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whitetiger
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28 Feb 2009, 4:43 pm

My AS BF is a chess master with a rating at around 2200. So, I asked him to teach me how to play, back in June. Well, I've been playing on my pc against 1000 level and BF says I'm making 70% errors. This is after 9 mos of trying.

Yes, I have nonverbal learning disability with my AS, which makes it hard to see the big picture for the details. So, I have a very hard time taking in the whole board..

but you see, I've gotten 3/4 of the way through the Bobby Fischer chess book and I get every answer right for every puzzle. I can do that! I also know several openings and can do them correctly each time. I have good knowledge of opening and end game.

It's the middle of the game where I'm guessing, and BF says I make mistakes 70% of the time and should take up another game.

I am persistent, determined and don't want to give up. I like chess. I want to have something in common with BF that we can share. I'm continually intrigued and love learning.

I want to get over this hurdle. I'm almost afraid to try anymore. BF isn't encouraging me. It pisses me off.

He gets frustrated since he's so far above me, but it seems he could at least respect my desire to keep learning and playing. Or is he right? Should I just quit after 9 mos of struggle?


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pakled
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28 Feb 2009, 5:01 pm

well, it's an activity that you both share. Obliterating everyone who plays with him is going to give him a reputation as someone who's not sharing the game. Maybe he can continue to teach.

I think it utilizes skills that not everyone shares to the same degree. He may just have a knack for it. Still, that's no reason you can't enjoy the game.

Books and teachers will only take you so far. Perhaps you can develop your own style, and give him some surprises.

btw - I suck at chess...;)



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28 Feb 2009, 5:33 pm

It takes years to learn to play chess even at a mediocre level. Also, it is damn near impossible for an adult to pick up the game and attain any level of mastery over it- the brain plasticity simply is not where it was when you were a kid and it's harder to learn new things. Your BF should be understanding that you're simply not going to be a master-level playing after a couple months.

But, if you enjoy chess, keep playing. If you're playing the computer at 1000-level 9 months after first learning how to play, you're doing pretty well.

If you're interested in playing against human opponents (which I find more helpful in terms of practice than computers) you can come to FICS (freechess.org) or chess.com. The latter is correspondence chess.


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postpaleo
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28 Feb 2009, 6:38 pm

Depends on how deep you want to take it. I started very young, by USA standards, I think I was 8. I found no real interest in taking it as deep as all that is out there in books, but back then I did play for blood. I found my own style though. I had an English Prof, I couldn't write for s**t and still can't but it's easier now, and he offered to give me a hand writing, nice guy. he was a Grandmaster, he lost to Fischer. I never did finish the writing, he was couching the chess club where we met and I was way more interested in the chess then the writing. I have clobbered a few that were high up in what they call a rating system and wondered how in the hell did they get that far up to begin with. The point I'm making is play for the fun, but play to win. I would also advise to get rid of the clock if it's being used, at least for now. The setting you play in can be very important too and the chess set you're using should be comfortable for you. You mentioned having a hard taking in the whole board. On one hand I do know what you mean, but on another hand the size of the pieces to the size of the board is very important. Stick to the standard if you aren't already. Like to know how to cheat at chess? A good player won't fall for it, a poor player will. People talk and listen to body movements and you can mess with them doing it and they can tell you what they're thinking and where. A good player will never let on what they're thinking. Chess on the higher levels is very demanding, physically as well as mentally. I have an aspie cousin, pretty sure he is anyway, a first cousin I taught to play young. I have no idea what his rating is to this day and I never did learn how to beat the dragon opening he was practicing on me. I would have given more time, but I dunno, he was damned good.



RockDrummer616
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28 Feb 2009, 6:46 pm

Chess takes a really long time to learn. I'm a decent player, but I only played competitively for a few months. Here's some tips I like to follow:

During the opening, don't focus at all on taking pieces or even pawns. Focus on getting your knights and bishops onto the board and castling. Also, make sure you plan a few moves in advance, for example, if I move here, he will move there, so I can do this... Also, it's better to be defensive than aggressive.



