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jeffz_2002 152 ( +1 | -1 )
overwhelmed by infinite variations in analyses I'm a new player to the game, and have thumbed through a few books, trying to get past my kamikaze style of play. I often find myself overwhelmed by the depth of analysis/variation present in chess books (even those targetted at beginners), and I would like to know more experienced players' thoughts on how to get past this.

For example, in "303 Tactical Chess Puzzles", a game is listed as shown (additional analysis not included):

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 g6
4. c3 a6(!)

After the above, a possible branch of play is inserted parenthetically, with a bunch of analysis (leading underscores added to clarify hypothetical branch in play):
____ 4. ... (instead of a6, play) d6
____ 5. d4 Bd7
____ 6. Qb3! Na5
____ 7. Qa4 c6

Then, a possible branch of play from the possible branch is added here:
________ 7. ... (instead of c6, play) Nc6
________ 8. etc, for several more moves

Reverting to the first possible branch:
____ 8. etc, for several more moves

Reverting to the original (actual) thread of play:
5. Ba4 d6
6. etc.

The original game and analysis has become lost among the possible branches. When faced with this many variations, I have trouble keeping my head on straight, and lose the "flow" (if there is such a thing ... comments?). So, my questions are:

1. Is this a common problem with new players?
2. Do experienced players have this trouble too?
3. What is the best way to deal with the confusion?
4. I might be biting off more than I can chew. Any recommendations on using/skipping such analysis until a later date?

Thanks for any advice.
poisonedpawn78 151 ( +1 | -1 )
jeffz ! i think your problem might be in the choice of books , if the book is going so deep into variations that it is losing you , i would guess that the book is too advanced for your current chess knowledge . Now this is not by any means an insult or downgrading your ability , we where all there once !

by looking at your rating and a few of your past games i would suggest this . find a few books on pins , forks , decoys , deflections , blocking or obstruction , skewers . i would also suggest that when studdying an opening , to stick with one opening for white and one for black for a long time to get the feel for the opening , dont try to cram into your head a million different openings as this is the worst way to start off you will get lost very fast .

If i may , i would like to suggest a book for you , "chess tactics for the tournament player" by GM sam palatnik and Gm lev alburt .

this book would be a great starting place for you , dont be fooled by the name its hardly for advanced players .

beyond this , i would suggest taking great care in how many variations you look at , try to understand the main line completely ... befor you go trudging through the other possiblities . to do this you might want to skip a few variations , but make sure someday you reread those books or games , as it is very helpful information . It is just perhaps not what you need to be learning just yet ? ( ie learn how to use a hammer befor you go bashing everything with it ! )

i hope this is of some use to you .


brobishkin 127 ( +1 | -1 )
Analysis... It looks like you have read MCO-14 (Modern Chess Openings 14th Edition)... Sure the many various lines of play for each and every opening seems long and overwhelming... That is why you start with one opening and get very familiar with it... As you go on, you will be able to look into 2 or 3 openings at the same time...

I suggest my students to start out with e4 then after a month or two (depending on how fast the comprehend) then they begin with d4... Both openings play differently (one open, one closed)... But the different variations are ingrafted into the memory banks after a few years (depending on how hard you work)...

But I think you miss the point on openings... It's not about memorizing every single opening variation... It's about recognizing the long term plan and characteristic of the opening... That is the best way to deal wth the confusion...

There are no short cuts to being good at chess... It takes a love for the game, tons of hard work, tons of book study, and tons of wood pushing... You can't really skip analysis due to the fact that this is where the study comes into play... Sorry if this disapoints you but don't let it bring you down... Keep on pushing wood and looking into the various openings...

pamela024 86 ( +1 | -1 )
jeffz_2002 Your post is similar to ones we have had before except that most of those were from players who had more than a little experience with the game. For someone at your level my simple suggestion is that you put down all the books and play as much as possible (and play slowly--one of the nice things about GK is that you can take your time). Take Bro's advice and play e4 as white, e5 if responding to e4 as black, and d5 if responding to d4 as black. Once you get a feel for the game, some of the books suggested above are quite good. Alburt's book suggested by pp78 is a very good bet as is the "Winning Chess" series by Seirawan (Microsoft Press). The other thing I would suggest is that you get a chess mentor, someone who will sit down with you and take you through the logic of opening moves. Good luck.
jeffz_2002 3 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks for the advice I'm starting from scratch.
brobishkin 23 ( +1 | -1 )
Starting from scratch... In starting from scratch.... Remember you cannot achieve much in chess by merely memorizing moves... It is absolutly essential that you understand the underlying concepts and strategies which are part and parcel of a major opening...

tulkos 27 ( +1 | -1 )
waal now--- when i was at hia level I only was playing my computer,taking the tests and whatnot that were on cm8k.I went from being rated 200 to 1000 in about a year.then I started to play some 2 12 games on the internet,bought a few books,an here I am.