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ctrl-reset ♡ 85 ( +1 | -1 )
How to learn from annotated games. Hello All,

I am rated 1500 in GK.

Having read through most post here on improvement and also in the r.c.g.m newsgroup, most people recommend going through annotated games of Masters to learn from them.

Thus, I purchased the book 'The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played' by Irving Chernev.

I have gone through the games once. But I find that I learn little from it. Is it because I do not know how to make the best use of the book.

I have even tried to cover the next move and try to guess it, and then see what the Master played. I usually guess the wrong move most of the time.

What am I lacking? Yes, I know I lack brains. It is pretty obvious. But could you please advise me on how you make the best use of books like this.

Please help.
Thank you.
brobishkin ♡ 88 ( +1 | -1 )
Mr. Reset... Irving Chernev's book "The most instructive games ever played" is somewhat advanced... Maybe you should start with a chess book covering the basic principles and terms like "Chess for Dummies"... If it's pretty obvious you lack brains, maybe this book will help... Going into the depths of chess study with this type of attitude will get you nowhere though...

Maybe you should smarten up and insert a more positive attitude into your self-esteem first before proceeding with this goal of becoming good at the game of chess...

Before you can enjoy these books with the masters and thier in-depth sight in certain positions, you must understand the "do's and dont's" and the "strengths and weaknesses" of the game... Maybe this can help you in your quest of knowledge...

winslow_hendershot ♡ 38 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess for Dummies!? Wow, that was a little harsh, don't you think?

I recommend Max Euwe's "The Road to Chess Mastery." It is very instructive for intermediate players, with excellent annotations and not too much analysis, describing the ideas behind the openings and elucidating the proper plan which proceeds from the opening chosen. I found it very helpful. Consult your local library, as it is an old book.
brobishkin ♡ 62 ( +1 | -1 )
Winslow... I was just overstating a point to Mr. Reset... In the game of chess, attitude is half the battle... To enter a chess game with the thought of "I lack brains" will usually bring that individual to the realization "I am just going to lose anyway"...

I have had a few chess students with this type of attitude and have jumped on them for thinking such a thing... I am simply trying to push Mr. Reset in another direction... Chess for Dummies is not that bad of a book for beginners... It might help Reset his thinker into understanding the in-depth strategy on these books on the Master's games...

winslow_hendershot ♡ 42 ( +1 | -1 )
Truly, you are right Attitude is very important. But to be perfectly honest, and I am not ashamed to admit this, Chess for Dummies is the first chess book I ever bought. And from there I moved on to Yasser Seirawen's books as they were recommended in "Dummies." I'm glad you clarified, though. I was under the impression that you were a big meanie. I was going to start calling you bigbropushkids. heh heh. Also, I believe it is Ms. Reset. But you never can tell.
mattafort ♡ 77 ( +1 | -1 )
Online Chess Tutorials One other option, beside book reading, is to try some Online Tutorial.
There are plenty of websites. Most are for Absolute Beginners.
But there are also a few for Intermediate and Advanced players.

On this page are Links to tutorials:

I tried one site with a testgame:

-----Result for me:
"That is the end of the game. We hope you enjoyed it.
You spent 8 minutes playing this game at an average think time of 44 seconds per move, and scored 78%.
Your current level of play is assessed as GORILLA."

Is that good or bad?
To play like a Gorilla. :D
brobishkin ♡ 22 ( +1 | -1 )
LOL... Bigbropushkids... I might just use that name in my schooling for chess students... They often accuse me of being to serious and pushy in my views of the game... But if you're going to be good at anything, you are going to be pushed into it I say...

chessnovice ♡ 36 ( +1 | -1 )
... mattafort

That website,, was very fun indeed. I scored this:

"That is the end of the game. We hope you enjoyed it. You spent 8 minutes playing this game at an average think time of 43 seconds per move, and scored 81%.

