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Your questions answered by Natalia Pogonina

User Rating: / 3
Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Friday, 26 March 2010

Each week I get lots of messages with chess-related questions. Some of them are quite typical and repeated over and over again. I think it makes perfect sense to share my replies to some of the most common questions at Every week I am planning to publish 7 of them, one for each day of the week.

Q1: I am 20 (30,40, 50). Do I still have a chance to improve?
A1: Yes, although it is harder to learn chess at an older age, you can still progress, no matter how old you are.

Q2: Why do GMs avoid playing at public chess portals?
A2: They don't want to reveal their opening preparation by showing on what lines they are working.

Q3: Can I play you?
A3: While for most people chess is a hobby, for me it is a full-time job. When I have free time, I prefer to spend it on something not chess-related, so I don't accept any chess challenges, sorry! Besides, I get from 10 to 20 new game invitations a day, so even if I wanted to, I would not have been able to accept them.

Q4: How much time a day do you spend on chess?
A4: I don't have a schedule. Sometimes it's a few hours (during tournaments), sometimes I don't work on chess at all.

Q5: Will I be able to make it to national master (FIDE master)?

A5: A lot depends on you, conditions and circumstances. If you have time, will, financial support and at least an average talent, you will probably make it. Almost anyone can reach that level given some persistence.

Q6: Is it ok that I'm playing 400 (500, 600) correspondence games simultaneously?
A6: It's nothing to brag about. Playing so many games at a time, you spend a few seconds on each move. That leads to detoriation of skills and superficial play. Concentrate on quality rather than on quantity of the games.

Q7: I'm an amateur who has about 1 hour per day to spend on chess. What is the best way to do it?
A7: An hour of tactics a day keeps the patzer away! Make sure you solve tactical problems on a daily basis. Also, it's better to solve 5 or 10 problems that are relatively difficult for you than a hundred cheapos which teach you nothing except for mouse-racing.

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Comments (3)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 22:37 26 2010 .
Sprosite Nataliyu Pogoninu
Ochen pravilnoe reshenie! Nado otmetit chto Natalia Pogonina delaet vse vozmojnoe dlya populyarnosti i pristija shahmat v Mire! Spasibo!
2. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 12:26 21 2010 .
Sprosite Nataliyu Pogoninu
I like wise people same as you and your photo's are very nice i like see more photo of you
3. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 12:09 03 2010 .
Sprosite Nataliyu Pogoninu
Hello Natalia. 
I am a 68 years old retired translator, living in Colombia, South America. I was a fine chess player in my 20\'; now I want to go back to my favorite hobby. I play (via internet) against 15-20 opponents and I enjoy it. But even though I try to improve my game, it seems to stand still. I also read a lot about openings, middlegame and finals. 
Please, please give some PRACTICAL ideas. Notice that at 68 is not much time left. 
Good luck and good health. 

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Last Updated ( Friday, 26 March 2010 )
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