Re: chess motivation and taking it seriously

Follow up email to the email I sent yesterday below...


You say you lost your motivation because chess is a hard game. You
say that you don't want to become a strong player, but deep down you

Chess is a hard game. It is also a fun game. It is also a rewarding
game. And it is a game that is not as hard as you think if you know
the right things to study. This is why I created my website.

I enjoy studying tactics, memorizing openings, studying endgames,
looking at Grandmaster games, playing in tournaments, playing speed
chess, memorizing my best games and using those games to teach other
people. I love it all with a passion.

You have to find whatever it is that makes chess fun. If the book you
are studying is dull, find a different book. Figure out what you
enjoy and do that. It is better if what you enjoy involves other
people. If you have a true passion for chess as I do, then you will
want to share what you learned with other people. It helps you to
teach other people.

A friend and I will practice the same opening against each other for a
month or two at a time. (We play other people as well otherwise this
would get dull.) This is a good way to learn the openings.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

On Jul 15, 2014, at 10:15 PM, John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com> wrote:

Someone was asking me how he should get motivated to get better at chess ...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: John Coffey
Date: Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: chess motivation and taking it seriously
To: "fearlessj07@.com"


I think that you have the impression that becoming a class A player is
some great burden, extremely difficult and requires that you be
brilliant. Although there is some hard work involved, I don't think
that it is any of these things. I don't actually think that it is
that hard to get to 1800.

There are different ways to get to 1800. The younger you are the
easier it is to get there by playing a great deal, especially speed
chess like several hours per week. The more the better.

It helps to play in tournaments not only for the practice, but also so
that you can study your games. The most useful part of your games to
study is the opening because there is a reasonably good chance that
you will face the same opening again. Usually after a long
tournament where I have thought really hard, I will find that I have a
temporary boost in ability that might last a week, or 10 days or maybe
2 weeks. If you study your games from the tournament then the boost
can last longer. The real fun of this, and the part that I find the
most beneficial, is when I play a "brilliant" game, or one that I
played particularly well, then I memorize the game and show or "teach"
the game to others. Here is an example (actually from a speed game)

[Event "Casual Speed Game"]
[Site "Wingers"]
[Date "Jul 13, 2014"]
[Round "6"]
[White "John Coffey"]
[Black "Shawn Wester"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. d4 d6 2. e4 c5 3. dxc5 Qa5+ 4. Nc3 dxc5 5. Bd2 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. Bc4 Bxf3 8.
Qxf3 Ne5 9. Bb5+ Kd8 10. Qf5 f6 11. O-O-O Nd3+ 12. cxd3 Qc7 13. Nd5 Qd6 14.
Ba5+ b6 15. Nxb6 Qc7 16. Nc4

My website http://www.entertainmentjourney.com/index1.htm is full of
interesting and instructive games like this. I seriously think that
if people slowly commit these to memory (and maybe show them to
others) that they could use this to get to class A or even Expert.
The games on my website also serve to teach about openings.

I think that one of the easiest ways to improve is to study about 30
minutes of tactics per day, especially at night.

I know that your question is about motivation so I have been saving my
response for last. The important part is to find that which is most
entertaining, whether it be playing, studying tactics or games or
whatever. I found myself not as motivated to study tactics as I
would like, but then I found a tactics app on my iPad that was "more
fun" and consequently I have been more motivated to use it. In short,
find what entertains you about chess and explore that. If you don't
find some aspect of chess entertaining then maybe chess is not your

It can help a great deal to either have some sort of chess mentor and/or
people who are strong friends because you regularly play
chess together. Chess is a social game and the social aspect
motivates us to play it.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

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