Your current level of play is assessed as wolf."
winslow_hendershot ♡ 19 ( +1 | -1 )
I'm a little disappointed I played a perfectly acceptable mate in 2 move, but they gave me zero points for it! They wanted mate in 2 with a queen sac. No credit for my equally good move. Sheesh.
caldazar ♡ 273 ( +1 | -1 )
Ctrl-reset, from the way you describe your efforts ("I have even tried to cover the next move and try to guess it, and then see what the Master played. I usually guess the wrong move most of the time."), it sounds like you are essentially just reading the book and the annotations and hoping the explanations will spark something inside of you. This usually doesn't work too well.

You have to do more than play 'guess the next move', you to analyze each move carefully. It took the masters in the games you read hours upon hours to analyze the positions in front of them to create those games; it should take you at least that long (if not longer, they were masters after all; we're mere amateurs). Go ahead and cover up the next move and try to figure out what was played. But don't just guess, analyze in depth. It might even be helpful to write down all your thoughts if you feel you might forget some of your analysis along the way; all the evaluations, the variations you thought about, everything. Then uncover the move and read any corresponding annotations.

If your move and your annotation (choosing the correct move for the wrong reasons is not helpful) match those in the book, you can go on to the next move. If your chosen move does not match up, you have a lot more work to do. First, you have to understand why the move in the actual game was played. Next (and this is the important part), you have to understand why your move was not played. What defects does your chosen move have that the master's move does not? Did you miscalculate an important variation? Create a weaknesses you didn't feel was particularly important but actually is crucial? If you can't answer "why is the master's move better?” then you're not getting anything out of your efforts. If necessary, go back and reanalyze your chosen move and the move the master chose. If it's still not clear why the move that was played is better than the move you chose, then you need to ask a stronger player for advice. It may be that the stronger player will be able to point out things you didn't notice or understand. Or he may point out that your chosen move is equally valid. But get a second opinion if something isn't absolutely clear to you.

Note that it's okay to be wrong most of the time. In fact, it's better to be wrong than right; you learn much more from your mistakes (just look at how much extra work you have to do when you get a move wrong!). Also, don't feel the need to get through an entire game in one sitting; if you're getting tired, go ahead and put the game away and come back to it some other time.
ctrl-reset ♡ 187 ( +1 | -1 )
Thank you. Thank you for your advise.

You're right. Attitude is everything. I guess I am kinda deflated because I am trying very hard and yet I am losing. Maybe I need to start afresh.

brobishkin, I will work on my attitude. I need to get some confidence in myself.

winslow, I will try to find the book you recommended. Maybe Irving's books is too advanced for me at this point of time, but at my bookstore, it was the only book available and affordable. And Ms. it is :)

caldazar, your advise is probably what I am lacking thus far -- a clear analysis method. I admit that I do some thinking but it is just "some", not very in depth, and probably that is why I am getting just "some" out of the book.

Most of the time, I cannot answer why the masters move is better than mine. There are moves which I do not understand at all. Ok, there are moves which I can readily see and with the help of the annotation, I can see what his plans are. But there are moves that baffle me. Maybe I need a stronger players help here. But who do I ask? I am learning on my own here - just me, myself and I. I have tried asking some questions on the r.c.g.m. newsgroups but my questions must seem dumb because I get flamed most of the time, so I have stopped aksing there. The forums in GK, with people like you, advise me kindly without insulting me like how they do in r.c.g.m. Thank you.

So, for now, I will try the online website mattafort recommended. I will also start brushing up pn my basic tactical skills. It's no point going up the ladder if the foundation is weak. I guess that is why I am suffering now - my foundation is very weak I guess. But I am really looking forward to analyzing games with my new found insight.

I love this game very much that it is very frustrating when I cant learn more of it and improve my play.

Thank you all. Thank you very much. You've been a great help.

Cheers, Ctrl.
zeroscape ♡ 136 ( +1 | -1 )
how to learn hi, ctrl-reset !

