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Post by oldnewb on December 2nd 2016, 11:18 am

Hi all!

I'm old (approaching 50) and also new to chess (oldnewb) and I'm looking at possible ways to improve my understanding of the game.  I came across the ICS website and after reading some of their sample pages and PDFs, I was curious about user reviews and experiences with the program.

I have a feeling that the material offered in these courses is probably way too advanced for me as a beginner, and although I have some success absorbing some of the fundamental chess basics available on the web, I find it difficult to retain all of this information in my old brain.  I have never had a great memory, but I have read that playing and studying chess can be good for the memory, so I suppose trying to learn chess can't hurt.

So far, I've created accounts on both and but I have not played much since I'm still trying to learn the basics.  I've found numerous educational youtube channels such as IM John Bartholomew, Chessnetwork, SLCC, etc. but have not really studied any books or printed material as of yet.  I have done about 5000 tactics puzzles on ChessTempo (~1400 puzzle rating) and Lichess (~1800 puzzle rating) so far, so I'm seeing easy combinations a bit more quickly now. My overall board vision is getting a little better as well.  The ForwardChess app and e-books for iPad looks interesting since I think I'd have trouble following a regular printed book without being able to visualize the board as the moves are indicated in the text.  I don't see myself sitting at a regular board rearranging every piece in every scenario.

I currently view chess as a new found hobby, but I'm not terribly competitive and only want to get to a respectable level of play (reduce blunders) on line.  I tend to favor longer games, like 20+20 because it takes me so long to absorb a position and think of a move.  I will probably never play in an OTB tournament or join a chess club, but who knows.  I would be extremely curious as to your suggestions for someone in my position...what would you recommend as a viable and enjoyable path forward if you were me?  Is there any hope for improvement?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice!

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New to chess Empty Re: New to chess

Post by PawnCustodian on December 5th 2016, 5:36 pm

If you are not interested in OTB Tournament play and are not playing long games regularly then ICS might not be useful. The course focus is on positional play, not tactics, openings, or endgames.

The course will give you the tools to independently analyze your own games and the games of others, the classical path to improvement. But, their method is setting up a position and studying it in detail. Many of the lessons include pgn files so you can play a lot of the examples on the computer (I've moved a lot of the lessons to my kindle Fire and replay the lessons on an app called "Analyze This!"), but it is not recommended for best learning. Also, the last four months of the course are positional problems that require you to sit and "stare" at the positions for up to 20 minutes, something I couldn't do on a computer screen.

The only other comprehensive course I'm aware of is Smirnov's courses. Cost wise I think they are similar and cover much of the same ground. What both courses do is take the focus off of the tactics which can be a problem, the thinking system is different and too much focus on solving tactical problems can slow your progress. Based on you comments about learning style you might find Smirnov's courses more compatible with what you are looking for.

Good Luck

Last edited by PawnCustodian on December 5th 2016, 5:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Correct Kindle App Reference)

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