Hello, I am here to answer any questions anyone has about chess and to give what advice I can to fellow chess players.

Edit: Going to sleep, thanks everyone, I will be on in the afternoon tomorrow if there are any more questions.

Comments: 288 • Responses: 78  • Date: 

ScenesfromaCat57 karma

Which is better to get out of ELO hell, jungle or top?

hatorade8974 karma

Jungle Karma

blackqueen_worthpawn41 karma

Is white the best color to be?

hatorade8969 karma

It is advantageous to be white, yes.

Mourcore19 karma

1v1 me bro, i can beat anyone in 3 movesas long as you dont move certain obvious pieces

hatorade8946 karma

I can beat you in 2, as long as i'm black and as long as you move certain pieces ; )

dexpistol18 karma

What led to the biggest improvements in your rating? Was it improving tactics? Opening theory? Endgames? I'm stuck in the 1500ish range and I feel like I've hit a roadblock.

Also, do you play blitz? In what ways do you think blitz benefits/harms standard play?

hatorade8919 karma

I think the biggest improvement for me personally, was kinda what I mentioned in an earlier comment, about really understanding the opening moves and not just memorizing them. It really does help you develop the correct plans and area of the board to play on. Tactics are always important, I recommend chesstempo every day for like an hour.

I have mixed feelings about blitz, its good to practice openings, but as I grew stronger in rating, I felt like it was hurting my ability to fully think out plans, always had to rush decisions. I think its alright as long as you don't take it too seriously, dont play for ratings or anything just play to get better. Most blitz games I play I lose on time in a much better position and I think im ok with that, but to each their own.

muffcheese28 karma

With regards to blitz...

Does he synergyze best with caitlyn or miss fortune?

hatorade8934 karma

lol his synergy is strong with alistar. Most terror bot lane ever ali/blitz.

roddyf9 karma


hatorade8916 karma


SecretSexyConnor5 karma

You clearly never played J4 Leona.

hatorade893 karma

How about the old zilean/eve bot lane, invisible bombs OP.

STAVKA4 karma

You've obviously never played blitz-thresh. What, youre in the bush by your turret? Nope, now you're under mine!

hatorade892 karma

I'll have to try it someday, does sound fun.

Megatron_McLargeHuge1 karma

For what it's worth, the top blitz players tend to be creative GMs like Kasparov or Fischer, and of course GMs crush at simuls. I don't know how much of that is their abilities making them good in odd positions and how much is experience letting them see weaknesses quickly.

If you play through high level blitz games, they often don't try for conventional positions. The Nigel Short games where the thought he was playing Fischer were fascinating for just how well unsound play can succeed if you get your opponent way out of book. Ridiculous moves like K-f2 are hard to refute without time.

hatorade892 karma

Yea I agree with you, some obvious errors don't have such obvious solutions.

NiceCouchSir11 karma

When is a knight worth more than a bishop, and vice versa?

hatorade8929 karma

The general rule is that a bishop is worth more than a knight in open positions, while a knight is better in closed positions. Reasons are because bishops can control many more squares than a knight as long as there aren't pawns in the way, while a knight has the ability to maneuver around pawns effectively.

MSkog7 karma

So, let's say I understand super-basic fundamental strategy like "knights on the edge suck, control the center, etc." and have memorized a good chunk of opening strategy. What's the next step a person should take on the path to being a talented chess player?

hatorade8912 karma

I would say to learn to understand 'why' the opening moves you are playing are the best, and once you can understand that, it will help you in developing plans going into the middlegame, knowing which key squares are being fought for, and in what order to develop each piece to its optimal square. Besides that, doing problems on chesstempo or another similar site, and studying basic endgames in order to know when you can liquidate into a winning ending.

qwerty0816 karma

What do you think is the difference between a player rated 2000 and one rated 1800?

What do you do to prepare for tournaments etc?

thanks for doing this AMA!

hatorade898 karma

Hmm I would have to say a general maturity or seriousness of the game. For me that period from 1800 to 2000 was me really taking a look at myself as a player and looking at painful losses along with becoming more confident with my opening understanding. Both things I really never did prior to 1800, I was always kinda winging it, or going by intuition.

