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Thursday, February 9, 2012

WGM Natalia Pogonina Answers

Shares some of her most popular Questions and Answers dedicated to chess in general on Chessdotcom.

I found the following of some significance especially because she agrees with me on the first and last question!
What are the good and bad gambits for people rated under 2000?
People under 2000 have a lot to learn about chess, and that should be done by playing classical systems, not relying on outsmarting the opponent by playing a rare gambit. So, if you wish to improve, you had better either abandon gambits completely, or play only the most reliable ones (e.g. Queen's gambit, the Benko, Marshall gambit, etc.). There are dozens of them, but you can easily Google the info on any opening and find out whether it's considered to be sound or not. Don't play for traps! On the other hand, if you have no intention of improving your game or results, you can play anything you like, even if it leaves you in a lost position after 10 moves.
I want to increase my rating. Should I wipe out a lower-rated tournament or play against stronger opposition?
If you wish to improve and increase your rating in the long run, it's better to "play up". Just make sure the field is not excessively strong (or you might lose all the games and hardly learn anything). Scoring next-to-perfect results in lower-rated groups is also a valuable experience, but you still need to face more skilled opponents to improve.
What is better: 2d computer chess or 3d (like an actual board and pieces)?
Many pros don't use the real chess boards at all (even Carlsen once said he doesn't). The times when you had to take a chess set with you during travels are long gone. However, at training sessions it's very convenient and useful to employ a real board. It helps you feel the position much better and memorize the main ideas by playing them out with your hands. Moving pieces on the computer screen is convenient and fast, but less efficient in terms of memorization. Therefore, I usually use both a computer and a chess board.
Is it ok that I'm playing 400 (500, 600) correspondence games simultaneously?
It's nothing to brag about. Playing so many games at a time, you spend a few seconds on each move. That leads to deterioration of skills and superficial play. Concentrate on quality rather than on quantity of games.

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