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What's your chess story?

 
 
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 10:32 am
I've only played quick games with time to move counted in minutes or seconds and was surprised to see that most of the chess players here play correspondence chess.

I also noted with surprise that everyone else seemed more familiar with chess notation than I am, and with named openings and such. So what's the story? How did you get into chess? How much do you play? How did you improve? Did you study any chess strategy?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 2,941 • Replies: 21
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 10:38 am
@Robert Gentel,
To answer my own questions:

Learned to play around 2000 with my brother, we became competitive quickly and then friends began to get interested as well though they didn't present us much competition. Then I played online a bit (at Yahoo) but for the last 4 years or so haven't played much at all (a couple of games over the period).

I never studied much chess, and don't recognize opening names or specific strategy. I also tend to always open the same way (again, not sure if it's a common opening or not it's just the way my brother and I always opened the game) every game that I can.

I'm asking this question because I'm a beginning to be interested in correspondence chess, because the other guy can take as long as he wants but I don't have to wait. This was always my frustration with chess, as I don't have the patience to examine the board for more than a couple minutes and didn't like waiting for the other guy any more than that.

But I figure that with the time comes an increased level of play, and figure I might want to learn some chess strategy. So let me know if you found anything particularly useful to you as you were learning chess strategy.
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 10:42 am
@Robert Gentel,
I started playing chess at age 10, or so. My father taught me.

I played a lot at high school and then, nothing until about 2001.

I played live chess on one internet site for a short while. I went to a couple of nights of chess at a local chess club. I decided I didn't like either.


Next I tryed the email chess organization IECC for a short while. Didn't like that.

Next out, I found my niche. I fell into web-based correspondence chess via Stan's NetChess, and then finally into ChessWorld.net. I've been there (a combination of both) for over 6 years, with some intervening gaps.

To me, web-based correspondence chess is perfect for those with limited playing time and no readily available opponents.

I find the best way for me to learn is not from books, but by replaying through my own games and find out where I've gone wrong, and try to improve from there.
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 10:48 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
I'm asking this question because I'm a beginning to be interested in correspondence chess, because the other guy can take as long as he wants but I don't have to wait. This was always my frustration with chess, as I don't have the patience to examine the board for more than a couple minutes and didn't like waiting for the other guy any more than that.

Correspondence chess would be perfect for someone like yourself, who has a limited amount of time to play.

I myself play at a time period of 2-3 days per move, although I normally play a move per day.

If you're looking for a good site to play, I can recommend ChessWorld.net, if you decide you want to play more formally than here. It has lots of great features if one becomes a subscriber. The cost is very nominal ($28.50 per year).
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 10:53 am
@Reyn,
Reyn wrote:
Correspondence chess would be perfect for someone like yourself, who has a limited amount of time to play.


Thing is, I think I'd get impatient at the pace of the game. I'd at least want a couple of moves per session. But I'll give it a go here on a2k and see what it's like.

Quote:
I myself play at a time period of 2-3 days per move, although I normally play a move per day.


I don't know how well I'd do at this pace. My biggest chess weakness is carelessness from not examining the board well enough and it sounds like the correspondence style would be less forgiving of the mistakes that will arise from quick play.

Plus, I really like mini-tactics that are a couple of moves deep, and I think I'd forget what I was trying to do if I only played a move a day.

How long do you contemplate a move at that pace? If it's over 15 minutes I think I'd be outclassed in patience and not stand a chance.
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 11:10 am
@Robert Gentel,
Well, the point of correspondence-style chess is that one can have the time to contemplate one's moves. There are folks that come to these sites and expect quick replies. It may happen, but more unlikely than not.

Using ChessWorld.net as an example, I know there are players from about 200 different countries. If I was playing from British Columbia with someone in Germany, I believe we're talking about a time zone difference of 10 hours. So, the chances of being on at the same time are fairly slim.

You'll find, too, as one gets older, that blitz-style chess gets harder to concentrate on. I, myself, don't have the patience to have a clock run down quickly and be out of time. I did used to play games with a time period of 30 minutes, but I found that the majority of players want to play at a time limit of up to 10 minutes, or less.

