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Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Rusty Shackleford, May 7, 2007.

  1. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    Yes I'm a nerd. I recently finished Michael Weinreb's "The Kings of New York" about Murrow HS in NYC with the national-championship chess team (a pretty good book by the way -- I recommend it), and although I already knew how to play the game before I read it, I never did so with much enthusiasm. I knew how the pieces moved, and that was pretty much the extent of it.

    But since I've read that book, I've been playing on Yahoo! games competitively. The problem, of course, is that I suck. The thing that's frustrating me, though, is that no matter how much I play, I don't seem to get any better. I can only ever seem to beat newbies with virtually no wins. Even people who have lost hundreds of games more than they've won, but still have dozens or hundreds of wins, will beat me nearly every time. It's frustrating because someone who's never played a game/sport (which, despite me knowing how the pieces moved was essentially me) usually improves a great deal fairly quickly with a little effort -- ie. the difference between somebody who's never touched a basketball versus someone who's spent just a few days working on the sport is dramatic.

    But that doesn't seem to be the case with me and chess. Why is that? Is there some way to get better at this that I'm not grasping? I've read up on the internets about some very basic strategy, but it never seems to help -- I get beat or end up on the defensive before I can ever use it.

    Anyone out there want to get on Yahoo! and teach me a thing or two?
  2. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    Rusty.. just keep playing. If possible, record the moves and then go back and on an actual board recreate the game, move by move and see if you can pick up on where you made your mistakes.
  3. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Chess rocks!
  4. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    switch to checkers
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I had an old Playstation One chess game a while back, that had a feature where you could undo moves. It was a good teaching tool. It helped you figure out how things unfolded, what you did wrong and how you could've done things differently. The frustrating part was, the move the computer put on me to get me in trouble was usually 8 or 10 moves before I figured it out. I think in 50 games I was probably 5-45 against the computer.
    Still, if you can track down it or another computer game like it, it'll help you a lot.

    Another lesson somebody taught me once, was look at every piece on the board before you move. Figure out where they can be attacked from, and always protect your pieces (i.e., make sure you don't leave your queen in the middle of the board where you can't get something for it).
    You might be there 5 or 10 minutes and annoy the hell out of your opponent, but you'll get better at devising strategies and avoiding traps. Before long, you'll even be able to see two or three moves ahead and set up your own traps.
  6. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Someone had to do this ...


    Bangkok, Oriental setting
    And the city don't know that the city is getting
    The creme de la creme of the chess world in a
    Show with everything but Yul Brynner

    Time flies -- doesn't seem a minute
    Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it
    All change -- don't you know that when you
    Play at this level there's no ordinary venue

    It's Iceland -- or the Philippines -- or Hastings -- or --
    or this place!

    One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
    The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
    You'll find a god in every golden cloister
    And if you're lucky then the god's a she
    I can feel an angel sliding up to me

    One town's very like another
    When your head's down over your pieces, brother

    It's a drag, it's a bore, it's really such a pity
    To be looking at the board, not looking at the city

    Whaddya mean? Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town --

    Tea, girls, warm, sweet
    Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite

    Get Thai'd! You're talking to a tourist
    Whose every move's among the purest
    I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

    One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
    Not much between despair and ecstasy
    One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
    Can't be too careful with your company
    I can feel the devil walking next to me

    Siam's gonna be the witness
    To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
    This grips me more than would a
    Muddy old river or reclining Buddha

    And thank God I'm only watching the game -- controlling it --

    I don't see you guys rating
    The kind of mate I'm contemplating
    I'd let you watch, I would invite you
    But the queens we use would not excite you

    So you better go back to your bars, your temples, your massage
    parlours --

    One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
    The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
    You'll find a god in every golden cloister
    A little flesh, a little history
    I can feel an angel sliding up to me

    One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
    Not much between despair and ecstasy
    One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
    Can't be too careful with your company
    I can feel the devil walking next to me
  7. rallen13

    rallen13 Member

    The whole thing about chess is being able to think ahead. Try practicing 2-3 moves, then 3-5, etc. Quality players will go as much as 12-15 moves with all possible responses from the opponent. The thing about chess is, it is incredibly relaxing. Have dinner, then spend an evening of 3-5 hours (7-midnight(ish)) with a good bottle of brandy, cigars if you are so inclined, quiet instrumental music in the background, great conversation and you complete only 2, maybe 3 games. An awesome evening no matter what other interests you have.
  8. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    Batman's advice is great as well... get a computer game that also acts a tutor, or lets you undo moves.

    Also take the 5-10 minutes to study the entire board and think a few moves ahead, defending your pieces while seeing ways to attack your opponent.
  9. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    What number Chessmaster are they up to? 56000? Get one of those. I've heard much good about them.
  10. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

  11. MIW94

    MIW94 New Member

    Thanks for the plug, Rusty. When I began writing The Kings of New York, I had the same dearth of knowledge, and while I managed to educate myself enough to understand the ebb and flow of the game, my attempts at participatory journalism were utterly futile. Eventually, I realized I was a far better observer than a player (which probably explains why I became a sportswriter in the first place). I tell myself that I wanted the book to appeal to a general audience--in a sense, a sporting narrative about something that may or may not be a sport--so less knowledge was probably better, but still, I was simply not wired for chess. Several people I spoke to told me that learning chess is like learning a language, which, speaking as someone who struggled for Cs during three semesters of college Spanish, did not give me comfort.
    That said, if you are serious about improving your game, there are a few instructional books that could help, including Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess (a surprisingly lucid book, considering it comes from the mind of a delusional anti-Semite), and--if you can swallow your pride--a children's book called Winning Chess Strategy For Kids, by Jeff Coakley (which is also full of inexplicable clip-art of rooks playing hockey and bishops riding unicycles). Once you master the basics, I'd suggest studying/memorizing a few openings, both for white and for black.
    Several masters and grandmasters--including one of the kids profiled in The Kings of New York, Alex Lenderman--also offer lessons on the Internet Chess Club (chessclub.com), which is the go-to spot for serious players. Or at least that's what they tell me.

    Michael Weinreb
  12. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    I used to play quite a bit, enough to be an alright absolute novice.
    I played against a guy on Guam. Former Navy guy and a complete bonehead. I thought 'I'm going to kill this guy. He's got an IQ of 80.'
    He kicked my ass.
    Anyway, get a good computer game or game for your computer. Take notes, so you can review your games.
    And read up. Start with basic strategy - controlling the middle of the board, cutting down on wasted moves that don't develop your pieces, etc. Then move on to openings.
    That'll really help. You'll think about the game a lot differently.
    Then read up on middle and end games.
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