" Having read through most post here on improvement and also in the r.c.g.m newsgroup, most people recommend going through annotated games of Masters to learn from them. "

the book or the games that u r studying may still be beyond your level of chess understanding. (please do not get me wrong, i am not saying that u r not a capable chess player, just that maybe u r not yet ready to tackle complex chess ideas just yet)

as an analogy... teachers of complex endavors like playing the violin never give a student material far too difficult for him or her. for one, it can lead to utter frustration and quitting.

what these teachers do is guide each student through different grade levels, taking baby steps when needed, until the student attains mastery of the basic skills. only then will they give the student really complex pieces to study and play.

actually, even professionals take their time and really prepare before they attempt difficult or new material. karpov did not switch to d4 from the e4 openings overnight.

to sum up, i'd say that you study the most basic first... and pick a really good teacher-author... some gms can't teach well. me, i find pandolfinni excellent at just about every student level.

stormfogel ♡ 92 ( +1 | -1 )
to ctrl-reset A good way to understand openings, plans etc you can find at Battle Royale

The author has annotated every move of the whole 1924 New York international tournament. I found it very interesting read. Some of the players were Capablanca, Alekhine, Lasker and Marshall.

A good idea is to use a database if you aren't already using one. Get games of the openings you use and study them. First play through quickly then play it more slowly and try to see what plans the player is using. I have done that and I like to believe it has helped me improve.

In your own games, take your time and try find the best move, analyze a few moves ahead and see if it still feels OK. Take then a break from it and come back later to see if you can find even better moves.
white_disc ♡ 27 ( +1 | -1 )
The book "Road to Chess Mastery" is indeed difficult to find.

Anyone knows of any web source for old chess books, other than ebay and amazon ?

Thanks a lot :)

Best regards,
want-to-improve ♡ 11 ( +1 | -1 )
tutoring sites well about those online sites does anyone know some in dutch or french
bogg ♡ 45 ( +1 | -1 )
ctrl-reset There is one trick to studying annotated games that I have found and that is to study them backwards. Start at the end of the game and back up to the previous position once you understand what the two players and the annotator are showing you.

Another point to remember is that the masters playing the game spent roughly seven hours playing it and it will probably take you more than that to understand the intricacies of the game. Don't rush.
drgandalf ♡ 53 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree with zeroscape Until you reach GK 1700, concentrate on the basic texts. Pandolfini is outstanding.

Bogg's comments are always brilliant. I will take his advice on studying annotated games.

Another idea is to choose a GK player about 200 points stronger than you and go through his/her games. Annotate the games yourself. The benefits are that you enter a world 200 points stronger; yet, YOU enter that world. YOUR annotations are YOUR discoveries. As such, you should retain your new found knowledge.

I hope this helps.
ctrl-reset ♡ 21 ( +1 | -1 )
very good idea ...of annotating for myself games of someone who is ~ 200 points above me. Never thought of that. This will atleast allow me to see how they move and think......

Thank you very much all.
Love, Ctrl.
jacobmatias ♡ 9 ( +1 | -1 )
idea just set it up on a real board or have a computer program like chessmaster anotate it for you
buddy2 ♡ 72 ( +1 | -1 )
move by move there are a couple of books out there: Chernev's Chess Move by Move and Understanding Chess Move by Move by John Nunn. Both are excellent because they assume the reader knows nothing to begin with, so everything is covered. In learning ANYTHING the best method is ACTIVE. So covering the next move and guessing it is good First though, in your mind, examine at least briefly EVERY move on the board and decide maybe the five best. Write them down. See if you guessed right. Narrow it down to four when you score over 50%. You're never going to get a 100%. It's only
a failure if a player chooses a move that you didn't even Consider.
happinessisawarmgun ♡ 14 ( +1 | -1 )
pardon my ignorance but....... does annotating simply mean examining every move made to see if there was a better one available , then writing it down ??????