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Education Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
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Moma Offline
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Post: #1
Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
I always wanted to play chess but never got around to it. I don't know if there are any members that play chess but regardless of which, can they point me to any online sites where I can start?

Without creating two seperate threads, I also wanted a really good book on mental arithmetic. I was using Speed Math as well as Secrets of Mental Mathemagicians. I preferred the former and would welcome any pointers to additional material.

Thanks.

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(This post was last modified: 03-29-2014 11:24 PM by Moma.)
03-29-2014 11:22 PM
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic

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03-29-2014 11:48 PM
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LeBeau Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
Good thread idea.

In terms of the mental math, I've heard about the Vedic techniques.

Also read that they actually don't have anything to do with the Vedas and that was just to make it seem more exotic.

Anyone have any knowledge on this or other suggestions for doing more complex calculations in your head?
03-29-2014 11:55 PM
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Peregrine Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
I used to play competitively. Averaged a FIDE rating of 1600.

I learned how to play from PC titles like Maurice Ashley Teaches Chess and getting raped by my older cousin.

What's your skill level? I'd memorize an opening or two, then learn all the tactics (such as fork and pin), and then practice. Chess.com is a good place to start.
03-30-2014 12:15 AM
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Espresso Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
OP,

I'd recommend ICC (internet chess club). It's probably the best site around. You register an account and play other people worldwide. You choose the time control you want to play at (say 10 mins each for all your moves). And you get a rating (a 4 digit number) which represents how good you are.

http://www.chessclub.com/

The rating roughly goes like this:
Complete beginner is about 1000 or less
Someone who's pretty good is say 1500
A strong player is 2000
International master is 2400
Grandmaster is 2600.
Best guy in the world is about 2850.

The scale is not linear, but tends to be very accurate.

You get a 1 month free trial. If you don't want to pay after that then you can try a free alternative, but make sure it's one that lets you have a rating, which makes it a lot more interesting in my opinion as you can see your progress quantitatively.

I'm assuming you're a complete beginner, so at first you should be making rapid progress. One thing you can do is check out some chess youtube channels that exist (for example this one), which go through some professional games and break down the games a bit in 5-10min videos.

You can pick up a bunch of ideas there, and then test them out by playing online. Good luck!
03-30-2014 01:21 AM
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cardguy Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
A lot of the best mental mathematics stunts are actually very easy to do.

For over a century - magicians and mathematicians have spotted odd little patterns which can be used as shortcuts to pull off seemingly impossible mathematical calculations.

A good resource (and an inexpensive one) would be this book by Karl Fulves:

http://www.amazon.com/Self-Working-Numbe...0486243915
03-30-2014 04:17 AM
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Vaun Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
I dropped out of high school and skipped almost all advanced math, languages, anything. I then went to college later on after working and trying to be a musician, and earned a near 4.0. The only math I have really done is basic algebra, statistics and accounting. I am now really getting into Chess, and want to get a lot better, and see it as a way to learn the math I never did.

There are a lot of great apps to learn Chess, I am addicted now to this one.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chess-pr...98259?mt=8

There are chess clubs in my city. Once I play this app for a while and up my rating, I will start going.
(This post was last modified: 03-30-2014 07:34 AM by Vaun.)
03-30-2014 07:33 AM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
I am shit at chess.

Yet - I am 100% sure that if I played Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen at the same time. I would beat one and lose to the other.

Or get a draw against both of them.

Not bad for a shit player. Particularly since you are having to play TWO people at the same time.

How is this possible? I'll let Derren Brown explain.



03-30-2014 07:38 AM
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Peregrine Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
Didn't watch the video, lemme guess: use one of their moves against the other?
03-30-2014 12:48 PM
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cardguy Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
lol - correct!
03-30-2014 01:00 PM
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
In my opinion the absolute best way to learn chess is with the Chessmaster tutorials by Josh Waitzkin. They are just phenomenal. I went through them all years ago when I was laid up with an injury and couldn't do anything outdoors or in the gym. They start with the basics and go all the way up to advanced tactics and strategy, and include a bunch of annotated games that explain the thought behind every move. You really gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the intricacies of the game. Here's an example of what the tutorial looks like:









What's really nice about these tutorials is that they combine an animated, interactive chess board with audio narration. This allows for a lot of cool things like running through different variations (potential moves) and showing you how they would play out, and giving you little puzzles (i.e. find the correct sequence of moves) at the end of a lesson.

