn't help we had half a dozen onlookers to witness such a humiliating defeat and afterwards I felt totally drained and dare I say it - cheated.

Not that the bloke had done anything wrong at all, he was very well mannered through the match and showed proper ettiquette too, but rather that I was playing a full time control tournament as a newbie - I felt like a lamb left out to slaughter and it honestly destroyed my motivation to keep playing at the club.

Since that game, I never went back and shortly after, discontinued my blog as well and put my chessboard in the closet and pursued other interests.

Lately though, I've been playing a few games online and really miss the social interactivity and feel of the pieces in hand across the table. I love chess, but my past experience with the game still stung.

Is there anywhere in Sydney where one can go and have a quiet social game or two without the need of a score sheet? I don't mind playing to a clock, I just don't like the pressure of tournaments and scoresheets ;)

I would like to play at a club if they had a support element for learning and just social play, but I haven't seen any local clubs that do that yet.

Feedback and advice appreciated!

Cheers

Zwischenzug
08-04-2008, 12:11 PM
Since that game, I never went back and shortly after, discontinued my blog as well and put my chessboard in the closet and pursued other interests.

Don't get disheartened from a single loss! Go through the game and try to figure out what went wrong. I like this game too much to quit after a single loss.

If only I didn't work afternoon shift I would gladly meet up to help/practice with you every week. Though my rating doesn't reflect it yet, my skill level is around 1500. Are you coming to the NSW Open in June? I'll be there.

Garvinator
08-04-2008, 12:16 PM
Though my rating doesn't reflect it yet, my skill level is around 1500. Are you coming to the NSW Open in June? I'll be there.
It is amazing how many players think this :lol: I do not know how your rating can be anything other than a measure of the results you have achieved.

CameronD
08-04-2008, 12:39 PM
It is amazing how many players think this :lol: I do not know how your rating can be anything other than a measure of the results you have achieved.

Theres a lot of factors that make ACF ratings very unreliable. I see them as having a +- 200 point deferrenial at least, so there a very rough esimate.

There are a lot of factors that result in this.

- pooling
- who you play against
play majority of higher rated will push your rating up
play majority against lower rated will push your rating down
- how often you play
- how many juniors you play
- the ratings are reactive, they can take many periods to respond to your true level (a 1000 players may take a year or more for a rating of 1500 to match their PR of 1500 in all their latest tournament.
- A lot of ratings jump around by 100 points up and down in consecutive periods, meaning a lot of variance.

arosar
08-04-2008, 12:54 PM
I tell you this. If you really want to play chess and love the game, then you'll find every damn reason to play no matter what. You won't bother with the reasons that get you down because those are all irrelevant.

Mate, if you feel down and hurt after losing a few games and you can't handle that, then I suggest you ditch chess now. Chess is very tragic and hurtful. Even when you become a master, the missed chances will still the prick the conscience and more so, in fact, because you just know that you should've done better.

What you should do anyway, right, is go to Hyde Park. The drunks will be gone, apparently. Plenty of social games there. Or go to Town Hall chess club (not a real cc, of course) where we can teach you a few moves. Then, if you're lucky, you get invited to the Spanish Club on Friday nights where you learn a few things, too.

AR

lithium
08-04-2008, 01:32 PM
Well it actually wasn't just one game or a few games, it was several months of gameplay that lead to this conclusion.

I joined the club and was a member for about 3-4 months before I threw in the towel. In that period of time I had played in 2 x 5 minute blitz events, 1 x 15 minute and one full time controls event as well as the inbetween social games. Over that period of time I ran up a total of 2 game wins officially. Just 2 in probably 40 odd tournament games?

My problem was that I entered into the game right at the deep end. There was really no opportunity at the club to ease your way in, right on the first day I started playing I was put into a blitz event and had to learn from the get go.

It was very hard as the club has some very highly ranked players including at least one IM and several players rated over 2000. I was playing these people from my very first event, with entry fees and cash prizes to the winners. It felt like I'd been stitched up to be honest as not only was I in the deep end from the outset and playing pro's even before I'd learned one end from the board to the other, but I was paying prize money into a kitty I never had a chance of winning for the privilege as well.

Not wanting to put the club down at all, but rather point out that it wasn't a case of rock up once - never come again. Far from it! I did ask for advice and had a little help from some of the players who were very supportive, but the environment itself was just so damn cut throat that often I wondered how they actually got new club members to stick around. It was a very, very steep learning curve.

Now given such an environment, you can understand that it is difficult to keep up your motivation.

