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Chess Strategy

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bl44t 79 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess without studying Hi, Im basically an amature who just plays some chess for the fun of it and to keep my brains working a lill :D
I Was wondering, what can I expect in terms of my level of chess if I dont study any chessbooks or whatever cuz so far I havent and Im not really lookin to do so either for some reason. So I just rely on common sense and logic when I play.
Surely when I play more and more ill start remembering certain stuff that went wrong and change it but thats gonna take a while.

Ow and erm 1 other thing. Am I right with my suspicion that there is people who use chessmachines to help m win games here?
Not accusing anyone btw, not even sure if its allowed or not, but Ive seen once or twice that a player wasnt better then me but I stoll lost all of a sudden :D

Tx for the feedback
chrisp 92 ( +1 | -1 )
A few points really... Chess computers are difinitely NOT allowed - the use of books, etc is allowed, as in correspondence chess, but no machines!! I also suspect that some players may be using computers, but virtually impossible to prove unfortunately.

As you say, you will start to remember certain types of positions the more you play and this should lead to improvement. However, I still believe that a certain amount of basic opening theory really is important - it doesn't need to go into loads of detail, but having some idea of what an opening sequence of moves is trying to achieve is useful - most openings also have a few traps in them which are useful to know!!!

generally though, as long as you have a good understanding of the basics of the game, control of the centre, piece development, pawn structure, etc, then common sense can get you a long way in this game.

Keep playing and good luck
Chris
bl44t 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Any tips on wher to find these openings, cuz learning a few openings wont be such a problem :D
I just dont feel like studying games and all for hours a day or even a week :)
chrisp 116 ( +1 | -1 )
I find that books are still the best bet for learning a bit about the openeings, mainly because they tend to explain a bit about the openings.

Modern Chess Openeings 14 includes virtually all openings, but doesn't go into much detail regarding why moves are played - I still find it a useful reference book though.

I believe that you really need to decide what openeings you want to play mainly, and get books specific to those openings.

You can use databases to look at openeings, www.chessgames.com or the GK games database - IMO these have limited use as it totally depends what games are on the database.

I tend to use the books, but initially just to get the ideas behind the opening - certain tactics tend to appear in a few variations of the same opening. Once I have the basics, I try and play the opening, whilst still reading more of the theory behind it - the playing and reading both help.

As I said earlier though, this is good to make sure you get an OK position out of the opening, after that there is nothing better then practice and common sense to help improve (leave the really detailed studying to the professionals!!)
pandemona 40 ( +1 | -1 )
simple openings with clear plans Hi bl44t!
Maybe this thread might prove interesting for you...
gameknot.com/fmsg/chess/2975.shtml
regards,
~ Stephen / pandemona
peppe_l 76 ( +1 | -1 )
MCO Is DEFITENITELY NOT the book to buy at the moment. MCO is a huge collection of opening variations. What you need is _basics_ of chess, like typical tactical patterns, general rules, simple endings etc. Before you know this stuff learning opening variations is waste of time.

"Any tips on wher to find these openings, cuz learning a few openings wont be such a problem :D I just dont feel like studying games and all for hours a day or even a week :)"

Well, studying one annotated game takes very little time and will help you to improve more than hours with MCO.



1) Develop ALL your pieces
2) Bring your king to safety
3) Control the center

For now, this is ALL you need to know about openings.
More: Chess
peppe_l 205 ( +1 | -1 )
Now, to your question And just my two cents, as usual...

"I Was wondering, what can I expect in terms of my level of chess if I dont study any chessbooks or whatever cuz so far I havent and Im not really lookin to do so either for some reason. So I just rely on common sense and logic when I play."

I guess no one can say how good you can become. Playing here at GK is a fine way to improve, especially if you can find games vs stronger opponents. If you lose, send them a friendly note to ask where you went wrong and I am sure many of them are willing to help. Also, check out your nearest Chess Club! There are lots of players who have reached 1700, 1800, 1900, or even 2000 without reading a single chess book, simply because they have learned from stronger players. What counts at your level is BIG THINGS - losing a piece because you missed a tactical shot, bringing your queen out too early while leaving your other pieces to back rank, leaving your king exposed to attacks, etc.

"Surely when I play more and more ill start remembering certain stuff that went wrong and change it but thats gonna take a while."

This is why books are so effective, if you learn via "trial and error" it will take more time and you may not notice all your errors, even if you lose. Getting some davice from stronger players is a big help, of course.