To prepare for tournaments, I just make sure to leave worries and problems at the door and focus on game. That's really the only way you can really sit there and concentrate for so many hours. Im not at the level where I have to prepare for specific players yet, but unfortunately it will be sooner or later.

bananarheanna6 karma

My dad is a huge chess player currently rated 1350. When he started playing he was about 1100 so there has been improvement. My question is do you think more studying(he is learning with a GM right now) will ever get him to your level or was chess just something you were naturally good at?

hatorade897 karma

Of course, I think anyone can get to 2000 with the right direction of work, and with a GM teacher, there isnt really a better way to figure out that direction. I would say I got to about 17-1800 just by myself and playing a lot, but as you get higher, obviously people get more resilient and tough so I had to actually put work in. Like I mentioned earlier, I believe anyone can get to 2000, if you take it seriously.

TheRightAngles6 karma

When did you start playing? Where did you learn to play? How was the experience?

hatorade898 karma

I learned to play from my Dad about 10 years ago. The thing that made me want to play more was a plane trip to Europe that I was on where I played my friend on a little portable board for the whole flight and lost every single game. That was an interesting experience to say the least, but it motivated me enough to take the game more seriously.

KizzieMage7 karma

Have you since beaten that friend?

hatorade893 karma

haha yea I do, we play every time I go to his house, he can't win anymore. he is probably around 13-1400 without ever playing or studying.

AlphaNova1 karma

what is tempi?

hatorade891 karma

tempi means time. Since white moves first, he has an extra tempo through most of the opening phase which is why white is preferred. Lets say white plays 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.Nc3, it is clear that he is "better" since he has the extra tempo with another knight while black only has one.

maxbaroi6 karma

What was the most beautiful move (or sequence of moves) that you've pulled off. something that made you think, "fuck, that was clever."

hatorade8912 karma

Hard for me to describe, but I liked one move in particular that looked like a trapped my own queen but there was some bishop on bishop pinnage that didn't allow him to take, it wasn't amazing but I liked the look on the guys face.

StealthGhost5 karma

What is your response to this video review of the game?

hatorade893 karma

Its kind of funny I suppose, I've seen worse lol

tarheelsam4 karma

What do you plan to study next? I imagine opening theory/lines.

hatorade895 karma

What i'm working on now is what ill probably be working on for a while and that is time. I never really knew how important it was to count tempi in the opening and have that kind of a perspective on the opening, really has made drastic improvements in my game. At lower ratings, people can't punish opening positional errors so I could get away with it, but now I see how you can really just lose quickly if you don't pay attention to time.

tarheelsam3 karma

Interesting; is this where you count the difference in tempi gained and add that to your assessment of the position? If so, how is that not redundant when simply analyzing the position? I would think that if the tempi you gained were useful, you would have better development/square control/piece placement to show for it.

hatorade894 karma

To me, its more of a mathematical way to thing about the opening, and to understand how important the relationship between pieces and pawns in the opening is, I guess its just a way of analyzing a position.

rubicon_crossed4 karma

In your experience, how does your "official" USCF rating compare to various online Elo's such as chess.com/fics/chesstempo, etc?

hatorade895 karma

My online ratings are on average a little lower than my real rating, mostly because it's really hard for me to play when i'm distracted by the internet and being on skype all the time. I take online play with a grain of salt, sometimes my rating goes up high enough that im playing IMs and GMs all the time, sometimes it doesn't go so well.

genericgamer3 karma

lag kills game chess and UMvC3

hatorade896 karma

True, I would rather play minesweeper than umvc3 online.

Darkacre3 karma

What sort of time commitment does it take to get from, say, 1500 to 2000 for an average club player?

hatorade893 karma

I guess it would have to depend on if you had a teacher or not, obviously it would take more time without one, but with one, I would say about 2 or 3 years if you played on a regular basis, 1-2 hours a day 3-4 days a week. That's a rough estimate.

KingMeInChess3 karma

is chess a sport

hatorade896 karma

That's best left to the suits in washington.

DMcC2143 karma

How old we're you when you first started playing chess?

hatorade898 karma

Somewhere between 11-13, I can't remember any more specific than that haha sorry.

T1mac3 karma

When you're thinking about your move, do you visualize that move in your head?