I actually joined a club to learn how to play chess - not to compete straight away. 95% of the 'learning' came from reading books or watching DVDs - not the club itself and I thought it strange there's no real 'introduction' aspect of the club to teach people to play. Most of the learning was either through borrowing club books or snagging the odd social game from an established member between official tournament ones and asking for their advice on how you play. From my experience, most of the new player base either came from kids who learned at school or those who are forced to pay $30 and $40 an hour for an instructor to coach them. I highly doubted if an adult turned up one night and asked how to play chess they'd get very far at all in such an environment.

As an adult beginner I found the experience rather frustrating and confronting as I really didn't understand that chess clubs don't cater for people wanting to learn chess and if you want to learn properly, you had to do it elsewhere. Like I said, it's an issue of expectation management at the core - and not motivation - hence why I asked where to go play socially for a change. I certainly don't want to put down the club I played at before because it was a great bunch of people. I'm just relaying my own personal experience there as a new player confronted with such a situation.

At the end of the day I really enjoy the game for the social aspect and I really do harbour a genuine willingness to learn. But in order for me to learn effectively and actually enjoy the learning process, I need an avenue that doesn't force me to run before I've even learned to walk.

Does that make any more sense?

CameronD
08-04-2008, 01:40 PM
I was lucky that the first club I joined had a general range of 1000-1500.

I think a weaker club would result in a more enjoyable environment for you.

I see this all the time for the club I've just joined and I can point out the ones that are struggling and wont last, thrown in the deep in.It would be a great concept for clubs to have an optional beginners class (sub1200) for these people instead of tournaments.

arosar
08-04-2008, 01:46 PM
I actually joined a club to learn how to play chess - not to compete straight away. 95% of the 'learning' came from reading books or watching DVDs - not the club itself and I thought it strange there's no real 'introduction' aspect of the club to teach people to play. Most of the learning was either through borrowing club books or snagging the odd social game from an established member between official tournament ones and asking for their advice on how you play.

I think you've just identified a need right there. It's a business opportunity I reckon for these so-called chess coaching schools.

AR

lithium
08-04-2008, 02:05 PM
I think you've just identified a need right there. It's a business opportunity I reckon for these so-called chess coaching schools.

AR

I question whether this should honestly be a business based decision or not.

In most other hobbies and sports that I have been involved with, paying for tuition is something only people at the top end really need to bother with - not a requirement for entry level viability.

Put another way, would it not be in the interest of clubs (especially ones that struggle for numbers) to think about this as a way of easing new members into the game without (for the want of a better term) frightening them off? Teach them the basics, get them involved, maintain their motivation whilst they continue to learn and introduce them to the tournament scene only if they desire it?

I'd personally love to see more nurturing at club level for those wanting to learn to play, and less of the 'sink or swim' approach that seems to be common place in club chess.

I really am not looking for a 'weaker' club as such - I'm looking for an environment that isn't so competitive and doesn't cost me an hourly rate just to get to grips with the basics. It's chess, not university.

Certainly something to think about anyway...

Spiny Norman
08-04-2008, 02:11 PM
Its difficult for clubs, at least for the smaller ones. My club does provide a program for people to learn, but its focused on juniors. We run three groups: beginners, intermediate and advanced. But our expectation is that most adults who are interested in chess will already know how to play.

Perhaps that expectation is misstaken, but we're already stretched volunteer-wise in running the junior programs that we already have, so adding a group for adults would be awkward. This year we are experimenting with some new adult-focused activities:

-- New Members nights (3 during the year, especially for people to come and visit, find out what we do, talk about chess, etc).

-- Senior Coaching nights (3 during the year, especially for adults to come along and learn something from some of the more experienced players)

It will be interesting to review these at the end of 2008 to see whether they have been well attended or not.

CameronD
08-04-2008, 02:19 PM
I question whether this should honestly be a business based decision or not.

In most other hobbies and sports that I have been involved with, paying for tuition is something only people at the top end really need to bother with - not a requirement for entry level viability.

Put another way, would it not be in the interest of clubs (especially ones that struggle for numbers) to think about this as a way of easing new members into the game without (for the want of a better term) frightening them off? Teach them the basics, get them involved, maintain their motivation whilst they continue to learn and introduce them to the tournament scene only if they desire it?

I agree

In lawn bowls, the Laws require 6 weeks (15 hours) of free coaching before they are allowed to play to ensure

- ettiqute
- dress standards
- performance of basic duties (inc raising/lowering of flags)
- minumin playing abilities for everyones enjoyment. (very low standard)

Davidflude
08-04-2008, 10:03 PM
Don't get disheartened from a single loss! Go through the game and try to figure out what went wrong. I like this game too much to quit after a single loss.



Going through your game is one of the best ways to improve. It is used by players from near beginners to Grandmasters who play in the World Championship.

In my club Box Hill the analysis room gets very lively as all manner of games are evaluated. (Fortunately we have two double brick walls between the playing hall and the analysis room).

