Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Strong Prey On The Weak

.... and that has been the way of Mother Nature since time immemorial.

I have never stopped using FICS (freechess) to play blitz games. Over the course of many months, I come to notice a few regulars (recognisable by their nicks) and looking back on my games with them, I'd noticed a trend.

For these opponents who beat me at blitz games, they tend to beat me on a regular basis. When I look back on these games, I'd noticed how strong their positional and situational sense are. They rarely if ever, overlook a tactical shot but what did grab my attention was how often and regular that they "know" where to put their pieces ie. on the best squares.

Every move they make tends to hold certain value. It may be either taking away a square, preparing a combination, covering weaknesses in their defence. In other words, they are constantly making moves to improve their advantage or reduce your advantage.

I was very surprised that at blitz speed, they have an incredible innate sense of awareness and understanding of the position. And it is the mastery of this technique that is essential to be acquired so one can get better at chess.

I have a regular opponent (A) on FICS, so far our mutual score reads something like +1,000,000-0=0 (j/k) in my opponent's favour. When I play against A, in one game, he can beat me in a very nice little combination and in the next game, using his superior knowledge of positioning to outplay me and in another game, display better endgame technique.

It's literally quite amazing to see the skill required to become a good chess player (class A or above player).

So how does one get better at chess?

Unfortunately, there is no quick elixir for this problem. To get better at chess, one needs to put in the hard yards. And that involves chess study. Lots of chess study. And the chess study must involve all aspects of the game, from the opening to the endgame, from tactical training to understanding and adopting appropriate strategies to the given situation.

There are plenty of good chess material out there that can do just that. You can use Silman's books, or play through any World Champion's annotated games or use software like Convekta's Training courses or as some fellow bloggers have done (turn to ICS - International Chess School). There is no one road to chess mastery as long as you balance all aspects of your chess ability.

After all, nobody likes being the rabbit all the time.

Onwards! :)

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