Should a 1400er study master games?
I hate to be the one to disagree, but I disagree. I think that you are right.
You will not learn from just "seeing good moves." The point is not just to
guess and see if you are right. You should take as long as it takes to
understand why you picked the move you did and the grandmaster picked the one
You should try to find minatures first. They will be most helpful for a 1400
player. If you can't find any, I can send you enough to keep busy for a while.
If a master can make a mistake that leads to a quick loss, I guarantee the
players you play will fall into similar traps.
Going over older games is great also. The chances of finding a better move is
greatly increased in the time period before Steinitz. If there is a tactical
blow somewhere in the game, you will have a "test" in there somewhere to see if
you found the key move in the game. The same goes for unsound lines.
The other good way is to look up games from collections of openings that you
play. Most opening books are just analyses of some games from certain
variations. This can be a source of ideas for your games also. Try to figure
out what the long-term plan is.
The approach I would recommend is also different. You should get the games in
pgn format and run through them on Winboard. Select what you consider to be
playable moves and then which one is best. Try to go at least three ply. What
you would move, what candidate moves your opponents have and then a solid reply
After that, see what was actually played. Was it your move or one of your
candidate moves? Was it better than your move and why? Be sure to use the
analyses engine from your program.
Remember that one player did lose the game and it IS possible to find a better
move (but not often). It is these times that you find the better move that you
should get excited. If you think you have found one, have it checked. Analyze
it with your computer first (so you dont look silly by suggesting your blunder
may be better than master play) and then post it and let other make
If you made a bad move be sure to know why. It will help you to know what you
tend to miss in OTB play also.
I don't believe in checking analyses unless you think you already know and want
to check yourself. If you can't figure it out on your own, put it to the side
and do it later. The ones you can't "solve" now will be the best to analyze
after you are stronger. It will be good to have moves with more difficult ideas
to figure out later..