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pycroft 34 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess Tutor Would anyone be willing to be a one on one tutor for
a relatively new player? I've been playing for a while
but I've been very serious about it for a few months.
I have read many websites but feel I am not taking
anything from them (I am a visual learner...reading
chess notation does nothing for me). Thanks for
your time everyone!
macheide 40 ( +1 | -1 )
pycroft Dear fellow,

I don't feel if I could be helpful to you, analysing some games of playing games while making commentaries about the moves or plans. If you think I can help you in this way, just let me finish some of my current games. I'm very busy in my bussines in this moment and make the mistake (pure masochism) to accept many challenges.

Your friend,

nottop 15 ( +1 | -1 )
number of games First problem is you are playing too many games at once.
Must learn from wins and losses - can't do that with so many games.
birdieie 20 ( +1 | -1 )
Visuals... One place that uses lots of diagrams and colored arrows and movies ;-)
caldazar 283 ( +1 | -1 )
pycroft I've glanced through a few of your losses and the basic thing that jumps out at me is that you're overlooking basic attacks by your opponent. A couple of things I'd recommend:

1. Slow down. From your profile, it doesn't appear that you give any particular move more than a quick glance before deciding to move. If you sit there and find yourself a bit confused as to all the different moves available to you and your opponent, it's probably a sign that the position is complicated and requires a bit of serious analysis. On Gameknot, at least, you have at least three days to think about a single move, so there's no hurry to move.

2. Every time your opponent moves, ask yourself "Why did he play that move? What's his idea or plan? If I were able to not move at all and pass the move to him, what would he play next?" (that's really just one question and three different ways of phrasing it). Even if your opponent makes a very poor move that drops a piece or is obviously bad, do not simply write off your opponent's bad move as a blunder and then move on; ask yourself this question anyway. Most moves, even really bad ones, usually have some positive benefit.

3. Before making a move, ask yourself what you're trying to do. "Why is the move I'm about to make good? What does it do for me?"

4. Before making a move, ask yourself, "After I make this move, what is my opponent going to move?" Your guess will likely be wrong a significant portion of the time (mine usually are) and that's okay. But asking this gets you to think about and understand how the move you are about to make is going to change the position. It also gets you to think about your answer to question 2 so that you can double check to make sure you've either addressed your opponent's threat or consciously decided that your opponent's threat is not meaningful. It's suprisingly easy to decide your opponent has a serious threat such as "He's attacking my king", start to think about what you want to move, and completely forget about your opponent's threat.

5. Before making a move, perform a sanity check by asking, "After I make my move:

1. Can my opponent give check? If so, is it okay if he does so? Is the check in fact checkmate?
2. Can my opponent take any of my pieces or pawns for free?
3. My opponent may not be able to take something for free, but can he capture something at all? If he can and does so, how will I capture back?"

You won't become an expert by incorporating these ideas into your thinking process, but you should be able to slowly eliminate large blunders from your play. At that point, you can take the next step and begin to incorporate tactical and/or strategic ideas.
pycroft 80 ( +1 | -1 )
Little Mistakes turn into big ones I feel I understand how to open fairly well (This has come recently). There are a few decisions I'm not sure of in the Middle Game. I will usually trade bishops for knights (I'll take opponents knights and suicide my bishops). Their point value is the same, but I'm not sure if that is a smart decision. In the middle game I feel myself never attacking. I am either defending aggressively or retreating. I always look for aggressive moves in defense but feel my attacking strategy lacks in the Middle Game. So I guess my question is, would you trade bishops for knights? Another quick question. If I've castled my king (king side) and have my three pawns unmoved, if I have a bishop pinning a knight (Knight at f3, bishop at g4) is it wise to attack the bishop with pawn at h8?
caldazar 338 ( +1 | -1 )
I think you're off the mark a bit It doesn't look like you are losing games because of the factors you mentioned. Yes, bishop vs. knight battles are important. As are questions of initiative, attacking chances, and active defense. But these are (relatively) small advantages/disadvantages. Losing because you dropped a piece or forgot to parry a mating threat consistitute far larger cases of disadvantages. And yes, small mistakes can potentially cost you games, but making big mistakes outright will almost always cost you games. I mean, it does you no good to have two powerful knights against your opponent's pathetic bishops if you gave away a rook in the process because you didn't defend it. Correct the biggest mistakes first, and then work on correcting the smaller ones.

For what it's worth though:

1. Bishops vs. knights. Well, there's the general rule that bishops are better in open positions while knights are better is ones blocked up by pawns since knights can jump over pawns while bishops cannot. But this is just a general rule. A simplistic approach to deciding the bishop vs. knight battle, which I like to use on occasion, is to look at the pieces that you intend to exchange. Then ask what your piece is currently doing, and what it has the potential of doing in the short term. Do the same for your opponent's piece. From this, decide which piece is more valuable, yours or your opponent's. If you have the better piece, don't trade. If you have the inferior piece, by all means go ahead and exchange.

2. On initiative and attacking. To attack, you must have some kind of advantage to work with. If your opponent makes a relatively large mistake, this can be enough of an advantage to exploit. If you just possess a small advantage, it may not be enough to undertake extremely agressive action. In some positions, there's simply no attacking potential. In chess, you can't always be the agressor, no matter how much you may like to attack.

3. On questioning pinning bishops. Only ask the question if you know what the answer will be, and you can accept the answer. With your example with a White queen on d1, a White knight on f3 and a Black bishop on g4, if you play pawn-to-h3, barring some other resource, Black's three main resources are:

1. To exchange on f3
2. Back off and play the bishop to h5, maintaining the pin
3. Back off and play the bishop to c8,d7,e6, or f5

In 1, if Black want to exchange, he's going to exchange and there's not a whole lot you can do about it. So if you don't want to allow the exchange, prevent the pin in the first place. If you know Black is intending to exchange, it might be helpful to question the bishop and force Black to decide right away to exchange so you don't have to keep worrying about it.

In 2, well, this hasn't gotten you very far. You can potentially break the pin by playing your pawn-to-g4, but if you've castling kingside, this may leave your king exposed. At least you're less likely to get mated on the back rank if you've castled kingside.

In 3, well, you've broken the pin, which can be good. But perhaps you may have driven the enemy bishop to a different useful square.

So basically, when questioning a pinning bishop, you need to look at the position at hand, all of your opponent's reasonable replies, and decide for youself if you can live with the answer to the question.

Like I said, I don't think these issues will be of much use to you until you stop dropping pieces and allowing mates.