It probably chops 100 points off of my rating, but who cares? It gets away from book lines and thwarts boring drawskis.
Should enough people migrate to chess960 that opponents could be found readily, I might not have to resort to such silliness.
- play it with both sides
- guaranteed to get people out of book
- successfully deployed to defeat none other than super GM Etienne Bacrot (in blitz, but still): http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1479768
 it's not a particularly sharp/aggressive opening. Tends to be more slow positional grinds. But not always - there are lots of possibilities for breaking things wide open with center pawn breaks.
As an aside, cool to meet the person behind ironworker. I used your service many years ago to launch my first startup. Helped me with some cron job shenanigans that otherwise would have caused me a lot of grief. Nice work!
I’ve been working on some training software and will hopefully be releasing a beta version on HN this summer, pending wrangling a bit of funding and/or a few devs willing to work for equity/glory.
I recommend checking out the mighty hippo’s Wikipedia page for some decent commentary and sample games.
I wish I had put in more time as a kid for chess and that there was more STEM materials for computing and robotics. The 90's was a wasteland between the time of the BBC Micro/Commodore era and what we now have today with the Raspberry Pi and the maker movement. Windows 95 just wasn't very good for a kid with no idea where to start.
Is chess training software not a saturated market? I'm not super familiar with this to be honest.
Never too late to start training! Neuroplasticity is a thing.
Chess training software is super not saturated. The dominant program, ChessBase, basically hasn’t changed in 20 years. Still no Mac version or decent web version if I’m not mistaken.
There’s a lot of cool things happening in live play and steaming right now with LiChess, which is phenomenal, and chess.com is starting to up its game as well.
But serious training software is stuck in the 90s, hence opportunity. Not that there’s any money in chess, but that’s another topic.
Thanks for the background on chess training programs. I had a friend with Houdini or some other engine maybe 10 years ago and it had a pretty extensive training mode or so I thought. It was fully 3D and could explain every move and suggest better ones...etc. Houdini is pretty expensive iirc (edit: just looked it up and it is ~$100 range), so maybe something more reasonable would satisfy a need? Also, I suppose the training mode was not as fully featured as real training software? I can't tell if this is the same "chessbase" thing you're talking about.
Other pro tip: if you do the full hippo with all the fixings (double fianchetto, pawns e6 d6 h6 a6) it also allows you to delay castling until you know which side your opponent commits to. This can lead to an awesome attack that comes out of nowhere and completely blindsides the hippo-unaware.
1. If they castle one side, you can do the other and then launch an attack, usually it’s the pawns that clear the way and open lines, then rooks and minor pieces can get in the action. (As opposed to using rooks to push down pawns, if I’m reading your comment correctly)
2. You can also see if they are preparing an attack on one side, usually watching pawn structure or where they’re putting rooks. And then you can castle on the opposite side to effectively neutralize the attack.
Note that it’s definitely possible to launch an attack on the side you are castled on, especially if the center has a closed pawn structure - it’s just more risky and thus less common.
I fully appreciate the idea of wanting to play more aggressive lines to get a different style of game, but I don't think it is necessary by any stretch if you are looking to get decisive games.
Playing a weak, non-standard opening is surely not the only way to get interesting games, but it's reliable and easy for someone of my skill level (around 1850 on blitz.chessbase.com). It's much more reliable than playing any well-known gambit, for example.
This article starts off with an appreciation of the King's Gambit. However, there are many known lines which counter the King's gambit and bring it back into a boring, drawish middle game.
Chess is unfortunately a game that rewards people who play to avoid losing rather than play to win.
Also, no shortage of games on lichess.com (their horrible UI update notwithstanding).
It’s a smaller chess grid with each player getting four pawns and a king, and each player has two random cards that specify the move that all their pieces can make. If you take a move using one of the cards however, you exchange it with a neutral center card, so next turn your opponent will get that card after their move. It makes it very very hard to see more than a few moves ahead and the random cards basically ensure every game plays like some novel endgame neither player has ever seen.
Or just play Go.
Or just play a game where the pieces themselves change the rules of the game (magic: the gathering comes to mind).
Both Chess and Go suffer from the problem that a "correct" play can be computed and both games will eventually be solved (and yes, Go has many more possibilities than chess of course).
To be a real game worth playing for me, a game needs to have randomness and hidden information as well as some way of altering the rules of the game itself mid-game.
The problem with improving seems to be that while I can play a few blitz games, taking time to work on game is more a separate occupation. I occasionally do the lichess practice thingies but without seeing much impact. Anything that can be done that helps but that is on the timescale of a few blitz games?
Whenever there's a position where you don't see the reported advantage, or when a change in the assessment occurs that you didn't expect, that's an opportunity to go back afterwards and just look at those specific points in the game to see what the engine suggests.
If you really want to get good of course you need to be much more methodical in your study. But I started to find chess much more enjoyable once I left behind any long term ambitions.
Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just changes the game. If we embrace this rule, then I humbly suggest that a large change in evaluation (due to a blunder) be accompanied by an "Oooooooh!" sound effect; that's what semi-restrained human observers might do.
> Fischer's goal was to eliminate what he considered the complete dominance of openings preparation in classical chess, replacing it with creativity and talent. His belief about Russians fixing international games also provided motivation. In a situation where the starting position was random it would be impossible to fix every move of the game. Since the "opening book" for 960 possible opening systems would be too difficult to devote to memory, the players must create every move originally. From the first move, both players must devise original strategies and cannot use well-established patterns. Fischer believed that eliminating memorized book moves would level the playing field.
This Fried Liver thing is the least of black's problems.
It difficult to make as comparison to the star craft cannon rush because chess is a game of perfect information and the cannon rush in star craft relies on incomplete information to work effectively
I think that's true of all the examples (isn't it?) - they all end at the move where Black has mate, but they admit nothing in the commentary. It's beautifully done.
Can anyone recommend a good chess book for a 1000 rating player who's plateaued?
That is, a book can teach you about basic pawn structure, basic tactics (skewering, forking, revealed checks, etc) but all will be useless if you don’t consider possible responses by your opponent.
You should be able to find plenty of AI opponents you can force to only use a very limited depth search. If you can’t beat an AI that looks 1 ply ahead, that implies that you are also not looking more than 1 ply ahead. So practice against such an opponent until you can win 100% of the time.
The best way to increase your rating is to find a good chess coach. Otherwise, off the top of my head, my suggestions would be (in order of importance):
1. Learn an opening really well. Ideally, find one opening for white that doesn't generally have many weird transpositions, e.g. the London system. Also, find a couple of solid defenses for black in response to 1. e4 and 1. d4, e.g. the French and the Slav defenses.
2. Study the most basic endgames -- queen + king vs king, rook + king vs king, etc. I'd suggest  as a resource.
3. Practice a lot of tactics. You can do this through books (I'm partial to  for beginners and  when you reach 1600 or so) or through online services like lichess.org.
4. You can probably hit 1500-1600 fairly easily with 1-3. At this point I'd start learning the basics of strategy/positional play, e.g. static vs dynamic advantages. I think  is a pretty good resource for this.
5. Study some of the more advanced endgames in .
6. Start looking at some more complex openings and go a bit deeper into positional play. IMO the most important thing in the long run is just to find an opening and style of play that you really like.
Hope that helps!
2. Obligatory shoutout to ChessNetwork who has a great youtube channel - the guy is just a pleasure to listen to and his beginner series, which teach important general concepts, will be really useful if you've plateaued around 1000.
“The Secrets of the Russian Chess Masters: Fundamentals of the Game”
Don’t let the title deter you; hitting a wall is almost always about fundamentals, which at 1000 points is a heady topic. Great series. Graduate to Jeremy Silman’s books.
He did a series of videos that is particularly worth checking out called "Climbing the Ratings Ladder" where he plays opponents at different rating tiers and analyzes their mistakes.
Around that rating, the most important thing is to learn how to not blunder. Doing tactics is the most helpful for that. You also learn to spot and take the most advantage from your opponent's blunders.
Perhaps it is of some interest.
In many lines black goes for a crazy attack on the king side (called the Lion claw) where Black does not castle, but also black just castles and it becomes the Philidor Hanham, with equal chances for black.
Anyway, you get a lot out of it without severe downsides: similar game against e4 and d4, equality for black in many lines and the possibility for going for the win with black with a king-side attack.
A question for the chess experts on here - is it possible to take your rating from around 500 as a rank beginner to around 1000 within a 12 month span? I kind of set that for myself as an ambitious goal once I've finished the study phase but have no idea how difficult a task that would be.
To get better you need to first master the endgame so you don't throw won games, then learn what kinds of midgame positions (tactical vs positional) you enjoy best so you can then pick a few openings you like.
Which chess services or apps would people recommend for iPad? I bought one for my dad to replace his old Android tablet and struggled to find an app that fits his needs.
He basically wants ranked matches that are fairly quick paced; a simple UI would help too (he's in his mid 70s). Would rather pay than have ads. Thanks.
Edit: and no ads! You can support the developer and get a cool icon, but all the features are free for all the users.
Edit: I just installed and signed up myself, this looks perfect. Thanks again
If you're a strategic chess master but you can't see tactics, that mastery doesn't matter and your opponents take all your pieces. If you're likely to get ground down in an eighty move game but you can sniff out an attack on your enemy's king, you can usually at least get a shot at doing that and crush your opponent.
Tal wants a word with you on that one.
It leads to pretty wild position but unfortunately it was studied a lot and with perfect play Black gets a drawing position.
Thanks for pointing that out.
1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nc3 e6 5. g4 :)