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Chess Against Computer

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chessgregory 34 ( +1 | -1 )
Stuck at 1500ish... Hi,

Seem to be stuck around the 1500 area. Don't seem to be able to improve. If anything, my rating seems to be declining following defeats to lower rated than me. Has anybody got any advice on what I can do to get better (maybe based on my weaknesses from my games)?

Has anybody else had a similar problem to this?

Any help is appreciated.
Greg
cjjpeterson 41 ( +1 | -1 )
Yeah My only recommendation would be to start playing people +300 over your rating. Then when the game is fininshed look over it and find out where you made your mistakes or where a good move was played and try to learn from them. This is a great way to improve opening theory cause people at 1800+ usually know there openings pretty well.
sf115 25 ( +1 | -1 )
If you spend lots more time on your moves then your rating will slowly increase. I have a simular problem as I joined GK in November 2006 and since January my rating has been between 1500-1600.
daniele 54 ( +1 | -1 )
I suggest you to do daily tactic exercises as suggested by michael de la maza. You can try personal chess trainer or download exercises from here -> dejascacchi.altervista.org (best move are better).
Take a copy of how to reassess your chess.
Then when you have to move search first for tactic, if there is no tactic use the method given in how to reassess your chess to improve your position.
But FIRST tactic and THEN the method.
cascadejames 42 ( +1 | -1 )
tactics Greg,
My rating is not so much higher than yours, so it is presumptuous of me to give advice, but I can tell you what has helped me. Based on my experience and looking at a few of your losses against higher rated players, I agree that you could improve by studying tactics more. I recommend "Understanding Chess Tactics" by Martin Weteschnik, though I am sure there are also other good books available.
ccmcacollister 661 ( +1 | -1 )
ALL good suggestions! And I believe would go a long way toward raising your playing strength And rating.
***
I looked @ your recently finished games, perhaps 10 or 12. These are my impressions:

1) You already show good strategic ideas. Also
2) You've shown Good endgame play in those, overall, especially in the R&P endings. Probably Knight endings also, since you played well in the one vs muppyman , but he hit you with an untenable choice by offering to trade off the last Knights.
Always give up a pawn in the ending rather than enter a lost K&P ending. Because: (A) K&P when lost will provide less draw chances, and for most players it will be their most familiar/best endgame as well. In some endgames going down a pawn may still provide drawing chances; especially Knight endings ... which may often have such chances even two pawns down if you know them well. (Also R&P or opposite color B endings may often be drawable down one pawn, sometimes even two, and rarely 3.)
***
LEADING TO MY SUGGESTIONS: [A] Endgames:
1) Be sure to know the positions in R+P endings that are drawable when down a pawn or two ... which will also help you to win those. And don't be afraid to play for Even to Superior R+P endings since you play them well.
2)I would study K+P endings so as not to walk into a lost one such as in the game cited, and because they are the most common ending, as well as the Final Chance to win, lose or draw a game.
3)Also to study Knight endings more to get stronger in them and learn how to draw them when down a pawn or two. I think this particular ending will serve you well if you become expert at it. It is one of my main endings, and tho drawish by reputation,
in practical terms it wins a LOT of games, due to players not playing them well and also that is especially true vs players who 'move too fast/in haste'. My experience is that the complexities of N endings bring out their tendency to err, more than some others.
****
[B] Your main problem, as I see it, is getting hit with unexpected moves or short combinations. This translates to needing to be more careful. One factor being use of more time, per sf115 , and Looking at More. One way to solve it, that I HAVE used myself, is this:
After each opp's move, look to see EVERY CHECK he has, also EVERY CAPTURE he can possibly make, even if it looks foolish ... and then look beyond that capture at least another move. When you have figured out your candidate moves, then you must look at all those checks & captures again that he could reply with and also any NEW ones that are created by your potential move. {Tho time consuming; you DO have Days so no need to ever be hasty. & This should be worth over 50 Elo to you quickly. You've missed some twomove ideas, as in the game above in that ending. But mostly earlier in the game.}
I think you are capable enough in calculating, but are simply not looking carefully enough at what is NOW at hand for the next move or two. Perhaps getting too wrapped up in your strategic plans and a bit of impatience?
But once you get used to looking at EVERY check and capture, it will start to come to you unconsciously to see such things.
AND you will start seeing such things that YOU can DO to your opponent. Here's an EXAMPLE of missed opportunity ...
***

