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lroycroft 70 ( +1 | -1 )
Do you really need to study chess to be good? As most of you, I love to play chess. I guess in short my philosophy is that by studying you actually develop pre-concieved ideas about how to play and you can stifle you own creativity. Perhaps I am rebellious in this aspect but I believe that a great player (I am just an average player) would need to a**es the merits of each position objectively and without bias, unless of course they have been there before and know through experience the outcomes of certain moves. We may study to grasp a firm understanding of the game but is it really benificial to read through chess book after chess book of opening moves or great games? Humbly yours....Larry
bluebabygirl 62 ( +1 | -1 )
re- yes while natural talent may get you up to a good level there comes a time when serious study is absolutely essential to play against top competition. and study should not stifle creativity . but rather enhance it . however i dont study that much im now using play as the learning tool with very very little study . but i study the great players and doing so i pick up much info. This is just my method i plan on reaching a level that im comfortable with and maybe make decision about further serious learning then !! yours bluebabygirl
bluebabygirl 7 ( +1 | -1 )
re Even Fischer studied . it didnt seem to hurt his creativity any!!
lroycroft 52 ( +1 | -1 )
Do you really need to study chess to be g Sometimes I think some people study the brilliant players because they think that some of the brilliance will wear off on them. But if you were a really talented player then wouldn't playing rather than studying improve your game...surely the most outstanding players do not need to stick to traditions and conventions? They are the ones that others copy to make a new set of conventions that of course will have a new set of limitations...Think of Bruce Lee's way of no way... OMO..Larry
lroycroft 8 ( +1 | -1 )
Subject: Do you really need to study chess to be I am sure all the greats you know of any who were good who didn't do a lot of study?
bluebabygirl 20 ( +1 | -1 )
re well it was said that capablanca did not study. while it may be true that he was the greatest natural true chess genius I think he studied at least a little .thats my own opinion others say he did not .
lroycroft 12 ( +1 | -1 )
Subject: Do you really need to study chess to be Did he do anything unconvensional or unusual..what kind of play did he have? I know zero about chess.

zdrak 24 ( +1 | -1 )
Alekhine claimed in his memoirs that Capablanca did not study AT ALL, not even for an hour during the six months before their 1927 match. Of course Alekhine won that match ... goes to show you that you cannot go all the way on talent alone.
lroycroft 17 ( +1 | -1 )
My initial point is that does study help or hinder the freedom of a talented player to play the most creative or unconventional moves...or does it set limitations?
lroycroft 17 ( +1 | -1 )
My initial point is that does study help or hinder the freedom of a talented player to play the most creative or unconventional moves...or does it set limitations?
raimon 38 ( +1 | -1 )
lroycroft It depends on how far you want to go with your chess, and whether you play for fun or play to advance as far up the ladder as you can.
Creative and unconventional are not necessarily the same thing.
If you choose to study, it should be keep simple (one thing at a time) and structured (follow a study plan).
I think that you should have a balance between having fun games, serious games and study.
Don't try to do everything in one day!
brobishkin 131 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess without study... Trying to play chess with the big boys without study is like trying to play one on one with Micheal Jordan without tons of practice and work... You might lose anyways even with the practice but it's a guarrenteed loss without the practice...

To ever be really good at anything in life, hard work will have to be applied to achieve excellence... To be great at something without any hard work is a lazyman's dream... Thats why lazy people don't ever amount to much... That's why lottery's are so popular... Lazy people hope they can make their millions easy, but once they do win, they find out it's hard to hold on to the money... Now you put that lottery money into a hard worker who will put the money to work, and you've got millions upon millions not waisted on lazyness...

To simply think someone can be good at something without study and hard work has some ring of truth to it (but it will become limited at some point)... But to master anything in life, one will have to look deep into the subject in order to progress at it... And study along with practice is the only way to obtain the mastery of it... Some people just dont want to work on chess, most will never amount to anything...


zdrak 18 ( +1 | -1 )
In chess, imagination and knowledge should not contradict each other. The should _complement_ each other. A truly great player should be both inventive AND booked-up.
indiana-jay 200 ( +1 | -1 )
What is "studying" BTW???
Is studying the same as learning? Or is it more formal? Like having a curriculum from chess school?

Everyone need to learn or to study in order to understand any knowledge better or faster. Everyone were born with virtually no knowledge at all. We learn autodidactically or from others, using any form of materials. The best (or faster) way to study is from others who have been on the road before, assumming that he was a good teacher or the material is suitable for us based on our skill level. Too basic knowledge might not be usefull, too advanced is useless. May be you just happened to find out that those books you have been reading is not so usefull to you.

