An unexamined life is not worth living.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Road to Chess Improvement – Revisited

I picked up the “The Road to Chess Improvement” once again and was struck by a thought that this book’s title may be interpreted as the reader’s road to improvement.  That may lead to disappointment as the book does not present the reader with a structured plan of what to do in order to improve their chess.  What it actually is is author’s road to improvement.  The author documents all the ups and down that he had as a chess player.  Those include experiments with different openings and different strategic ideas, as well as playing styles. For example in the beginning of his chess career he did not played many gambits mostly preferring closed openings.  That led to his playing style being somewhat limited. Expanding his opening repertoire later on with the openings that involve sacrifices added to his practical strength.  It is up to the readers to judge how this applies to their chess path. As for myself, I feel more motivated to look at my own games, realizing that I had spent very little time actually analysing them.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Moro, You’re Simply the Best

Who said there are no real attractive fans in chess? Moscow 2012, Tal Memorial, Round 8. A picture is worth a thousand words.


I just came across it as I am watching the recorded broadcast of the round months later (around minute 11). Did he notice?


Friday, July 27, 2012

Anand on Studying Chess with Computers and Memory

I usually don’t post links to videos that were not created by myself but this video seemed particularly insightful and revealing of how the current chess world champion, Viswanathan Anand approaches opening preparation, memory and computer’s influence on the game

The video may be relevant and of interest not only to chess players but as a chess player, I especially liked Anand’s comment that a few years ago he would trust the computer saying that White is better in a given position, and later as computers get "stronger", he would trust the computer on the updated, completely opposite opinion on the same position. I believe he also implied that a few years later the computer may come up with yet another “true” evaluation. Where that leaves us as chess players is up to you to decide …

He also made a few other comments about his own preparation to tournaments, in particular that a few days before a tournament he would put the computer aside and just study chess with a board, with no engine to rely on being forced to use his own head just like in a tournament situation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Canadian Chess Open 2012 - Lessons Learned

After a (very) long break, I played in a major swiss chess tournament – Canadian Chess Open 2012 in Victoria. I scored only 50%, which is not too great given that all of my opponents were rated lower than myself. Nonetheless, I truly enjoyed playing after such a long break. Here is what I re-learned about competitive chess yet again:

  1. Studying chess at home cannot replace regular tournament practice. Practical chess strength needs constant feeding by playing in tournaments
  2. Opening preparation in large Swiss Events plays a major role. Everyone does it these days! Catch opponent unaware is more important than finding a hole in their old repertoire (they will play something new to surprise you anyway, so you should not expect them to walk the same path as in previous games). This was often an issue for me, where in 3-4 games my opponents served me with opening surprises, or simply remembered established theory better than I did
  3. Opening repertoire must allow for variety, both to avoid getting surprised, and also to be more flexible and work around opponent’s weak spots
  4. Getting enough sleep, food, fresh air before the games is quite essential for maintaining concentration during the games
  5. The tension of a big slow time controls event cannot be compared to a blitz game online, and not even to an unrated rapid one-day Sunday tournament
  6. Modern time controls don’t allow you to get flagged due to increments, but you only have a chance to think deep a couple of times during the game – choose those moments wisely. Ideally you don’t have to take those deep thinking sessions right out of the opening
  7. Many players avoid mainline theory in favour of choosing lines that they are familiar with. Here is what those guys played against me in this tournament:
    As White:
    1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d3
    As Black: 1. e4 b6
  8. There are a lot of young chess players in BC who need to be watched out for!
  9. One can lose a lot of rating points in a tournament, and still enjoy the experience!
  10. Victoria chess organizers take running events very seriously, and want to create the best environment for competitive chess

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