P.S Since you want to improve at chess, I suggest you to at least give books a chance :-) Just remember to pick up the RIGHT book - a "beginner" book! MCO is not for beginners. Databases are not for beginners. Now I know you are not really a beginner, you are 1200+ here at GK and already know a lot about chess, but since we are talking about your _first_ chess book, you have to start from basics! If you find out "basics of tactics" or "annotated master games for beginners" boring, you can always dump books and get back to playing this fun game!



Hope this helps,

Peppe
marxisgod21 248 ( +1 | -1 )
ABCs!! An easier way to remember Peppe's opening tips might be:

A) Attack the center
B) Bring out your pieces
C) Castle

Also, while you certainly don't need to learn reams of theory, in order to improve you need to have, at the very least, a cursory understanding of the opening. For this, I would recommend openings that are easy to learn and can be played against anything. For example, the King's Indian Attack (Nf3, g3, Bg2, O-O, d3, Nbd2, e4) or Botvinnik System (c4, g3, Bg2, Nf3, O-O, d3, e4) with White. With black, things get a little trickier. Here, you might try a first move that can be played against anything, such as 1...g6 (the modern defense) or 1...d6 (a recent book called "An Explosive Chess Opening Repertoire for Black" came out a few years ago based on 1...d6 against every opening). For the White opening systems, Angus Dunnington's "Ultimate King's Indian Attack" or Tony Kosten's "Dynamic English" (the Botvinnik usually arises from the English opening) would be good choices. Thus, by purchasing only 2 books you can have a complete opening repertoire (and these most of these books are not heavy-duty stuff)

In terms of middlegame skill (calculation, planning, etc.), most of that can be learned solely by playing games. However, going over chess games will certianly help you with middlegame play and even spending 20-30 minutes going over 2-3 games a week will help you immensely. Many major newspapers have a weekly chess column with an annotated game.

Other than the openings, endgames are the only part of the game where a lack of knowledge can cause you to lose an easily won or drawn game. Ideas such as "opposition", "outflanking", "the Lucena position", and "Bishop and wrong rook pawn" can often be pivotal in winning won games or saving lost ones. I'd imagine you can find stuff online on endgames but if not, Glenn Flear's "Improve Your Endgame Play" is basic, inexpensive, and (perhaps most importantly) NOT THICK!!!

I know the topic is called "Chess without studying" but unless you have an incredible amount of raw skill, you will quickly find yourself stuck around 1200 or 1300 without any studying. However, a knowledge of the opening and endgame, combined with playing experience can easily suffice up until at least 1700 or so, which is not bad for 3 books and no more than an hour of study time each week.

peppe_l 245 ( +1 | -1 )
marxis "Also, while you certainly don't need to learn reams of theory, in order to improve you need to have, at the very least, a cursory understanding of the opening. For this, I would recommend openings that are easy to learn and can be played against anything. For example, the King's Indian Attack (Nf3, g3, Bg2, O-O, d3, Nbd2, e4) or Botvinnik System (c4, g3, Bg2, Nf3, O-O, d3, e4) with White. With black, things get a little trickier. Here, you might try a first move that can be played against anything, such as 1...g6 (the modern defense) or 1...d6 (a recent book called "An Explosive Chess Opening Repertoire for Black" came out a few years ago based on 1...d6 against every opening). For the White opening systems, Angus Dunnington's "Ultimate King's Indian Attack" or Tony Kosten's "Dynamic English" (the Botvinnik usually arises from the English opening) would be good choices. Thus, by purchasing only 2 books you can have a complete opening repertoire (and these most of these books are not heavy-duty stuff)"

Not true, there are lots of 1700+ players who have no clue of opening theory. There is no _need_ to study openings in order to improve. There is no _need_ whatsoever for opening repertoire at this point. I cannot understand how you can recommend 2 opening books and one endgame book? Not a single book on tactics??? Not a single book on chess FUNDAMENTALS? How on earth one is supposed to improve by _skipping_ 1200-1500 level books? Repertoire books are written for intermediate/advanced players (1500-2000). Also, I have Kosten's book and it is defitenitely not a good choice for 1200+ player since English is positionally complex system. Same applies to hypermodern defenses as Black. It is universally known open games & piece play have to be learned first!

bl44t, people recommend you to study openings because people love to study openings. Books like MCO, Dynamic English, Ultimate King's Indian Attack are almost completely useless as long as you are not familiar with tactics (THE most important part of the game!), general principles and basic endings.

