Monday, August 10, 2015

CHESSERCISE; Athletic musing from a Passionate Patzer!

Chess has two sides.  On one hand, We stare at the UNCLEAR position- thinking of long-term plans and looking for Vague, tactical complications…

On the other we seek mainly to make Move after move- avoiding idiotic blunders and avoiding giving the opponent Easy tactical chances to win the game!

YOU don’t need to play for hour on end- you merely need play carefully, slowly, and regularly.  Chess is not kind to sweeping generalizations.  On one hand, I agree that instant obsession, and a four day marathon of only chess- does little.

 Indeed my own son; just did that – achieving a momentary 1200, then tanking his online rating as he overthought, overplayed and flat wore himself out.  (while at the same time draining himself of interest in the game.  “chess is too hard” he says)…

On the other hand, I have pretty much gone the other way—playing at best just a G30 game or two every 2-3 days. (with brief exceptions).  I have also created a persistent, real, chess improving training program.  Studying (in one form or another) at least every other day and have maintained this for now over a year.   I consider THAT an accomplishment by itself;  from my observations most patzers that Can’t OTB play have training programs that are more imaginary* than consistent.

Back to the TOPIC.  My own gaming this weekend was much more intense than normal. In no danger of draining my motivation to play (and study up on the likely) losses I joined an online tournament playing four G30 games in rapid succession.

Despite being one of the higher boards- I expected dismal results… and I GOT itt. only winning 1 game in 4 and finishing last place.  To add to the workload- I then take the next few moments and look over my games.    Why do this?

Because chess is athletic and to a degree….
We must “Push” our mental muscles to the point at which they are weak- if we are to strengthen them.  its not just being chess weary Either!  We can be plenty chess weary looking through reinfield puzzles. Or spending many long moments trying to decode a complex position but we must find senseable answers in more simple positions too!  In fact, sometimes the biggest hallmark of the master is that the master knows what should  NOT be played.  Ruling out all of the obviously incorrect moves, if you will.
The real OTB challenge features a need for careful play over a great deal of time.   Welcome to one of the biggest problems with online chess.  When games last mere minutes there isn’t the exhaustion factor that plays in serious competitive chess.  So by skipping it- and not pushing oneselves by playing lots of games in a row- we have cheapened our own abilities.

Exercise , of any sort, is always about doing a lot (more or harder), so that activity itself becomes far less taxing.  Perhaps this is one of the biggest reasons to pursue it, as well.  I want to make it a hallmark of my play.  NO STUPID errors.  Instead a clever and sensible approach to every position.  An answer that leaves no shattering Refute in every move.

Of course they must be losses and there will be the opposition to formidable to hope to even draw against.  But I don’t have to drown in some very easy puddle on the way to my funeral.  Let the opponent have to actually work to checkmate me.

Let me warn those on  I will RETURN for more G30 tournaments.   Perhaps I will make progress in my efforts to play longer without falling apart and missing stupid stuff…


  1. * perhaps I'm saying this a little too strongly. I don't want to offend people. I know VERY well how hard it is to keep up any program. my own program is hardly perfect- and still suffers from not enough time, not enough study on the basics.

    ... but the big thing I try to keep in mind- is that I'm strill trying. moving like a snail. but there's a parable about slow, persistant do-ers. its good to keep at it. Studying chess is a little like blogging... about it. too many people give up or aren't consistant.

  2. Wahoo!

    I got a trophy from my 2nd online G15:10 tournament. a 4.5 out of 5 - including a desperate draw that I probably should have lost. but the opponent didn't know so opposition.... so...

    VERY cool. put a nice bounce in my online rating too.
    I heard it said from someone that winning games wasn't important to learning chess. Wrong! first, you can always study your win for weaknesses; and look at your opponent- what did he miss?

    secondly , confidence is IMPORTANT. normally I'd put this down as separate blog- but I got a new idea brewing...