Incidentally our playing strength ranges from about 300 to 2000+ with IM's and Fide masters dropping in.

A further point is to get coaching. I have watched GM Darryl coach our microboppers. He explains things so well.

Thanks also for the postings about the State Library in Victoria.

Davidflude
08-04-2008, 10:10 PM
Cheers guys, but I think a break for the moment is best for me in truth.

Whilst the swiss system will pair me with like competitors as time goes by, it's not just a single event that's been the issue. I expect too much too soon of myself and until I can learn some patience and get past the fact I won't be a good player for several years, it's best that I start really slow and work my way up.

I do play the odd game online, but if I lose I just turn the game off and walk away. I was reading recently an article done by Dan Heisman on his Novice Nook column about how you approach your chess playing and how it impacts your ability to play. He had a quick quizz on it and on completion I realised at this point in time I can't really get into the game as I really need to in order to get better.



I dunno, I'm just used to playing games where you can get good in a month or two - mostly fun type games with a little luck thrown in. Chess was like a bucket of cold water thrown over my head really and whilst the general mantra is to always play 'up' in order to learn, I generally get sidetracked by my emotions in defeat than being able to stay relaxed, critical and treat it as a learning experience.

My king is just ending up in too many bloody jaws at the moment for me to find the competitive angle of chess enjoyable at all. I need to take time out to reassess what I want and plan some more realistic expectations on what I want from the game. No biggie at the end of the day.

Cheers

Get a spot the combination book. It needs large clear diagrams. Work through these on the train or in the intervals at the football.

Play against a chess computer program but make the computer play the black side of the opening you play as white. This will help a lot too. Make the computer blunder a pawn in the opening so that you can practice playing with the advantage.

Axiom
08-04-2008, 10:25 PM
It is amazing how many players think this :lol: I do not know how your rating can be anything other than a measure of the results you have achieved.
maybe the afternoon shifts have interrupted his playing schedule whilst improving at home ?

WhiteElephant
08-04-2008, 11:57 PM
I am running adult social chess classes in Melbourne.....

One reason there are not many groups like this is because it is tricky to get together a bunch of people of roughly the same standard and experience level. When I advertised my classes, I got responses from a wide range of players...even at the beginner level there is such a large scope - from those who only know how to move the pieces to those who know an opening or 2 and so on.

Good luck and I hope you find a group that is suitable. I would try arosar's idea...Hyde Park or Town Hall chess club. Or you can always move to Melbourne :)

Ian Rout
09-04-2008, 09:56 AM
Mate, if you feel down and hurt after losing a few games and you can't handle that, then I suggest you ditch chess now. Chess is very tragic and hurtful. Even when you become a master, the missed chances will still the prick the conscience and more so, in fact, because you just know that you should've done better.

I've seen a few adult beginners give it a go and give up so I don't think what lithium describes is unusual. Part of the problem is that adult players tend to have higher expectations of themselves than juniors - some juniors will shuffle pieces aimlessly for a few years without getting despondent about not improving, and suddenly make a leap. Even juniors who do improve from the start do so in spurts with plateaus in between. Adults don't have time on their side the way that juniors do.

The observation that clubs are mainly about playing rather than teaching is a good one. But I don't know that it's different in other sports, how many people join football/cricket/netball/whatever clubs for the joy of training?

The matter of adult coaching does get mentioned from time to time - a couple of points that I would make:

1. It's not a magic bullet, it won't teach you anything you can't discover yourself though it should do so much more quickly and efficiently. You still have to be prepared to do the work (include playing and losing).

2. One advantage that adults have is the capacity to organise themselves. If a group gets together and undertakes to be available for training it might give a club some incentive to organise something, rather than trying to persuade someone to sit out a tournament on the off chance of anyone being interested.

WhiteElephant
09-04-2008, 10:51 AM
I've seen a few adult beginners give it a go and give up so I don't think what lithium describes is unusual. Part of the problem is that adult players tend to have higher expectations of themselves than juniors - some juniors will shuffle pieces aimlessly for a few years without getting despondent about not improving, and suddenly make a leap. Even juniors who do improve from the start do so in spurts with plateaus in between. Adults don't have time on their side the way that juniors do.

The observation that clubs are mainly about playing rather than teaching is a good one. But I don't know that it's different in other sports, how many people join football/cricket/netball/whatever clubs for the joy of training?

The matter of adult coaching does get mentioned from time to time - a couple of points that I would make:

1. It's not a magic bullet, it won't teach you anything you can't discover yourself though it should do so much more quickly and efficiently. You still have to be prepared to do the work (include playing and losing).

2. One advantage that adults have is the capacity to organise themselves. If a group gets together and undertakes to be available for training it might give a club some incentive to organise something, rather than trying to persuade someone to sit out a tournament on the off chance of anyone being interested.

