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KentDMc
21-09-2006, 09:20 PM
I want to present to you fine chess minds my plan for improving my
play. I am currently a Class D player (approx. 1300). I am making a
commitment to myself to try to become a Class A (approx. 1800) player
withing 1 - 2 years. The list of books that follows is a large part of my
plan to achieve this. The books are listed in order that I plan to read
them, and categorized by rating.

I am looking for input on this list. I fully understand that there are
many great books out there and the list cant fit them all. For that
reason, I'm really NOT looking for comments like:

"I really like Fred Flintstone's How to ROCK Your Chess World. You
should check it out!"
or
"What? Why isn't Blow Your Opponents Away by Ted Kaczynski on the
list?"

Those types of comments probably won't convince me to append or modify
my list. I am more interested in the following:

- Are there any holes in my plan? Any areas I didn't cover?
- Are any of the books on my list garbage or redundant?
- Do my books seem to be in correct order/ rating class?

Please note, reading books alone will obviously not be enough, so, in
addition, I am also doing the following:

- Playing at least one long rated online game 5+ days a week.
- Playing at my local chess club against better players on a biweekly
basis.
- Running all my games through Fritz and identifying my blunders.
- Building and studying an opening book in Chessbase, playing through
master games in that book.
- Using various other computer-based training tools.
- Sleeping with a chess piece under my pillow.
- Wearing my Chess tie (yeah, I do) once a week.

The Play Winning Chess series by Yasser Seirawan, as well as Irving
Chernevs Logical Chess Move By Move, do not appear on the list because I
have already read them. They are all highly recommended.

Okay! Finally to the books!

But first...
(*) This symbol identifies books that I do not yet own. If they do not
belong, I would like to know before I spend money. All other books I
own already, otherwise some may not have made the list. I probably won't
take any of the already-owned books off the list unless absolutely
neccessary, as I will become depressed over having wasted the money.

TACTICAL TRAINING:

This section is separated from the rest because I will always be
reading these over and over while I go through the other list. These are
tactical puzzle books that all fit in my pocket when I'm out or work
really well as bathroom books. I do not buy into the idea that players
under 1800 should just study tactics so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not start
that argument in this thread.

RATING 1300 - 1500:

1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations - Fred Reinfeld

Great collection of often challenging puzzles grouped my theme (pin, fork, etc.)

1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate - Fred Reinfeld
(Same as above, just mating themes.)

RATING 1500 - 1800:

*Sharpen Your Tactics - Lein and Archangelsky

Reviewed as a more challenging collection, with no thematic ordering.
*Its Your Move: Tough Puzzles - Chris Ward
Apparently the most challenging of the four.

MAIN BOOK LIST

RATING 1300 - 1400

Chess Master Vs. Chess Amateur - Euwe & Melden

*Chess Strategy - Ludek Pachman

*Understanding Pawn Play - Drazen Marovic

Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played. - Irving Chernev

*Dvorskey's Endgame Manual - Mark Dvoretsky

This book will be more advanced, but I plan to put in the extra effort to master this area early, since this is probably my weakest area. I
lose Rook/Pawn endings all the time because I don't know how to play
them.

RATING 1400 - 1500

*Starting Out . . . (White Opening)

I have not yet decided on my personal opening repetoir. When I do, I will buy a book for my prefered white and black opening from the
Starting Out series. They seem very good.

*Starting Out . . . (Black Opening)

Probably will be the Sicilian.

The Art of the Middle Game - Keres & Kotov

The Amature's Mind - Jeremy Silman

*Endgame Challenge - John Hall
Should solidify what I learned in Dvorsky's Endgame Manual

RATING 1500 - 1600

*Starting Out . . . (White Opening)
My second choice opening.

*Starting Out . . . (Black Opening)

*The Middlegame - Book 1 - Max Euwe

*Dynamic Pawn Play - Drazen Marovic
Sequal to Understanding Pawn Play.

*The Middlegame - Book 2 - Max Euwe

How to Reasses Your Chess - Jeremy Silman

Chess Endgame Quiz - Larry Evans

RATING 1600-1700

*Understanding Chess Move By Move - John Nunn

How to Reassess Your Chess Workbook - Jeremy Silman

The Power Chess Program. - Nigel Davies

Zuric International Chess Tournament - David Bronstein

The Power Chess Program II - Nigel Davies

RATING 1700 - 1800

*The Art of Attack In Chess - Vladimir Vukovic

*The Art of Defense In Chess - Andrew Soltis

*The Art of Chess Combination - Eugene Znosko-Borovsky

*The Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy - John Watson

END OF LIST

Wow, that's a lot. By this time, I hope to have reached my goal.
Other books that I plan to read after, in no specific order, are as
follows.

The Life and Games of Mikhal Tal

*Moder Chess Strategy in Action - John Watson
Follow up to Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy.

