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Old 01-25-2015, 02:34 PM   #176
goldaxe
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

So, how does one go about studying openings? From time to time I open a chess book, play through some lines for a while, reading the notes and analysis, but invariably get incredibly annoyed about the whole thing after 30 mins. When I was younger, it was easy- I would treat whatever the author wrote as gospel, and would just plough through a book. Now, I'm always doubting: why hasn't he mentioned this? And in that line, do we really have an advantage? Is this the way the top guys are playing? Why not? So I open my database, put the engine on some positions, get frustrated, and go and do something else.

I saw the thread about Chess Position Trainer, I think that could certainly be a useful tool eventually, but requires understanding why we are playing the moves in the first place! Does anyone have any useful tips for me?
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:42 PM   #177
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Hmm, I don't even have a FIDE rating (it would be ~1700, I believe), so I can't instruct you, but can throw two cents in... I don't find engines useful in opening studies, i.e. their role is limited to blunder and tactic checking. That's because they fail at longterm strategic plans.

Btw, I've recently read great articles on opening prep and engine use by Rafael Leitao, who's a GM in both OTB and correspondence chess.

Ideas on how to prepare a good opening repertoire
Modern day analysis - working with the computer

E.g. Stockfish initially (for a few minutes of thought) gives White between +0.35 and +0.5 after 1. e4 c5, recommending the French to Black instead, whereas the Sicilian is known to score a bit better in FM+ practice (Please accept my late congrats on the FM qualification, btw ; IM is firmly in sight, gl with getting it!) After I play 1... c5 and make it think the Sicilian through for 6 minutes (it prefers 2... e6 still) and then take the move back, it starts recommending 1... c5 (with +0.2 in White's favour) because it now has discovered and memorised some 'pretty' Sicilian lines. The heuristic of Stockfish is so ridiculous (it prunes the decision tree so aggressively, preferring going deep in select lines to analysing all lines uniformly) that I normally have to first make candidate moves, let it think on them for a while and take them back in order to get a more objective picture for the position of interest.

I haven't thought much on the prep routine... I just click through the Chesstempo database, paying more attention to the difference between the performance rating and the average rating, as long as there are hundreds of games in the lines. For rare lines, it doesn't work because the rating variance becomes insanely high (a big plus might be due to some random win over a higher rated opponent, not because the variation is good); so then I judge by win / draw / loss percentages. For lines that have been played in only several games, my only way to pick a move is to understand the purposes of the candidate moves objectively.

When I see a move that scores clearly better or worse than the rest, I first try to understand myself why it's so. Then, if I fail to see an apparent idea, or tactic, or blunder behind the move, I click on it to see how the game develops later - the idea usually becomes clear a few moves deep.

To decide between candidate moves that score about the same, I try to understand the idea as well by seeing how the game normally develops in the DB, but in this case my personal preferences also play a role in swaying me towards one move.

Regarding the general opening choice, I usually try to avoid unpleasant / unknown lines, rather than go for great lines but risk getting a nasty response from a well-booked opponent. That's why, say, I like to play 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 - I almost always end up in the Saemisch KID by transposition, but the advantage of this move order is that it prevents a Gruenfeld specialist from playing his favourite opening.

I'll try to go through my finished correspondence games and pick a spot where I got a better position out of the opening due to DB use, and explain my concrete thought process when selecting those moves. (Actually, I haven't played much lately, so perhaps I need to wait for resignations in some of my current games - I feel that I've outdatabased a couple of my current opponents pretty heavily )

Last edited by coon74; 01-25-2015 at 07:01 PM. Reason: links to Leitao's articles added
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:35 AM   #178
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Haha, actually, one of my opponents resigned after move 13 , so I can stand on the soapbox (comment on the game) sooner than I expected

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6

This is the Hyperaccelerated Dragon. My intention was however to transpose to the Accelerated Dragon (that is played with Nc6 first and g6 later) most of the time, which is itself an improvement over the usual Dragon in that the least useful of the normal moves of the setup is delayed or in some cases omitted altogether (here the move in question is d6), which is a quite useful general way to refine opening setups imo.

