5 second chess tactic - White to move. How should white proceed? Source: ChessToday.net Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
5 hours ago
|1 Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make In Your Chess|
|Written by Yury Markushin|
|Wednesday, 13 November 2013 00:54|
Regardless of that 'why' these are the 11 mistakes you don't want to make in your chess.
11. Playing chess to win prize moneyI've met people that honestly think that they can spend a few hours on chess, enter a Big Open Tournament and BOOM win $10,000. Wrong. Unless you have a passion for chess, spend a lot of your time to study and practice chess you cannot succeed at any chess tournament. The tournaments with a big prize fund are especially competitive. Don't do it, if you want to save yourself a big disappointment and time. Money shouldn't be a motivation at whatever you do, chess included.
10. Quitting playing chess after a loseIt's not a good habit to quit anything (except for smoking) if you fail once. All players, big and small have lost games. It's normal. If they had quit, there would have been no Fischer, Kasparov or Carlsen as we know them today. Loss in chess should be a signal to you that more training is necessary. It should motivate you to work harder and to play better in the next game. If you think about a loss from this perspective, you will succeed.
9.Stressing out too much about a chess gameSome players get extremely stressed out before and during chess games. Stress is a negative, disruptive factor which will not do anything good to your cool head and logical thinking. In a state of stress, you would waste extra time double checking variations and will not be able to completely focus on the position. In order to play high level chess, you need to stop caring about the outcome and just to play your game. If you take a serious tournament game with the same ease you play a friendly game you will relax and your results will improve. Give it a try.
8. Blaming somebody else for your failuresIn order to improve at chess you need to be honest with yourself and take full responsibility for your actions (moves). That means if you lose a game, you shouldn't say something like 'that's because of the stupid blunder on move 20' or 'I did not get enough sleep, so couldn't concentrate', etc. By finding a true cause of your loss, you will benefit much more than if you come up with some common excuse. You may want to read about identifying strengths and weaknesses of your game here.
7. Not learning from your own mistakesOf course it would be perfect if we could learn from somebody else's mistakes. Unfortunately, that's not how it works at chess. In most cases, we need to actually lose a game or two by getting back-rank mated in order to start being aware of certain dangers. Use this extremely powerful learning tool to your advantage. You can learn much better from things if you have experienced it yourself. Read 7 deadly mistakes every novice player makes and... avoid it.
6. Putting chess in front of everything elseSome people get involved with chess so much that they forget everything else: work, family, responsibilities, health, etc. Of course, it is good for your chess career to concentrate only on chess. But be careful, you may lose motivation and get 'burned out' by chess. The best strategy is to study chess by little bits during a long period of time. Remember, chess is a marathon, not a sprint. Read about chess time management in 10 Chess Improvement Rules Most Players Forget.
5. Spending too much time accumulating knowledge you would never use in a real gameIt's is true that if you study chess more, you will become better at it. But the key is to study the right things. For example, reading about the history of chess will not help you much in your next 1.d4 game. Memorizing 25 different variations of Sicilian defense 20 moves deep will not help you to become a better chess player. In fact, if your opponent plays Queen's Gambit Declined, it won't help you at all. If you just spend a quarter of this time solving tactics, working on endgames and analyzing your own games you will progress much faster, and all the work will pay off quickly. You can check the following things about improving at chess: this and this.
4. Buying many chess books and never reading themThe point of chess books is that they possess knowledge that can make you a better chess player. That is only true with one condition: you actually need to
3. Worrying about rating points more than the game itselfSome player get more worried about losing rating points, than about the game of chess in general. Points are just given to you for an estimation of your strength purpose. Rating should not act as a disrupting factor, especially during the game.
2. Having "I'm always right" attitudeThis is a kind of attitude that would prevent you from making progress at chess or significantly slow it down. In order to improve, you need to be self-critical and to admit your own mistakes. If you lost because of the badly played opening, you should analyze the lines and make corresponding corrections in your repertoire. If you lost due to some other reason you need to work on that, it's probably your weak side of chess.
