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Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:30 pm
by Callum Todd
I have recently endeavoured to take up chess. Not as a serious pursuit - I don't have a lot of time to put into it - but I'd like to start playing it a bit as a side-hobby and see if I can become halfway decent at it.

I imagine there's a fair few chess aficionados among you lot. Any hints and tips for a chess rookie?

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:21 pm
by Gavin Chipper
Improve your co-ordination.

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:53 pm
by Neil Bellers
Hello and welcome to the chess world. Advice = play to enjoy, and not to get bogged down
in too much theory. Use the rooks early; they are powerful pieces and should not be left stuck
in the corners. Search out the chess puzzle columnists eg Times, and the veteran Leonard Barden =
Evening Standard / Guardian archives to see how the top players solve in-game problems.
Tal was the magnificent tactical charger to bust open defences.
Take a portable board (visit the Chess Shop in Baker Street, London) to cafes etc
and see if anyone challenges you to a game eg for the price of a cup of coffee.
I have just been an average player, now 60 years old, but still cannot understand
why television does not devote at least ten minutes per day to a worthwhile, and cheap for production,
regular show. The UK has produced some great players in the last 150 years or so.
There is a lot of potential, male and female players, in hundreds of schools for chess awareness and expansion
in the media.
For a good start, set up the chess board the right way round !
Best wishes

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:37 am
by Jon O'Neill
If you're bad and want to become below-average like me: Learn the main tactical motifs. Then do simple tactical puzzles (i.e. shouldn't take more than 5 seconds to solve) for hours and hours (it can be fun for someone of our ilk).

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:39 am
by David Williams
The trouble with knowing how to solve the tactical positions you will see in a newspaper is that you will only get to one of those positions very rarely, and only if you have outplayed your opponent up to that point. In any case a game between two beginners is usually just a succession of blunders, the game being lost by the player who makes the first/worst/last one. (It's fair to say that Magnus Carlsen probably views a game between two lower ranking grandmasters the same way. It depends on how bad a move has to be to be termed a blunder.)

I'm not up to date enough to give you a specific recommendation, but get yourself a 'Chess for Beginners' book to familiarise yourself with general principles. If it becomes second nature to develop your pieces, double your rooks, blockade that pawn, you've a lot more chance of reaching a position where it's you that has the tactical kill available. And play through annotated games, trying to work out why the players have played the moves they did, and why it worked or didn't work.

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:19 pm
by L'oisleatch McGraw
L'oisleatch McGraw wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:21 am
Is COUNTDOWN worthy of respect as a game?
Callum Todd wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:30 pm
I have recently endeavoured to take up chess.
No Callum, it is! :shock:
Countdown is worthy of respect as a game. Don't abandon it on my account! :D

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:20 am
by Jon O'Neill
David Williams wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:39 am
The trouble with knowing how to solve the tactical positions you will see in a newspaper is that you will only get to one of those positions very rarely, and only if you have outplayed your opponent up to that point. In any case a game between two beginners is usually just a succession of blunders, the game being lost by the player who makes the first/worst/last one. (It's fair to say that Magnus Carlsen probably views a game between two lower ranking grandmasters the same way. It depends on how bad a move has to be to be termed a blunder.)

I'm not up to date enough to give you a specific recommendation, but get yourself a 'Chess for Beginners' book to familiarise yourself with general principles. If it becomes second nature to develop your pieces, double your rooks, blockade that pawn, you've a lot more chance of reaching a position where it's you that has the tactical kill available. And play through annotated games, trying to work out why the players have played the moves they did, and why it worked or didn't work.
You're right about newspaper tactics... I should've been more detailed but when I said tactics I meant the very simple tactics. They should be very easily solved - i.e. in less than 3 seconds. Learning to count material, then spotting forks and skewers, and so on. There's a website called Chess Tempo which is free and perfect for what I mean. You'll get fed problems that are at your level, and you can see your rating improve over time.

I spent a long time doing the annotated games thing, and worrying about general principles, without much improvement in my rating. After spending some hours doing tactical problems my rating shot up (still shit but significantly less so). But up to a very high level all games are decided by blunt instrument tactics.. first pieces left hanging and abject failures of board vision, then very simple tactical ideas, and so on as the margins get thinner, as you said.

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:02 am
by Phil Makepeace
Callum Todd wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:30 pm
Any hints and tips for a chess rookie?
- Do the interactive lessons and practice modules under the Learn tab on lichess.org
- Repeat
- Play online at a reasonable pace but probably no faster than 10 minutes each until you’re zoned in a bit more
- Don’t shy away from material aimed at children. They often contain really good mnemonics and easy ways to code the info, and they’re bound to be engaging
- Play as much as you can over the board, otherwise you won’t develop 3D vision in addition to the online 2D stuff

While I’m here, just gonna say that I have a new chess podcast available on all good platforms called The Chesspit. Give us a listen and a subscribe.

