National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

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  • National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

    I would say a national master strength player in CFC is probably about equivalently strong to an expert in Fide (maybe a strong expert 2100 fide). My results in my past 6-7 tournaments have all been between 2150-2350 cfc so I'm guessing this is my stopping point, as before I gained rating points in the vast majority (nearly all) of the tournaments I played in.

    How does one improve from a weaker master (expert) to a stronger one like a Fide Master or even an international master? Do books help anymore or are books simply made for too low level of a player? Is the only way to improve at this level is to get a coach, or is independent study and improvement (what I've done for the rest of my chess studies) still working?
    University and Chess, a difficult mix.

  • #2
    Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

    Try to learn more openings with 1. e4 and more defenses against 1. d4. If you're mostly a 1. d4 or 1. c4 player against the stronger players it's easier for them to prepare.

    Learning the Berlin defense, as an example, to play against a strong player. All you really need to do is draw the strong players and beat the fish.

    This ends the first lesson. :D:)
    Gary Ruben
    CC - IA and SIM

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

      Originally posted by Adam Cormier View Post
      I would say a national master strength player in CFC is probably about equivalently strong to an expert in Fide (maybe a strong expert 2100 fide). My results in my past 6-7 tournaments have all been between 2150-2350 cfc so I'm guessing this is my stopping point, as before I gained rating points in the vast majority (nearly all) of the tournaments I played in.

      How does one improve from a weaker master (expert) to a stronger one like a Fide Master or even an international master? Do books help anymore or are books simply made for too low level of a player? Is the only way to improve at this level is to get a coach, or is independent study and improvement (what I've done for the rest of my chess studies) still working?
      Hi Adam

      Advice I gave to Expert (2000-2199) Canadian players on how I got to 2200 (and then 2300) in my article 'Becoming a 2300 player' back in the mid-1980s might still apply, assuming I was a typical Expert player before I advanced a class.

      The process of advancing to 2200+ level for me required first spending about a year studying combinations from the Encyclopedia of Chess Middlegames (back then there was only one edition), doing roughly a page at bedtime (to simulate being a bit tired during a tournament). If I couldn't solve a position quickly enough, I would try to guess what the winning/drawing first move to play was. I'd check the solution after solving (or trying to). Even if I failed to solve a lot of examples, it still helped build up patterns to recognize later on, along with improving my ability to analyze (which may be getting quite rusty these days). Nowadays such study can also be done with a computer instead, naturally.

      The second part of advancing for me was playing higher rated players on a more regular basis. In my case I was invited to the Toronto Closed during the 1980s for several/many years in a row. Sometimes, stronger players are willing to give any sort of advice to a weaker player in the hope that the weaker player will avoid defeat against any given rival(s) for top place(s) in such events. Plus, if one builds experience against local top players, it becomes easier to learn their strengths and weaknesses in any case.

      Getting to even low 2400 level is something I've only done briefly, though encouragingly it happened when I was around 50 (though at least some might say it was due to CFC rating inflation). IM Ray Stone once related to me back in the 1980s that getting to 2400+ level can be helped by studying endgame studies and imitating a GM that has a style one can identify with. My short lived stint at low 2400 level was due to a fortunate streak where more than one night of casual opening preparation in various openings with a slightly lower rated partner on a weekly basis (using a 50+ game dataset of his in this or that opening variation, and his basement beverage freezer, for inspiration) helped give me a leg up in the opening on more than one 2200+ player during a particular season. Having a wide repertoire helps, even if I don't know it completely, as I have at least some experience with many types of positions, which can come in handy in what one might think are unrelated openings. If that's not your cup of tea, learn everything about something, and something about everything (in the way of openings).

      Fwiw, I haven't studied non-opening theory nearly as often as I did when I was a junior. However, I would guess most middlegame books are written for a 2300 level player at best, based on my looking at such books now and then and seeing little that is fundamentally original and important for improvement IMHO. In any case, to become an IM (the next level you may aspire to) naturally requires being willing and able to travel to events where norms are available, which may pose a hurdle (it does for me).

