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2 Player Chess

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viva ♡ 43 ( +1 | -1 )
how far you can go...? my quistion here is..how far you can go with your rating and improve your chess without studing it..?
frankly i think anyone can be expert, professional and even grand master in chess if he just uses his brain and tries to figure out what is the best move for each position..i mean i find that studing the openings for example is useless and doesn`t improve your chess...
so what you people think.?
fmgaijin ♡ 94 ( +1 | -1 )
Highly Unlikely OTB: Pretty much impossible to get even to NM level without SOME study of opening and basic endings. One cannot recreate centuries of knowledge under the pressure of the clock. Probably the strongest "natural" player of all time was Capablanca, who reached the GM level without MUCH study (he DID study endings and play through games), but even back then the growth of chess theory overtook him and he had trouble with booked-up opponents (Alekhine and the other young Russian, Estonian, and American lions) in the 30's.

Turn-Based: It depends on how you look at it. You don't "study" openings or endings in the sense of memorizing them, but if you want to get the master level, you DO spend lots of time with databases, looking for new/better moves in previously-played openings, and you spend LOTS of time exhaustively analyzing endings, which means learning opposition, Philidor and Lucena positions and other theory of R endings, etc., etc. Isn't that "study"?
greyrabbit ♡ 69 ( +1 | -1 )
I think... Study is essential after a certain level. Talent is good but practise makes perfect. My level is around a 1400, GK wise.....after analysing my games against opponents in rating brackets of 50 pts its quite easy to see a slight tail off after 1100 rating and then a huge drop after 1400 pts. That doesn't happen by accident, saying anyone can be a gm if they think hard enough is like saying anyone can be a brain surgeon.

There are problems with study though. I recently tried to improve my game, it cost me a massive amount of confidence, 150 rating points and a lot of games. Guess I'm not someone who can learn :-(

dysfl ♡ 61 ( +1 | -1 )
Gifted vs. study I'm not gifted in chess like many people in GK. So I study chess openings and tactical themes or end games to "borrow" some of the ideas for the gifted chess masters.

I agree that the gifted might not need training at certain things. However, even a gifted ones need study to save time and energy. If you give a gifted person unlimited time and resources, he might get enlightened to chess someday, hopefully in his lifetime. However, history shows that even a gifted ones need good teacher to become a GM.

Anyway, I'm not gifted, so I can only guess.
indiana-jay ♡ 88 ( +1 | -1 )
viva Anyone might think that "studying" opening is memorizing many lines, the traps, etc etc. But IMO it is enough to understand the concept behind every move, which is basic. I studied opening once, but now I don't think I need to go through any opening study (yet). Even though I don't remember opening lines, I can always make moves which conform to the standard opening by only concentrating on the concepts: advancement, center squares, not creating weak pawn (deffered or isolated), tempo (knights "first", "not" move twice, etc), exchanging bad bishops/knights, positioning of materials (linked or supporting with each others, file/rank occupation), etc etc.

And I know that my understanding of positions in openings bettered that of my NM friend. And I think it is cool if anyone would create a thread to list the "TIPS AND TRICKS" so everyone can contribute and the other can learn.

wschmidt ♡ 136 ( +1 | -1 )
viva If you're playing at the 1600+ level without doing any studying (i.e., not working through books of tactical problems, studying endgame positions, learning opening ideas (not memorizing lines), playing through master games, or analyzing your past games with stronger players or chess software) then you obviously have some level of chess talent.
And, given enough time and energy, you might be able to significantly increase your chess strength by playing enough games to discover for yourself what the masters have discovered and passed down over 400+ years of chess. I doubt that you take that approach to some of your other interests though. Nobody in the field of computer programming starts from scratch and reinvents the basics. Good musicians practice relentlessly when they are starting out and they learn from folks who have gone before whether they play rock, jazz, blues or classical. Soccer players practice the basics long after they become successful - dribbling, passing, shots on goal.
Chess is the same way. If you study, your game will improve faster than if you don't. If you don't like studying it, that's fine. But don't try to justify a lack of interest in study by saying it isn't of any value.
soikins ♡ 215 ( +1 | -1 )
my 2 cents Of course people will have different opinions about what a serious studying is. Something that one considers serious studying, for someone elsi is just a fooling around. But as fas as I know, one can get pretty far without much studying, at the same time someone who studies a lot can't get any further than expert level. Much depends on talent.