The reason why I prefer the hyperaccelerated move order over the old 2... Nc6 is that it avoids the relatively popular 3. Bb5 and Bxc6 lines that are quite pleasant for White. (Of course the bishop won't come on b5 if there's no knight on c6 to be exchanged for.)

3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3?! (instead of the normal Maroczy Bind 5. c4) Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. f3(?!) O-O 8. Qd2(?!)



8... d5(!) 9. O-O-O(?!) dxe4 10. Nxc6(?!) Qxd2+ 11. Rxd2(?!) bxc6 12. Nxe4




What's the most intimidating Black move here?
Spoiler:

It shows why d6 is sometimes unnecessary in the Accelerated Dragon - White here played a bit passively and allowed me to make the d5 break immediately instead, not wasting tempi.

That's also an example of a kind of an 'online correspondence Magnus effect' that happens when you play opening moves fast (many of my moves were conditional, hence instant, as usual in the opening of a correspondence game).

In general, chess.com correspondence is a good way to practise 'spaced repetition' of the repertoire vs human opponents; eventually, though, you need to train the memory too - first think on what you'd play if the game was OTB, and only then look the move up in a DB.

I'll comment more on database use (in particular, on my 8th and 9th moves) in a little while - it's my move in many chess.com games now, I shouldn't make my opponents wait for too long

Last edited by coon74; 01-26-2015 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:22 AM   #179
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

I enjoyed those articles, thanks!

I think I'm just going to go ahead and start using Chess Position Trainer, and then try to understand exactly what is going on later. Yes, it feels really dirty, but at least this way I will know how the main lines go. (I'm mainly talking about the Grunfeld here) Most games I play these days allow a chance to prepare, and then I can go deeper into the specific lines I expect to come up.

Something else I think I will do is play some rapid training games against my flatmate (2200 elo), maybe 10 or so in various Grunfeld lines.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:58 PM   #180
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Yep. Best way to learn an opening or understand a position is to have someone slightly better or of similar ability play some blitz games with you switching colours in a fixed starting position (this is what Tony Miles used to do - if you remember/know of him).
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:06 PM   #181
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

It's funny, I find the sand thing as you. Aren't we meant to be more curious and questioning as kids? But as a kid I could just believe the advice I got, now - like you - I want to dig into it, ask why not this line, etc.

I think sometimes we have to swallow our curiosity and trust in authority. There's too much chess to question every move.
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:19 PM   #182
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Couple of checkmating attacks in yesterday's national league.

http://chess.tuxtown.net/game-replay...9c453ac7b51f98

http://chess.tuxtown.net/game-replay...e3715ba668530c

Yeah my opponents didn't put up the greatest resistance there

No time for actual chess studying atm with project deadlines etc, just about managing to complete my 5 chess.com puzzles each day and that's it. Next weekend is the British Unis championships, I think we will probably be favorites to win that.
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:45 PM   #183
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Black to play.



Spoiler:
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:33 AM   #184
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Spoiler:


Spoiler:
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Old 03-02-2015, 03:10 PM   #185
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldaxe View Post
Spoiler:


Spoiler:
Spoiler:
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:28 PM   #186
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

And I'm finally out of hibernation (a.k.a exams) boys and girls! Not much going on on the chess front right now, I will probably play the national championship in July but I'm very undecided as to whether I'm going to put much/any work in beforehand. I'm finding other things more interesting right now :/

I'm sure I'll get my motivation back at some point!
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Old 06-12-2015, 11:19 AM   #187
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Just dropped under 2100 blitz rating on chess.com. Really not helping with motivation haha.

I don't understand why I'm so horrendously bad at blitz compared to slower games. I think my strongest time control is rapid, which doesn't really make sense either.

