Improvement plan for a senior

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Andy Stoker
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Improvement plan for a senior

Post by Andy Stoker » Sat May 27, 2017 4:00 pm

I am in my 60s - now approaching retirement - and thinking I will return to chess (last played seriously in 1976!). I am of reasonable strength - I've played in Quickplays (or are they Rapidplays?) - average less than 1 a year - and been given (highly unreliable) grades on that basis - in the region 170 - 190.
My question is - when I get the time - what's the best way to try to improve? I plan to play in a few (?) weekend "proper" tournament, but I want to study - something I've never done since I taught myself to play at the age 10. I thought I'd buy some software that can evaluate positions (is that what Fritz does?) and buy an instruction book (any recommendations?). Is there anything else you would recommend?
Thank you in advance.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Location: Bideford

Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat May 27, 2017 4:07 pm

You could get yourself some coaching. That's what I'm doing, and I think it's having a positive effect on my chess.

Andy Stoker
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by Andy Stoker » Sat May 27, 2017 4:18 pm

Thank you Mr Rudd - I suspect that would cost me more than I want to pay - but I asked so should follow this up - where would I find such a person - do people coach face-to-face, screen-to-screen or via emails or similar? (I live in Greater Manchester)

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat May 27, 2017 4:49 pm

Can be any of the above. Face-to-face is probably best if you can find somebody local.

Nick Burrows
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by Nick Burrows » Sat May 27, 2017 5:05 pm

Face to face is much more expensive also. You can find excellent coaches online with Skype sessions for $20 per hour.

Richard Bates
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by Richard Bates » Sat May 27, 2017 6:06 pm

First step is to play a lot. If you're being given grades of 170-190 then you've got a very good base to work with already. And don't focus too much on rapidplays - league/county chess and slow play tournaments the way to go. Experiment a bit with playing styles as well.

If you do at some point go down the coaching route you've got to give them something to work with.

Andy Stoker
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by Andy Stoker » Sat May 27, 2017 6:14 pm

Thank you Mr Bates - that seems sound advice (last played for my county aged 17 :lol: ). However, I'm also keen to do some self-study - suits my preferred style - any suggestions for books, CDs etc?

Nigel Short
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by Nigel Short » Sat May 27, 2017 6:20 pm

I would add that it is a very good idea to use a chess engine, such as Stockfish or Komodo, to analyse your games after you have played them. I think you will discover all sorts of mistakes and missed opportunities. I certainly do.

Andy Stoker
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by Andy Stoker » Sat May 27, 2017 6:30 pm

Thank you Mr Short - honoured to receive your advice. Remember watching your progress with awe at the 1977(?) Brighton British Championships ... just before I virtually gave up chess the first time. I need to research how to access the engines you mention - I'm sure Mr Google can advise me.
(Later - Oh flip ... it's just there to use! The world has changed from the days when we queued up for a peek at Informator!)

E Michael White
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by E Michael White » Sat May 27, 2017 7:46 pm

Andy, you have been privileged in that out of the first 5 replies to your posts 4 were written by 2 IMs and 1 GM. The key must be in there somewhere !

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by MartinCarpenter » Sat May 27, 2017 9:05 pm

:)

You won't really get formal coaching from the Greater Manchester evening league clubs although 3C's effectively do that on some levels (more for juniors I think.). They'd definitely least get you decent human feedback on your games, as would a couple of the bigger places like Stockport and Chorlton. Depends where you are in GM of course.

And yes, the free computers are massively strong now. So are a load of games from everyone - look up say Scid and how to download games from the week in chess and that's a massive, usable database for free/minimal effort. So much more information these days.

soheil_hooshdaran
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by soheil_hooshdaran » Mon May 29, 2017 2:34 am

IM Jack Rudd wrote:You could get yourself some coaching. That's what I'm doing, and I think it's having a positive effect on my chess.
Where do you get the coaching, Jack?

soheil_hooshdaran
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by soheil_hooshdaran » Mon May 29, 2017 2:35 am

What does grades 170 translate to in terms of FIDE elo?

Andy Stoker
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by Andy Stoker » Mon May 29, 2017 6:33 am

I used Google, Mr Hooshdaran. The English Chess Federation site says: "Following our consultation, the ECF grading team will use the formula of 7.5*ECF+700 = FIDE to rate games accepted by the International Rating Officer from 1st January 2014
– Brian Valentine, Manager of Grading"

Thus, 170 = ~ 1975 and 190 = ~ 2125.

soheil_hooshdaran
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Re: Improvement plan for a senior

Post by soheil_hooshdaran » Mon May 29, 2017 9:38 am

Quite good sir. My pick rating was 1907! I'd add some points to thos already mentined. I shouldn't dare to comment in presence of greats like GM Short and IM Rudd. Just to add some points
Appart from playing standard games and analyzing them (you need about 70 per year. 150 would be too much, less than 40 would be too little), I guess you
  • Subscribe to a good chess magazine like ChessBase Magazine ( CBM ).
  • Study classic games if you have not done so already (game by great masters of the past like Paul Morphy, and especially Akiba Rubinstein, Jose Raul Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, and Mikhal Botinnik)
  • Create an Opening repertoire if you haven't done so already and analyze the games of top players.
For books, Books of GM Efstratos Grivas and also GM Iossif Dorfman and Lev Alburt are great on strategy. Don't miss out GM Seirawan's Winning Chess Strategy.
Also, David Bronstein's Modern Chess Tutor should be good
GM Karsten Muller is and endgame spexcialist with nice books on ending.
GM Alburt's Chess for the gifted and Busy is a wonderful all-inclusive, short book. you can study it in one or two weeks instead of his 5 volumes, and it will be quite sufficient to get to a good level.
Ah, and don't miss out Books of GM Valeri Beim! They are great!

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