There are 3 components to make up a chess player: intelligence, theory (studying), practice (playing). You must have them all.

I believe that you didn't question the importance of theory (studying). If you were super genius, you might not need to read books writen by the idiots, nor you need to play a lot in order to make your brain filled with knowledge. If you were an idiot, you wouldn't understand books, and playing (a lot) is the best way to feed your brain. In other words, the relative importance (or working ratio) of formal studying over playing is different from person to person.

In my case, I found that many chess books are useless, except for end games where I had been so reluctant to read them. Opening books are useless. Following GM games are very very usefull. Open a database with a java application and follow the game move by move. Play on the winner side. Think of the next move before pressing the NEXT MOVE button. If the real move is not the same with your chosen move, think why. In the beginning, you need a lot of time to think. Later, you will find the pattern of how to make a good move. Well, it works for everyone, at least in certain stage of their chess skill development.
caldazar 175 ( +1 | -1 )
"My initial point is that does study help or hinder the freedom of a talented player to play the most creative or unconventional moves...or does it set limitations?"


"One of the main differences between a strong player and a truly great one is that the latter is able to go beyond what is generally known and accepted to discover new ideas and principles." - Nunn.

So great players need to be able to see moves and ideas beyond what is common to theory and that sometimes involves breaking out of established patterns and principles. If a player is stuck and can only apply knowledge and ideas in ways he has seen before, he may become a good player, but will never be a great one.

But at the same time, a player has to have something to "go beyond" and that something is a strong foundation of knowledge. Chess knowledge, like in most other knowledge, is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It took hundreds of years for us to understand the chess principles and ideas we understand today. The GMs of today didn't recreate chess knowledge, they learned from the players of the past and only then sought out improvements and modifications to that body of knowledge. There are good reasons why the Najdorf and the King's Indian were never played by Morphy and Anderssen; chess knowledge at the time was not advanced enough for players to make sense of such positions, let alone find improvements.

So yes, to be a good player, you need to study and work hard to acquire the tools that will enable you to understand a particular position at hand. Just keep an open mind while you do so and be willing to question anything that doesn't make sense to you. Who knows, your questioning may eventually lead to your own contribution to chess theory.
brobishkin 6 ( +1 | -1 )
Caldazar... I applaud you (clap clap clap)... Very well put...

lroycroft 77 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks for all your replies...very enlightening!

I work as an industrial designer...I design things like credit card scanners, office work-stations and the like. I believe that copying suffocates your own creative ability. This is most evident in product design in places such as Japan and germany who are excellent at design but not very creative when it comes to new ideas. I usually always try to come with an original way of doing something because each time you stretch your thinking you develope your ability inwardly. You can never beat a player by copying them. When you get to the top..who is there to copy? You have to set your own standard that is not based on history but on you own ideas and beliefs....just a thought....Larry
brobishkin 33 ( +1 | -1 )
Larry... If you ask most Japanese or Germans about copying designs, they will most certainly reply with "we dont copy, we improve"...

The sad thing about copying moves in chess is that if you mimic every move, it just means your opponent will call checkmate one move before you can...

kremator 47 ( +1 | -1 )
People who didn't study Pillsbury, Steinz, Morphy, Marshall. They were good and obviously they couldn't study because there was nothing to study. Capa learned chess without a single instructor. I'm sure Rueben Fine didn't just read all of his knowledge about endgame from a book un chess that never existed in his time. Tal went a pretty long way before he had to study. I didn't do too bad before starting to study a few months ago.
chesstickle 40 ( +1 | -1 )
indiana-jay wrote
"If you were super genius, you might not need to read books writen by the idiots, nor you need to play a lot in order to make your brain filled with knowledge. If you were an idiot, you wouldn't understand books"......"In my case, I found that many chess books are useless" which are you indiana-jay? super genius or idiot?