I have heard some interesting things on the subject, for example we at www.latchess.lv conducted an interview with GM Normunds Miezis recently, and he admitted that he has never studied the game seriously. He learned the moves at age 12, but got interested in chess only at the age of 16 (year 1987). He didn't attend a chess school, so he has no chess education, but he won Latvian Championships in 1991! He remembers that in the Championships he was trying to win a rook vs. rook + pawn endgame, that every first category player knows is drawn, simply because he didn't know that it was a theoretical draw. :)

If one looks at Miezis games, he will notice that he doesn't study openings, he can deviate theory on move 5 or 6. Of course he play's a lot and has obtained a lot of experience and knowledge just by playing. Of course he is a gifted chessplayer, so it seems to work only for a few lucky talents. As for the rest of us - untalented (dear reader, admit it - if you can't beat soikins you have no talent in chess, because soikins has none :) ), hard work is neccessary to improve.

About Capablanca and not working on chess. IMHO it's a myth created by Capa himself. He was a great PR specialist and it is well known that people appreciate talent more than hard work. Just look at Capa and Botvinnik. I hear people saying "Wow, Capa, he was a talent! A genious!"; "Botvinnik? Yes, he was a good analytic. He won his games thanks to the preparation and because he had studied the standart positions." Capas talent is regarded much higher than Botvinnik's hard work. I don't believe that Capa could play on such a high level without hard work, but Capablanka - a hardworker wouldn't be so much appreciated in public, so he chose his role wisely.
fmgaijin ♡ 87 ( +1 | -1 )
Capa and Opening Study? A cursory examination of Capa's games reveals that he did NOT study opening theory. Look at his early Cuban and U.S. games and watch how he learned openings DURING tournaments and matches from the games he played. Look at the way in which he avoids highly theoretical openings in the 1910's and 20's. Look at how he suddenly starts getting into time pressure and getting bad openings in the 1930's vs. Botvinnik, etc. Maybe he did study chess, but it's OBVIOUS that he didn't study openings enough!

Remember also that he was a master-level player at 11 and a 2600+-level GM at 20 despite that handicap. Perhaps because of that, when he NEEDED to work hard and study to maintain his place, he didn't really know how (like the college student who has never had to study and finally hits the subject that requires it and doesn't really know how to go about it).
fmgaijin ♡ 58 ( +1 | -1 )
Meizis and Opening Study A quick look through his games reveals not that he "never studies" but rather that he seems to specialize in obscure lines in which he hopes to know more than his opponents (but can limit the amount he has to study because there is little to know about some of those lines). Hence, in some of these lines most of the "theory" comes from Meizis' games! I know this "strategy" and employ it myself <blush>. However, like me he has had some bad results in given games when his opening choices caught up with him.
indiana-jay ♡ 37 ( +1 | -1 )
fmgaijin everything was so easy in the good old days :) Look at how "amateur" world championship games were. In the old days, talent was more important than it is today. So, may be Capa didn't study openings "far" enough, but what is wrong with that. If he were here (with his top most performance) I doubt he could beat Judit Polgar (who is not a chess idol).
soikins ♡ 166 ( +1 | -1 )
on Capa and Miezis I don't say that Capa studies openings. Opening study doesn't have much to do with sudying chess, like studying art history doesn't make on a better painter, studying opening theory doesn't make one a better chessplayer. I'm quite shure Capa studyed endgames a lot, he did look at his oponents games, analyzed them. Of course, I have no proof for that, I'm just sceptical about the general opinion that Capa wasn't working on chess.

About Miezis - my point is that one can reach GM level with just a tiny bit of studying, if he has talent. Miezis himself admits that he can't get to 2600 without working on chess, but he is still a granmaster. Yes, he plays obscure opening lines, he creates "novelties" over the board and bases his assasments and strategy not on study but his own experience over the years. By these means he can avoid studying openings and that just strengthens my point.

I have a bunch of chess books at home, I have read a lot of them, but I still occasionaly get beaten (mainly in blitz) by someone who hasn't read a single book, doesn't know what Linares is, but plays blitz online regularly. Look at GM Nakamura, from a Soviet chess schools point of view he is an uneducated barbarian. But he plays on a very high level, his "studying" is playing 1 0 on ICC. Computers also know nothing about chess, but still beat humans who have a lot of "knowledge". And it's logical - 99% of chess is tactics - something that can be learned by poraxis alone (everyone knows that Capa was a brilliant tactician, especialy at the "petite combination" level).
i_play_slowly ♡ 50 ( +1 | -1 )
Here's the thing... "Properly taught, a student can learn more in a few hours than he would find out in ten years of untutored trial and error" (Emanuel Lasker). Silman makes a similar point regarding chess books: without reading them, a player might unconsciously make the same mistakes year after year. A tutor, like a good book, can make someone aware of his 'blind spots', which might otherwise have stayed with him forever.
bucklehead ♡ 57 ( +1 | -1 )
Looking at it sideways Players of Go have a saying (they have a great many sayings, but the one most applicable is), "Lose your first fifty games as fast as you can." This is sage advice, for Chess as well as Go. You hae to first kow what questions to ask before you can study profitably. I bet you can find out a lot of remarkable things through trial and error, but unless you have a natural gift for these things you may see important points crop up and vanish before your eyes, without even noticing.

