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jumb135
04-08-2005, 08:33 PM
Howdy, i am by no means a chess expert but do i enjoy playing chess alot. I have been playing chess at a casual recreation since i was 6 ( i am 17 now)but i havnt taken it seriously. During the past year i have increasingly become interested in chess and want to make it more than just a casual recreation, which leads me here with some questions.

1. Is it possible to start studying chess seriously at the age of 18 and still reach a high rating (expert).

2. Are there any good chess clubs in the St.George region of Sydney. I live in Hurstville.

3. On a limited budget what would be a good method to improve my chess.

antichrist
04-08-2005, 08:39 PM
Howdy, i am by no means a chess expert but do i enjoy playing chess alot. I have been playing chess at a casual recreation since i was 6 ( i am 17 now)but i havnt taken it seriously. During the past year i have increasingly become interested in chess and want to make it more than just a casual recreation, which leads me here with some questions.

1. Is it possible to start studying chess seriously at the age of 18 and still reach a high rating (expert).

2. Are there any good chess clubs in the St.George region of Sydney. I live in Hurstville.

3. On a limited budget what would be a good method to improve my chess.

Now listen jumb, the world is at your feet. Just go along to your local St George Leagues Club chess club. There you can become an international master in the shortest time possible without ever having lifted a piece in anger. And without even writing down a move. Itn't that cool.

The_Wise_Man
04-08-2005, 09:26 PM
Hello Jumb135

I am the President of the St George Leagues Club Chess Club on the Princess Highway at Kogarah. We are starting a Allegro tournament (15 minutes each) on Tuesday Night at 7.30pm...

Be there at 7.15pm and ask for Chris Nikolaou (thats me...) and we can get you to play in the tournament... you will need to wear a collared shirt and be accompanied by an adult to be let in... Let the security know that you are here for chess and they will show you where to go in the club...

Let me know your details and I can send you a calendar tomorrow morning...
Membership to the club is only $10 a year and that entitles you to play in all tournament for free except for the Summer Open and Grade matches which have additional fees.

If you wish to chat further, you can give me a call on 0403 324 548 or email chris@stgeorgechess.org

Regards

Wise
(Chris Nikolaou)

peanbrain
04-08-2005, 11:52 PM
Now listen jumb, the world is at your feet. Just go along to your local St George Leagues Club chess club. There you can become an international master in the shortest time possible without ever having lifted a piece in anger. And without even writing down a move. Itn't that cool.

The first lesson for jump135 is to put a/c on ignore list. you see the devil got to him and all is too late it seems. :confused:

Spiny Norman
05-08-2005, 09:49 AM
1. Is it possible to start studying chess seriously at the age of 18 and still reach a high rating (expert).

I've started playing/learning seriously at the grand old age of 42, so don't let your age worry you ... as to whether I can ever lay claim to being 'expert' at chess, well, the rule I live by is that if you know 10-15% more than the guy next to you, that makes you an expert (so maybe I should hang around with beginners!). ;)

Good luck with your chess, and welcome to the board!

Gattaca
05-08-2005, 01:22 PM
The commonly used rating for 'expert' is 2000.

Yes, it is possible for a 42 year old to start from scratch and reach 2000, but it would be difficult and rare.

You'd need to be very preoccupied with the game, and studying and playing a lot to achieve that aim. It would take many years, I'd say 5 or 6 years minimum to attain that strength and another year for your rating to catch up.

This is assuming you have enough time to devote and the prerequisites that make up chess 'talent'.

In my opinion these characteristics include the following:

Intelligence. You don't have to be a genius to reach a high level, but a sharp mind obviously helps a lot.

Ego involvement. (Will to win, sense of destiny, belief in yourself as a special case, are all part of that.) It has to matter a lot to you. Losses have to hurt.

Hard work. Study is the single fastest way to improve (unfortunately!) Reading heaps of books in a methodical way is guaranteed to improve you quickly, especially middle game and ending books and annotated game anthologies. This was my own Achilles Heel :(

Environment. Without opportunity to practice against strong opposition it's hard to get strong. Join the strongest club you can, seek out the strongest opposition.

Love of the game. This is related to ego involvement in some ways and is the driving force behind hard work. It's probably at least as important as having a good mind. Even if at times you feel you might not have everything it takes, no-one can dispute it if you have this and it's hard to under-rate it as a factor.

