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finduriel 159 ( +1 | -1 )
A Beginner's Perspective Hi fellows,

I wanted to let you know what I think of several postings in this forum, as a beginner.

Question of when to resign: At the current stage of my development (I hope it is one) as a chess player, I wouldn't like it at all if my opponent resigned even though I have only a small piece more than he has. How am I ever supposed to learn how to win games like this (I'm the losing one here): board #397794 if people resign all the time?

Opening principles: I read somewhere that one should be able to understand the following concepts before one starts to memorize opening variations:
1. blockade
2. over-protection
3. hanging pawns
4. isolated queen's pawn
5. value of pieces
6. king in the centre

I understand but the last two of these expressions. I can picture what is meant by over-protection, but I'm not sure whether or not it's a good thing. Isolated sounds rather negative, so I think it's a bad thing :) If someone is willing to explain these principles to me, I'd be very grateful.

Use of computers: I always get very frustrated when I play against my fritz (v5.32 on a 1,4GHz Athlon, ~50000kB Hash) because I'm rarely able to survive the first thirty moves. Thus I'd be rather sad if I had to play machines here as well (i. e. if some players use computers).

Tactics - Strategy: I can see most tactical concepts and possibilities in a game, but I'm unable to develop a sound strategy. Is this due to impatience?

I'm glad to be part of this great community!

Fondly,

finduriel
More: Chess
ordinary_man 271 ( +1 | -1 )
Positional Strategy. Your list of principles is just an example of positional ideas in chess.

The average beginner/lower intermediate player knows simple tactics, some basic openings and is usually completely lost in positional strategy and endgames. At least that is how I was as a kid.

Positional understanding takes time to learn, one cannot simply grab a list of principles and start to implement them immediately. But on the other hand, playing lots of games without some positional instruction will not get you very far either.

The amount of knowledge you can gain by studying positional ideas from a teacher/ or a good book, will give you a much greater understanding about what sort of things are good or bad positionally than mere experience will. For example many beginner's learn the point-count of pieces and merely look at the material on the board to determine who is better. " I have a knihgt, for his pawn I am better." But there can be many materially inferior positions which are completely winning if the side with less material has his pieces positioned well.

An isolated pawn is weak because it can't be protected by friendly pawns which are absent from each side of it, and thus it is an easy target. But if it is protected by pieces and able to advances it's way into enemy territory then it can actually be a valuable assett! The same goes for hanging pawns which are two pawns next to eachother but without pawns on each file to the side.

This brings us to the subject of blockade. When a pawn(particularly an isolated pawn) can be blockaded by an enemy piece sitting on the square directly in front of it, that pawn can no longer advance making it impossible to attack or to ever promote on the final rank. Aslo the pawn is immobilized which makes a sitting duck to attacking pieces!!! Not only that but the piece blockading the pawn is also using the pawn as a shield to block enemy fire from behind the pawn.

over-protection applies to solidifying your position. For example if you have an isolated pawn, and your opponent is trying to blockade it, it makes sense to over protect the square in front of the pawn so that the enemy will not be successful in blockading it. Or if you have a knight deep in your opponent's position, cramping his game, then it makes sense to back him up with other pieces, so that if he is captured he will be replaced by a comrade and the superior posting will be maintained, etc.

I highly recommned the books of Jeremy Silman for players requesting positional knowledge. Or if you are more into the classics- Aron Nimzovich's 'My SYstem' is a beautiful read.

-good luck in your studies.
atrifix 202 ( +1 | -1 )
Welcome I don't know where you read that you should know these specific 6 concepts before 'memorizing opening variations', but it seems pretty arbitrary. None of them are good or bad in themselves, anyway. Brief attempt to explain them:

1) Blockade: refers to placing a piece in front of a pawn so that it cannot advance. Used frequently in the case of passed pawns. Knights make good blockaders because they are uninhibited by the pawn in front of them, queens make bad blockaders.