Here as BL you could have won a pawn and put his King on the run with ... Nxe5 {and if fxe5 Qh4+ Kf1 Qxc4 etc. }
This can also be found in the GK d-base I believe, and also follows my first game with burtis , tho my follow-up queen play is imprecise.
board #1373971
***
My own trouble is seeing Outgoing threats better than Incoming threats; which I feel you may share to some degree. So I always have to use more care to see what is incoming, despite usually seeing any sacrifice from my side pretty instantly, and first thing seen. That may well be from the time spent in the past in doing the "see every capture" drill. And Chess problems will help that too, as daniele mentions.
***
And also as cjjjpeterson said; higher rated opposition now would be a great idea for you. I used that very method as an Expert, by entering 3 USCCC sections which game me 21 games vs Masters and other Experts. Having a total of 45 games going at the time, it was Way too many for me to play all well. So focused on the Masters & higher, and did about Even. But went minus vs other Experts. But it was a very valuable tourney for me.
Before that I was strong vs that level of play and able to score some wins and many draws ... but was NOT good at being able to WIN against lower rated players, which was keeping my rating down. However, from this Tournament I got to see what and how good to WC calibre players were playing their openings; plus a large number of Improvements used AGAINST me.
I turned around and used much of what I learned there in order to defeat other players of equal or lower ratings than mine. The rational is this: (a) I am a good player, (b) I had trouble understanding or handling this line, (c) Therefore it is quite likely that others of similar or lesser rating than I will also find it difficult to respond properly to it.
The idea proved out, and along with study of many endgames I had never approached till then, made for rapid rise to Master level.
THUS I feel taking on a handful or more of games vs "A" and above would help sharpen your openings (expect that Masters may 'save' their Best Stuff, not play it except in their own class, but some "A" players will surely uncork some TN's or improvements ).
It will also improve your endgame play, which is already a strong point for you, to meet some players who will be Very good at them.
***
Regards, Craig AC }8-)
ccmcacollister 62 ( +1 | -1 )
PS// That old saying ... "When you find a Good Move, look for a Better move" is MOST applicable to Corr. Chess
since we've Got The Time to do it! :)
I forget, but believe it may have been GM Keres, or perhaps Tarrasch who first said that.
One final point, of Chessic trivia ... Does anyone else think S. Tarrasch looks a LOT like Johhny Depp !!? ! {... as in that movie where Depp plays a collector of rare books and occult manuscripts ... not so much resemblence to Edward Scissorhands tho~! :) ...}
I saw a picture of S.T. either in the Oxford Chess Companion, or a somewhat newer encyclopedic Chess text recently seen.
heinzkat 5 ( +1 | -1 )
ccmcacollister You mean Ninth gate? Evil movie ;)
chessgregory 2 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks Thanks for all the advice.
schaakhamster 2 ( +1 | -1 )
nicely done analysis ccmcacollister, thumbs up!
ccmcacollister 51 ( +1 | -1 )
A couple additions I forgot to mention ... First was a general opening maxim .... that it is usually better Not to block in your Queens Bishop ("c") pawn when playing in QP (d4) openings, since it is the primary "lever" pawn vs the d-pawn.
Another is that if you have trouble with your Queen, you could also look for opponent moves each time that could immediately threaten your Queen ... as if it were to be in
what they sometimes call "Queen-check" ... just meaning it is threatened.

Regards
chessgregory 10 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks Thanks ccmcacollister. Like schaakhamster said, really good analysis. Very useful.
ccmcacollister 130 ( +1 | -1 )
Great ... You are most welcome, chessgregory. Glad you found some info there useful ! Just another remark to add for anyone reading (always seems to be Something left to say, sigh) Anyway, the really great thing about using ideas that others have played against you, is its a Win-Win situation in practical terms. You either get the better position from it ... or they refute it or play thru it anyway, then you know how to meet it next time it comes up against you!
Such knowlege does not last as long these days, with the net and so many of our games published almost immediately ... if someone really wants to study up on our games ... whereas it used to result in many good games and wins in postal chess where losing to one good line might bring about a dozen wins with it before someone published it somewhere. Still not everyone is so intensive in reviewing opponent games. Maybe I'm a little lax on that myself ...
(Of course except for GK#35 Tournament, where my opponents can be sure I've studied every game they have ever played since creation of the Internet! Better check em ALL over, now! ... Ok, well I try anyway ... and Maybe ... :)