Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Know Thyself


This is one of the hardest skills to acquire in chess.

In chess, the difference between knowing and understanding is as clear as night and day.

For example, you may know the 11th move in the Breyer Defence of the Ruy Lopez but understanding why the moves are played as they are is more important.

When starting out in chess (I still am by the way), I always try to incorporate understanding into my game play especially in opening theory and sometimes, I would try to formulate specific strategies and ideas into my game play.

Have a look at the position below. I arrived at this position in an online game with White to play (I am White).

Now White is an exchange up but Black can defend very resolutely. If you were White, what would you play?

Note that this puzzle has NO DEFINITE answer. The idea is to make you think of possible solutions and try to think of a coherent strategy.

I am always open to suggestions and criticisms so feel free to comment.

You can highlight below to see the move I played (which I will explain in my next blog post).
[1. f4.]

Note that I may be wrong and as I said, there are no sure-fire wins in this position.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dismal Performance

I ended up my North Sydney (Norths) Chess club competition, with an absolutely dismal score of +3-4=3.

My final game was lost to Paul Sike (1312) when I ran into time trouble difficulties (first time I lost a game on time) and could not play the best moves. My heartiest congratulations to Paul for a good game. Well played!

This was a very disappointing tournament for me. I know that I'm capable of doing much better but I seem to get myself caught up in complications.

In the last 2 years since I started playing chess, I have to say that this ranks as my worst performance so far.

I will definitely try to do better. My weak points have always been middlegame strategies and tactics and I am still trying to find a balance in time management.

Thankfully, I do not have much time to mope over it.

The NSW Grade matches are coming soon which would take my mind off things. I've also signed up to play for Norths in the Small Boards match vs players from Manly and the week after that, against players from St George.

I would like to thank Norman Greenwood and Rex Simmonds for their help in keeping this tournament running smoothly.

PS: I do realise that finishing a workday 30 minutes before a game and then having to grab dinner and huff it to the chess club to make it there on time is probably not the best thing in the world to prepare your mind for a gruelling 2-3 hour game. So a special thanks to Vladimir for making suggestions on doing things like finding time for a small nap might be beneficial. I've been trying to put it into practice. It has certainly helped.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Apologies For Lack Of Updates

I apologise for the lack of updates in recent weeks.

I've been busy the last couple of weeks as I had family over to stay at my place and I was in the midst of a computer upgrade as well which involved reinstalling my software and making backups etc.

Regular programming will resume pretty soon. :)