In the meantime, you're sucking wind waiting for someone to show up.

I used to play too quickly at correspondence chess, but I take more time now. I still lose games, of course, but I feel I've improved somewhat. I've taken hours at a move. Not all at one go. I'll come back if I don't have a good solution. That's the beauty of this style of chess.

It is something one has to learn to get better at it. I guess it depends at how strong your drive to play and improve is.

Robert Gentel wrote:
My biggest chess weakness is carelessness from not examining the board well enough and it sounds like the correspondence style would be less forgiving of the mistakes that will arise from quick play.

Yes, definitely, if your opponent takes their time.

Everyone is still going to make mistakes, but checking the board to see that there are no pieces to be easily captured can be learned. You have to sit on those hands, though! Laughing
0 Replies
 
tycoon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 11:32 am
I learned to play in my late twenties, and tried to study opening moves by checking out several chess books at the local library. But the odd thing, I would memorize certain tried and true openings, and then begin a game with my usual partner, who never bothered himself with such things. As soon as he would go off script (it's a dance you see) I'd become perplexed as to what to do to take advantage of his "mistake". It was all too much and so I just began to enjoy the game as it unfolded naturally.

One thing these classic openings did teach me though was to get your firepower out there to the center where it will do some good. I also viewed it a mistake if I had to move a piece more than once in an opening sequence.

I wish I had the time to play someone here. I miss the thrill of a victory, but the humiliation of a loss was always so hard to take. It was like being told you're an idiot. I wonder if anyone else has similar feelings.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 11:42 am
I learned from my father starting when I was 5 or so. He let me choose which pieces he was to play without, starting with 4. (queen, bishop and both knights. he was vicious with his knights)
As I got better and won, the number dropped. By the time I was 8, I could play him straight up.

I played in junior high in class with a geek friend, but stopped in high school. As an adult I played on occasion with my maternal Grandfather, who had a giant set from the orient that was too cool, win or lose.

I have not played with an adult in years, but I have taught some younger folks to play, in the same way I learned. (My niecey is pretty good)
Correspondence chess sounds fun, but too slow.

I will keep watching you guys, and decide if I am up to your level...

0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 12:23 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
So let me know if you found anything particularly useful to you as you were learning chess strategy.

Something that I'm doing a lot more lately is solving chess puzzles. They get you thinking towards a certain solution.

tycoon wrote:
I miss the thrill of a victory, but the humiliation of a loss was always so hard to take. It was like being told you're an idiot. I wonder if anyone else has similar feelings.

Everyone, including me, likes to win their games, but what you do with your losses is where you can make the greatest improvement in your game. If you replay your lost games, you can try to see where you went wrong and look for better moves and strategy.

I, myself, don't play chess in person. That's the beauty of web-based correspondence chess. It's not the end of the world if you lose a game. Nobody sees your disappointed face by the loss of another game.

With CC, you can take your time and make superior moves and decisions.

Rockhead wrote:
Correspondence chess sounds fun, but too slow.
I will keep watching you guys, and decide if I am up to your level...

It is a lot of fun, but it definitely requires a different mindset.

I get too nervous playing against a clock that's ticking down minutes. Plus, it sometimes isn't convenient to go somewhere to play.

Playing chess on the internet has given chess a huge boost, no matter what form of chess you play. There's a lot more interest in the game than in pre-internet days.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 01:30 pm
@Robert Gentel,
My best friend in elementary school was caught up in the post Fisher chess craze and taught me to play. He wasn't very good, but I had some aptitude for it and taught my father to play. We typically played 2 out of 3 every night; he even bought me a chess set and for my dad, that was quite a statement. I made the chess team in high school and played pretty regualarly until college. After that, it was hit and miss. I haven't played seriously in years.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 01:33 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

How long do you contemplate a move at that pace? If it's over 15 minutes I think I'd be outclassed in patience and not stand a chance.