Apparently it's difficult to locate a physical copy of this product these days, but searching for "Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition" on the usual back channels will yield up a copy you can download for free. I really can't recommend this highly enough to anyone interested in learning chess. It's outstanding.

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03-30-2014 01:07 PM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
I read somewhere that chess is 90% tactics and 10% strategy.

So - in a sense - it is not the super deep strategic game some imagine it is.
04-01-2014 12:20 AM
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lavidaloca Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
I use to play a lot of speed chess online over a period of about 10 years. Have won many bullet / blitz games against titled players including many GM's. (dozens of wins against GM's) and hundreds against titled players.

Honestly, it takes a very long time to get good at chess. I disagree with the 90% tactics and 10% strategy claim. That's more so the case when it comes to fast games say 1/0, 3/0 etc. But once you are playing longer games you really need to have a solid book knowledge as well as end game knowledge to maximize your results.

As for playing chess, I found the chess sites have gotten worse over the years. They use to be communities and now I find there is a lack of community feel. It's just a bunch of people playing chess, silently. There is a lack of prized online tournaments as well. 10 years ago WCN use to have a tournament for 2300+ (website rating). I remember being in my early teens getting to play against countless titled players, US champions, top 100 world players. Truthfully, I played too much and studied too little. As a result I never really got much better beyond a certain point. It would be tough for me to give you accurate rating details but I was around mid 2400s on WorldChessNetwork, my high on playchess was 2380, ICC I really don't know, I believe I only was around 2000 in 1 minute last year and 2100ish in 3-minute. Although years ago I was 2500s in blitz on ICC. Chesscube I was low-2600.

Most of my peak ratings were in my teens. I haven't played at all other than a brief stint last year where I was getting a few lessons a week from a IM.

If you were young and really want to get into it, read as much as you can. Read 60%/ play 40%. That way as you read you are applying learned tactics. Once you've played for a long enough time you develop bad habits. You also begin to face a wall. When you are an intermediate player making gains simply by playing is easy. However, as you start getting into matches with Titled and near-titled players you begin to need a boost. The problem is if you haven't a good foundation and are there due to positional memory / tactical moves it's incredibly difficult. Once the time frame is extended these players will see holes in your openings and exploit them as they are well versed book-wise. Strategically theres only so much you can do. Speed chess has a lot to do with making your opponent make a mistake by putting pressure on them. Long chess requires a much wider knowledge / skill set.

If you want to get into it in terms of playing.

1) playchess.com, get a Fritz Chess Engine. This should get you a subscription to there lectures as well as allow you to play vs. others. (you can play without a subscription.) The advantage to the Fritz program is that it will store your games and you can analyze them move by move and spot the holes in your game.

2) ICC - I alternated between this and playchess depending on the hours I was playing. At playchess at night time it's a ghost town as it's European oriented with a heavy German influence. By contrast ICC has a lot of North American players.

3) chesstempo.com - good for spotting tactics and improving speed of recognition.

Books wise I'm really not the person to ask. I've read about 3 chess books ever and they were many years ago. I got to where I was simply by playing a ton. I've never played a rated over the board game. It's one thing I regret although I will warn you chess can get incredibly addicting.

I credit speed chess in large part with my results on the LSAT. Quick and fluid thinking was certainly a benefit I received from playing so much speed chess.

A few of the guys I use to play a ton with and review tactics with as a youngster ended up getting titles. 1 I believe made GM. We were all around the same age and similar levels. The guys who took it to the next level were the guys who studied and read books.

If you are starting as an adult truthfully it's possible you will get good, but 99.99% improbable that you will be great. The amount people play / study who reach FM, IM, GM is ridiculous. The pay offs monetary wise are low especially because a lot of the titled players are from 2nd /3rd world countries and will offer lessons for rates way below what there north american counterparts want to be paid by the hour. My lessons from an IM with 20+ years teaching experience were roughly 15 dollars an hour.

The only people who make money out of chess are those who are at the very very top. Monetary wise everyone would be much better starting a business. I think the game will decline in popularity due to computers. Now a days the top guys have researched games so far in depth that the fun is out of the game. You don't see true dominance anymore.

Look at the recent candidates tournament results. 2nd through 8th either were all within 1 point (1 win). It was an 8 person tournament. The results were as follows.