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:20 am
by L'oisleatch McGraw
Phil Makepeace wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:02 am
called The Chesspit. Give us a listen and a subscribe.
Epic name! :mrgreen:

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:43 pm
by Callum Todd
Phil Makepeace wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:02 am
Callum Todd wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:30 pm
Any hints and tips for a chess rookie?
- Do the interactive lessons and practice modules under the Learn tab on lichess.org
- Repeat
- Play online at a reasonable pace but probably no faster than 10 minutes each until you’re zoned in a bit more
- Don’t shy away from material aimed at children. They often contain really good mnemonics and easy ways to code the info, and they’re bound to be engaging
- Play as much as you can over the board, otherwise you won’t develop 3D vision in addition to the online 2D stuff

While I’m here, just gonna say that I have a new chess podcast available on all good platforms called The Chesspit. Give us a listen and a subscribe.
That's great; thanks very much Phil. I have been using lichess.org (thanks to recommendation by Matty Artell) and have played through the lessons and practise modules once so far. Onto repeat!

Will definitely give your podcast a listen.
L'oisleatch McGraw wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:20 am
Phil Makepeace wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:02 am
called The Chesspit. Give us a listen and a subscribe.
Epic name! :mrgreen:
Indeed!

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:53 am
by Callum Todd
Listened to Episode 1, now on number 2. This is great Phil! Even got some Leeds chat in :)

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:57 pm
by Phil Makepeace
Thanks, Callum :)

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:20 am
by Paul Worsley
The Russians, who still produce the most top players in the world, learn the game backwards. That is they learn endgame first, middle game next and only then move on to openings.

If you're just playing for fun, don't get bogged down learning openings, just the basics. ie control of the centre, rapid development of pieces, castle the king etc

Make sure you know how to checkmate with a winning position, eg KQ vK, KR v K, KPR v K

Also, make sure you know how to win KP v K.

Learn some middle game tactics, The fork, The pin, The skewer etc

Once you know these things you'll be well ahead of most recreational players.

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:30 am
by Gavin Chipper
The knight can jump over other pieces.

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:51 pm
by Noel Mc
I'm looking for some way to run a chess tournament for pupils, a few parameters if possible:
- No chat function
- I want to ideally be able to share a URL for two pupils to play eachother
- Free
- Easy to sign up - pupils all have a school Google account, so that could be easily used.

Anyone able to help??

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:00 pm
by Sam Cappleman-Lynes
LiChess is completely free, has a feature where you can create a challenge via URL, and although it does have chat I think accounts can be configured so that it is disabled.

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:44 pm
by Graeme Cole
I'm 9 episodes into this inaccurately-named "speedrun" of chess by Daniel Naroditsky.

He's a grandmaster, playing on chess.com under a pseudonym, starting with a very low rating, playing against players of similar ratings*. As he plays, working his way up the ratings ladder, he talks through the tactics he's using, the mistakes his opponent is making, and how he's exploiting them. Despite the length of the episodes it's very fast-paced and there's a huge amount of chess packed in to the time. If you're someone of a novice rating who knows the rules and some basic concepts, but want to learn "why do I keep getting beaten?" the first few episodes should be very instructive.

* I don't know how he gets round the rule I would expect chess.com has against doing this, but he does say at the start of one of the videos that all ratings points he wins get refunded somehow.

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:49 pm
by Gavin Chipper
Graeme Cole wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:44 pm
I'm 9 episodes into this inaccurately-named "speedrun" of chess by Daniel Naroditsky.

He's a grandmaster, playing on chess.com under a pseudonym, starting with a very low rating, playing against players of similar ratings*. As he plays, working his way up the ratings ladder, he talks through the tactics he's using, the mistakes his opponent is making, and how he's exploiting them. Despite the length of the episodes it's very fast-paced and there's a huge amount of chess packed in to the time. If you're someone of a novice rating who knows the rules and some basic concepts, but want to learn "why do I keep getting beaten?" the first few episodes should be very instructive.

* I don't know how he gets round the rule I would expect chess.com has against doing this, but he does say at the start of one of the videos that all ratings points he wins get refunded somehow.
What rule would you expect it to have? You mean he has two accounts? Otherwise just being really good and having a low rating (regardless of what name you use) is inevitable when a good player signs up to the site.

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:18 pm
by Graeme Cole
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:49 pm
Graeme Cole wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:44 pm
I'm 9 episodes into this inaccurately-named "speedrun" of chess by Daniel Naroditsky.

He's a grandmaster, playing on chess.com under a pseudonym, starting with a very low rating, playing against players of similar ratings*. As he plays, working his way up the ratings ladder, he talks through the tactics he's using, the mistakes his opponent is making, and how he's exploiting them. Despite the length of the episodes it's very fast-paced and there's a huge amount of chess packed in to the time. If you're someone of a novice rating who knows the rules and some basic concepts, but want to learn "why do I keep getting beaten?" the first few episodes should be very instructive.

* I don't know how he gets round the rule I would expect chess.com has against doing this, but he does say at the start of one of the videos that all ratings points he wins get refunded somehow.
What rule would you expect it to have? You mean he has two accounts? Otherwise just being really good and having a low rating (regardless of what name you use) is inevitable when a good player signs up to the site.
He plays on chess.com using his main account under his own name, yes. I would have assumed they frown upon taking rating points from a low-rated player who has no idea you're a GM, so perhaps that's why he mentioned that rating points get refunded somehow.

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:16 am
by Graeme Cole
Callum Todd wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:30 pm
Any hints and tips for a chess rookie?
You can go any distance uppie-downie or leftie-rightie.