Alexander Alehkine: My Best Games.

*Dvorsky's School of Excellence Series.


Well, my friends, that's my post. I would love to get meaningful
feedback on this.

Rincewind
21-09-2006, 09:37 PM
It's an impressive list and I wish you well. I haven't read a lot of your books but the following suggestions might be helpful.

Perhaps some simpler endgame books would be more useful that Dvoretsky's as a first book to study. Not sure as I haven't read that book but judging what I know from DVoretsky's other books (that I have read :) ) they tend to be making quite subtle points and you might find the going heavy if all you really want is an idea how to play KRP v KR endgames.

Also I have read both Vukovic's Art of Attack and Nunn's Logical chess and would probably recommend reading Vukovic's first. I find Nunn's is a much deeper book and will take more time to digest and probably be easier going to do them in that order.

I hope you find this feedback meaningful and all the best with your program of study.

Vlad
21-09-2006, 09:56 PM
Rather than making comments about the books I would like to comment on a general approach. Are you sure you can commit yourself to reading 50 heavy-duty chess books? I personally find it hard to believe. I could be wrong though.:)

I would suggest something much simpler and much more effective. Do the tactics produced by convekta. Start with the tactics for the beginners; continue with the tactics for the intermediate players. Also subscribe to the tactics website where you can solve problems in interactive regime, there is a link somewhere on this bulletin.

Desmond
21-09-2006, 10:06 PM
I want to present to you fine chess minds my plan for improving my play. I am currently a Class D player (approx. 1300). I am making a commitment to myself to try to become a Class A (approx. 1800) player withing 1 - 2 years. The list of books that follows is a large part of my
plan to achieve this. The books are listed in order that I plan to read them, and categorized by rating.Hi Kent

Let me say first that my rating is high 1700's, so I guess by your definition I would be an A class on a good day.

- Playing at least one long rated online game 5+ days a week.This is a good idea. Try to get games against stronger players.

- Playing at my local chess club against better players on a biweekly basis.Another good idea. There is no substitute for over the board play. Try to go through the game/s with your opponent/s afterwards.

- Running all my games through Fritz and identifying my blunders.
- Building and studying an opening book in Chessbase, playing through
master games in that book.
- Using various other computer-based training tools.I have only recently started doing this myself, and have found it to be very valuable.

- Sleeping with a chess piece under my pillow.
- Wearing my Chess tie (yeah, I do) once a week.Can't hurt I suppose.

TACTICAL TRAINING:To you list I would add: Combinational Motifs, by Bloch. It lists the problems by motif, and assigns a difficulty rating (1-10, from memory). This would be especially useful for you, since your first read through you could do the level 1-3 puzzles, second read 3-5 etc. They are positions taken from real games, and if you can solve all of these, you will be a very strong tactician.

*Dvorskey's Endgame Manual - Mark Dvoretsky

This book will be more advanced, but I plan to put in the extra effort to master this area early, since this is probably my weakest area. I lose Rook/Pawn endings all the time because I don't know how to play them.You might want to focus on the endgame a little more. There's an excellent book, I think called Rook Endings by Symslov and Levenfish.

*Starting Out . . . (White Opening)

I have not yet decided on my personal opening repetoir. When I do, I will buy a book for my prefered white and black opening from the
Starting Out series. They seem very good.

*Starting Out . . . (Black Opening)

Probably will be the Sicilian. I'm not familiar with the starting out series. Whatever your repetoire, make sure that this is what you play in your practice matches. Chessbase is great for looking up what others have played in the same position. Make sure that you use CB in conjunction with your opening study and analysis of your games. Also, be sure to follow through the games to the end. Seeing that a particular move lead to a win in a game is not enough, as there could be mistakes made later that affected the result.

The Art of the Middle Game - Keres & KotovRead anything you can find by Kotov. This goes for Dvorstsky and Averbakh too.

Hope this helped. Good luck!

KentDMc
21-09-2006, 10:09 PM
Drug

Yeah, I know this is a lofty goal. I may burn out at certain times, read a fantasy book or two, but I think my motivation is there, and certainly my undying love for the game so cross your fingers for me.

The tacticts application you are refering to in CT-ART. Own it. It is also part of my training plan. However, please note where I said above than I don't buy into the idea that Tactics training is all you need for < 1800. This is a great debate I would love to have, but please NOT HERE. Start a new post and I'll be there...

Ricewind

Yes! Thank you! Just the kind of input I was hoping for. I think I will swap locations of The Art of Attack in Chess and Understanding Chess Move by Move. In fact and will probably move John Nunn's book until just before The Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy. Thanks again!

KentDMc
21-09-2006, 10:57 PM
Boris,

Thank you for your comments! Very insightful and encouraging.