I've heard that the top chess players are thinking 5 moves or more ahead from their present move. Is that true for you? Can you give us a brief glimpse of what's going on in your head when you're thinking about a move?

hatorade899 karma

Yes, moves are visualized in my head. Some positions are easier than others to think 5-10 moves in advance, so in those cases I can. On the otherhand, some positions are very complex and it is extremely hard to calculate precisely so it becomes hard to go many many moves deep.

Wiinerd243 karma

What is the best tournament you've went to? Like, the highest ranked and shit.

hatorade894 karma

There are the Reno tournaments, Western State Open/Larry Evans Memorial, or the ones in Las Vegas. They have pretty strong open sections.

Wiinerd242 karma

When I was a kid about, 7th grade I went to state and won first in my division, and then went to nationals. Nationals is hard as shit, but it was in Tennessee

hatorade895 karma

Yea I wish I had gone to more big junior tournys, I wasn't that exploratory when it came to tournament locations.

Wiinerd243 karma

Do you think you have more of like a talent, or a love of the game?

hatorade893 karma

medium talent and high love for the game.

Snootwaller3 karma

How does it feel to go from big-fish-in-the-pond to the guy at the bottom of the tournament list?

hatorade896 karma

Its fun to play against the best even if you lose a lot of the time, I think it's better in the long run.

SIRmackenzie3 karma

What advice would you give to a beginner who wants to start playing at a higher level??

hatorade893 karma

I would find a place to watch GM games and play a lot. Tactics I think are especially important to beginners.

Nig_To_E53 karma

do you stream? i'm trying to get better

hatorade892 karma

I do stream sometimes actually, my name on twitch.tv is Checkmatebreh, follow me if you would like.

genericgamer3 karma

<3 I subbed your twitch page

Has chess affected your skills in other games? If so, what games and how?

hatorade894 karma

Hard for me to tell, games like league of legends and stuff are team games so they can hardly be compared. I don't play many other games besides chess......I did play tennis for a while which I was doing well in, but kind of feel out of it as of late. I'd like to think I would be good at games like SC, but I haven't tried it : /

bagoche3 karma


hatorade8916 karma

I'm not prepared to say that it should be required, but I absolutely believe it would provide huge benefits to kids, it develops so many things, most notably maturity IMO.

oinest3 karma

What are your favorite chess openings and why are they your favorite?

hatorade898 karma

For black, I like the Caro-Kann, although I get smashed in it more than i'd like. I guess I like the synergy of my pieces leading up to the eventual c5 push, and the kind of struggle of opposite wing attacks. For white, I play Nf3 because I like flexibility and avoiding too much opening theory.

escapeZmatrix3 karma

Thank you for doing this IAMA. To reach your level of chess skill must take an immense amount of self-discipline & sacrifice. What advice would you give to others in order that they can improve their self-discipline and achieve mastery at something they're passionate about?

hatorade896 karma

To be honest, I don't think I could be where I am unless I really had a passion for the game. If I didn't, I don't think I could put in the hours sitting there thinking so intensely when I could be playing so many other games that allow me to relax, so I think it has a lot to do with passion and determination to outplay your opponent.

Nogstrordinary2 karma

This rings very true as a poker player. It's not a matter of being "naturally good" or anything like that, it's about having a personality that makes you want to keep coming back to the same game and learn more and more minute details.

hatorade891 karma


metronorth3 karma

I am around a 1500 player. I read your comment about openings and understanding why you make the moves you do. My issue has always been that, once learned, I do not seem to retain the ideas/patterns. My chess memory is misrable. In terms of strategy and tactics I am much stronger and have beaten 2200+ opponenents yet I am a mess when it comes to openings. Any advice?

hatorade894 karma

I have the same problem, some openings I can memorize very deep, others i haven't ingrained in my mind enough. I think the best solution is to spam games with that opening and also, to step back and take the your opening back to move 1 and 2, and try to personify what each side is doing as far as controlling a square or giving a hard decision to your opponent, hindering their development, keeping in mind the quality of pieces, as well the squares you want them to be on.

saute2 karma

Any good at go?

hatorade893 karma

I played it with a friend a while back and I really enjoyed it, I just didn't have the time to dedicate myself to two games. It is a very fun and complex game though for sure.