If you have to choose 3 books only, NONE of them should be opening book.

marxis,

The rest of your post is spot on. Studying annotated master games and basics of endings can help you to improve fast, without spending countless hours for reading chess books!
peppe_l 279 ( +1 | -1 )
Anyway I realize no matter how much I try to pass on what stronger players keep telling to me (and others), people keep talking about openings. But before recommending books etc, please remember we are talking about FIRST chess book(s) for bl44t. Becoming 1200+ (GK) without studying is very impressive. But there is no way one should start building opening repertoire before learning typical tactical patterns, fundamentals of strategy and basics of endings. And there is no way repertoire books let alone theory tomes are first priorities for someone searching (?) his FIRST chess book(s). They may be first priorities for YOU, but not for bl44t. Now since the topic is "chess without studying" I guess I'm a little off-topic here :-)

I know lots of people love to say "I lost to a two-move trap because I had no clue of opening theory" - but the truth is if you cannot see two-move traps in move 5, you cannot see two-move traps in move 15 either. Well, why not study tactics instead? Or "I made a positional blunder because I had no clue of opening theory" - and now we can ask why not study principles of strategy instead? Surely you can make positional blunders in middlegame/endgame as well? No matter how many moves you memorize, you will always be "out of book" sooner or later. And then it is all about whether you can play CHESS or not. Sure knowing theory is important if you play stuff like Botvinnik Semi-Slav, but no one forces you to choose such complex lines anyway. And even if you lose a game or two because of ending up to super theoretical variations without knowing it, you will WIN a lot more games (overall) because of spending time for tactics instead of opening lines. It is not a question of whether studying openings is useful or not. It is a question of what is MOST useful (at YOUR level).

Finally, what stronger players keep telling is:

1) Study tactics 2) Study endings 3) Play trough annotated master games

And before these 3, one needs to know the fundamentals of chess...

There are players who have become GMs without impressive opening repertoire (in fact one of the Finnish GMs has beaten GMs, IMs and other strong players with moves like 1.a3 etc). But I have never heard of players who have become even (gulp!) masters without studying tactics, endings and annotated master games. It is funny whenever 2500 becomes 2550 by working with his opening repertoire, everyone sees how endless hours with ECO and DBs helped 2500 player to become 2550 player, but no one sees how tactics, endings and annotated master games helped 1000 player to become 2500 player. Strange, eh?

I hope my posts make at least some sense, went off to bed REALLY early and woke up really early too (its 6.20 AM here, way too early for me! :-)))
bl44t 60 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks alot for all the great feedback people, really appreciated a lot.
Its nice to see that better players are willing to help the lesser ones.
U dont see that in every sport nowadays
Abou what has been said, mosty of it was pretty understandable and parts that werent Ill read more intensly.
From what ive read it might seem more sensible indeed to learn tactis more and just look at some plain openings to use for myself when white and mebbe check what and how when my opponent plays a to me odd opening.

Tx again :)
pandemona 37 ( +1 | -1 )
bl44t Exactly right, I think! :) The vast majority of games under 1700 rating or so (and plenty over) will deviate rapidly from the book anyway, so get yourself ready to enjoy and triumph in the meat of chess, the wonderful middle-game. :)

Wishing you luck!

~ Stephen / pandemona
dysfl 91 ( +1 | -1 )
Balance, or youíll fall. This issue of studying opening is a well-repeated subject, and the advices above are time-tested. Just one thing I want to add is balance. The study of opening should be balanced with other areas, not too much or too little. Iím a beginner myself, so below is just an opinion, not an advice.

I donít agree that studying opening is something to be left till you hit 1800. Rather, the question should be how to study the opening when youíre below 1500. I would try to stick to the general idea of my favorite open lines than a specific variation. I would learn how to simplify things when it is out of book too early, even it means I lose half a pawnís worth of tempo.

And about using computers, maybe not all the too-good-for-this-guy moves are from the computers. I have seen players especially strong against my style, in repeated games with the same person.
b123 34 ( +1 | -1 )
nice site hi all of you,

I am also a beginner, for almost 3 years now :-)

But I learned a lot on this site:
www.eudesign.com/chessops/

I got some more nice bookmarks, but since my harddisk crash i only use that one frequently. But some googling on "chess openings" or so can give you much more.
brobishkin 15 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess without studying... To be good at anything in life without first studying the subject at hand, be it a car repair, plumbing, music, and so on, down to the game of chess, is an act of stupidity...
humpty-dumpty 159 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess programme cheating Frankly speaking, I haven't come across any cheaters over here so far; still, I reckon there's some room to cheating even where it is under the ban. Anyways, one can always get a suspision he plays against a silicon monster, especially an advanced player. A chess programme style differs very much from a human style. It's more like you fight against an armoured crawl mashine. Your wise tricks are all discovered in a jiffy, your endgame skills don't work and you find yourself under constant pressure. What advice can be given in this regard? If your opponent has all wins at his credit, then he's either a very tough player (FM or IM) or a cheater. Therefore, you must be on guard with him. Modern chess programmes play very good but, still, they have some drawbacks, especially, in misunderstanding closed positions. Try Bird Opening, Reti or English as White and Chigorin in Rui (Spanish) or Pirc Defence as Black and the cheater will have less chance to hit you. There's a good example of anti-computer chess styles at www.balterman.freeservers.com/altermanwall.html
This method might work, I think. Also, when you're utterly sure of cheating, inform the administrator giving your weighty reasons. They will evidently take some actions against the cheater. Leastways, cheating has, definitely, little in common with fair play.
bl44t 46 ( +1 | -1 )
Message:
"To be good at anything in life without first studying the subject at hand, be it a car repair, plumbing, music, and so on, down to the game of chess, is an act of stupidity... "