Regarding Dvorskey's Endgame Manual

I like reading the book reviews on www.JeremySilman.com, where he and his buddies give very indepth reviews and assign recommendation point values. The following is a quote by Jeremy Simlan on this book:


There is no doubt that this is a great book, but who is it for? This is always the million-dollar question, and in this case I can say, “For everyone 1400 and up!” – with one caveat: If you intend to make a serious, intense, and prolonged study of the endgame, then this is the only book you'll need. However, if you only want to learn the basics, preferring to spend most of your time on openings, middlegames, tactics and whatnot, then DVORETSKY'S ENDGAME MANUAL might prove a bit overwhelming.

I would point to where he specifically says "This is the only book you'll need," and you'll see that this is the only instructional endgame book on my list. The other two endgame books are really puzzle books that test (or refresh) your endgame knowledge.

It is my plan to really study and understand this book. As I said, this is probably my weakest area. If I can make it my strongest area, I'm sure that alone would boost my rating up 100+ points. Some of my draws would be come wins and some losses would become draws.

Kevin Bonham
22-09-2006, 01:15 AM
I want to present to you fine chess minds my plan for improving my
play. I am currently a Class D player (approx. 1300). I am making a
commitment to myself to try to become a Class A (approx. 1800) player
withing 1 - 2 years.

How old are you and how long have you been playing? This kind of jump in playing strength is acheivable for a strong junior or in rare cases a relatively inexperienced (but talented) adult but usually well beyond the reach of the average club player. I have come across many club players who devote a lot of time to studying books in order to "improve" but yet only make gradual progress if any. In part this is because they fail to grasp that performance at tournament level isn't solely about how good a player you are "theoretically", but is about a grasp of practical tournament play.

For instance my rook endings improved out of sight not from reading any books but because I cottoned on to a practical error I was making now and then: failing to appreciate the value of a single strong pawn in a situation of material deficit. Getting a better handle on this enabled me to win (mostly through swindles) games I would have lost.

That said:


- Playing at least one long rated online game 5+ days a week.
- Playing at my local chess club against better players on a biweekly
basis.
- Running all my games through Fritz and identifying my blunders.
- Building and studying an opening book in Chessbase, playing through
master games in that book.

(etc) are all good plans. But don't just identify your blunders - try to look for characteristic kinds of mistakes that you make a lot (not necessarily blunders) in order to avoid them next time. A computer will help with this for tactics, but running them past a strong human player is also desirable. Especially if you feel you have a weakness in the ending.

MichaelBaron
22-09-2006, 03:10 AM
50 Chess books can not substitute one experienced chess coach!

KentDMc
22-09-2006, 03:59 AM
Kevin,

Thanks for the reply. I'm 27, playing semi-seriously since college. I've always had a shelf of chess books that I "will read someday", but never got around to. Well, I'm dedicating myself now. Putting some structure in my life and setting goals. Yeehaw! I do feel I have a lot of room to grow. My mind for chess feels like a bucket with just a bit of water in it.

And yes, studying a lot of chess is no replacement for playing experience. I'll bet on the experienced street brawler over a black-belt whose never been in a fight. I would be very interested if what you call "a grasp of practical tournament play." I take that to mean certain opportunities to win that you won't find in a chess book because they aren't really sound theories. I forget who, but I remember reading about one historic world championship contender who would kick his opponents under the table. That might be a little extreme. I would be very interested in any other exampls of this practical tournament play.

MichaelBaron

Yahoo! You got your one liner in there! But seriously, I know what you are saying is correct. I haven't the personal life or finances to take that option. My plan is to go as far as I can on my own. Once I platue, I will try to get professional direction. Does that sound like a good plan?

Kevin Bonham
22-09-2006, 11:19 AM
I would be very interested if what you call "a grasp of practical tournament play." I take that to mean certain opportunities to win that you won't find in a chess book because they aren't really sound theories. I forget who, but I remember reading about one historic world championship contender who would kick his opponents under the table. That might be a little extreme. I would be very interested in any other exampls of this practical tournament play.

A board had to be put under the table to stop Korchnoi and Petrosian from kicking each other in their 1977 elimination match.

I don't mean cheating (which is usually impractical anyway). :D I mean stuff like effective time management, using the other person's time problems against them, picking the move that is sound and gives the opponent slightly more chance to go astray rather than the move that is just a tiny fraction "better", and maximising your drawing (or winning) chances when you get in a bad position. Some of this stuff is repulsive to perfectionists but important if what you want is results and you're not too fussed about whether the games you play to get them are artistic masterpieces. Simon Webb's "Chess For Tigers" is the classic of this genre.

Also, if you want to be a strong tournament player there is no substitute for tournament experience. Many players assume they will get really strong by studying, studying, studying and playing online or casual games and then show up and prove it in a tournament. I have never known that approach to actually work.