      That's about all I can think of to write at the moment about improving on the cheap rather than getting a coach, which was not really an option when I was young.


      P.S. For players who don't like facing all sorts of threats and traps early on in the game with Black against 1.e4, the French is what helped me beat a stronger player for the first time in 2 years in my sub-1400 days, at least, whereas if you want to play 1.e4 e5, you may want to play many practice games in order to learn the traps before playing the Black side in a tournament. This was after the stronger player lent me 'My 60 Memorable Games', which I learned little from, except for liking the Winawer. I'm not sure if this would apply nearly as strongly if you're an Expert thinking of adding to or switching from the Sicilian, for example.
      Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
      Murphy's law, by Edward A. Murphy Jr., USAF, Aerospace Engineer

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      • #4
        Re : Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

        Actually, there would be a simple way for you to progress : drop out of university.
        I don't know in what you study, but if you are in a program that requires 70+ hours per week, you will never be able to make much progress. To improve, one needs a lot of time. While we can get to an expert level without studying or spending too much time playing (although it definitely helps a lot), it's definitely not the same after.

        In any case, I don't suggest you to drop out of university... What I mean is that nearly all the university students I know stopped making any progress (and often even lose rating points), as one needs to spend a lot of time to make any progress at chess. If you absolutely want to improve, then becoming an FM at your age should definitely not be an issue if you spend 40 hours a week studying and playing.

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        • #5
          Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

          Originally posted by Kevin Pacey View Post
          Advice I gave to Expert (2000-2199) Canadian players on how I got to 2200 (and then 2300) in my article 'Becoming a 2300 player' back in the mid-1980s might still apply, assuming I was a typical Expert player before I advanced a class...
          I remember Kevin's article very well because it opened several doors for me. After reading it I took up most of the suggestions and saw my rating go up 100 points within a short time.
          If I had to give advice today, it would be to identify your weaknesses and then do some targeted training to get rid of them.
          With all respect, I do not agree with those who say that studying openings is the royal road to improvement at chess -- unless you are really weak in that area!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

            Originally posted by Gary Ruben View Post
            Try to learn more openings with 1. e4 and more defenses against 1. d4. If you're mostly a 1. d4 or 1. c4 player against the stronger players it's easier for them to prepare.

            Learning the Berlin defense, as an example, to play against a strong player. All you really need to do is draw the strong players and beat the fish.

            This ends the first lesson. :D:)
            Sums up my journey to IM perfectly
            Shameless self-promotion on display here
            http://www.youtube.com/user/Barkyducky?feature=mhee

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

              Originally posted by Kevin Pacey View Post
              article 'Becoming a 2300 player' back in the mid-1980s
              Just for the record: the article was split over two En Passant issues #81 (October) and #82 (December) in 1986.

              LOL, the opening paragraph was:
              "In EP #66, Larry Bevand reported the results of a revealing interview with Kevin Spraggett. Mr Bevand noted that "Many players spend an incredible amount of time studying chess but don't advance because they haven't developed proper study methods."
              #66 was in 1984, err, was it the year when the CMA started with a proper method? LOL
              Nevertheless the interview in #66 was quite good too. "His (K.S.) advice to beginners "Burn your Fred Reinfeld books!"
              and "For the really advanced player he (K.S.) suggests ZOOM 001 by Bent Larsen." Never heard about hits book :/ Probably my rating did not reach 2300 too and I'm not in a position to give any advice here LOL

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

                ZOOM 001 was first published in 1979. I notice that the copies advertised on Amazon, etc. are dated 2011, and published by Ishi Press. That's Sam Sloan's outfit. I don't know what the copyright status would be for such a book first published in Denmark.

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                • #9
                  Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

                  Originally posted by Bindi Cheng View Post
                  Sums up my journey to IM perfectly
                  And mine for my CC titles. Surprising how many stronger players go astray when they push for the win.