1. Pursuing chess as a professional careerWhile playing chess may seem like an amazing opportunity to be turned into a professional career you should consider all pros and cons. There are only about 1300 grandmasters in the world. Their rating varies from about 2500 to 2800 something. These are considered "professional chess players", meaning they are making most of their living playing chess. Peter Zhdanov of Pogonina.com published a list of highest earning chess players of 2012 from which it's clear that only 2-3 players made more than $1,000,000 in year 2012. The number 10 player made about $150,000 the same year. Just think about it #10 player in the world is about 2730 ELO. What about those who are 2500-2600. How much you think they make? You've got the idea.
The point is simple, unless you are in the top 100, it's not easy to make decent leaving from playing chess, especially if you need to play opens instead of invitational tournaments with appearance fees which are only available for top GMs.
Please share your opinion in comments field below!Credits:
Images of money, don't give up, stress, fail, mistakes, priority, chess books, I'm always right and pro chess are taken from flickr and used under creative commons license.
|How to get better at chess: guide for all levels|
|Written by Yury Markushin|
|Monday, 05 October 2009 22:01|
A lot of people are asking the same question over and over again, how to improve in chess? So, I have decided to write this whole thing once and for all. First of all it is important to know at what level you are playing now. It would really depend what to study and how to improve from the player's current (estimated) rating. Here is a chart that gives an idea on what should players work on at different levels of their chess career:
|Rapid Chess Improvement: Evaluation of Positions|
|Written by Yury Markushin|
|Monday, 08 February 2010 19:27|
I already gave an outline how to get better at chess, you may want to review it before reading further.
In this article, I will suggest the list of things you need to take care of in order to quickly and effectively improve your game and gain elo points.
I believe that very important aspect of the rapid chess improvement is properly organized training process. It can be divided into the following categories:
I will discuss Evaluation of Position in detail today, and save other categories for later time.
Evaluation of Position
What is evaluation of position? Basically it is a technique or an algorithm that let a chess player know what side is better in particular position on the board. It is a very important component of the game of chess. Based on that evaluation, chess player is making decisions for his next move or sequence of moves. It is well known fact that if you having a positional advantage you must attack, else you’re risking losing it. Needless to say, mistakes in evaluation of position can turn out to be deadly. Here is a quick example: if a player thinks that he will win that endgame after the rook exchange, but his evaluation of position isn’t correct, he will lose the endgame by exchanging the rooks.
Why computers can play chess so well? They have precise algorithm of how the position changes with one or another move. Why GMs always beat amateurs? Because they can evaluate positions extremely well. Lesson? In order to play good chess you need to learn to evaluate chess positions precisely.
Very common guideline for evaluating all chess positions consists of 4 categories:
King Safety – the difference of positions of the Kings. If one King is relatively safe in respect to the other one he gets a value from +1 to +2 points. We don’t take into account positions where a forced mate exists.
Material on the board - standard numeric values for the pawns and pieces can be used here. So, Pawn = 1 point, Bishop = 3 point, Knight = 3 points, Rook = 5 points, Queen = 9 points, King is assigned to 3.5 points in the endgame.
Pieces Activity - defined as the difference of activity between your piece and similar piece in the opponent’s camp (example Knight vs. Knight, Rook vs. Rook and Queen vs. Queen, etc.) Maximum difference in activity will be 1.5 points or 1.5 pawns.
Pawn Structure – control of important squares (center) by pawns, weak pawns, strong pawns, isolated pawns past pawns can give maximum advantage of 2 points. Of course we don’t take into account extreme cases where pawn can checkmate or promote to a Queen.
If White is better in particular position we will assign a positive value, such as +3, would correspond that White is 3 pawns up in position and material together. If Black is better we will write -3, which would mean Black is 3 pawns up. Take a look at the position below:
White to moveLet’s evaluate the position above according to our 4 categories.