If you feel you have most of these bases covered then you've got a chance. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise! There's a reason why I use the handle Gattaca. Watch the movie. You don't need every advantage if you've got the determination and self belief. I didn't start playing until age 12 (same as Darryl Johansen) and we weren't exactly flavour of the month as juniors. At the time the big names in junior ranks were Ian Rogers, Bill Jordan, Murray Smith, Greg Frean and John Stirling. All very talented players, but of these only Ian Rogers ended up stronger.

My girlfriend took up chess in her mid thirties a couple of years ago, learning from scratch. The transition from not even knowing the rules to playing in tournaments is huge. Most people don't realise this because they learnt as juniors and played fifty million terrible games where the results didn't matter.

In my opinion it's a bit of a myth that juniors have such malleable little brains that they just suck in information naturally and learn much faster than adults. No junior I've ever coached has improved as fast as her. Using her adult logic and limited but methodical study she has gone from pretty much rating zero to about 1100 extremely quickly and plays segments of games at a much higher level. Juniors (very young ones anyway) tend to be able to devote a lot of time to chess and play heaps of games so of course they improve quickly from a low base. However, their thought processes are usually a bit unruly and their concentration limited, so an adult can actually improve quicker if all other things were equal. (They rarely are.)

The hardest thing is getting on top of tactics. Getting 'sight of the board', which is subconscious and based unfortunately on familiarity and repetition. It's hard to learn... you just have to play a lot and see a lot of patterns and themes. Once again though, if you make a concerted effort to improve your sight of the board and tactical awareness you will achieve it quicker than someone who doesn't.

Finally, as someone correctly pointed out to my girlfriend, it's about the journey. Chess is such a great game, ahead of all others, it has to be enjoyed for what it is. Getting to 2000 would no doubt give you a great sense of accomplishment, but if you don't get there you will still be grappling with the most beautiful game ever devised and your time is not 'wasted' any more than looking at beautiful paintings is wasting time.

Gattaca
05-08-2005, 02:02 PM
By the way, I know you are only 17 Jumb and it is Frosty who is 42. I'm just using Frosty's age as a more interesting hypothetical. There's absolutely no question that a 17 year old living in Australia can get over 2000. I think Alex Wohl only learnt at about that age and he is a long way past 2000.

pballard
05-08-2005, 03:14 PM
By the way, I know you are only 17 Jumb and it is Frosty who is 42. I'm just using Frosty's age as a more interesting hypothetical. There's absolutely no question that a 17 year old living in Australia can get over 2000. I think Alex Wohl only learnt at about that age and he is a long way past 2000.

Alex played in at least one Aussie junior (1981), and was highly rated even then. I don't doubt that he may have started late, but not as late as 17.

But learning as a late teenager is certainly possible. I think Reuben Fine (one time world champion contender) learnt the moves at about aged 16, and I'm sure there are similar examples.

Besides, there are others who take chess up as an adult and keep going just because they enjoy it!

Spiny Norman
05-08-2005, 03:48 PM
There's hope for my wife then ... I'm not allowed to mention her age, but its not far from mine. She has started taking an interest in chess. She has more than enough qualifications in terms of IQ and so on, but I think the 'killer instinct' is probably missing.

BTW, I didn't start from scratch this year. I played quite a lot from about age 15 through to 20 or thereabouts. It is only this year that I decided to push myself to see how far I could get. I've always been a long way from 'expert' level. Currently around 1300. I've set myself a short term goal of reaching 1600 strength.

But my aggressive instincts get the better of me. Last night, playing a highly experienced expert, I sacced a piece on move 3 (!). Got away with it for a while, but went astray in the middle game and lost fairly convincingly. :)

pballard
07-08-2005, 05:38 PM
But my aggressive instincts get the better of me. Last night, playing a highly experienced expert, I sacced a piece on move 3 (!).

That's hard to imagine. Would you care giving those first 3 moves, if it's not too embarassing :)

Spiny Norman
07-08-2005, 07:08 PM
That's hard to imagine. Would you care giving those first 3 moves, if it's not too embarassing :)

Nah, I'm not at all embarrassed. I just took the view that if I got into a positional fight I'd lose slowly and painfully, so I went for the jugular. I've posted the game here:

http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=2778

Feel free to add your comments to that thread.

The_Wise_Man
08-08-2005, 08:48 PM
you didn't scare the fish away... will see tomorrow...

Wise