Thursday, February 02, 2006

The 10 Biggest Roadblocks to Improvement

From an article by Heisman of the same name. Everything below is from the article.

1. Not learning an adequate thinking process.
When learning chess you are taught how the pieces move, but rarely given good advice on how to think.

2. Not adequately learning the basic tactical motifs.
Like the multiplication tables are to algebra, recognizing basic, recurring tactical patterns quickly and accurately are the keys to higher-level tactics. [This] takes time. Learning "cold" 500-1000 of the most basic motifs is worth 100-200 rating points, at least. On the other hand, practicing advanced tactical puzzles is only worthwhile if you know the basic stuff really well, and can almost be considered a waste of time if you do not.

3. Not practicing good time management.
Most weaker players play too fast no matter what the time control. This error is related to #1 because applying a good thinking process each move takes time. Visit any big OTB tournament and watch; if anything, top players will err on the side of being too slow.

4. Not playing enough very slow games.
If you study but never play, or vice versa, you cannot improve.

5. Misplacing general principle priorities and thus also misevaluating positions.
For example, a player might avoid [a position] because he gets doubled pawns, when the resultant gain in piece activity more than compensates.

6. Worrying too much about losing and ratings.

7. Never seeking help from stronger players.

8. Paying too much attention to memorizing opening lines instead of the two following pieces of opening advice: learn solid opening principles and avoid repeating opening mistakes.

9. Not reading enough game collections.
After repeatedly observing patterns of correct play, you begin to do it, too.

10. Not knowing how to properly evaluate trades.
So many players are so accustomed to the old "Reinfeld" average values of 3 pawns for a bishop or knight, 5 for a rook, and 9 for a queen, that they don't believe that these values are only rough approximations!

3 Comments:

Blogger Temposchlucker said...

After you solved these you get the 5333+1 slightly less big roadblocks. After that you get the. . .:)

2/03/2006 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger Qxh7# said...

I'd say I suffer on some level from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9.

2/03/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger funkyfantom said...

Moving "fast" versus "slow" is slightly misleading.

More accurate is like this:

either you are doing the hard work to

1) assemble your candidate moves, 2)calculate out their consequences as
far as you can given the limits of your abilities and
3) select the highest-scoring move

or you are not.

Some very talented people can do this "fast", and moving "slow" does not help if your thought-process is not well-tuned.

But in a blitz game, for example, most people don't have the mental firepower to perform this process "fast", so you wind up playing Hope chess.

2/03/2006 11:52:00 AM  

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