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Old 10-29-2018, 10:43 AM
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Default Chess goals

Some random chess related thoughts...

There was in interesting Twitter discussion this week between IM John Bartholomew and a bunch of his Youtube/streaming chess fans.

It all started when someone commented that "chess rating almost certainly correlates better with intelligence than age", to which JB made the comment "one of the biggest myths about chess out there, imo. Intelligence is far less a factor than age/time." I certainly agree with John. We actually took lessons together as kids from the same FM, and while John made a career of chess I certainly think that I'm a decent player today mostly because I was learning things like the Lucena position at age 7... and not because of intelligence.

From there the conversation turned to setting chess goals for oneself. For example, JB later said "For adult chess players with little to no OTB experience, achieving 2000 USCF (~1900 FIDE) would be an absolutely amazing accomplishment. Mentioning this semi-randomly, but I receive messages from enthusiast adults who overestimate their ceiling. Gotta set realistic goals."

That got me thinking about some chess goals I recently set for myself, and how I should put them somewhere (like the AO!) so that I'd be more motivated to make progress on them.

<>Chess.com rating of 2100+ on Daily, Blitz, and Bullet by 1-1-2020.

(Currently at 2054, 2011, 1920... so lots of work to do on Bullet.)

<>New opening as black against e4 for use in Daily and OTB. The French doesn't cut it anymore, so I will (likely) be moving to the Caro where I can make use of similar structures / theory in some popular lines.

Curious about goals others have, or thoughts on the intelligence being far less a factor than age/time for success in chess.
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Old 10-31-2018, 10:48 AM
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From there the conversation turned to setting chess goals for oneself. For example, JB later said "For adult chess players with little to no OTB experience, achieving 2000 USCF (~1900 FIDE) would be an absolutely amazing accomplishment. Mentioning this semi-randomly, but I receive messages from enthusiast adults who overestimate their ceiling. Gotta set realistic goals."
Hah - he nailed my eventual goal. I started chess as an adult (learned what castling was in my upper-20s) and have been playing online for less than four years now. I still haven't made it through a full book yet as most of my free time has been spent studying for exams and taking care of little kids. Done with exams now though, so that should help.

I would like to eventually be active and go to chess clubs and learn there, with the lofty goal of eventually getting up to 2000 USCF. My realistic expectation is to get to 1800 or so. My best win was in beating a 2000 USCF rated individual over the board - though in that one I was able to see him play a previous game and noticed he had a weakness to a pawn push up the center of the board (he still won that game), and I had the white pieces. So I was able to push strong up the center and eventually won.

I am currently 1650/1400 on daily/blitz on chess.com. I feel like it is easier to focus on OTB than daily though, as I don't forget what moves I wanted to make when looking at the board two days later.

My biggest weaknesses that I know of right now are opening knowledge and endgame knowledge. For example, I don't know any openings beyond the first two to three moves right now, and for endgame I just learned the basic K+P vs K endgame in the last month. Once I improve on those I think that will really help my rating go up.
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Old 10-31-2018, 01:51 PM
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Hit it on the head I think. It's clear since my chess performance gets better when I play a lot. When I take a long break (like 3+ years) from chess, I come back and suck it up. I'm not any less smart, I just am not thinking about positional play, and forget a lot of end game and opening theory. But the more I play the more it comes back to me. I'd be a much worse player if I hadn't read any books.

2000 USCF is my ultimate goal. I'm about 1800 right now, but haven't played much at all lately. chess.com is way lower, especially bullet. I play much better in long games, though I'll admit I don't put as much thought into the daily games in RedSox's league as I could.
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Old 11-11-2018, 05:39 PM
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I'm jealous of you guys who played chess as kids, and you know John Bartholemew to boot! He and Christoph Sielecki are my two favorite youtubers. I use John's site Chessable for tactics training.

I chose the Caro Kann and Slav as my openings as Black because of their similar pawn structures. I use Jovanka Houska's book on the Caro Kann. And on YouTube, Hanging Pawns has a series of intro videos on the Caro Kann which I think are pretty good.
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:35 AM
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I'm jealous of you guys who played chess as kids, and you know John Bartholemew to boot! He and Christoph Sielecki are my two favorite youtubers. I use John's site Chessable for tactics training.