Davidflude
22-09-2006, 12:51 PM
An oldie but a goody. deals with subjects of real relevance to the club player which are not dealt with well elsewhere.

Whatever you read it will help.

Watto
22-09-2006, 12:56 PM
Hi KentDMc. I know you were seeking input from strong players but I just wanted to thank you for that list. Very interesting. Reminds me how lazy I am... I've read a total of two beginner books by Purdy (one given to me by Paul Dunn before I'd played in a tournament- thanks Paul! :))

Anyway, I’m now going through 'Simple Chess' by Michael Stean (there’s apparently a new algebraic edition) and finding it very useful. Here’s a description: “Having a hard time with Chess Strategy? Utilizing Master and Grandmaster examples, the author takes you through the process of accumulating small but permanent advantages which lead to the outright winning attack. Breaks down the mystique of strategy into plain, easy-to-understand ideas.”

Anyway, best of luck with it. You’ve inspired me!

likesforests
22-09-2006, 01:00 PM
Regarding Dvorskey's Endgame Manual

I like reading the book reviews on www.JeremySilman.com, where he and his buddies give very indepth reviews and assign recommendation point values. The following is a quote by Jeremy Simlan on this book:


“For everyone 1400 and up!” – with one caveat: If you intend to make a serious, intense, and prolonged study of the endgame, then this is the only book you'll need. However, if you only want to learn the basics, preferring to spend most of your time on openings, middlegames, tactics and whatnot, then DVORETSKY'S ENDGAME MANUAL might prove a bit overwhelming.
I would point to where he specifically says "This is the only book you'll need," and you'll see that this is the only instructional endgame book on my list.


I own the book and would clarify that a "serious, intense, and prologed study" means spending a minimum of 2 hours per day for one year, or 1 hour per day for two years. It's great, it's readable, but it's challenging.

If you can't make that commitment, then it's probably wise to begin with a smaller book such as Pandolfini's Endgame Course. You can finish it in 30 days and have a rough idea of which endgames to aim for and how to play them.

Otherwise, you may end up mastering pawn endings, but knowing diddly about rook endings. Breadth before depth. :-)

WhiteElephant
22-09-2006, 01:59 PM
Hi Kent,

I coach a few adult players and I find that they LOVE studying and studying theory. But when I try to get them to do a few tactical exercises they get bored or they think it a waste of time. Then, when we play training games, they play the opening very well but fall for simple two-move combinations. In contrast, kids LOVE doing puzzles and tactical exercises and improve at a much faster rate than adults, though I am sure there are also many other reasons for their faster development.

I bet there are many players around 2000 strength (myself included) who have not read that many books in their lifetime. I would take drug's advice and do lots of tactical exercises - a few of your books, such as the Reinfeld ones, are great for this. In addition, one good book on openings and one on endgames should be enough to get you going. Then play in a few tournaments and you will be able to identify your strengths/ weaknesses, which will enable you to select appropriate additional books.

Good luck.

MichaelBaron
22-09-2006, 08:59 PM
Hi Kent,

I coach a few adult players and I find that they LOVE studying and studying theory. But when I try to get them to do a few tactical exercises they get bored or they think it a waste of time. Then, when we play training games, they play the opening very well but fall for simple two-move combinations. In contrast, kids LOVE doing puzzles and tactical exercises and improve at a much faster rate than adults, though I am sure there are also many other reasons for their faster development.

I bet there are many players around 2000 strength (myself included) who have not read that many books in their lifetime. I would take drug's advice and do lots of tactical exercises - a few of your books, such as the Reinfeld ones, are great for this. In addition, one good book on openings and one on endgames should be enough to get you going. Then play in a few tournaments and you will be able to identify your strengths/ weaknesses, which will enable you to select appropriate additional books.

Good luck.

I do agree that tactics is important (obviously). But doing the tactical puzzles/exercises only, leads to a one-dimensional style. Of course there is no better way to achieve quick improvement to one's playing level. But in the long-term, improvement is related to understanding positional chess and strategic patterns.

Lets compare the "auzzie" players with migrants from Eastern Europe. All the Eastern European "amateurs" (some of them have not played a single tournament game ever since the age of 17-18) play at least 1700-1800 level. So how do you maintain such a level without having regular tournament practice? The answer lies in the exellent chess schooling they recieved when growing up.

When I was a student at the Moscow chess school of Olympic Reserve we were able to attend chess classes twice a week at the Moscow Pioneers' Club. A class would usually last for 4 hours or so. Experienced instructors/coaches would teach us about a) positional patterns b) tactical patterns c) endgames d) opening strategy etc. We were also able to get the instructors to go through our games with us.

Thats why i feel that it is positional understanding that enables a person to obtain so-called "chess culture". In Australia we have some incredible talents like Smerdon and Zhao, but what level does an average Auzzie player reach after playing/studying chess for 5 years?