hatorade893 karma

and btw I wasn't any good at it, but I could imagine the things that would make someone good.

arc772 karma

How can I win in 10 or less moves? Are their known traps that do this effectively?

hatorade893 karma

There are traps that can allow you to win that early, but they aren't practical. There is a book called opening traps and zaps by Bruce Pandolfini that was entertaining regarding opening tricks.

henryponco2 karma

Last week I watched a Chess commentary video (ChessNetwork) - I really enjoyed it and realised how much I've always loved chess as a kid. Ever since I've been doing everything I can do get better at chess. I'm taking the fact that you posted this AMA as a sign I should keep playing despite how terrible I am.

What's the best opening for a new player who doesn't want to play very aggresive / is terrible against players who aren't less than 500?

I'm usually just trying to put pieces under pressure without putting mine in danger but when I play better players they just absolutely dominate me (this is playing on live.chess.com). Should I not be playing 5/3 minute games starting out?

Best tips on how to get better?

hatorade891 karma

If you are beginning, I wouldn't recommend blitz, too much pressure for no reason. Stick to untimed or 15 minute games, and if you aren't an aggressive player try 1.d4 and 2.c4, they lead to more positional and strategic games. Get familiar with tactical motifs and watch GM or IM games, best advice I can think of.

JAJAJAGuy2 karma

How would one go about getting involved in uscf tournaments?

hatorade896 karma

You have to pay to join the USCF, rates are different depending on if you are an adult or child, and how long you want it. Sometimes the tournament will allow you to enter for free as long as it is your first one and you are buying membership. Other than that, you can look for tournaments near you on USChess.org and just read the tournament specific rules.

yabadass2 karma

Do a lot of GMs go crazy like Fischer? Can you see why? Have you looked down that path?

hatorade893 karma

I think he was an anomaly, I dont know of any other GM's who went crazy like he did, I also haven't researched it.

m0use442 karma

What is the #1 best first move as white?

hatorade893 karma

I don't think anyone knows the best move, but on 365chess.com, it shows 1.e4 with 1.5 million games, and 1.d4 with around 1 million, there might be different stats on a more formal database such as chessbase, but I don't have it.

intern123451 karma

What is the longest game of chess you have had?

hatorade891 karma

I've had multiple 6-7 hour games in tournaments, but that isn't that uncommon. Im not really sure as far as the longest in moves, probably 120 or so.

intern123451 karma

Oh wow. How do you manage to keep concentration for that long?

hatorade892 karma

I don't lol, I probably have a bad record in 6+ hour games.

Afa12341 karma

How do you play drunk? Or inebriated, personally I love seeing normal things from different perspective and drunk is the way I prefer to observe.

hatorade891 karma

Never played while drunk, sorry.

Afa12341 karma

Would you be interested in trying and getting back to me? Void if you don't drink.

hatorade892 karma

I don't drink often, once in a great while, but maybe next time it'll cross my mind.

b3lz1 karma

Do you consider Bobby Fischer as the greatest player ever?

hatorade891 karma

Personally I do, yes, but Carlsen is quickly catching up.

MrDrumzOrz1 karma

Do you ever youtube stuff like 'intense chess game' and spend your time watching top 10 chess replays? Because I do that with snooker, and I love it.

hatorade891 karma

I like to watch videos of top players playing blitz in person, kinda interesting.

Clipse831 karma

~1500 here. Chess hits me like the flu that wont go away. Do you get spells of chess? Or do you play consistently all year round every year? And if so, do you dig-in deeper each time you get pulled in?

hatorade892 karma

Sometimes I take a week or two off from playing consistently, I try not to get burnt out, and the break is good for organizing thoughts and figuring out what parts of your game you want to improve and how you think you might be able to do that.

pachinkoboss1 karma

Where do you see Chess in the next 10,20,30 years? With powerhouses being born everyday, and chess clubs dying left and right, more people switching to online play, and online simuls. As well as chess being less romanticized, do you see chess going more the way of golf, or something like bowling?

hatorade891 karma

Tough question, I imagine in 20 years we might switch to another variant of chess like Chess 960/FischerRandom, but I don't really have much to base it on. That variant is very fun though.

