How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

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Andy Stoker
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How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by Andy Stoker » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:16 pm

Groupon has just offered me a reduced price on-line course to learn to play chess. (https://excelwithbusiness.com/home/pages/courses) I wonder how many people learn this way - any data?

I taught myself with Bott and Morrison - have never had the benefit of any teacher or coach (evident in mediocre achievements).

How did you learn? What / who helped you learn most? (Book, teacher, tournament opportunity...)

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JustinHorton
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Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:28 pm

I can't actually remember for sure, though I'd be amazed if my father didn't teach me.

I had Bott and Morrison too though.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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stevencarr

Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by stevencarr » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:56 pm

I had Bott and Morrison - 'Chess for Children'. The section on good opening practice is really bad. But otherwise, it was a good book.

After reading the book, I was hampered for 2 years by not being able to afford a chess set. I'm pretty sure that slowed down my development.

I never got the Brian Eley book - 'Grooming the chess champions of tomorrow.' (If the moderator wants to delete this post, I would understand)
Last edited by stevencarr on Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stevencarr

Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by stevencarr » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:57 pm

BTW, who were Bott and Morrison? Were they famous chess players of the 40's?

Andy Stoker
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Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by Andy Stoker » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:07 pm

I thought Bott and Morrison were school teachers, rather than high achievers as players - I'm sure Mr Barden (or Mr Reuben?) can tell us.

Ah, yes, the set ... I wrote the names of the pieces on squares of paper and used the draughts board.

I had to teach my parents in order to get a game.

Paul Habershon
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Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by Paul Habershon » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:58 pm

Andy Stoker wrote:Groupon has just offered me a reduced price on-line course to learn to play chess. (https://excelwithbusiness.com/home/pages/courses) I wonder how many people learn this way - any data?

I taught myself with Bott and Morrison - have never had the benefit of any teacher or coach (evident in mediocre achievements).

How did you learn? What / who helped you learn most? (Book, teacher, tournament opportunity...)
When I was 6 or 7 years old (1952/53) I found my father's copy of 'Chess Lessons for Beginners' by the Reverend E E Cunnington. This book makes no attempt to explain how each chess man moves; it consists merely of 22 annotated games. However, I was fascinated by the diagrams. Not knowing chess, I got my father to explain the descriptive notation (not how the pieces moved). There must have been a chess or draughts board available because I then fashioned my own chess set by writing the piece names on bits of paper and moved them according to the notation with the sole aim of reaching the next diagram with the correct position. That must be how I learned the moves.

I'm sure now that my father had his own chess set in the house but probably did not trust me with it. However, it wasn't long before he returned from work with a basic wooden set, much to my delight. Beginners' moves were thus not the main part of my early chess experience because I spent far more hours playing over games from books than I did over the board against my father. I was thirteen before I attended a school with a chess club. Fortunately there was a club player on the staff who brought in copies of B H Wood's 'Chess' magazine and I became hooked playing dozens of games in its Junior Postal Chess Club. I feel sure that this is what helped me most. At a higher level, I think it is said that Paul Keres benefited similarly from correspondence chess. Goodness me! What havoc internet chess would have played with my academic studies!

Paul Buswell
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Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by Paul Buswell » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:15 pm

I was taught by a friend of similar age at his home when I was maybe 9 or 10 (though it might have been later); no books or anything. Then attended a chess club at grammar school (early 1960s).

PB

Geoff Chandler
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Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by Geoff Chandler » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:35 pm

Father taught me, the Bott and Morrison was probably was my first chess book - I still have it!
Maybe it was 'Chess Traps and Stratagems' by the jolly Rev E.E. Cunnington, I have two copies! (true).
The original of that fell to bits years ago. I can remember getting dragged out of my bedroom
away from my Cunnington one Christmas to join the family for Chrsitmas Dinner.

Nowdays the kids will be zapping things with space lasers and no amount of coaxing
or threats of severe violence will force them out of their bedrooms away from their computers.
(switching the electricty off at the mains works - you miss the Queen's speech and
have to eat dinner by candle light but at least you have all the spaces round the dinner table filled.)

JustinHadi

Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by JustinHadi » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:47 pm

Purnell's Chess for Children by Martin J. Richardson.

JustinHadi

Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by JustinHadi » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:49 pm

^^ A superb book which in fact had the game Morphy vs the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard - see http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/morphy.html

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:52 pm

Rather than repeat it, see http://www.cscl.org.uk/00profiles-thurlow.html (it's really only the first paragraph that's relevant to the thread)

I think my earliest books were the Cunnington ones, and I think some pages which Bob Wade had produced on tactics etc (I still have them!)

At the time (mid 50s) my father was a member of Streatham and played Morrison once, who sneered at my father's opening system (what we would now call a "Modern"), so my father was delighted to win the game. I think Morrison was supposed to be a good player, but not top flight. I think the Bott and Morrison book was generally OK, whether it was or not, they encouraged children to play, which was surely the most important thing.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:03 pm

Was introduced to the game in the summer of 1974 by a friend, but incorrectly - we had our knights and bishops the wrong way round :lol:

As mentioned in the other thread, learned properly the following year - my dad knew the moves but not a lot else, and I could soon match him.