In Russia the weakest chess students get to 2000 rather easily by the age of 17 or so. After that, majority of these people retires from competitive chess to focus on study/work but they are able to appreciate the beauty of chess for the rest of their lives. They can go through Master games and understand them at least to a certain extent.

I know quite a few Auzzie players who are very talented (they do see a lot of cheap tactical tricks quickly) but once they get to a certain level, the lack of schooling does show. There is an Australian FM I can think of who can play a tactical brilliancy on a good day, yet when you watch him play endgames, you feel like he should be banned from chess tournaments for "raping" the game of chess. Thats right, one word that comes to mind when I watch some people play endgames is "rape". Of course, for a 1200 rated player there is an easy way to get to 1600. Just stop blundering, and learn some cheap tactical trips -and the job is done. But what is next?

This is why i believe it is absolutely essential for everyone (juniors in particularly) to learn about strategy as early as possible and learn to appreciate the fact that chess is not a battle of moves but a battle of plans.

Desmond
22-09-2006, 09:27 PM
This kind of jump in playing strength is acheivable for a strong junior or in rare cases a relatively inexperienced (but talented) adult but usually well beyond the reach of the average club player. I have come across many club players who devote a lot of time to studying books in order to "improve" but yet only make gradual progress if any.
I beg to differ, and you may examine my rating advances from ~1999-2002 for evidence. I don't consider myself to be a talented player, but rather my improvement came from hard work.

Kent, it can be done, and I would advise you to ignore those who say it can't. Again, good luck to you.

WhiteElephant
22-09-2006, 09:33 PM
I do agree that tactics is important (obviously)...

Yes, you are completely right, Michael. I had 2 years of chess training in Russia (age 5-7) and when I came to Victoria, I was winning all the state titles in my age groups. As I grew older, my strength relative to other Aus players dropped off because all I did was self-study, it was hard to find a good chess tutor in those days (still is now maybe :)) When you are studying by yourself, it is difficult to learn strategy from books only.

Anyway, my point was that adults often treat the study of chess like a homework assignment. Just reading lots of books and memorising theory. I think a good coach is best to teach positional understanding while the student can do much tactical training in his own time.

Desmond
22-09-2006, 09:36 PM
I think a good coach is best to teach positional understanding while the student can do much tactical training in his own time.
Kent has good coaches. Kotov, Dvoretsky etc.

Basil
22-09-2006, 10:08 PM
One of the better reads getting around
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y105/scene66/tabletalk.gif

certainly better than the twaddle I put out there
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y105/scene66/smashfreakB.gif

Michael in particular ... interesting
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y105/scene66/handclap.gif

Denis_Jessop
22-09-2006, 10:15 PM
An excellent book for getting a feel for the practical aspects to which Kevin referred is "Secrets of Practical Chess" by GM John Nunn. It is short (175pp), to the point, eminently readable and deals with things like clock management that are not usually dealt with by other authors. Books called "Secrets of..." are sometimes sus but this one is first class and suitable for players of all strengths but more in the range you now occupy.

DJ

Kevin Bonham
23-09-2006, 12:01 AM
I beg to differ, and you may examine my rating advances from ~1999-2002 for evidence. I don't consider myself to be a talented player, but rather my improvement came from hard work.

There are always exceptions who make it, hence my use of qualifiers, "in rare cases", "usually" etc. But I have met too many players who work and work and work at books til they know far more theory and concepts than I ever could, and yet they don't improve much or even at all and will never be a match even for the shabby likes of me. :D

Desmond
23-09-2006, 12:50 AM
There are always exceptions who make it, hence my use of qualifiers, "in rare cases", "usually" etc. But I have met too many players who work and work and work at books til they know far more theory and concepts than I ever could, and yet they don't improve much or even at all and will never be a match even for the shabby likes of me. :D
Yes, it is true that over 10 games you would probably beat me in a match.

Kevin Bonham
23-09-2006, 01:10 AM
Yes, it is true that over 10 games you would probably beat me in a match.

Wasn't talking about you there; I was referring to players who get to about 1600 in middleage and then become theory hounds in striving to improve their game to the next level, but never make any real progress.

If I had a dollar for every one of them I know I could spend ten more minutes wasting time on here instead of working! :D

qpawn
23-09-2006, 02:52 PM
While there have been many fine suggestions in this thread I want to suggest something that at first sight is not logical: playing correspondence chess to improve your OTB chess.

Playing correspondence chess develops a great depth of understanding, both positionally and tactically, in many positions. At first your OTB game may even get slighly worse due to the "long term thinking" correspondence chess. However, in the longer run Correspondence chess will help someone's OTB chess.