ChrisN
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28 Feb 2009, 8:51 pm

Chess is mostly about pattern recognition, and it takes time to learn which patterns work. It's also about thought organization. There is a pretty standard progression when you're getting better.

1. You first learn how to avoid losing material by asking yourself, 'what's the threat?' after every opponent's move.
2. The second stage is when you can yourself, 'what did he gain by doing that?'
3. The third stage is when you can ask yourself, 'what is he trying to accomplish?'
4. The fourth stage is an extended internal discussion about space, time, pressure, and all the other complicated stuff going on.
5. I don't know what comes after that. If I did I'd be a GM instead of a lowly master.

To be honest, it'll probably take you at least 5 years to be able to play competitively with him. Probably longer, and maybe never, depending on his definition of competitively. There's a reason the average rating of tournament players is around 1500. There are maybe a few thousand masters in the US, and they've dedicated their lives to get there. And it's much harder when you learn as an adult. However... there's no excuse for him not to play competitively with you. Masters can play down to anyone's level by using strategies that are increasingly poor.

One thing you can try is to do mental exercises, like picturing a board in your mind. Then put a piece somewhere. Then mentally highlight all the squares that piece can move to. Once you can do that, change pieces. If you can do all of them, you have developed danger sense, because you'll instinctively know when your pieces are under attack. There are other exercises like that, but you get the idea. And the best part about this is that you can do it anywhere... at work, while you're listening to the radio, driving... ok, maybe not driving. :)

Also... you said something about taking in the whole board. That's easy. Don't. Concentrate on the last piece moved and a) what it now attacks, b) what it no longer defends, and c) if it blocks or unblocks something. Then you should have some idea of what might happen.

The real question is, do you enjoy playing? If you do, then keep at it. I'd play on FICS like Orwell said, but play the slower time controls. Or, if you learn through pain and suffering, play your computer on a higher level. I learn more from my losses than from my wins. Also, keep score. I know the computer does it, but there's something useful about the tactile sensation of writing moves down that makes it easier to remember previous games, and learning to play chess is all about remembering bad experiences so you don't repeat the same mistakes over and over.

I hope this helps.



whitetiger
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28 Feb 2009, 9:24 pm

This does help, Chris, and I appreciate the encouragement AND the great tips. VERY helpful!

I had a talk with BF about this and he is going to try to be more supportive of my chess playing. He just gets easily frustrated with me and he's going to work on that.

I'll let you know how my progress goes.

:)


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Orwell
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28 Feb 2009, 9:27 pm

ChrisN wrote:
I learn more from my losses than from my wins.

I learn most from draws. I love a good, hard-fought draw.


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postpaleo
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28 Feb 2009, 11:23 pm

Both Orwell and Chris are making good points about where they learn the most for improvement in their own game. Whitetiger, it takes a while to get to the point they are talking about when you're playing someone that is that much higher then you. I couldn't handle the chess federation type rooms and my cousin did finally drag me to one. Way to chaotic for me. But what we did when we played and actually when my Dad was learning and taught me, was, we talked about the game between us. That's a no no in a real game, you are playing a real game but...you are also opening more lines of communication between each other. I knew for an example that Jamie was working on the dragon opening he had been studying and we talked about it. I knew that would be his opening for the last few times we actually played. I had an area in the house just for chess, permanent table always set to go. (I still have the walnut table and the walnut chess board.) He was practicing on me to use else where. I didn't read the books and I could have to know what to counter the dragon, it was pretty new at the time and the opening was being pulled on him. Ok, I'm rambling here. Your BF knows how to do the paper trial, record the moves, play the game and then go back and discuss, discuss, I repeated that, where he started to see the opening in your game to take advantage of and ask him what and why he might do something differently. If he's pulling some fancy ass opening, he shouldn't be, stick to the basics first. And you should know more then one opening style, there will be a point where you start blending things together and you'll see your middle game improve. All you're really doing for opening style is getting your set up for your middle game. Which in a generality is control the middle of the board, at least when you first start to learn the game. When I first started playing I couldn't understand the concept of the actual checkmate in the distance of the game, so I went for his weaknesses, what pieces he favored. Then it simplified the concept of checkmate later. That was my middle game at that time, cream the queen. Your BF shouldn't be that easy to read, I doubt very much if he'll let you know even if he does favor some pieces more then others. But you never know and you can blow the s**t out of someones game if you figure out the key piece in the puzzle. But you best have your own plan in place to work along side it. It's a wonderful game, so many possibilities.

