New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

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New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by Blue Devil Knight on September 29th 2009, 11:53 am

As I've said, the World Open kicked my butt. I didn't do very well (I think I scored 3 out of 9), but more I just got burnt out the tournament was too much for me. What can I say I'm a lightweight.

Instead of giving up, I'm thinking about switching to the online/chessbase versions of the lessons instead of taking all that time to print out all the pdfs, set it up over the board, etc..

Anyway, if anyone has ideas on how to do the course in a sort of "lazy" way just because I enjoy it (not even necessarily to improve, but just to improve my understanding of the game), let us know.

It's such a good course, I want to go through the material at least once!

I had gotten up to month 3, so I'll review where I am and what I need to do.

Advice for beginners: set a plan to finish each month, even if it means you aren't fully absorbing everything. It is better to keep on and absorb some, than to go slow and absorb everything. Because later material actually will reinforce earlier, and show you what the most important bits are from the earlier months. Especially in month one, don't fret about not getting everything. They will explain it all in more detail.

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by Sixty4squares on October 10th 2009, 3:40 am

BDK did you switch to the online version of the lessons? I just signed up for the course and was wanting an opinion on how the online vers. works vs printing out the PDF's.

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by Blue Devil Knight on October 10th 2009, 12:43 pm

Frankly if you have the time, setting it up on a real board is much better. For some reason the information just sinks in better in a visceral way. But if you need to save time, while you won't learn it as well then the online is good. It may also depend on whether you play more on computers or real boards. So, in order of helpfulness:
0. Nothing
1. Computer
2. Real board

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by fanat on October 10th 2009, 1:28 pm

Sixty4squares wrote:BDK did you switch to the online version of the lessons? I just signed up for the course and was wanting an opinion on how the online vers. works vs printing out the PDF's.

Try it both ways and see what works for you. I think it's a matter of preference. I like to print out pdfs because I feel that I'm just not concentrating hard enough when I'm looking at the screen. With actual paper, I can highlight things, underline, make notes - I feel like I'm back in school and that way the information is sinking in better for me.
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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by Blue Devil Knight on October 11th 2009, 2:35 pm

The more people struggle, move the pieces around, and think, the better, whether it is computer or real board. It is a lot harder to be superficial when you have a board there in front of you and are working through it. With the computer, it is easy to just click click click, nod nod nod. Plus, if you play in tournaments with real boards and pieces, it is better to practice in the same format so your visual system doesn't get accustomed to the 2-D image.

There is never a right answer for everyone of course. I'm purposely being more superficial and using the computer now, just to save time. Perhaps that will be better, perhaps I was spending too much time before. We'll see. Chess is way low on my priority list right now.

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by Sixty4squares on October 12th 2009, 11:32 am

Thanks guys. I started studying over the weekend. I printed it out and am working at the board. I think for me that will probably work best at least to start.

I will say so far I'm impressed with the material expecially the annotations on the games, which have always been a kind of a mystery to me (trying to figure out why a GM did something without good annotations is a little much for my pea brain).

FYI - What I'm going to try to do to see if I REALLY improve is each month after I finish the module I'm going to play 6 long test games (3B/3W) with Fritz 11 with the handicap set exactly the same and at 2300 and see if I play better and better against the computer. Right now at 2300 Fritz chews me up quickly. If there is improvement I'm going to graph it out, it might be interesting.

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by DeepFreeze on October 14th 2009, 12:01 pm

why 2300? I would set it a couple hundred above myself and play a match against it and if i win the majority of games ill add 50 points to the comp. I'm going to be doing the same thing as you except i will do it every two weeks and ill have a best of 5 match with shredder or hiarcs on my ipod. they give a rating too so i can see improvement from that angle too. Of course I wont be playing the actual game on my ipod, ill set it up on a board then transfer moves. Maybe ill post the games in the post mortem section.

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by Sixty4squares on October 14th 2009, 6:53 pm

Hi DeepFreeze. I'm using 2300 for a couple of reasons. First my goal is to get my play to a level above 2000 so I want to try to test my advancement against an opponent playing at that level. But primarily I want to become accustomed to playing and thinking at that level. Games at CM, and IM just look different, much smoother and cohesive than the games at my level. One of my problems now is that I analyze until I find a solution and move. That is very bad for me because it is never the best solution and I play without a real strategy. With a 2300 level opponent I KNOW that I will have to analyze much deeper, and hopefully this will force me to use the information that I learn from the ICS to do so.

I'm going to track moves per game, wins, losses, and draws with the hope of at first pushing Fritz to more moves using better tactics and strategy. Then drawing more games, and finally (hopefully) winning some.

This is just how I want to test the curriculum for me. I'm still playing games online and with Fritz at a much lower level.

Hope your study goes well and I'll look forward to seeing some of your PM's. when you post them.

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by Bilbo on October 15th 2009, 3:25 am

Sixty4squares, I don't know if you are also studying the Openings Module but if so check the chessbase files before printing the pdf's for a particular opening.

For some reason, and rather annoyingly a few of the pdf's are outdated and have new variations and plans have been added to the chessbase files.

Some I can remember off the top of my head are the Dutch Defence, the Benko Gambit and the Kings Indian Defence. All three have extra variations and information in their chessbase files compared to the pdf's.

As the opening pds's are just chessbase printouts anyway it makes sense to print off the chessbase files to study from rather than the pdf's as that way you won't miss out any information.

As far as I know the main module isn't affected this way, although I have only worked through Month 1 so far. Just be aware of the possibility and check the pdf's, chessbase and browser versions whenever you start some new material in case one has information the others don't.

I guess this represents times when the ICS team updated parts on the chessbase files but forgot (or were too lazy ) to amend their pdf files. silent

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by Sixty4squares on October 15th 2009, 9:32 am

Thanks Bilbo. I'm glad that you mentioned the openings module. I haven't purchased it yet. I was concerned that with the load from the main module that I wouldn't be able to get through both in a month.

So my question is do you recommend it? Or more importantly do you recommned it vs just studying openings on your own?

My thought was that after I was maybe 3-4 months into the main module that I would understand the game better and consequently be able to more effectively continue to study openings on my own. However I'm now re-thinking that since I could do it all in a year (hopefully without scorching my brain along the way!) How time consuming was your first month doing both?

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by DeepFreeze on October 15th 2009, 10:29 am

64, besides ICS what else are you doing as far as training and study goes, is it only playing games or are you using something else to supplement.

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by Sixty4squares on October 15th 2009, 1:47 pm

Hi Deep. Right now I'm going through Lev Alburt's "Chess Openings for White Explained" and "Chess Openings for Black Explained".

I've got a small library of chess books, some I've worked through, some I've just looked at. Those books are actually the reason that I'm pretty excited about the ICS course.

I've never built the correct foundation for seriously playing the game so working through many of the books hasn't improved my game substantially. Its the WHAT and WHY questions that I've never been able to answer that have hurt my development. Example: What does a strong center game look like? Why is it strong? What is the weakness in this position? Why is it weak? etc. So far with the first month at ICS I can see the door opening a bit! And I believe that if I get a pretty stong grasp of the middle game from the course that I'll understand openings and end game play a LOT better.

What else are you using? If you found something that works I'm interested.

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Re: New leaf for me, and some advice for those starting the course

Post by DeepFreeze on October 15th 2009, 2:01 pm

Im using the same exact two books for my openings, i know they get criticised but they have been doing alright for me for now. I am also using chessimo along side ics. I've only completed the first module on tactics so far tho. each of these covers every aspect of the game as far as im concerned

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