ER
24-09-2006, 05:26 AM
Hi KentDMC
When I came back to playing chess (after an 18 years break) at the beginning of 2003 my rating was 1250.
During the last 3 years it has improved to 1544 despite some very serious health problems that kept me away from OTB chess for more than six months.
I also work on a full time basis and I don't have much time to study the way I want to.
However, what I have found very helpful are the following:
a) Classification of concepts
Everytime you find some good example of ie the centre (opening) minority attack (middle game) bridge building (rook and pawn endings) save it in a separate file.
b) Improvement of comprehension
Keep on studying the above again and again untill you fully understand the concepts involved
c) Practical implementation
Try to implement those ideas in practical play. I will not go into books and stuff because this topic is covered by people who know much more about the game than myself.
Now to some tournament play tips
Make sure you have enough rest before the game
Make sure you don't start playing on an empty stomach
Make sure you don't overeat before game
Make sure you have everything ready before the game starts. ie have your score sheet, coffee, water etc on the table, always on the opposite side from where your scoring sheets are (:) many a disaster can occur during time trouble).
Make sure you have some breaks, preferably during your opponent's thinking time. If convenient go out and get some fresh air.
Make sure you look around to see other games and take mental notes of what openings the other players use.
Make sure you never let your opponent's strength affect you ie if they are stronger or weaker don't change your playing style accordingly.
Make sure you always play to enjoy the game regardless of the result.

Davidflude
24-09-2006, 01:01 PM
While there have been many fine suggestions in this thread I want to suggest something that at first sight is not logical: playing correspondence chess to improve your OTB chess.

Playing correspondence chess develops a great depth of understanding, both positionally and tactically, in many positions. At first your OTB game may even get slighly worse due to the "long term thinking" correspondence chess. However, in the longer run Correspondence chess will help someone's OTB chess.

Having played correspondence chess for 45 years I consider that I can reasonably comment on the above.

Playing correspondence chess improves your ability to play correspondence chess.

There are various techniques which you can use to improve your over the board chess.

1) Play fixed openings tournament which feature openings that you play. This will help you understand the ideas involved in the opening.

2) Play fixed openings which feature hairy gambits. These will improve your attacking ability and defensive ability.

3) If you want to improve your endgame play choose openings that lead to interesting endgames.

The trouble with playing correspondence chess is that it involves lots of time.
This cuts down on the time available for other areas of chess study.

Davidflude
24-09-2006, 01:14 PM
Hi KentDMC
When I came back to playing chess (after an 18 years break) at the beginning of 2003 my rating was 1250.
During the last 3 years it has improved to 1544 despite some very serious health problems that kept me away from OTB chess for more than six months.
I also work on a full time basis and I don't have much time to study the way I want to.
However, what I have found very helpful are the following:
a) Classification of concepts
Everytime you find some good example of ie the centre (opening) minority attack (middle game) bridge building (rook and pawn endings) save it in a separate file.
b) Improvement of comprehension
Keep on studying the above again and again untill you fully understand the concepts involved
c) Practical implementation
Try to implement those ideas in practical play. I will not go into books and stuff because this topic is covered by people who know much more about the game than myself.
Now to some tournament play tips
Make sure you have enough rest before the game
Make sure you don't start playing on an empty stomach
Make sure you don't overeat before game
Make sure you have everything ready before the game starts. ie have your score sheet, coffee, water etc on the table, always on the opposite side from where your scoring sheets are (:) many a disaster can occur during time trouble).
Make sure you have some breaks, preferably during your opponent's thinking time. If convenient go out and get some fresh air.
Make sure you look around to see other games and take mental notes of what openings the other players use.
Make sure you never let your opponent's strength affect you ie if they are stronger or weaker don't change your playing style accordingly.
Make sure you always play to enjoy the game regardless of the result.


Good stuff.

A few extras relating to weekenders.

If you have to watch your weight then diet before the tournament. then you wont feel too bad if you eat high energy foods during the tournament.


If playing interstate travel to the venue the day before the tournament. If possible find the venue and inspect it.

Get to the tournament hall early on the day.

Exercise between rounds helps to improve concentration.

Try and get lots of sleep. (One junior fell fast asleep during a round at the begonia last year).

MichaelBaron
25-09-2006, 06:37 PM
Hi KentDMC
When I came back to playing chess (after an 18 years break) at the beginning of 2003 my rating was 1250.
During the last 3 years it has improved to 1544 despite some very serious health problems that kept me away from OTB chess for more than six months.
I also work on a full time basis and I don't have much time to study the way I want to.
However, what I have found very helpful are the following:
a) Classification of concepts
Everytime you find some good example of ie the centre (opening) minority attack (middle game) bridge building (rook and pawn endings) save it in a separate file.
b) Improvement of comprehension
Keep on studying the above again and again untill you fully understand the concepts involved
c) Practical implementation
Try to implement those ideas in practical play. I will not go into books and stuff because this topic is covered by people who know much more about the game than myself.
Now to some tournament play tips
Make sure you have enough rest before the game
Make sure you don't start playing on an empty stomach
Make sure you don't overeat before game
Make sure you have everything ready before the game starts. ie have your score sheet, coffee, water etc on the table, always on the opposite side from where your scoring sheets are (:) many a disaster can occur during time trouble).
Make sure you have some breaks, preferably during your opponent's thinking time. If convenient go out and get some fresh air.
Make sure you look around to see other games and take mental notes of what openings the other players use.
Make sure you never let your opponent's strength affect you ie if they are stronger or weaker don't change your playing style accordingly.
Make sure you always play to enjoy the game regardless of the result.