I tend to disagree there obviously, Ive learned numerous knowledge-based things without studying.
Practice is still the best teacher.
And if u'd read more carefully u could see I was plannin on doin some studying.
Perhaps I shud have given the topic a different name
lennerborn 94 ( +1 | -1 )
I am also an amateur that rely on instinct and previous experience in my games. I love chess as recreation, but don't have the time and interest to study hard. In my experience, the thing that really separates players like me from really good players with a firm grasp of theory is the middlegame. It is relatively easy to learn some good openings you can use, and I think I'm rather strong in that area, but the middlegame is so much more complex. One mistake and it could all be over, if your opponent is better than you. But I'm learning, and hopefully getting just a little better for every game :)

On the subject of chess programs, I wouldn't dream of using it during the game, but there is one aspect of it that I've found useful. When I've lost a game I sometimes set it up where I think I made a bad move and ask chessmaster what he would have done. Obviously it's never the one I made, and quite often i see the point.
wschmidt 260 ( +1 | -1 )
I think there are a number of concepts that can be gleaned from this thread.

First, clearly there are gonna be some people who just don't enjoy studying or who don't have the time to do so, but who enjoy playing chess at the level they're at and maybe making moderate improvement just based on instinct and growing experience. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just a decision based on one's situation and inclinations.

Second, sometimes the lack of interest in or lack of time to study, is justified by statements like "Practice is still the best teacher".

Third, people who are interested in studying and take the time to do it invariably report that it improves their game. The most commonly reported examples of that are folks who work through their first tactics and endgame books. Invariably their ratings increase.

Personally, I think that result is to be expected. I've looked at the ratings for most of the contributors to this thread and none of us qualifies as a chess genius. It only makes sense that learning the concepts and using the tools that masters have discovered and developed will make one a stronger player. One can learn from instinct and personal experience but there is something to be said for "standing on the shoulders of giants".

If you take two people with the same inate chess ability and one spends ten hours a week playing while the other spends seven hours playing and three hours studying tactics, middlegame strategy or endgames, I would expect the latter player to be stronger in a match between the two after a reasonable period of time.

Finally, there is ample evidence for this outside the chess world. Atheletes and sports teams don't simply "play". They practice and drill. They study the strategies of past players and teams and try use, build and improve on them. Musicians and artists learn from and are influenced by performers, composers and creator from the past. Another excellent example would be architecture - would you want to spend a lot of time in a building designed by an architect who didn't spend any time learning from the masters of the trade and simply felt that "practice is the best teacher"?

Sorry for the long post. I'll simply say I think it's fine not to study the game if you don't want to. But one shouldn't suggest that a good course of study won't accelerate improvement. At some point, natural ability and playing without study have their limits. Even Capablanca had to finally acknowledge that when facing Alekhine.
hamis 24 ( +1 | -1 )
learning chess by experience..... would be good for an amateur to a point. There would come a time when he/she would be curious enough to study it, either by replaying annonated notes of the masters or studying the different facets of it. It happened to me so it might happen to you.
brobishkin 57 ( +1 | -1 )
A quote from Emanuel Lasker... "Properly taught, a student can learn more in a few hours than he would find out in 10 years of untutored trial and error"...

Find out what those have gone before you have learned, and you build up a good foundation of knowledge... Each past master has devoted countless hours to attempting to understand the royal game... Each has had his or her success... So it makes sense to study thier games, trying to understand what made each tick...

Dont reinvent the wheel, when a vast amount of good material is before you, use it...

Bro...

baseline 12 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess a like a broad river where an elephant could bathe or a gnat could drink equally.
spurtus 18 ( +1 | -1 )
My most favourite maxims are very appropriate and I suggest to you simply...

The best lessons learnt ARE the hardest... and
A measure of success is HOW you deal with the failures.

Go try, and chin up!
Spurtus