Joined the junior school chess club and was soon one of the best players there (still pretty weak objectively speaking, of course) and devoured all the chess books I could get my hands on at the local libraries - people wouldn't have so much joy doing that these days, of course (remember that Sokolsky's "modern openings in theory and practice" was a regular there - made my day when I found a second hand copy at the Blackpool congress a few years ago)

Went to secondary school and it was a bit of a shock to find there were others quite a bit better than me - combined with becoming more concerned with "other things" I lost interest somewhat for a while, but still played in a couple of Gloucestershire junior tournaments and did reasonably well. When my family moved north in 1980 I played for my new school again with decent results, but my enthusiasm really took off again when the British Championships were held at Morecambe the following summer - I paid a few visits and was totally hooked - this is what *proper* chess was like! It made me determined to join a "real" club, which I did - though the school team folding made that decision for me anyway. And so on Sept 25 1981, at Lancaster chess club, I played my first "serious" game......
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Steven DuCharme
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Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by Steven DuCharme » Thu Dec 25, 2014 8:41 am

Sounds like chess has gone from Bott to Bot
I float like a pawn island and sting like an ignored knight :mrgreen:

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John Clarke
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Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by John Clarke » Thu Dec 25, 2014 8:52 pm

First shown the moves at age 11 by schoolfellows looking for an easybeat to bolster their egos. Once finally hooked and determined to improve, next stop was the local library - and yes, there was Chess For Children, which put me right about the rules (including en passant, which no-one had previously mentioned). Next came the same authors' The Chess Apprentice (later retitled More Chess For Children. This one to my mind was less successful in its objectives, especially the openings coverage. There were a few other books in the kids' library, including one of Reinfeld's, but those were little better.

The main obstacle to making progress was lack of real opposition, though that soon changed when I started at a grammar school which had a strong chess tradition and had just entered a team in the local adult league. I was best in my year (which wasn't saying a great deal) but found the going a lot tougher against those in the year above. But I stuck at it, copped the beatings and kept coming back for more ... it's the only way.

Recklessly entered the local schoolboys' championships and lost every game in the junior section. BUT .... in one of the many casual games played to fill in time, I finally beat one of the second-formers from my school. That was a huge encouragement, demonstrating that progress was possible and had indeed been achieved.

My first "real" book on the game was Golombek's The Game Of Chess, a Christmas present at age 13. To this over the next few years I would add his Instructions To Young Chess Players, followed by My System, Tal's Best Games Of Chess (P H Clarke) and Edward Lasker's Modern Chess Strategy. How much any of these really helped my development, it's hard to say.

Most of my inspiration in those teenage years came from (in no particular order):

Pan Book Of Chess (Gerald Abrahams) - among other things, reinforced the opinion I'd already arrived at: that playing black didn't mean you were at a disadvantage (and I've nearly always done slightly better with that colour)

Further Chess Ideas (John F Love and John Hodgkins) - explored various strategic and tactical themes in a thorough but easy-to-understand way, pitched at exactly the right level for my then needs.

Junior Chess (edited by Love and Hodgkins) - ran from 1961-64. I picked up a job-lot of 15 issues from B H Wood, who'd acquired all the stocks after the mag folded. Full of interesting and inspiring articles from the likes of Bob Wade and Peter Clarke, articles on openings (the basic ideas, not reams of variations), also a regular feature on endgame studies - an excellent idea.

I probably learned more of real value by actually playing in matches and (occasionally) going over the games afterwards with more experienced fellow team members. The only drawback was that in playing for the team rather than myself, I became very results-oriented and cautious. Too often the game-plan was "keep the draw in hand and survive till the end of the session (and then get a draw on adjudication)". Sacrificial play of any kind was distinctly frowned upon. This attitude left its mark: it was years later before I would essay a gambit in any kind of competitive event.

Never at any stage did I have any coaching. Like (I suspect) most of us here, I had to find my own way, and in consequence took a lot longer to achieve what little potential I might have had.
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

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Jon Mahony
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Re: How did you learn to play? How has the pattern changed?

Post by Jon Mahony » Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:08 am

My Dad taught me, though he only knew very basic moves (which didn’t include castling; I distinctly remember openings where our kings would take the centre by move 10 :lol:).

In primary school my maths teacher fancied himself as a good player and started a bit of a club at lunch times - however we rarely played other pupils, instead, to build the teachers ego, all played him in a simultaneous - he would win almost every game, but that was hardly surprising - I’d love to come across him again now, to give him a good crushing, sadly he doesn’t seem to play in local leagues, or be an ECF member.

Didn’t play much in high school and lost interest as a teenager, only getting back into it in my early 20’s, playing postal Chess. The first book I used was the abysmal “Rapid Chess Improvement” by M. De La Maza and then later got hold of something on the London System.

I certainly wish I’d had a better start at Chess when I was younger, as I do have some potential and have improved a great deal. But with work and other commitments I have very little time to study, I can’t really see myself getting much past the 150 area, and I’ll have to sort out my consistency issues to do that!
"When you see a good move, look for a better one!" - Lasker

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