I recommend practicing this system on some random positions and applying this method to your own over the board (OTB) games. It is not necessary to apply this method after each move, in fact it would be very time consuming and impractical to do that. You need to do the deep evaluation only in critical positions, such as after the end of an opening theory or a critical position when it is hard to see what to play. It is a very good method to apply if you don’t know what to do in positional game. It will guide you through the game, show what pieces to exchange (your inactive pieces for active pieces of your opponent).
|Chess Training Program Outline (for up to 2100 ELO)|
|Written by Yury Markushin|
|Wednesday, 08 August 2012 14:37|
What is the most important in the chess program? Of course it needs to be effective, meaning that after investing your time in it your chess strength should increase. It is very difficult to create a universal study plan that will suit all chess players.
The plan should be based on two main parameters: players overall chess ability (rating) and player's individual strengths and weaknesses. In order to evaluate which positions you understand the best and what type of openings yield best performance I suggest reading finding strengths and weaknesses of your chess.
I will show you detailed chess training program that is designed for a players up to 2100 rating. If your rating is much below that you should not feel intimidated. Regardless of your current chess level you will greatly improve your chess by following the themes presented below.
Chess Training Program (up to 2100 ELO)
1. TACTICS BASICS [20 hours]
This a very or maybe even the most important part of chess training. Surprisingly enough most chess player don't like working on chess tactics puzzles and get very surprised why the miss easy tactics and lose the game against those that do. Don't make this mistake and spend enough time on it. Chess progress will come quick if you stick to daily tactics routine.
You can jump start your tactics training with simple exercises from here or here. For more serious training I would recommend getting a specially designed software like CT-ART. Chess Master and Chess King (review) have some solvable tactics problems as well.
The main idea of solving tactical problems is to improve your calculating ability, increase board visualization ability and overall chess awareness.
2. STRATEGY BASICS [30 hours]
This are very fundamental middle game themes that every chess player should know. You should find chess literature and study the following topics thoroughly. If you have an access to a chess database with the ability to search games by themes (like ChessBase) you should select some of these themes and study related masters/grandmaster games. If you have annotated game collection, it's even more useful. After you read theory and study high level games, you should spend some time on analyzes of your own games on these themes and solving tactics problems related to these themes.
List of topics to study:
- Pawn advantage on one side of the board
- Pawn chain
- Better pawn structure
- Isolated pawn in the center
- Weak pawns
- Closed center
3. ENDGAME BASICS [30 hours]
Endgame is another extremely important area of the game that needs to be studied thoroughly in order to get consistently good results at chess. The method of studying endgames is similar to those of middle games. You should first read some theory about the endgame themes below. For that I would recommend using books such as Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual , Pandolfini's Endgame Course or any other endgame resource you wish to use. Then, again if you have an access to a chess database with ability to search by themes, you can sort out high level games on the particular ending and go through it. You can practice playing certain endgame positions against the computer and then check it with Nalimov's Tablebase.
List of topics to study:
- Bishop vs. pawns
- Opposite color bishops
- Same color bishops
- Knight vs. pawns
- Knight endgames
- Bishop vs. knight
- Rook vs. pawns
- Rook endgames
- Queen endgames
Good luck with training program. Remember if you stay dedicated to one thing, the results will come!
|10 Reasons Why Most People Are Not Good at Chess (and how to fix it)|
|Written by Yury Markushin|
|Sunday, 17 November 2013 22:51|
Majority of these players will never reach even 1000 rating level which is considered to be a beginner’s strength.
Why is that the case? How to change it? Most people are not good at chess because they:
1. Don’t take chess seriously enoughMany novice chess players don’t really care about the outcome of the game. They just play chess for fun, without being competitive and without the drive the win. These players forget about the game once it’s over and never come back to look at it again. With this attitude it's difficult to become a better player.