1. Anand - 8/13
2. Kramnik - 6.5/13
3. Andreikin - 6.5/13 (was the king of speed chess online for a long time.)
4. Karjakin - 6.5/13
5. Aronian - 6.5 / 13
6. Mamedyarov - 6.5 / 13
7. Svidler - 6 / 13
8. Topalov - 5.5 / 13

While some people may see this as great seeing so many competitors grouped so closely I see it in a different light. The game is being increasingly played to draws in large part due to the increased technology available for study making it very difficult to surprise or fool your opponent. Parity is great but people want to see a hard fought victory not 20 move draws.
(This post was last modified: 04-01-2014 01:22 AM by lavidaloca.)
04-01-2014 01:02 AM
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Espresso Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
(04-01-2014 01:02 AM)lavidaloca Wrote:  I think the game will decline in popularity due to computers. Now a days the top guys have researched games so far in depth that the fun is out of the game. You don't see true dominance anymore.

Look at the recent candidates tournament results. 2nd through 8th either were all within 1 point (1 win). It was an 8 person tournament. The results were as follows.

1. Anand - 8/13
2. Kramnik - 6.5/13
3. Andreikin - 6.5/13 (was the king of speed chess online for a long time.)
4. Karjakin - 6.5/13
5. Aronian - 6.5 / 13
6. Mamedyarov - 6.5 / 13
7. Svidler - 6 / 13
8. Topalov - 5.5 / 13

While some people may see this as great seeing so many competitors grouped so closely I see it in a different light. The game is being increasingly played to draws in large part due to the increased technology available for study making it very difficult to surprise or fool your opponent. Parity is great but people want to see a hard fought victory not 20 move draws.

Seems like you were a really good player!

I disagree with this last viewpoint though. I'd say Carlsen is pretty dominant...

Also, that tournament was very unusual with the whole pack being so close together, it's not usually the case. Quick agreed draws have been around forever too, and are usually now not allowed in major tournaments.

With regards to computers in chess, I don't think it will affect popularity too much..they've been better than humans for years now, and I don't think it has a huge impact on the top players either, in terms of their playing ability. For example, apparently Kramnik was actually better many years ago than he is now despite these super strong computers around.

So I think the future of chess will be just fine. Even though computers are better, human chess is still where the interest is because of the human element, as opposed to watching computer-on-computer games.

It's definitely no money-maker though! You have to be insanely good to make any serious cash.
04-01-2014 07:13 AM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
I read an interesting article awhile ago about the use of computers in chess.

Because these computers can analyse billions of different move combinations - it is actually opening up whole new strategies for chess players which have never before being considered.

Pretty neat.
04-01-2014 10:04 AM
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tarquin Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
As much fun as an occasional game of chess is, I prefer games of "Fischer Random Chess." It's also known as Chess960 because there are 960 different starting positions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess960

With enough study and time, anybody could eventually learn to grind out the opening sequences through to a decent midgame. I prefer the thought process that comes along with starting fresh, so this suits me much more. That being said, I never took the time to sit down and study much. It was always a social thing for me.
04-01-2014 06:24 PM
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Roadrunner Offline
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Post: #17
RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
It's a great game and really exercises your mind. If you want to get serious about it I would suggest just start playing a load of games, buy a couple books of openings and try to follow some of the big chess matches.
(This post was last modified: 02-08-2016 08:33 PM by Roadrunner.)
04-02-2014 10:02 PM
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HankRearden Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
On my phone right now so I'll be brief.

Lavidaloca pretty much said everything I would want to say. (When I'm back on a real computer I'll +1 you).

For the record, I'm a three-time national champion for my age category, and represented my country 7 times internationally. Interesting childhood to say the least!

In a nutshell, chess takes a huge amount on opening preparation. In my opinion the openings dictate the majority of games. Otherwise, work on middle game tactics.
04-02-2014 11:33 PM
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Espresso Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
Was procrastinating so decided to install ICC and play some chess games. Played a whole bunch of 5 minute games.

Forgot just how aggravating it is. Doing pretty well then make some stupid blunder or crack under time pressure. Then I'm all like OK one more game, one more game. Like a bad gambler. And soon after I'm swearing out loud at my laptop, pulling my hair out. Such a stressful activity, definitely bad for your health haha.