He should be damn flattered you're interested in it all. And it's a game damn it, if you're not having some sense of fun, then don't play. Unless you need to make a living at it, or hustle chess. There will always be someone out there better then you are and it was always a pleasure to meet them.



whitetiger
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03 Mar 2009, 10:17 pm

Thanks postapelo. I'm stil practicing, trying to re-train my brain from being so impulsive. I'll let you know how it all goes.


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kalantir
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05 Mar 2009, 10:38 am

The point where you start to get good, is when you can look 5-10 moves into the future. I used to own a book that was really good for helping with that. I can't remember what it was called, but maybe your boyfriend would know what I'm talking about. It covered endings. It would show the layout of the board in the endgame, and would say something like, "White to win in 4 moves". And then you'd have the task of figuring out how white could possibly win in 4 moves regardless of what black does. It started with easy ones (one move till checkmate), and progressively got harder. Also, one thing a lot of people struggle with, is making full use of all their pieces. Most people have half their pieces all locked away and unable to be used without devoting at least a couple moves to getting the said piece out. It's one thing to want to save the piece for later, but it should always be ready to go into action at a moments notice.


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whitetiger
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05 Mar 2009, 10:42 am

The Bobby Fischer chess book helps you to see four moves out, and I can do those puzzles fine. It's just that after I do the opening, I don't protect my pieces well or notice the pieces further out, like the bishops.

I'm too focused on the middle of the board. I can manage the endgame, where there aren't many pieces left. So, my BF's advice at one point was just to clear the board-try to trade off all my pieces but one and the queen.. and then I can win. It's just that I make impulsive moves in the middle game!


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kalantir
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05 Mar 2009, 10:57 am

whitetiger wrote:
The Bobby Fischer chess book helps you to see four moves out, and I can do those puzzles fine. It's just that after I do the opening, I don't protect my pieces well or notice the pieces further out, like the bishops.

I'm too focused on the middle of the board. I can manage the endgame, where there aren't many pieces left. So, my BF's advice at one point was just to clear the board-try to trade off all my pieces but one and the queen.. and then I can win. It's just that I make impulsive moves in the middle game!

It's funny that you mention trading off pieces... I just came back to this thread to suggest doing exactly that. An easy tradeoff to make near the beginning of the game is your bishops for their knights. Most people tend to move their knights out as part of their opening, it's pretty easy to move your bishops out right next to them.(and personally, I value my knights over bishops any day. Knights are way trickier) That would also make it easier to effectively trade pieces as the game continues because you won't fall victim to any knight forks :P But yeah, the middle game is the main thing. I don't think there's really much advice I can give you on that other then play defensively. If you're white, moving your queens pawn rather then your kings pawn(as the opening move) tends to create a more defensive game in most cases.


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postpaleo
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05 Mar 2009, 11:18 am

Leave my knights alone, damn it! :wink:



Orwell
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06 Mar 2009, 12:09 am

I trade off pieces pretty quickly, but that's just because I'm a coward.


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whitetiger
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06 Mar 2009, 12:23 am

Well, now my BF is telling me it's time to stop doing that--trading pieces--to get more advanced. *Sigh* I still suck though if I do it the other way.


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