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Author Topic: Chess...learning and playing  (Read 2837 times)
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« on: March 13, 2005, 02:31:55 PM »

I've been trying to get better at chess. Even a little better would be better than the level that I play. Stupid mistakes but all part and parcel of a beginners mind.  It looks like chess takes time and study. No problem with that, but I just want some beginner paths to start out on.

I want to go a little beyond the training in Chessmaster and work through some paper smile Although the PC is fine there is something about pushing wood that a PC doesn't replicate. You see different things when you actually play. Maybe I lend too much credence to osmosis smile

I've been looking through some books I saw in a Listmania! on Amazon and they seem to be helping a little. I like the list just because the author has a lot of cheaper Dover editions old chess master stuff. Might be the wrong stuff for a beginner however (P.S - I've tried Pandolfini and the guy just bores me to death)

Here are a few that I have in the library:

Bobby Fisher teaches chess by Bobby Fisher
Chess Master vs Chess Amateur by Max Euwe
Art of the checkmate by Max Renaud
Lasker's Manual of Chess by Emmanuel Lasker

Any ideas on other books and activities? I'm not confident enough to play club chess (yet) but I plan on it once I get better.
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2005, 08:25:10 PM »

The books you mention are alright - particularly Euwe's and Renaud's books, but I'd suggest a couple of other approaches that have worked for me.

Start off learning tactics. Get a good book of tactical puzzles and do a few every day. Two or three move mates and combinations are good to start with. There is a book by Hays called "Chess Tactics for Juniors" that I like alot for basic tactical puzzles. Once these get easy, move onto something more difficult. Even if you miss a bunch at first the key is to do a few maybe 15-30 mins every day.

IMO the two best learning techniques for chess are 1) to play over master games and try to learn from them and 2) review and analyze your own games. If you are playing over the board then write down your moves and have a stronger player go over them with you or just run them through a computer like Fritz. Understanding where you went wrong is key to getting better. You learn the most from losing games rather than winning them. Playing over well annotated games by Grandmasters or Masters is also a valuable and rewarding practice. You learn the right ideas and how to handle different types of positions. Don't worry if you don't understand everything going on in a game. Just learn what you can and go on to the next game. Irving Chernev's "Logical Chess Move by Move" and "Decisive Games in Chess History" would be my first suggestions, then maybe a book of games by your favorite chess player. Personally, I love the old masters like Capablanca and Alekhine.

Check out Dan Heisman's "Novice Nook" column at You can download pdfs (free) of his past columns and they contain some really great insights and lessons on improving at chess. I have all of them printed out and refer to them from time to time. Another author/teacher who you should check out later on is Jeremy Silman. I'd wait on his stuff until you improve a bit more and have done some tactical study and played over some grandmaster games.

Good luck and have fun!

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