Will look through my old books to find something beautiful to study, and quit blitz.
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Old 06-12-2015, 03:55 PM   #188
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

the key to playing blitz well is good reflexes
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Old 06-12-2015, 06:58 PM   #189
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Played abroad this week, CSIT World Sports Games in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. It's some amateur/worker sports union competition so in chess participants were limited to <2350 ELO and no GMs/IMs. 7 teams round robin, managed to score 5,5/6 (wins against 2197, 2219, 2145, 2126 and unrated and a draw against 2324) for a nice 20+ point ELO gain. Won the first board prize and team gold as well. Games were okay, only against the 2324 rated Bulgarian guy I was in trouble for a couple moves but other than that things were under control. Here's a set of moments from my games:

Round 1, I'm Black vs. 2197. Opponent played 20.a3, I was not quite awake:

Spoiler:

Round 3, Black again vs. 2219: http://www.chessvideos.tv/chess-game....php?id=102164. Boring and solid, a good tactic for team matches with the black pieces. 16.-Nh5 was stupid, I was worried about 16.-Bc5 17.Bxc5 Nxc5 18.f4 for no good reason. My opponent offered a draw after 24.Bxe6 but the team captain told me to play on. Good thing he did since he himself ****ed up an easy win and we would have lost the match. In the ending I missed 48.a6 which would have drawn, should have played 47.-a6 to stop it. The time control was 90 min+30 sec/move so we were playing on increment.

Round 5, White vs 2145 FM. Find a win (there are a couple):

Spoiler:

Round 7, White vs 2126 FM. Not losing would secure victory:

Spoiler:

Now in Milan for the weekend, too hung over today for touristing but going to see some sights tomorrow/on Sunday.
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Old 06-12-2015, 07:17 PM   #190
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Judit Bowlgar View Post
the key to playing blitz well is good reflexes
Catlike reflexes, perhaps?
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Old 06-12-2015, 07:21 PM   #191
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

BJJ with the combo-breaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wlrs View Post
Played abroad this week, CSIT World Sports Games in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. It's some amateur/worker sports union competition so in chess participants were limited to <2350 ELO and no GMs/IMs. 7 teams round robin, managed to score 5,5/6 (wins against 2197, 2219, 2145, 2126 and unrated and a draw against 2324) for a nice 20+ point ELO gain. Won the first board prize and team gold as well. Games were okay, only against the 2324 rated Bulgarian guy I was in trouble for a couple moves but other than that things were under control. Here's a set of moments from my games:


Quote:
thanks for the point lol
lol
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:10 PM   #192
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Thanks for the trip report wlrs, really enjoyed it. And congrats on the fantastic result. And congrats on the apparently rowdy celebration as well haha.

Btw, are you strictly a Pirc player, or do you play the Modern as well?
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:32 AM   #193
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Sweet result wlrs
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Old 06-13-2015, 11:00 AM   #194
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Yes great trip report, and great score! More enjoyable for everyone else than listening to me whining for sure

Tomorrow playing in a rapid event, will try and remember my games. I've been looking at some Kasparov games, guy is such a beast. If you haven't watched day 2 of his recent rapid/blitz match vs Short, go watch it now. Holy Christ.
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Old 06-13-2015, 04:21 PM   #195
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexAg06 View Post
Btw, are you strictly a Pirc player, or do you play the Modern as well?
Currently only the Pirc (along with some e4 e5s, Sicilians and occasional scandis) as I have nothing against 3.c4. Moderns with a6 are a lot of fun though
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Old 06-13-2015, 05:57 PM   #196
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

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Moderns with a6 are a lot of fun though
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Old 06-13-2015, 05:58 PM   #197
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Interesting. How long have you been playing the Pirc? Good results?
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Old 06-13-2015, 06:46 PM   #198
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

YKW: Me and a6 Modern have been buddies since Tiger's original book 10 years ago, the lack of c4 answers has kept me from playing it more
Tex: I have only 2 games with it, a draw against a 2450+ from 2014 (or maybe 13) and this win.
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Old 06-13-2015, 06:55 PM   #199
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

Sick results wlrs, nicely done!!
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:07 PM   #200
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Re: Mid-high level improvement thread

the pirc is one of the top-flight responses to e4 imo.

first class: e5, e6, d5, d6, f5, f6.
second class: a5, a6, b5, b6, c5, c6, g5, g6, h5, h6, nc6, nf6.

i like to play 1. e4 d6 2. ke2 kd7 3. ke3! (3. kd3?? (or 3. kf3??) ke6! 0-1) qe8 with an unclear position.

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Catlike reflexes, perhaps?
this guy gets it
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