Quick fix:The only way to become better at something is to be serious about it, care about the outcome and spend time on training.
2. Give up chess too soonSome people give chess a try by playing one or two games. The decision, if they like the game or not, greatly depends on the outcome of these two games. If a person wins, he would probably stick with chess for a few more games. If he loses he would probably say, chess is not for him.
Quick fix:Don’t give up chess after a negative outcome of the game. Play more games against opponents of different strengths, watch professional chess tournaments, look over a few chess books or magazines and then decide for yourself if it’s a game for you. Many famous people play chess.
3. Don’t take any steps to get better at chessMany people play chess for fun without taking any steps for improvement. They play infinite number of games, playing the same openings, trying to checkmate an opponent the same way. If they have a flow in their chess understanding (almost 100% true for this level) they would lose limitless number of games the same way too. Finally they say the game is boring and stop playing at all.
Quick fix:Analyze your games. Even a short replay of your own game can help you to conclude what usually goes wrong. Then, work on fixing it. You will enjoy chess much more, once you become a better player!
4. Don’t calculate variationsThere are many novice players out there, who don’t feel like calculating deeper than one move ahead. They use their intuition to judge if the move is good or not. Although, the intuition can be a valuable resource for a chess player, calculation of variations is something that will help you win a lot more games, than solely relying on intuition and luck!
Quick fix:Try not to play moves without first seeing the whole line. At first, you will be able to see 1-2 moves ahead, then once you train more, you will be able to improve your calculation abilities to 3-4 moves ahead. Grandmasters can calculate up to 20 moves deep in some positions.
5. Don’t mind giving up pawns (or even pieces)The simplest rule of chess states that if you don’t want to lose the game too early do not give up material for no reason. Novice players are struggling from this mistake the most. They can get too concentrated on some minor things (castling, development, etc.) that they forget to move their pawn and pieces to safety. Lost pieces = lost games.
Quick fix:Before making moves, make sure none of your pieces are under attack.
6. Think that it’s impossible to improve at chessSome players think that it’s not possible to improve at chess more than they already have achieved. They think that chess level is limited by inherent factors such as IQ and cannot be increased. I’m not sure if the IQ of a person can be increased or not, but I’m 100% sure that any chess player, no matter how strong or weak can still make progress at chess if follows the right training program.
Quick fix:Follow a training program which included combinational training: openings, tactics, attack techniques and the endgames. You should check out the following programs: here and here.
7. Play self-invented openingsWhile it may be a good idea to surprise your opponent, playing a self-invented opening is definitely not the best way to do it. Reinventing the wheel is something that you probably should avoid at chess. Playing standard lines is a better idea, since they are developed to give a player (you) the most favorable position possible.
Quick fix:Study one opening line for white and one line for black to start with and then build up on this basic opening repertoire.
8. Don’t have any planHaving a plan at chess is really and I mean it, really important. A player with a bad plan would likely a player who has no plan at all.
Quick fix:Always have a plan in your games. It doesn’t have to be completely accurate, but you should always have an idea of what to do next. Planning small things like castling and developing rooks on open a and b files is really essential for success at chess.
9. Don’t see the whole chess boardMany novice chess players have difficulty seeing the whole chess board. Well, they see the board, but they don’t see all the threats that may be coming from the opponent’s pieces located far away from them (geographically, say in the opposite corner of the board). This leads to lost queens and checkmates in one. Even grandmasters miss mates like that sometimes.
Quick fix:Look at all the pieces on the board equally. If some pieces are further away from your king than other, it doesn’t mean they are less dangerous.
10. Don’t look for checkmatesThis maybe a continuation of a previous point, but surprisingly enough, many novice chess players protect their queen much better than their king. This leads to many missed mates and disappointments.
Quick fix:You need to develop a sense of danger for the king protection. Until you develop it, always check the possibilities of attacks on your king. You will save many games, by avoiding mates-in-1.
Comments are as always welcome!