1. Standard membermchill
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    19 Oct '21 16:56
    In the last few months I finished about 500 tactics exercises, and played dozens of 30 min. games. It's working, my rating is slowly, but steadily rising. What about playing over GM games that use my preferred openings? Midlevel grunts like myself (about 1450 USCF) don't have great analysis skills, so I feel like I'm just moving the pieces around. Is playing over GM games a good idea at my level or a waste of time?
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    19 Oct '21 17:46
    @mchill said
    In the last few months I finished about 500 tactics exercises, and played dozens of 30 min. games. It's working, my rating is slowly, but steadily rising.
    Good on ya! (As they say Down Under.)

    "What about playing over GM games that use my preferred openings? Midlevel grunts like myself (about 1450 USCF) don't have great analysis skills, so I feel like I'm just moving the pieces around. Is playing over GM games a good idea at my level or a waste of time?"

    Assuming that your preferred openings allow some latitude to the side you'd be playing, I would suggest the following. Set up the pawn structure (without any pieces) of a late opening / early middlegame position in that opening. Then decide where each side might attack or attempt a pawn break. Finally, decide where your pieces might best belong in order to further your plans while hindering the opponent's.

    I think that if you go through this process prior to playing through any GM games, you might well have a better appreciation for why they put their pieces where they do. And if you can't see why the piece configuration you'd worked out is bad, you might try it anyway. Even if it's not optimal, its being out of book might well disorient the opponent and bring forth aimless or ill-conceived moves.
  3. SubscriberContenchess
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    19 Oct '21 19:291 edit
    @mchill

    I think going over modern GM games is too advanced for you and me. You can learn a lot more by going over games from the old greats like Morphy all the way to Steinitz, Lasker, Capa etc.
    The Dover publications books are the best in my opinion and 500 Master Games of Chess is exactly the type of book that an intermediate needs. I'm working on it now 😉

    Those Dover books actually had real annotations instead of modern books just having computer analysis.
    Also, those old masters played in a direct and understandable way (most of the time) that even you and me can understand the ideas and plans and hopefully learn from them.

    But...the modern Move by Move books do explain a lot and ask the right questions so if you insist on going over games with a modern GM then use those books.

    Why don't you play here? Use the time to really understand the position? (I don't, I just blitz my moves but it's still good advice)
  4. SubscriberContenchess
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    19 Oct '21 19:42
    I think Magnus said you have to study the old masters before you can understand modern GM play. 🤔
  5. Subscribervenda
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    20 Oct '21 08:29
    @mchill said
    In the last few months I finished about 500 tactics exercises, and played dozens of 30 min. games. It's working, my rating is slowly, but steadily rising. What about playing over GM games that use my preferred openings? Midlevel grunts like myself (about 1450 USCF) don't have great analysis skills, so I feel like I'm just moving the pieces around. Is playing over GM games a good idea at my level or a waste of time?
    When I went back to playing in my teens I used to play out games in books and magazines in a futile attempt to improve.Most of the time I couldn't understand why the players made the moves they did so essentially it was a waste of time.I quickly realised I couldn't "think" 4 or 5 moved in advance like the top players do.
    Have you considered using the analyze board feature on here?I always go there first,move back a few moves to remind myself of what is happening,think about my move and then try to visualise my opponents response, my next move etc.This helps me avoid silly mistakes and often, I find a better move than my first choice.
    Also people have said doing the chess puzzles is a good tool for learning.
  6. e4
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    21 Oct '21 11:303 edits
    "Also people have said doing the chess puzzles is a good tool for learning."

    Without a doubt this a proven method of improving and absorbing ideas.
    However John Nunn in the January 1993 BCM (British Chess Magazine) says
    the fault with this method is you know there is something on so you look for it

    "Before you look, first you must see!" is a war cry of Jacob Aagaard.

    Nunn suggested the best method is to play over the unannotated score of a
    game and see if you can spot what you think is a missed shot and then look at it.
    This way you sharpen your up your sixth sense, the ability to sense/know/have a
    hunch something in 'on' and we are at a critical stage in the game.

    When the good guys offer advice we must listen and I can see the benefit of this.
    However Nunn's suggestion that you play through unannotated games from the
    Informator contains a slight flaw. What if there is no missed shot!

    What is needed is a book of unnoted games where a tactic was missed,
    you have to spot it and having 'sensed' something is on you then dig it out.

    I used a smaller version of this idea in my latest bloggy thingy Blog Post 492
    by giving just a short fragment saying a good move was missed.

    Going though the whole game I would have stopped around about
    movess 25-28. (Indeed I did I when I first played through the game)
    to see if there were any sac-sac mate ideas on. (apparently not).

    Also maybe Black could of made more of the e-pawn being pinned.
    (around about move 32 - I give the full game below. )

    The blatant missed shot happens in the ending. To do such a book justice
    would be to skip through the whole game to see if something leaps out.
    If not then through it again. (too much like hard work for the average player
    who is always looking for a quick fix but I'm sure it would be beneficial.)