Cafuzzler1 karma

What division are you in league?

hatorade891 karma

Silver 1, currrently in promotion series, but I uninstalled it, its too frustrating to me.

strangebanana1 karma

Have you faced a GM in a game? Who was the highest rated player you've ever faced? How did you fare?

hatorade892 karma

I've played Alexander Ivanov, did not go well, but it was fun to play

ShatterPoints1 karma

I have trouble following theory books with older chess annotation. King's pawn/ Queens pawn etc. Is there a trick or easier way to decipher cryptic annotation?

Also I play at ~1700 and feel stuck. At first I did not know what to focus on, tactics, positioning, what openings to memorize. I instead focused on 3-4 openings for white and black and feel like I am limiting myself always opening with say a closed Sicilian or King's Indian as black. Could you recommend a good book or something that could help develop my playing ability?

Also as a higher rated player how do you feel about games where a large skill gap is present. Say if we were to play a match. Does it annoy you? Or do you play chess to just play chess?

hatorade892 karma

Yea the old notation just adds an extra mental step to see the move, I dont like it either but it's not that bad after you've read a couple books.

I think sticking to a few openings is great, it's the only way you can really figure out and remember the right plans to pursue. The same book I mentioned earlier helped me, The Amateurs Mind, where you get to see what you shouldnt be worried about, and the things that are most important like quality of your pieces compared to your opponents, pawn structures, etc. Doesn't annoy me at all to play lower rated people, it's a good test and im trying to play the best moves all the time anyways so it works out alright.

i_reddit_at_work_AMA1 karma

How important is it to understand the 'grid' and notation? I have a lot of trouble understanding their importance/relevance in the digital age. I play chess at a lower level and only just began understanding a handful of openings.

I've also read a lot about GMs who can play 20 or more games simultaneously without a board. Obviously this comes with a mastery of notation and chess, but is there any practical reason for doing these 'events'? Always seemed like they were just showing off.

hatorade892 karma

Im not exactly sure, I guess you don't 'have' to know the notation, but it speeds things up I think. Yea Carlsen can play 20 games blindfolded, that makes me really sad because there is no way in hell I can even think about doing that. Its extremely impressive and I don't think they mean to show off haha.

yabadass1 karma

If you could play a match against any historical figure who would it be? I always assumed Napolean would be awesome at chess.

hatorade893 karma

I like the idea of Napolean now that you mention it.

Captain_Carl1 karma

How do you like four-way/fouray chess?

hatorade891 karma

Never played it : (

nkhanlegend1 karma

favorite openings as black and white?

hatorade891 karma

Reti as white, caro-kann and Bogo-indian as black.

krantz171 karma

did you read books when studying chess and if so, which would you recommend?

hatorade891 karma

Not many, the ones iv'e mentioned in other posts are really the only ones, not a big reader.

Lowercase_Drawer1 karma

Check out this anecdote on Metafilter. Is it really like that, do you really remember individual moves decades later?

hatorade891 karma

Hard for me to say since I've only been playing for little over a decade, but I imagine that you would remember them, maybe not always the exact game, tournament, and player..but the move will seem familiar.

IAmNotTylerDurden1 karma

Do chess players despise draughts players?

hatorade891 karma

Not sure what this means.

WhoDoesNotLikePotato1 karma

Several questions regarding openings: 1) What is your take on the modern/pirc opening? 2) Favourite lines of sicilian? 3) When would you recommend a player to delve into hypermodern chess openings? After he has solid groundwork in classical style? 4) Danish gambit - yay or nay?

hatorade891 karma

  1. I've never played it or studied it, but I have a few friends that are higher rated than me that play it so im sure its viable.
  2. Najdorf is my favorite, cool name and I like a6.
  3. Sooner the better, just being aware of the ideas behind them will help you understand classic openings better, and vice-versa.
  4. I used to play it, worked in scholastics, never again.

lolfunctionspace1 karma

My rating is 1530 on chess.com in 15 min games. What do you think my USCF would be?

hatorade891 karma

I can't really say....I don't play on chess.com, and it's hard in general to transfer online to OTB. If I had to say, id say +/- 100 from where you are.