I know what my moneys on.
kremator 22 ( +1 | -1 )
I know too What is an idiot other then name for the mentally inferior personthan a comparison of one's higher intelligence to that of someone considerably lower? If one was a super genius an average person would seem to him/her as a n idiot.
caldazar 99 ( +1 | -1 )
Pillsbury, Steinitz, Morphy, Marshall, Capablanca, Tal, all of them studied. Some more than others, perhaps; Capablanca was known to be rather lazy when it came to studying chess. While they didn't walk down to the local bookstore to pick up "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy," they most certainly studied past games. Morphy built on the play of other romantic era players to include more advanced concepts of development. Steinitz originally played daring gambits like everyone else until he studied and developed concepts of positional play. Marshall studied his famous attack before springing it on Capablanca and continued to refine it after his initial failure. Fine studied the games of past masters as well (at least, he did for his middlegame book; I've never read his endgame one). Tal started studying chess when he was 10 (and didn't win a major tournament until he was 17; quite a bit of study to become good).
kremator 25 ( +1 | -1 )
I guess I was slightly wrong about Tal. By studying I meant reading books, something that is very unexciting. Studying your own games is a piece of cake, I bet even Capa would've done that if he would've ever lost.
rayape 3 ( +1 | -1 )
it certainly helps...rayape
bluebabygirl 18 ( +1 | -1 )
to kremator capa did lose though not very often he lost to Lasker and Alekhine several times and that famous stop his undefeated streak game won by Reti !! yours BBG
atrifix 8 ( +1 | -1 )
Fine was also an expert on openings, he co-authored several early editions of MCO, I believe.
kremator 28 ( +1 | -1 )
To bluebabygirl Capa had an 8 year winning streak that later games he lost were because of his strokes. The only person that beat him was Alekhine (boy he did a ton of study) anyway I bet Capa would've te rematch. He probably would've beaten Alekhine if he took the games seriously.
bluebabygirl 40 ( +1 | -1 )
re- sorry but Lasker beat him several times as did Alekhine . yes Akiba Rubinstein beat him San Sebastian 1911 queen's gambit declined - Akiba had a won game by 22nd move actually won in 42 moves !! A very famous game!! Lasker beat after losing title to him!! and as before stated so did Reti ! so he was not invincible but he was close!! lest you think i do not like him - I put him in the top 3 players of all time!! yours bluebabygirl
kremator 46 ( +1 | -1 )
I wouldn't count Lasker as beating him. Although I do respect him and he was one of the few player of that time who actually had manners he was no match for Alekhine or Capa both of whom he beat, he was just darn lucky Alekhine was drunk and Capablanca had a stroke. That other win by Rubinstein was still before he was fully developed as a player. Anyway even if Capa did study those games that he lost he still did a lot less study than most players do!
baseline 5 ( +1 | -1 )
caldazar thank you

If you hadn't said it I would have.
dorisia 90 ( +1 | -1 )
kremator It seems slightly exaggerated to say that Lasker was no match for Capablanca. After Lasker had lost his title to Capablanca, both men met in two tournaments, and in both cases Lasker ended above Capablanca. Even in Moscow 1935, which was their third encounter after their world championship match, the 67 year old Lasker ended above the Cuban. Capa had to wait until Lasker was 68 years old before he could obtain a better placement in a tournament.

Also Capa did not only loose games against Aljechin, Lasker and Reti, but also against Iljin-Genewski, Werlinski, Spielmann (2 times), Saemisch, Sultan Khan, Sir G.A. Thomas, Lilienthal, Reshevsky, and so on.

Capablanca's eight year not loosing streak is not exceptional if one knows that between 1916 and 1924 he played only one match, one important tournament, and two tournaments with weak opposition.
brobishkin 45 ( +1 | -1 )
kremator... No study material for Pillsbury, Steinitz, Morphy, or Marshall?... Mr Philidor wrote a few books on the game of chess in the 1700's... Thomas Jefferson was a big fan of Philidors works...

There were many written works on the game of chess before the old icons of the 1800's... To say they didn't study because there was nothing to study is completely false... Look deeper into the game of chess and you will find it's history reaches way back...

atrifix 84 ( +1 | -1 )
Lasker-Capablanca The Lasker-Capablanca match was really something of a joke. Whether it was due to the war or other problems, Lasker looked like a shell of his former (and even future) self during the match. Before the match, Lasker was ready to concede the title to Capablanca without even playing, and it ended as the only world championship match ever resigned when either party still had a mathematical chance to win. dorisia has already mentioned Lasker's two major supertournament victories over Capa at New York 1924 and Moscow 1935 (and his celebrated victory at St. Petersburg 1914). Capa also claimed that only Lasker was his equal in endings. So, perhaps Capa may have been better, but to say he was no match for Alekhine or Capa isn't really accurate.
kremator 24 ( +1 | -1 )
I know Philidor wrote books on chess and they most likely read them. The thing I'm trying to say is they achieved a lot by themselves without spending thousands of dollars for IM tutoring and reading 10 books every months.
drgandalf 35 ( +1 | -1 )
The purpose of chess is to master the individual position. Any means to aid the practitioner in uncovering the wisdom of the position should be sought after. Study, therefore, is imperative.

Those who play to win miss the point of chess completely, for all that is transferable is the glee of victory. However, those who play to understand will develop the same trait in other life situations.