These are very good points! :clap:

firegoat7
25-09-2006, 08:08 PM
To be honest,

I think anyone who wants to improve at chess should just start reading any chess book they can get their hands on and actually finish the damn thing. The chess world is littered with the shattered illusions of people who were going to follow master plans on their road to mastery. Just enjoy the game, relax, keep reading a new book every time you finish an old book and have some fun.

cheers Fg7

MichaelBaron
26-09-2006, 12:45 AM
There is nothing wrong with having a "master plan" it is a much better idea rather than reading chess books randomly. Of course, one has to make sure that he does stick to his plan

ER
26-09-2006, 12:01 PM
To be honest,

I think anyone who wants to improve at chess should just start reading any chess book they can get their hands on and actually finish the damn thing. The chess world is littered with the shattered illusions of people who were going to follow master plans on their road to mastery. Just enjoy the game, relax, keep reading a new book every time you finish an old book and have some fun.

cheers Fg7

"any chess book" can be a book beyond the player's ability to understand let alone "finish the damn thing". I believe in collecting useful practical and theoretical information and storing it in your "knowledge" file. Then as you progress you add more and more info in that file.
However, I have to admit that your advice to check all legal moves at any given position, has helped me immencely. I have now at least three examples of won games due to this invaluable tip.
Cheers and thanks!

likesforests
28-09-2006, 01:50 PM
I made a simple short-term study plan. I plan to do these by 11/1/2006:

1. Tactics: Reach 10,000 Chess Tactics Server problems, with 86.5% overall accuracy. I want to raise my CTS rating from 1326 to 1350.

2. Practice: Play 20 rated games against equal competition. I want to raise my Free Internet Chess Server rating from 1487 to 1500.

3. Strategy: Play through and study all 30 games in Nunn's, Understanding Chess Move by Move. I just read The Amateur Mind.

4. Endgames: Review the Rook endings in Pandolfini's Endgame book. I'm putting away Dvoretsky for awhile.

ER
28-09-2006, 03:32 PM
I made a simple short-term study plan. I plan to do these by 11/1/2006:



Do you mean 2007?

likesforests
28-09-2006, 05:29 PM
Actually, I do I mean 2006. :)

You are 1544, what do you focus on studying now?

ER
29-09-2006, 03:07 AM
Actually, I do I mean 2006. :)

You are 1544, what do you focus on studying now?

Oh of course, I thought you meant 11 Jan 2006, you obviously meant 1 Nov 2006 right? sorry about that :)

Right now I am doing the following:

OPENINGS... I am trying to understand certain positional and tactical points behind some openings. Very simple stuff though.
MIDDLE GAME... Pawn structures, Minority attacks, Blocking and unblocking files and diagonals, Blockade concepts etc.
ENDINGS... K+P, R+P and some same colour and opposite colour Bishops in conjunction with Middle Game concepts.
POSITIONS... At least 3-4 conceptual exercises a day...ie Back Rank Weaknesses, Removing the Defender, Overloaded Pieces, Decoys etc.
I try to do a bit of all that on a daily basis and I save the material I am working on in a general filing system consisting of the above mentioned themes and further classification as in easy, difficult and hard material.
However, I don't lose any time in studying stuff I don't understand. I just take it as it goes!
My rating when I came back to Tournament Chess in 2003 after a long period of time was approximately 1250. My methodical studying though, began at the beginning of 2005.
See also post 25 on this thread.

Cheers and good luck with your studies! :)

firegoat7
29-09-2006, 07:56 AM
There is nothing wrong with having a "master plan" it is a much better idea rather than reading chess books randomly. Of course, one has to make sure that he does stick to his plan

I disagree. A master plan is a controlling mechanism designed to get somewhere, it is not a "better" idea then actually reading other peoples ideas.:hand:

cheers Fg7

firegoat7
29-09-2006, 08:27 AM
"any chess book" can be a book beyond the player's ability to understand let alone "finish the damn thing". I believe in collecting useful practical and theoretical information and storing it in your "knowledge" file. Then as you progress you add more and more info in that file.

Thank you for sharing your beliefs with us HK. I must admit i don't agree with them.