Before having children, I played in a league where each player had 30 minutes on the clock to finish the game. If you got in trouble, you have some time to look at the board, otherwise fast play is rewarded. We could play three rounds a night at that pace since no board could play later than an hour.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 02:11 pm
I learned the game in middle school, had no real talent other then knowing what the pieces did. In 10th grade, I had a teacher for a study hall that would play chess with me. He beat me everyday so I figured that I would have the eventually take him down. I kept playing and practicing and reading etc until one year, at a Boy Scout Camporee, I met up with him again and challenged him.

I finally beat him at chess. It was very satisfying, yet I think he was more satisfied than I was. I have since lost the desire to play, but I believe my son may have an interest so maybe I will instruct him. He has good logic skills now.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 02:15 pm
I've been playing since the age of 2, when my older brother taught me. I know pretty much all the major openings and have thousands of games under my belt.

I used to compete but never got rated much higher than 1750 or so.

I love correspondence and pretty much only play that now - outside of Bar games.

Cycloptichorn
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 02:55 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
1750 is pretty respectible. I remember seeing a USCF article saying the median rating of US competitive chess players was around 1550.
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 04:21 pm
My father taught me as a kid. Same as Rockhead, he'd start without the Queen but was vicious with knight and peons. Couldn't beat him 'til I was 12, and couldn't catch up to his level when I was like 17 (and we were all in the Fischer-Spassky craze). Boy, how we hated Fischer!
Spassky's ideal night would be sipping wine and playing chess with friends.
Fischer's ideal night would be locked up in his hotel room, studying chess.

I've read 2 books on chess. One, by a Soviet master (mostly strategies on how to control the center); another, by Fischer (mostly strategies to kill in semi-blank athmospheres).

Unlike Mexico, in Italy nobody played chess. So I started to play coirrespondence chess against a Peruvian friend (a touch player I had beaten only twice in over 20 games). Imagine, every play took a couple of months. But the Peruvian became a member of the Young Red Guard and the correspondence stopped.

I took on to playing against computers, mostly. Until the 90s, when they got to a difficult level it took ages for the computer to play, so I became bored... have played very little since and have gotten worse and worse. Last time, several months ago, my 11 year old nephew (who plays in tournaments in the US) beat the hell out of me.

Correspondence chess is too slow, IMHO. I like fast paced games.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 04:27 pm
My brother taught me when I was around 12 years old. Later on, my friends and I would sit in outdoor cafes and play chess for hours on end. We have a lot
of outdoor chess tables which is nice. I haven't played in 20+ years though ....
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 04:37 pm
@CalamityJane,
Quoting myself from another thread to add to the Fisher Spassky phenomenon running through this thread: "Also watching. I haven't played since the seventies, and then only to learn enough to follow the Fisher Spassky games. (We followed their games on a board in the lab). I forget every bit of it, but will use this as a chance to learn a bit. Right now I know less than Chai."

0 Replies
 
lmur
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 05:09 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I learned from a friend at about age 10. The two of us formed a chess club in our village which thrived for about three years. When we realised there was no female participants (after 3 years) we wound it up!

Like Reyn, I'm a member of Chessworld and agree with his assessment of its advantages. I've 50 games going at the moment but, because they're (on average) 5 days per move, it's manageable. I'm aware that other people maintain hundreds of games simultaneously on that site but cannot imagine they've much else going on in their lives.

Improvement tips? I recommend doing puzzles. "White to play and win in three moves," that sort of thing. If you can handle the plummy english accent, type "letsplaychess" into youtube and you have a look at some instructional games.
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 05:20 pm
@lmur,
lmur wrote:
Improvement tips? I recommend doing puzzles.

Yup, for sure. I've been doing a lot lately and find them helpful.

Imur, the puzzles link on CW is great, isn't it? And now there are rated ones, too!
lmur
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 05:45 pm
@Reyn,
Yep, really good. Sharpens the game no end. Not to mention the novelty green jigsaw piece next to your screen-name for all to see!!
0 Replies
 
 

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