    I once asked a very good player what chess book really helped him improve.
    He answered 'The Golden Treasury Of Chess.' I knew that book it is
    full on bare games scores with a brief intro. No notes.

    I asked "What happens if you spot something that was not played?"
    and before he could reply I answered my own question:
    "....you have to work it our for yourself." This was met with a smile and a nod.

    You can see all the games and layout of 'The Golden Treasury Of Chess' here:

    https://archive.org/details/thegoldentreasuryofchessgnv64/page/n7/mode/2up

    The whole game I used in the blog and not just the missed winning trick in the ending.

    A Tarling - M. Quinn, The UK 4NCL Online 2021

  7. Subscribervenda
    Dave
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    21 Oct '21 13:36
    Anyone would do well to listen to your advice Geoff,and go through your blogs.
    In addition to missing things I would add that as you play more games and become more experienced you start to notice things that don't "look right"-a misplaced knight,a bishop blocked by it's own pawns for example.If you can find a way of taking advantage of things like this you're on the way to improving your game.(Says he who hasn't got higher than mid 1500's for ages.I must've been unlucky!!)
  8. California
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    21 Oct '21 14:21
    @mchill said
    Is playing over GM games a good idea at my level or a waste of time?
    it's a very good way to learn your opening. Do NOT study the games. Do NOT try to figure what the GM was thinking. Just LOOK at the games. if you have a database pull up your favorite opening/def. using the filters, like ECO range. Then just play thru the moves , you'll very quickly observe what moves the GM's make...don't worry about why.
  9. Subscribervenda
    Dave
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    21 Oct '21 19:21
    @ogb said
    it's a very good way to learn your opening. Do NOT study the games. Do NOT try to figure what the GM was thinking. Just LOOK at the games. if you have a database pull up your favorite opening/def. using the filters, like ECO range. Then just play thru the moves , you'll very quickly observe what moves the GM's make...don't worry about why.
    I don't agree with that.
    I think the key is understanding.
    It's ok trying to learn openings by looking at games, but what if your opponent doesn't replicate the opening in his move?
    What do you do then?
    You can't just blindly carry on with the book opening.
    You have to understand why the established moves in openings are as they are and know how to exploit the position when your opponent deviates from the standard responses.
  10. SubscriberContenchess
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    21 Oct '21 22:14
    @ogb said
    it's a very good way to learn your opening. Do NOT study the games. Do NOT try to figure what the GM was thinking. Just LOOK at the games. if you have a database pull up your favorite opening/def. using the filters, like ECO range. Then just play thru the moves , you'll very quickly observe what moves the GM's make...don't worry about why.
    I will take that as an agreement with me. 😉
  11. Standard membermchill
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    22 Oct '21 00:00
    @contenchess said
    @mchill

    I think going over modern GM games is too advanced for you and me. You can learn a lot more by going over games from the old greats like Morphy all the way to Steinitz, Lasker, Capa etc.
    The Dover publications books are the best in my opinion and 500 Master Games of Chess is exactly the type of book that an intermediate needs. I'm working on it now 😉

    Those ...[text shortened]... time to really understand the position? (I don't, I just blitz my moves but it's still good advice)
    500 Master Games of Chess is exactly the type of book that an intermediate needs. I'm working on it now 😉


    I owned that book many years ago, but gave it away. That was not smart. 😕
  12. Standard membermchill
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    22 Oct '21 00:04
    @fmdavidhlevin said
    Good on ya! (As they say Down Under.)

    "What about playing over GM games that use my preferred openings? Midlevel grunts like myself (about 1450 USCF) don't have great analysis skills, so I feel like I'm just moving the pieces around. Is playing over GM games a good idea at my level or a waste of time?"

    Assuming that your preferred openings allow some latitude to t ...[text shortened]... being out of book might well disorient the opponent and bring forth aimless or ill-conceived moves.
    Thank You to everyone who responded. Much appreciated. 🙂
  13. SubscriberContenchess
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    22 Oct '21 00:14
    @mchill said
    500 Master Games of Chess is exactly the type of book that an intermediate needs. I'm working on it now 😉


    I owned that book many years ago, but gave it away. That was not smart. 😕
    I know...I heard about that.
    We were contemplating banning you from chess.

    That is a story for another day.

    The important matter is your constant quest for chess knowledge.
    That alone will guide you on the correct path.

    Trump 2024.
  14. Standard membermchill
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    22 Oct '21 00:46
    @contenchess said
    I know...I heard about that.
    We were contemplating banning you from chess.

    That is a story for another day.

    The important matter is your constant quest for chess knowledge.
    That alone will guide you on the correct path.

    Trump 2024.
    Trump 2024.

    Let us please confine this stuff to the debates section. It doesn't belong here.
  15. SubscriberContenchess
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    22 Oct '21 00:53
    @mchill

    I have no regrets 😌
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