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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Chess

   
Author Topic: Chess
mr_porteiro_head
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I really suck at chess, but I'm interested in getting better.

I haven't played a lot of chess in my life. For learning as a beginner, how much of a difference does it make whether I play against a human or a computer? Do you have any suggestions of good places to play online against humans or good programs to play against computers?

Are there any books that would help me, or should I just get practice?

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Synesthesia
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Don't play on Yahoo chess.
Last time I was there, those people were boors. All they cared about was increasing their rank and not about playing a good game and getting better.
Unless you played with me, who is terrible, but if I won I wouldn't sing some ridiculous song about it.
I reckon a book would probably help and a computer program for chess and also playing with people who are not boors. My father is obsessed with chess.

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airmanfour
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I'm not that good either, but when I was younger I used to get Grand Masters' games off the internet and play them at home. Try to get in the really good chess players' heads. It sorta worked....
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Jon Boy
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I used to play on Yahoo Chess, but I haven't played in a few years. The thing that helped me the most was playing against a roommate who could explain what I was doing wrong.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Crap. That's precisely what I don't have.
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Itsame
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I am fairly strong, near expert strength, and I play at www.chess-live.com It is great for experienced players or beginners [Smile] . There is free membership and royal membership, in a promotion we are giving away one month free royal membership for new people.
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Sterling
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"One night in Bangkok, and the world's your oyster..."
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Celaeno
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I'm not a particularly expert chess player, but I love the game. Although I have played on the computer (against people at Yahoo and against the program on the Bicycle Board Games set that came with my laptop), I've found that playing in real life helps me to better visualize my moves. If at all possible, I would find a person who can sit down at a table with you to play. The person doesn't even need to be a good player; he or she just needs to be enthusiastic. If you can't, I'd play against the computer. In my experience, strangers online tend to be impatient with beginners, but YMMV.
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quidscribis
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I prefer Suicide Chess. Even better, I love Speed Suicide Chess. [Cool]
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Lissande
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The trouble is the girl is me.
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Noemon
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I'm actually in the same position as you are, Porter, and have been thinking about starting this exact thread lately.

quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
I am fairly strong, near expert strength, and I play at www.chess-live.com It is great for experienced players or beginners [Smile] . There is free membership and royal membership, in a promotion we are giving away one month free royal membership for new people.

I can't get to the site from work, but I'll probably check it out tonight. What does the royal membership offer that the free one doesn't?
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Dasa
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Mph, Practicing against either the computer or humans works in the beginning, though it is far more enjoyable to play against friends and acquaintances. Also, I have found that visualization on the actual board is different from visualization on the computer.

Most people suggest that, as a beginner, it is best to concentrate on tactics (instead of strategy, openings, middle games etc, though you should learn a bit about these too). There are a whole lot of tactical sites on the web available, but you would probably know all the tactics (forking etc) already. The key, like in anything else, is repeated practice, so that patterns stand out clearly. Another suggestion that most people give is to repeat a series of puzzles multiple times, forcing yourself to go faster each time.

As for software--
Chessmaster 10.0 has a bunch of excellent tutorial s and practice materials which by itself is worth its price ( $15-20, I think). It also has a great chess engine, which you can arrange to your playing level. I would also highly recommend CT-Art 3.0 ($25 ish) which is great to improve your tactical skills, because it has a very wide variety of puzzles taken from actual games. It also keeps track of the time you took and will allow you to gauge your improvement.

Apart from all this, I find that most of the fun I have in chess is due to tactics (or well thought out strategy). Detailed opening and end-game study is very boring and mostly mechanical [Smile] Hope this helps.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Noemon -- if you're interested, we ought to start playing together. Of course, I imagine that I'd get more out of it than you, since I suspect that you are better than me.

Why do I suspect that? Because you are breathing.

Now we just need somebody to laugh at our games and tell us what we're doing wrong.

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BlackBlade
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I used to play on Yahoo chess ALOT in high school, but ever since 2001 I have just never sat down and played, though I do on occasion play when I go camping.

If either of you would like to play for fun on Yahoo or elsewhere I would be perfectly happy to play, have fun, and learn with you. One thing that certainly changed the way I play chess was said by Francois-Andre Danican Philidor, "The pawn is the soul of chess."