Uninstalled.
04-10-2014 10:19 PM
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mr_lucky Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
(04-10-2014 10:19 PM)Espresso Wrote:  Was procrastinating so decided to install ICC and play some chess games. Played a whole bunch of 5 minute games.

Forgot just how aggravating it is. Doing pretty well then make some stupid blunder or crack under time pressure. Then I'm all like OK one more game, one more game. Like a bad gambler. And soon after I'm swearing out loud at my laptop, pulling my hair out. Such a stressful activity, definitely bad for your health haha.

Uninstalled.

Those stupid blunders when you're ahead...very frustrating.

As for how to get better, I read that Carlsen recently affirmed the popular credo: if you want to get better, no matter what your level, study opening theory.
04-23-2014 03:09 PM
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jamaicabound Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
Yahoo games and many other sites have chess games where you can play against others. There's plenty of apps as well for your phone where you can play on the go. I think one of the best ways to get your feet wet is just start playing. As long as you understand which pieces move which ways and some basics like how to castle just get in some games and start playing. You can see other peoples strategy and learn a bit.

Once you start to understand the game a bit more then maybe start reading up on strategy a bit.

I used to be big into chess though havn't played much in past years. I'm a huge fan of dominoes though. Seems pretty simple though definately a lot of memory, math and strategy in terms of keeping in mind bones that have already been played, what your partner has in their hand, etc.
04-23-2014 03:58 PM
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Neo Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
Kind of an old thread, but if any established members want to play games lmk.
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08-12-2014 06:17 PM
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Saweeep Offline
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
I played Chess competitively as a child (up to about 14); not to the same standard as Hank though.

The key to chess is playing better opponents and actually reflecting about the game; as others have said, openers are key.

I have never enjoyed online or computer chess as to me part of the game is studying and influencing the mental strength and behaviour of one's opponent.

Back in the early 90s when I played there were lots of vibrant local clubs here in the UK…I suspect they don't exist any longer, sadly.
08-13-2014 02:56 PM
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
(08-13-2014 02:56 PM)CrashBangWallop Wrote:  I played Chess competitively as a child (up to about 14); not to the same standard as Hank though.

The key to chess is playing better opponents and actually reflecting about the game; as others have said, openers are key.

I have never enjoyed online or computer chess as to me part of the game is studying and influencing the mental strength and behaviour of one's opponent.

Back in the early 90s when I played there were lots of vibrant local clubs here in the UK…I suspect they don't exist any longer, sadly.

Hank and CBW, what ratings did you guys reach when you used to play?
08-13-2014 03:58 PM
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RE: Resources to Chess and Mental Arithmetic
Offering my 0.02 on chess:

Some people play the game for the game, but applying chess to real life, which is more important for a wider audience? It has taught me this lesson:

Quickness and fluidity of pattern recognition (the basics) allow for extra mental energy to psych out your opponent or for calculation.

If you're better at recognizing a pattern and you instinctively know the response (i.e. you have your basics down), it's from that base you can use creativity or simply outgun your opponent with your understanding that's akin to "a second nature."

Example: You play a French Defense against an experienced White player? Better know and watch out for the "Greek Gift sacrifice." I can recall it from memory, since I've used it so many times against the French: the White light-squared bishop's sitting on d3, eyeing h7. Knight on f3 ready to hop onto g5, covered by a bishop on c1. Queen on d1 ready for backup on h5. Add to that the Black knight is deterred from defending h7 because of a white pawn on e5, and that Black can't contest the b1-h7 diagonal, and this gives rise to 1.Bxh7+! which in many cases will be game over. Experienced players know and start preparing for this long before the actual sequence breaks out.

It's not a stretch to apply this idea (that you need to know the basics) to other areas of life.

(04-01-2014 12:20 AM)cardguy Wrote:  I read somewhere that chess is 90% tactics and 10% strategy.

So - in a sense - it is not the super deep strategic game some imagine it is.

This statement is certainly correct if you're under 2000/sub-expert. Basic pattern recognition (do you know your forks, skewers, pins, and discoveries) will go a long way. If your rating is under 2000+/sub-expert, you should focus on these.

At higher levels, more nuanced play is common, such as sacrificing a pawn for control of an important square, or prophylactic maneuvers designed to deter the opponent from activating his pieces.

Credibility: My ELO is 2100+ (US Chess Federation Advanced Expert), 6 years as private chess coach, 14 years of competitive experience.
12-31-2015 03:45 PM
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