                  If you figure out an easy system for making GM let me know. I may unretire. I didn't miss by a whole lot.
                  Gary Ruben
                  CC - IA and SIM

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

                    Originally posted by Hugh Brodie View Post
                    ZOOM 001 was first published in 1979. I notice that the copies advertised on Amazon, etc. are dated 2011, and published by Ishi Press. That's Sam Sloan's outfit. I don't know what the copyright status would be for such a book first published in Denmark.
                    I rather doubt Sam Sloan cares about copyright (other than his own, perhaps).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

                      Thank you all for the responses.

                      Drawing strong players is definitely my problem, I have beaten many FMs but have exactly 0 points in about 5-6 games against IMs (and in a couple of them I had won or slightly better positions), so clearly something is going wrong in my games after the opening (I'm relatively happy with my opening knowledge but their remain holes in it, as Bindi demonstrated in our last game. But most games I play I don't lose out of or because of my variation of choice). The two main possibilities are tactical or positional weaknesses in the middlegame (or both) which allow better players to demonstrate their less inaccurate play and always take away the full point because of this. I'm going to start studying an hour of chess tactics a day and see if this helps my next tournament result.

                      Felix you are very right that university greatly limits my chess time, however my rating significantly rised during the first year of university from 2000 -> 2279 (my peak rating), this might have been due to finally absorbing what I read in books up to that time properly and being able to use that knowledge in my games, as since then I'll been stuck in the low-mid 2200s. My average is pretty good not exactly where I want it but I can't complain, so my marks are not really suffering either. I am able to have some free time for chess study despite my university work.

                      After being almost completely self-taught up to this point, I have had thoughts of getting some lessons from a coach, but I believe I can make it higher than NM before requiring a coach (I'll try to get to FM by myself, but will probably need one if I ever hope to get to IM one day).
                      Last edited by Adam Cormier; Thursday, 5th December, 2013, 06:38 PM. Reason: added a point in
                      University and Chess, a difficult mix.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

                        Don't forget the plateau phenomenon. This is ubiquitous in virtually ever sport and game. We practice and study and practice and study and never seem to get better. Then suddenly we are, seemingly overnight, at another level. Those we couldn't beat a month ago are suddenly easy points.

                        My point being that you may just be going through a plateau period. Keep studying and practicing and eventually you may well suddenly jump to your new level.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

                          Originally posted by Adam Cormier View Post
                          Thank you all for the responses.

                          Drawing strong players is definitely my problem, I have beaten many FMs but have exactly 0 points in about 5-6 games against IMs (and in a couple of them I had won or slightly better positions), so clearly something is going wrong in my games after the opening (I'm relatively happy with my opening knowledge but their remain holes in it, as Bindi demonstrated in our last game.
                          Before I commented I looked at some of your games in Hugh's database. In the game with Bindi, you went after him. On the King side, as I recall. With almost a 400 point rating difference I'd have wanted to kill down the play and try to make him be the one to over extend.

                          If you are seriously thinking of getting a coach, probably sooner rather than later would be better. If you pick up a lot of bad habits and techniques in your game it's harder to get rid of them after you've got used to playing that way.
                          Gary Ruben
                          CC - IA and SIM

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: National Master (expert) to Fide Master?

                            Originally posted by Gary Ruben View Post
                            Before I commented I looked at some of your games in Hugh's database. In the game with Bindi, you went after him. On the King side, as I recall. With almost a 400 point rating difference I'd have wanted to kill down the play and try to make him be the one to over extend.

                            If you are seriously thinking of getting a coach, probably sooner rather than later would be better. If you pick up a lot of bad habits and techniques in your game it's harder to get rid of them after you've got used to playing that way.
                            If it is the same game I'm thinking of that is probably my most frustrating loss to him. I had equalized on the black side of a Catalan and played the computer best move g5!? where black should have no problems, and lost like 5 moves later.
                            University and Chess, a difficult mix.

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