When folks say, "I'm not going to be a pawn in your little game!" I think the phrase is not a good one [Smile] Pawns may be the weakest pieces individually, but there is a reason you have so many of them [Big Grin] I can't tell you how many games in my earlier chess games I lost because of an opponents pawn.

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Xavier
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I don't think I am especially good, but I did get a lot better in college by learning with a bunch of other novices.

We had a computer lab all to ourselves, because we were all on a research grant through my college. Someone brought in a chess board one day, and we started playing it. Soon we had three boards in there at once, and often had people stop into the lab to play, including some teachers. We hung out in there a lot, and I often played 5 or 6 games in there per day.

The fun part was learning to play each-other, and learning how to defeat different strategies.

When we started, we were all pretty equal. Then someone would develop a strategy which worked well, and started winning most of their games. Then someone else would come up with a strategy to beat that one, and then they were king of the hill for a while, and so on.

Any actual good chess player would wipe the floor with any of us, but we were all bright young men, and we could be pretty clever. It was a blast. The most fun was getting to play a bunch of different people regularly, and seeing how their playing styles matched each-other, and how the style progresses as they learn new tactics.

My personal style started out pretty cautious and defensive, but by the end of my time at college I pretty much attacked, attacked, attacked. I often overextended and lost, but it was certainly a lot of fun [Smile] .

I haven't played in forever, because I hate computer chess. I need to see the pieces in front of me, and I get awfully bored if the opponent is not someone I know (or can see).

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sweetbaboo
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MPH, how old is your oldest child? My son started playing in Kindergarten and I learned to play along with him. We started by learning the different ways that each piece moves and went from there. It's been a fun thing to do with him over the last few years.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Mario and I play chess frequently, but it's not much of a challenge. We're both pretty much in the "Oh crap! How did I miss that?" stage, but I miss far less than he does.
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Itsame
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" What does the royal membership offer that the free one doesn't?"

You can play unlimited rated games, watch master lectures, watch master games, have a blindfold account, and other features too [Smile] . I sound like I am advertising it now, don't I?


"Apart from all this, I find that most of the fun I have in chess is due to tactics (or well thought out strategy). Detailed opening and end-game study is very boring and mostly mechanical [Smile] Hope this helps."

Yea, a year ago I would completely agree but as every day passes I appreciate endgame more and more... and it depresses me that I am so poor at it. Then again, so are most people so it all works out.

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Icarus
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:
"One night in Bangkok, and the world's your oyster..."

[Big Grin] I can't see this thread without thinking of the musical. I finally decided to post that thought, and you beat me to it! [Big Grin]
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SoaPiNuReYe
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The thing about me and chess is that no matter how hard I try, I always end up making one dumb mistake and it costs me the entire game. Even if it is really little. [Frown]
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El JT de Spang
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Then please don't go into engineering. [Wink]
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T_Smith
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If anyone is interested in playing, I'm more than willing to jump in for a game or two if available.
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Omega M.
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There should be a computer chess game that teaches you strategy by starting you off by having you win with very simple piece setups (such as only a few pieces and a king on each side) and then adding more pieces and trickier situations until you can jump into a full game. I always found there to be too many choices at the start of a chess game for me to grasp what was really going on.
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Mig
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I love chess. I've got two recommendations that I think are a must if you want to improve your game.

First buy a good book that explains the basics of strategy and the opening. I strongly recommend How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman. Working through the games in a good chess book are a an indespensible part of your chess education.

Second, find people to play with that are better than you are. Look for a local chess club or people in school who know what they're doing. If you only play against people that are as bad or worse then you, you will never improve your game. I find that when I play against weaker players, I start getting sloppy and become over confident. Always a mistake. I amy lose when I play against stronger players, but my games are better and less filled with stupid mistakes.

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Launchywiggin
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Big chess geek here. I still play on Yahoo because I like good speed games.
I linger around 1700.

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Omega M.
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I find it hard to visualize chess games in books and cumbersome to set up pieces and play along. I'd really need to watch the moves on screen with the ability to rewind and fast forward. (I'm just glad they now write chess moves using standard coordinates instead of that God-awful "Knight to Bishop Three" notation.)
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Itsame
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You should really learn to read both algebraic and descriptive, as some very good chess books haven't been reprinted in algebraic. 60 Memorable Games, for example.
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Eisenoxyde
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My favorite book is My System by Aron Nimzovich. I can't think of any other book that helped me as much as that one.
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