2) Overprotection: Protecting a key point over and over again, e.g., developing your forces around a key square, which theoretically eventually leads to positional superiority (at least according to Nimzowitsch).

3) Hanging pawns: a pawn couplet on c4 and d4, or c5 and d5 for Black. Also sometimes refers to a pawn couplet of c3 and d4 (c6 and d5). Same general rules for this type of position as the IQP position.

4) IQP: isolated pawn occurs when there are no neighboring pawns (e.g., if your b-pawn stands on b2 and your c-pawn and a-pawn are exchanged, your b-pawn is said to be isolated). An IQP is both a positional weakness and a dynamic strength.

5) Value of the pieces: extremely important to remember that the value of the pieces is NOT constant. Thus a knight is not always "worth 3 points", since there aren't really points anyway (a knight on d6, for example, could be worth as much as a rook on d8).

6) King in the center: usually bad if the center is open, but not too many problems with keeping your king in the center if it's closed (e.g. French or King's Indian).

For a more in-depth discussion, see Nimzowitsch's My System for blockade and overprotection (or, if you're really into chess, read Die Blockade). See Baburin's Winning Pawn Structures for a discussion of IQP positions.

Tactics - Strategy: in my opinion you almost never see enough tactical concepts in a game. Inability to develop a strategy is probably unrelated to patience; probably it's due to lack of knowledge of positional concepts. I think tactics start to wane due to impatience much faster than strategical thinking.
tulkos 6 ( +1 | -1 )
In your game that you posted, black losing?it doesn't look like black is to bad.
atrifix 95 ( +1 | -1 )
Overprotection " Or if you have a knight deep in your opponent's position, cramping his game, then it makes sense to back him up with other pieces, so that if he is captured he will be replaced by a comrade and the superior posting will be maintained, etc. "

Probably true. What ordinary_man is referring to is the concept that it's usually better to maintain a piece in a hole ('hole': a square that an opponent can no longer attack with a pawn) than a pawn, since a pawn masks the weakness.

However, this isn't what Nimzowitsch is referring to with overprotection...Nimzowitsch believes, for example, that simply by protecting a key square multiple times, many more than it is attacked, that sooner or later one will "reap the benefits" of overprotection and convert the latent energy of his position into a direct attack. Not a whole lot has been said about overprotection since Nimzowitsch. IMHO, the concept of overprotection is shaky.
ordinary_man 86 ( +1 | -1 )
Also one more note. If I could go back in time and tell my younger self some piece of advice about chess knowledge- it would definitely be....

DON'T WORRY ABOUT OPENING THEORY,

STUDY ENDGAME THEORY LIKE A MADMAN!!! AND YOU WILL PROBABLY BECOME A GRANDMASTER!!!

Endgames are so important, a huge numbewr of games are decided in the endgame stages. Many theoretically won positions are drawn or even lost due to lack of skill in this area.

Endgame study will show you how to implement interesting tactics, positional strategy, promote your pawns, checkmate the enemy king, etc.... the list goes on and on.

A master of endgames is a formidable opponent, all he/she needs is a slight advantage to cash for the win. If you have the brain for complex piece/pawn endgames, and how to win in almost even postions then tactics/ strstegy/ opening will be light work for you....
finduriel 109 ( +1 | -1 )
thank you very much, atrifix and ordinary_man !

Do you think it is actually a good thing to try and memorize some basic openings before trying to play strategically and position-based? I feel that most of my games involve many tactical finesses (e. g. board #395275 ) but little positional play. I'm not able to realise positional peculiarities, I guess. I'm not quite sure which step to take next in order to improve my game.

tulkos , I'm not sure if I can win this one (don't tell me how I could however). It's white's move, he will block my king with his knight. I will try as good as I can though.

Would one of you three be willing to accept a challenge and maybe comment on some of the moves I make?