peffi1 karma

What do you think of the Scandinavian Defence (e4-d5;exd5-Dxd5)? It's kind of the first opening I really studied and followed through into many variations but my trainer said it is (at very high levels) more of a "surprise" strategy but otherwise a second-class opening at best, when I asked him about it. Now I am rather sucky and it works against players on my level consistently but what do you think of it? Could you play it repeatedly in your ELO and succeed if you studied it well enough or would you get punished by the more experienced competitors for playing it? Which other openings do you play/find strong?

hatorade892 karma

The reason I don't really like that opening (for black) is because you are trading center pawns and you are always going to be behind in time when you eventually take back the pawn with the queen or knight, which will give white the ability to play d4 or c4 with tempo.
I don't think it would work well for me in tournaments, id rather keep central tension. The two best openings are probably QGD, and Sicillian. They offer the most complexity and chances to win for both sides.

Megatron_McLargeHuge1 karma

How much cheating do you think goes on at tournaments? There have been a few stories about people hacking their scoring apps, or sneaking off to the bathroom. Ever see something suspicious where a player wins way above his rating, and just happens to have played the line Fritz suggests?

hatorade891 karma

Id like to think that a very select few people choose to cheat, and that the ones that do wouldn't be dumb enough to do it against a much much higher rated opponent. I've personally seen people get accused of it, but none actually kicked out.

mxlytn1 karma

Do you watch youtube commentary of games? if so, who is your favourite?

hatorade891 karma

Uhh yea recently i've been watching Daniel Kings power play chess youtube channel when im eating or something because he doesnt go terribly in depth. If I actually am wanting to absorb some info, I like watching Yermolinksys series on ICC.

Quinn951 karma

How would you recommend starting out to someone wanting to get more into chess? I have a very basic understanding of the game, but I really don't know where to go from there. I have looked at chess wikis about openings and stuff, but it really doesn't seem like something I should be looking at at my level.

hatorade891 karma

Get acquainted with the various tactical motifs like pins, double attacks, back rank mates. Assuming you know how the pieces move, start to learn how development works, and how to control the center. There are plenty of cliche guidelines like 'knights before bishops' and 'don't take your queen out too early' that will help you, but there are always exceptions.

efischerSC21 karma

When I watch videos or read books and someone mentions the D6 square I have to count over squares to get to D, then count up another six to find D6. How do I train myself to just instinctively look at D6 when it is mentioned? Will it just come with time?

When I try to read books and such all the searching around the diagram really takes away from the learning.

Second question: How has playing chess effected your non-chess life? How has it shaped your world view and opinions? When you tell people you are highly rated in chess are they impressed?

Third question: Are you self taught or have you used coaches? Any plans to coach in the future?

hatorade891 karma

I had that problem too; the simple answer is it will come with time for sure. As far as chess affecting my life, I guess it just kinda fit in with my introverted personality, I think too much about what im going to say, and that makes me a little inexperienced in some social situations but I get better everyday.
Some people are impressed, I don't talk about it that much though. My friends troll me all the time though.
I was self taught to about 16-1700, then I got a few kinda 'so-so' teachers, but I like the one I have now. I do plan to teach in the future as I am planning to be a music teacher anyways.

jackster1234661 karma

Pawn to K4, your response?

hatorade891 karma


Transvestosaurus1 karma

Have you read 'Player of Games' by Iain M. Banks? If so, did you like it? If not, you should read it, I think you'd like it :)

hatorade892 karma

Haven't heard of it, but I will definitely check it out, thanks.

Mukilab1 karma

What are some crazy opening games that would throw regular opponents off guard? Im always playing my same two friends. Theyre good, but what starting tactic is so crazy that they are bound to do mistakes the first few times they play against it?

hatorade891 karma

The Danish gambit was always kinda fun if you think they are greedy and will take the pawns.

sicsempertyrana1 karma

Can you play games blindfold? What do you recommend someone do to acquire that ability?

hatorade891 karma

I don't really every practice it, but I should. I think it would help a lot with precise calculation. I can do one game blindfolded as long as its not complex.

the--dud1 karma

What disadvantages (or means of handicapping) would Magnus Carlsen have to been given if you were to beat him reliably?

hatorade891 karma

Probably like a piece or 2 pawn advantage.