Yes, Ian makes some very good points. That is why I stressed the importance of having a group of people who are roughly the same standard - as soon as you get one player who is even slightly better than another, one will win 90%+ of games. The result is one person who is bored and another who is depressed :)

I think that new players need to remember that they are entering a new community and a new culture. They need to keep the focus on meeting other chessplayers, learning from them, and integrating into the scene. If it is looked at as a social activity then the winning/losing aspect won't be as significant.

In Melbourne, I would recommend going to one of a few places which have sprung up for playing social chess - State Library of Victoria, Elwood Gardens, Gloria Jeans on Chapel St. Sorry I can't help with any Sydney info.

Rincewind
09-04-2008, 11:36 AM
Adults don't have time on their side the way that juniors do.

I think this is actually a furphy. In terms of years most adults have decades of life still ahead of them so the difference between most adults and juniors in these terms is minimal. With regards free time, my impression is most people out of tertiary eduction have more disposable time than those seriously engaged in late secondary and tertiary eduction.

Things that work against adults in my opinion is a lack of patience which is probably keyed into the higher expectation you mentioned earlier and a greater number of distractions in the form of other past times, family/social life, and the like. Life is pretty interesting and much larger than chess so to dedicate a sizable portion of your time to improving your chessplay is not a choice many people are willing to make.

Ian Rout
09-04-2008, 01:23 PM
I think this is actually a furphy. In terms of years most adults have decades of life still ahead of them so the difference between most adults and juniors in these terms is minimal. With regards free time, my impression is most people out of tertiary eduction have more disposable time than those seriously engaged in late secondary and tertiary eduction.

Things that work against adults in my opinion is a lack of patience which is probably keyed into the higher expectation you mentioned earlier and a greater number of distractions in the form of other past times, family/social life, and the like. Life is pretty interesting and much larger than chess so to dedicate a sizable portion of your time to improving your chessplay is not a choice many people are willing to make.
I meant it more in the sense that adults perceive that time is not on their side. An adult would assess their remaining lifetime as, say, thirty or forty years. A junior assesses theirs as infinite. Hence when an adult extrapolates their first six months' progress and concludes (probably wrongly, which is the other part of the problem) that it will take two hundred years to achieve basic competence they naturally become discouraged. A junior just plays, the question of "when will I get good?" doesn't arise.

The point about adults having access to other activities is very relevant. Even teenagers who are playing well give up chess as their options widen.

One other point I should mention about adults giving up is that I have seen adults giving up not through a period of frustration but only after they have started winning a few games, as if they have learned enough to know how much there is still to learn and are overwhelmed by that.

Trent Parker
09-04-2008, 04:30 PM
For the break between our main tournament playing periods I'm thinking of holding "learn to play (better) chess" meetings at Campbelltown chess Club on our regular monday night club night in order to attempt to boost membership at campbelltown. The idea would be to get the regular members to assist a newcomer to improve their game through playing games, giving advice on where they went wrong, etc etc.

I reckon there would be a lot of players like Lithium out there who are between the beginners and the club players who want to look to improve their game.

Lets see what happens though....

lithium
15-04-2008, 08:08 AM
I think it's all fine, fair and good to sit down and analyse why new adult players can quickly get disheartened, but apart from trying to prove a point, it doesn't do a whole lot to rectify the problem.

What's needed are solutions, not analysis on why it's an issue (or not an issue, depending on your perspective).

CameronD
15-04-2008, 09:28 AM
For the break between our main tournament playing periods I'm thinking of holding "learn to play (better) chess" meetings at Campbelltown chess Club on our regular monday night club night in order to attempt to boost membership at campbelltown. The idea would be to get the regular members to assist a newcomer to improve their game through playing games, giving advice on where they went wrong, etc etc.

I reckon there would be a lot of players like Lithium out there who are between the beginners and the club players who want to look to improve their game.

Lets see what happens though....

I think general lectures would be better then playing games. Like endgame thery, middlegame tactics, how to use each piece (outposts/bishopvknight etc)

bill718
15-04-2008, 12:37 PM
I encountered an identical problem when I walked into my
local chess club years ago. The best advise I can give is
twofold 1. ALWAYS go over your games with your opponent after
you complete them. It's the best free chess education you'll
ever get! 2. Have paitence with yourself. If you study 3 or more
hours a week and play regularly, you will get better. Chess is
by nature, a competitive game. Hang in there, as the old
saying goes: What does not kill you, makes you stronger!

Bill718 :eek:

Rincewind
15-04-2008, 12:52 PM
What does not kill you, makes you stronger!

- Nietzsche

Another of his quotes which I like is...


On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.

This also applies to chess.