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There are lots of variations to the methods, but the things most good teachers agree on is to emphasize (1) tactics, (2) endings, and (3) playing with a plan. Most people spend too much time studying openings. Just learn enough about openings to get to a playable middlegame. The books listed below should give you a great start on (1), (2), and (3). Of course, playing experience is important. Review your games (with a much stronger player if possible) or your chess computer to find out what you did right and wrong. Seek out games against stronger players, and learn from them. You should also consider reviewing classical games by the masters: Capablanca, Tal, and others. Read over well annotated games. When playing your chess computer, set it at a level that you can beat it approximately 25% of the time. This will allow you to successfully practice some winning techniques, rather than practice losing. Beginners may benefit from programs such as Bobby Fischer teaches Chess, which also comes with a chess engine (software) that can be set on 10 different novice levels. It was designed by Richard Lang, the programmer of Chess Genius. ChessBase University Software may also be useful. More on this will appear in a future edition of the FAQ. Educational Software: Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess. (Bookup, Inc. 2763 Kensington Place West, Columbus, Ohio 43202 (800-949-5445) for $49 with free shipping) List $59.95, Recently seen at CompUSA for $28.00. CDROM only. 300 Interactive Chess lessons designed by Bobby Fisher, 300 classic chess photos, history of chess, 500 of Fischer's best games. And an excellent chess program to play against! Realistic beginners levels and regular levels also. The Chess Machine included is based on programming by Richard Lang, author of Chess Genius. Jump from practise session to computer chess game at the position you are studying. Free PGN viewer is available with 3D chess board from BFTC at ICS as I believe b8view.exe. This is also available from Bookup for $3.95 shipping charge if you do not have compuserve or ftp access. ChessBase University. (ChessBase) Recommended Openings (and Books) for Novices to Intermediates: Remember your goal is to reach a playable middlegame. Don't worry about what is popular, or what the Masters play. As GM Lombardy once said, all openings offer good winning chances in amateur play. As you become stronger, you can shop around for an opening yourself. At first you should play many openings. Don't learn them too deep at first. Learn the principles of the opening and the reasons behind the moves. It is important early in your chess undertakings to spend more time on tactics. Or as someone else put it "TACTICS, TACTICS, TACTICS!" But of course opening theory or at least the theory of develpment is important so you can last more than 10 moves in a game. Bookup 8.5 is one means of practicing openings. It will allow you to drill yourself on a variety of openings, including ones that you may select and detail yourself. Hundreds of e-books are available as detailed under supplies. These are directed at the ranges from C player level to Master or higher. Eric Schiller and Chuck Schulien are authors of many electronic books suitable for developing players. Subject:  I'm really good. How do I get better? (Class A/B and Up.) No one may actually need this section because you may have already figured out what to do at your current elevated status of chess playing. In case you are looking, aimlessly for things to do to improve. I will recommend a few good sources of material. At the higher levels, tactical ability is a given. Opening theory will become increasingly important. So will the occasional surprise, something outside of your usual repertoire. Note Kasparov and his recent Evan's gambits. It is important to develop a sense of both what positional improvements are possible and what dynamics underly a given position. Methods of choosing and analyzing "candidate moves" is increasingly important - and has at no level really not been important. The use of computer database software to study recent games will be useful. At a high level, you will be able to study the games of your opponent. The assistance of high level chess program to analyze lines that either you or your opponent plays can also be helpful and serve as a double check on your own analysis. You should analyze not only the games you lose, but also those you win. Be sure that you know the errors you made in the games that you have won. High level electronic opening books are available for use with bookup. These include complete opening systems by Dragan Barlov aimed at expert and above. When looking at games for ideas, in addition to looking at the Informants and NIC yearbooks you may also consider looking at high level correspondance chess games. These contain themes that have been worked out with considerable time and effort. Subject:  Publications (expanding shortly) _Chess Informant_ by Sahovski Informator, P.O. Box 739, Francuska 31, 11001 Beograd, Yugoslavia (Serbia). Published in March, August, and December (semi-annually before 1991). Consists of "good" games (judged by committee) from major tournaments; as well as interesting positions (combinations, endings) given as a quiz, and tournament crosstables. There are about 750 games/issue classified by opening (known as _ECO_ classification). Notation is figurine algebraic; games are annotated (often by the players) with special ideographs (defined for 10 languages). The January & July FIDE rating lists are published in the following edition. _Informant_ games are also available in ChessBase/NICBase formats. _Computer Chess Reports_ published quarterly by ICD Corp., 21 Walt Whitman Road, Huntington Station, NY 11746. Phone 800-645-4710. Subscriptions are $18/year. Focuses on computer chess, and rates dedicated chess-playing computers and software. This is worth looking at. _The Computer Chess Gazette_, Box 2841, Laguna Hills, CA 92654. 714-770-8532. Focuses on computer chess. _International Computer Chess Association (ICCA) Journal_ published quarterly. Membership/subscription is about $30/year. Follows computer chess worldwide. ICCA, c/o Don Beal, Department of Computing Science, Queen Mary and Westfield College, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, England. ICCA Europe, c/o Prof. Dr. H. J. van den Herik, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maasticht, The Netherlands Email ICCA is firstname.lastname@example.org (Membership/subscription is Hfl. 60).