Thanks again,

finduriel
luresau 25 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree with ordinary_man that you should study endgames instead of openings.I also think that studying tactics(playing open games) is far more rewarding for a beginner than starting to study positional chess
luresau 25 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree with ordinary_man that you should study endgames instead of openings.I also think that studying tactics(playing open games) is far more rewarding for a beginner than starting to study positional chess
brunetti 68 ( +1 | -1 )
Can't agree with that "DON'T WORRY ABOUT OPENING THEORY,
STUDY ENDGAME THEORY LIKE A MADMAN!!! AND YOU WILL PROBABLY BECOME A GRANDMASTER!!! "

Before the endgame, there is the middlegame. If you are a perfect endgamer but can't play a very good middlegame, the chances are that you won't reach the endgame. And if you do, it could be a lost one :)

About the opening theory: it's very important and should be studied, IMHO, together with the other phases of the game! If you play intuitive moves, without any clue of the ideas and the typical lines of the opening you are playing, you could enter the middlegame in inferior position. So, chances are as above.

It's hard to believe that a grandmaster knows only how to play the endings :)

Alex
luresau 46 ( +1 | -1 )
Re: can'tt agree with that I think a good aproach for a beginner wanting to improve would be to stick to say KIA as white and and to pick 1 response against e4/d4. c4 in my experience isnt used much at lower levels, as well as it being possible to transpose to d4 defenses.This would free up a lot of time for tactic/endgame study, which i think would be more benefical than reaching a position with a slight advantage without knowing why or how to capatalize on said advantage
finduriel 52 ( +1 | -1 )
Openings KIA, is this the King-Indian Attack? I've heard of it, but I don't know the first thing about it. I will find some way to find out about it.
The purpose of 1...c5 is - as far as I understand (I read it somewhere) to change a c-pawn for a centre pawn. Still, I'm not quite sure if I am a good enough player to profit from an advantage like this.

Thanks very much for your input, all of you. I will study hard so I can be a challenge for you.

Warm regards,

finduriel
ordinary_man 186 ( +1 | -1 )
regarding study I was exaggerating greatly of course concerning endgame. But as you well know, endgame is the most neglected area of study among players, and perhaps one of the most important, if not the most important areas of the game.
What I really meant, is that if one wants to improve rapidly as a beginner, I would suggest endgame study, immediately after learning basic positional and tactical and opening ideas.

The great Capablanca also suggested studying the endgame FIRST as it develops your calculation ability, positional strategy and tactical mind all at the same time, as well as showing you how to checkmate in a variety of ways and win a 'theoretically' won position, which many beginners and intermediates have trouble with.

Of course what Brunetti says about well-rounded study is right on the mark, but I still must emphasize endgames as the most important for most players to focus their efforts on.

I believe after a thorough endgame study and PRACTICE, one will see a marked improvement in their calculation ability and positional understanding, which will transfer over to their middlegame and opening play also. -Not that this in anyway substitutes for studying opening, tactics, attack, and positional chess for a well-rounded game, but even by itself endgame study will improve your game, the calculation ability alone gained from practicing complex endgames, (late middle games) will skyrocket your rating.


I have recently begun to look at the whole chess game as an 'endgame' from the very first move! Checkmate decides the game. Either you are promoting your last pawn to give mate, or you are executing a double-bishop sacrifice to open up the king side and give mate as early as move 20! It is all the same to me.
tonlesu 82 ( +1 | -1 )
Capablanca suggestion Was good on paper but poor in practice. I doubt if Capa ever taught beginners how to play. The quickest way to turn off a beginner (child for sure) is to start with endings. Capa's classic "Chess Fundamentals" is a book which is supposed to be an introduction of beginners to chess and a book everyone should have in their library. Does he start off by describing the board or telling us the names of the pieces and how they are set up on the board, no. Does he tell us how the pieces move,no. Does he describe chess notation, no.

First paragraph in the book--- In this position the power of the rook is demonstrated by the first move, R-R7, which immediately confines the black King to the last rank, and the mate is quickly accomplished by: 1. R-R7 K-Kt1 2 K-Kt2

Are you kidding me Capa---What the hell is a rank or a rook? What does R-R7 mean? Whats a mate?