I chose the Caro Kann and Slav as my openings as Black because of their similar pawn structures. I use Jovanka Houska's book on the Caro Kann. And on YouTube, Hanging Pawns has a series of intro videos on the Caro Kann which I think are pretty good.
You are a very strong player - and given that you did not play as a kid that is incredibly impressive, and also rare in my experience. Have you had any formal, private training?

I learned chess at a time when there were no real online resources. I stopped playing when I was about 16 or so, cold turkey. By the time I came back to it after finishing college and then actuarial exams at age 25 or so the chess world was radically different. Computer prep seemed to dominate the major tournaments, and the rate at which people were learning through youtube, training apps, and just pure repetition on ICC or Yahoo blew my mind. Chess.com has magnified that even more. My kids are starting to play now, so I should probably figure out what types of resources are worthwhile... seems way cheaper than private lessons!
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Old 11-25-2018, 04:49 PM
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You are a very strong player - and given that you did not play as a kid that is incredibly impressive, and also rare in my experience. Have you had any formal, private training?

I learned chess at a time when there were no real online resources. I stopped playing when I was about 16 or so, cold turkey. By the time I came back to it after finishing college and then actuarial exams at age 25 or so the chess world was radically different. Computer prep seemed to dominate the major tournaments, and the rate at which people were learning through youtube, training apps, and just pure repetition on ICC or Yahoo blew my mind. Chess.com has magnified that even more. My kids are starting to play now, so I should probably figure out what types of resources are worthwhile... seems way cheaper than private lessons!
I've had no formal training, but I do tactics training on Chessable every day (minimum 30 minutes, but usually more) and I've watched a ton of YouTube videos (mainly titled players playing games and giving their thoughts). Chessexplained is my favorite, but Chessnetwork and Bartholemew are good also.

My goal for 2019 is to get a decent rating playing 10-minute chess. I played some a while ago and did poorly. I switched to Daily chess in order to use an opening book and have plenty of time to be methodical. But I think that playing while the clock is ticking down is important for development, so I need to jump back into that ring.

By the way, chess.com has a new feature call Puzzle Rush which is very good practice for rapid and blitz. Three minutes to solve as many tactics as possible, but they start out at a fairly basic level.
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:54 PM
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I started playing the game when I was almost 16, and played quite a lot of blitz for a few years (I went from 600 blitz on ICC to 1300 my 1st year (and a couple good 'cover everything' books) 1600 my 2nd, eventually climbing to 2000 after 4 years or so; just repetition and a couple books).

I played one standard OTB tournament when I was 16 (+0 -6 =1) for a sub-900 USCF rating. I held my own in a quick blitz match against an NM when I visited the Marshall Chess Club in NYC a few years back. I really ought to start playing OTB more now that I'm done with actuarial exams, but it's going to take a bit of work to get out of blitz mode.

If I start playing seriously, 2200 would be my goal. I'm frequently matching up well against 2000-2100 FIDE players online (again, blitz, not standard time controls).

Re: openings, I've always been an ...e5 player against e4. I tend to sharp lines when possible (e.g. Caro Kann advance). But lately my play against 1.d4 has gotten really stale (I used to be a KID player, and lately Benoni, but my success recently has been terrible). I haven't studied an opening book in over 5 years, and it's probably time to start looking at it.

I stopped playing on chess.com a couple years ago after hitting 2000/2000, but I'm currently sitting at 2100-2200 in blitz and bullet on lichess.
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Old 03-05-2019, 04:15 PM
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I really like chess but I stink at it.
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:20 PM
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I don't have the patience to really learn it.
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:58 PM
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Re: openings, I've always been an ...e5 player against e4. I tend to sharp lines when possible (e.g. Caro Kann advance). But lately my play against 1.d4 has gotten really stale (I used to be a KID player, and lately Benoni, but my success recently has been terrible). I haven't studied an opening book in over 5 years, and it's probably time to start looking at it.

I stopped playing on chess.com a couple years ago after hitting 2000/2000, but I'm currently sitting at 2100-2200 in blitz and bullet on lichess.
Sounds like you're really good. I started playing a lot two years ago, but I'm still a daily chess player -- take away the opening book and put me on the clock, and I still struggle. I play the Slav against d4, but it's kind of dull, so I'm thinking of switching to the Grunfeld or Nimzo-Indian. I'm a d4 player, and against the KID I play the Samisch with 6 Nge2, usually followed by g4, queen-side castling, and a king-side attack. It's been fun.
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