I believe that you basically should read any book, even ones you do not understand. In fact I think the ones you don't understand are the ones you should be reading even more then the others. HK is right and wrong about this, there are certain books that are simply boring or beyond comprehension/understanding. But that shouldn't stop you from reading them, but it may stop you from finishing them. :hand: Forget HKs advice, let him play like a disciplined computer machine if he wants, damn modernist!

Go the road less travelled, try this advice at least once in your life, buy one consumerable chessbook. Read the book once, very quickly, do not memorise it. Exchange it with someone else for a chess book they no longer need. You will a) read a book b) make a new friend c) probably find a new chess playing partner d) exchange chess ideas with another human being. e) feel contented in your enjoyment of chess.

feel free to take your master plan and use it for spare toilet paper should the need ever arise.

cheers Fg7

ER
29-09-2006, 08:39 AM
Thank you for sharing your beliefs with us HK. I must admit i don't agree with them.

I believe that you basically should read any book, even ones you do not understand. In fact I think the ones you don't understand are the ones you should be reading even more then the others. HK is right and wrong about this, there are certain books that are simply boring or beyond comprehension/understanding. But that shouldn't stop you from reading them, but it may stop you from finishing them. :hand: Forget HKs advice, let him play like a disciplined computer machine if he wants, damn modernist!

Go the road less travelled, try this advice at least once in your life, buy one consumerable chessbook. Read the book once, very quickly, do not memorise it. Exchange it with someone else for a chess book they no longer need. You will a) read a book b) make a new friend c) probably find a new chess playing partner d) exchange chess ideas with another human being. e) feel contented in your enjoyment of chess.

feel free to take your master plan and use it for spare toilet paper should the need ever arise.

cheers Fg7

yeah, sure!

Watto
29-09-2006, 09:37 AM
Thank you for sharing your beliefs with us HK. I must admit i don't agree with them.

I believe that you basically should read any book, even ones you do not understand. In fact I think the ones you don't understand are the ones you should be reading even more then the others. HK is right and wrong about this, there are certain books that are simply boring or beyond comprehension/understanding. But that shouldn't stop you from reading them, but it may stop you from finishing them. :hand: Forget HKs advice, let him play like a disciplined computer machine if he wants, damn modernist!

Go the road less travelled, try this advice at least once in your life, buy one consumerable chessbook. Read the book once, very quickly, do not memorise it. Exchange it with someone else for a chess book they no longer need. You will a) read a book b) make a new friend c) probably find a new chess playing partner d) exchange chess ideas with another human being. e) feel contented in your enjoyment of chess.

feel free to take your master plan and use it for spare toilet paper should the need ever arise.

cheers Fg7
hehe. Kent must be too busy following his master plan... he’s missed a whole week of gems written by our fine minds. ;) Go Kent Go!!
Well, I thought hk’s general advice was really useful (re tournament play prep and solidifying general themes and principles in your mind).

Re Fg7s suggestions, I like my toilet paper to be rather soft so depending on what the master plan's written on…

More seriously, I actually agree with Fg7 that reading books quickly from beginning to end is the way to go for an inexperienced player. I read the few early pages very thoroughly, drop it for a while, forget what I’ve read and keep returning to the beginning, once again reading the things I already know and not getting to the stuff which would really help. I’ve been trying to read an endgame book for the last year like this. A quick, once through, more superficial approach would definitely serve me far better. I have been told that more than a few times.

MichaelBaron
01-10-2006, 03:29 AM
1. Not all chess books are good. So Make sure that the book you are reading is a good one. For example some authors publish 5-7 chess books a year. One wonders how much work goes into them.
2. I know money is very much a factor but the reality is - a good coach can help one's chess much faster than reading chess books.
3. Be realistic in your goals and objectives. When a 1300 rated player aims at getting to 1500 within 2 years, it is more than realistic (The HeaviestKnight is a good illustration of such dedicated and serious upproach) improvement is possible step-by-step only! He has already achieved one milestone and can now move on to the next one (e.g. getting to 1750).
If someone is 30-70 yo and is rated 1300 and aims at getting to 2200 within a year, chances are -he will never make it to 1500 because the first and the most vital component of successful improvement is being objective about one's ability.

I have seen a lot of chess players who are leaving in the "dream world" they seriously think that every time they lose to a higher rated player- it happens because they are "unlucky".
4. Its good to study chess, but i believe OTB play is also essential in order to improve.

Sheroff
01-02-2013, 06:07 PM
I think your selection of books is excellent. Most Instructive Games of Chess by Chernev is terrific, and, if you're like me, you'll find Tal's and Alekhine's game collections will give you a real appreciation of tactical boldness, which is an important characteristic of any good player.

Online (chess.com or ICC) games are a great way to test more unusual opening ideas, and test them out ' in the real world' in preparatiion for tournaments.

Good luck!

Kevin Casey