If you're at the point where you're wondering, "How far can I go without studying?", you're probably ready to hit the books.
fmgaijin ♡ 84 ( +1 | -1 )
Studying Openings Having played at the International level (Olympics, Zonals, etc.), my experience has been that MOST of the top players spend CONSIDERABLE time on the opening, both in OTB and turn-based chess. Read Kasparov's articles and books for insight on what the top PROFESSIONAL players do with themselves day to day. What made Fischer able to challenge the Soviets in the 60's? His superior opening preparation (1) won some games outright and (2) allowed him to get positions which suited his talents in many other cases. His opening "study," like Kasparov's, did not involve just memorizing what others played; instead, it involved looking for NEW moves and ideas. That is exactly what strong correspondence players do, too--you can't "outbook" an opponent when you all have the same books available, but you CAN look for untried or improved tries--IF you take the time to "study."
bogg ♡ 73 ( +1 | -1 )
fmgaijin The top players have no further need of studying middlegame play and for some reason most people seem to hate studying endgames so where else would they spend their time? I have always thought that, current OTB results aside, it was always better to study the game backwards, master the endgame, the middlegame and then study the opening. Until someone has a good handle on the later phases of a game they can't really understand the moves played in the opening, forcing lines excepted of course. I realize this method doesn't tend to help a player's immediate results but they should get to where they are going quicker.

CTC (Bogg)
fmgaijin ♡ 68 ( +1 | -1 )
Howdy, Bogg! Yes, I personally agree with you since studying the endgame made such a huge boost in my own strength back in the days of our youth. I was just making the observation that today's "professional" players consider opening preparation to be of paramount importance and spend most of their "work" time on that along with analysis of future opponent's specific strengths/weaknesses. When a GM comes to the board against lowly me and has not only played through EVERY game of mine that appears in ChessBase but also has novelties prepared in most of my opening lines, it's pretty obvious what they've spent their time studying . . .
viva ♡ 96 ( +1 | -1 )
i see a lot of great comments and advices here...
first of all..i am not talented (i would like to be considered as talented..but i dont think so..:-)..)..yes i dont have any chess book but i cant say i never studied chess..cuz i have chessmaster 8000 and i listened to all Josh`s games,so i can say i have learnt some great things..
anyway i totally agree with those who say that studing can save time..but what i am trying to say that chess maybe is the only thing that you dont have to practice it to be the best in it..this game completly depends on thinking and analyzing..all you need is your brain..its the only thing in the world that luck cant be part of it...
lets imagine that (Instiene) put all his energy and smartness on chess while he is playing his first game ever..i am sure he would beat Kasparov..
finally..if i am gonna study chess then i will study the end game cuz its the most important part...
wolstoncroft1 ♡ 143 ( +1 | -1 )
I TOTALLY DISAGREE!!! Come on now..... Einstein would beat Kasparov!!!! That is the most outrageous statement i have ever heard. So many refutations I could fill three websites with them, but here are just a few:
1) Bobby Fisher has an IQ of 187 -> hem.bredband.net which is higher than Einsteins!!! but no one thought hed be able to beat Karpov let alone Kasparov if he were to return from obscurity. But surely a lesser genius that has seldom played chess has a better chance.
2) You think that over the last 20 years as Kasparov reined over chess that he was the most intelligent chessplayer??? Highest IQ??? You think he thinks he was?
3) The Capablanca example.... Natural player, less preparation than any of his contemporaries...lost against Alekhine and many others due to their preperation and study, not that they were stronger players.

The truth is, you can be good to a point (which is different for every player) without study... but once you get to that point you will not progress without it, especially nowadays as every chessplayer seems to study. Furthermore, It could take you three or four years to get as good as you could be in 6 months with the proper study.
In short if you are not studying you are not serious about being good.

p.s. even Fischer(iq 180) studied as intently as anyone else, if not more, to become world champion.
houchens ♡ 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Einstein vs Kasparov Kasparov has the natural talent needed to be a great chess player. Einstein had the natural talent to be a great physicist/theorist. Pure 'intelligence' does not automatically translate to good chess. It takes a combination of many various natural talents.
premium_steve ♡ 43 ( +1 | -1 )
but maybe if einstein put all his work into chess? sure, i think he could probably do very well, and maybe even beat kasparov.
maybe if he had worked on chess his entire life...... sure.
why not?! few people are willing to work that hard, though. :)

i don't buy into the natural talent stuff very much. it's probably there to a big degree sure. i think hard work and drive go a very long way too.