Saturday, December 30, 2006

Thought and Choice

Last year's Christmas present I asked for never arrived. So I asked for it again ( and made sure I was a better boy this year). My son found "it" on e-bay this year and it arrived Thursday! Degroot's Thought and Choice in Chess is the book that WAS ordered last year on my list and when February rolled around, I was told that it was still unavailable and offered us to cancel and refund. So I was pleasantly surprised to see this land before the new year!
Yes, part of the quest de la maza finds its roots in this study which basically comes out and states the fundamental difference between master and patzer is the number of patterns committed to memory ( in order of magnitudes). But to summarize this book in such a one lined "sound bite" does not give enough justice to the rest of the book. It starts out building from the foundations of previous studies like Binet's study of grandmasters and simultaneous blindfold capabilities.
Will this make me a better chess player? Probably not. So why am I diving into it? I want to develop better insight into my own thought process as I make these over the board. To have such a journal that referecnes Alekhine, Euwe, Keres, Fine, Tartakover and other power houses of a generation ago is priceless and humbling.
As I am learning about my gaps and ultimately practicing thought and choice by doing tactical problems, strategical studies, endgame analysis and openings, my game will improve. I hope the insight I gain in this treatise will help me better understand my limitations.
Happy holidays! BP

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

One in a Row!

That's my current winning streak. Its all a matter of perspective. I played yet-another-kid last night at the club who managed to reach a rating as high as mine in the same time it took me to loose rating points, gain some and then loose them again in a never ending battle of a self improvement. My problem is I am also fighting old baggage, poor chess habits, and .... age.

I play black against an 1.e4. He seemed to be unprepared for the Caro-kann. I managed to get both my bishops active and seriously controlled the center before he had a chance to castle. I wiggled a couple pawns from him giving me an endgame advantage. I shot for the endgame with exchanges that he was trying to avoid.

I gave back a pawn for the initiative and this killer position which gave me 2 count them TWO rooks for ONE bishop! ( White to move and lose) Huzzah.

After losing the two rooks ( and then the Bishop), he looked at my two rooks and his lowly king on the edge of the board and extended his hand offering a DRAW! I couldn't hold back the laughter as I declined the offer stating " I think I will play this out, I need the practice."

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Aftermath

It was a good fight overall but I still lost some blood. Only a pint ( from a half pint)

Round one I was paired up against the second highest rated in my section. I had Black and played into an Exchange Slav with a new weapon, g6. My problem was that I was CLUELESS to this system because I never really studied it. I only played it because I found myself on the other side of a Pillsbury attack. I knew a fianchetto bishop is a good cure for that.

I did alright up until I had this bad plan of opening my g-file ( yes I was also castled on the king side but I figured all the pieces were on the Queen side and I could create an attack. The exception was that I really didn't have the initiative and I would have been better playing in the center. Now, who was it that said " A bad plan is better than no plan"?

Round 2 I got to try out the Smith Morra gambit! HUZZAH I won and felt I actually had a clue as to what to do. My opponent didn't take my c-pawn and instead advanced the dpawn... I was still able to storm in. I'm encouraged to continue this track. Considereing I just learned this last week!

Round 3..... Hmmm .... I played a kid I once beat in May but this time his rating had shot up 200 points ( so that's where my rating points went!) I played a White into a French Winnawer using the lines in the Perehlstin/Alburt/Dzindi book and came out of the opening a pawn up with some space. It goes down hill from there. For some reason I blocked out the priciple of exchanging pieces when ahead in pawns. I played too passive and afterwards found four blatant errors in my game. It was a rather embarassing loss too. I even threw in a howler of a move had the kid been on his toes could have snagged my queen. I deserved the zero on that one.

Round 4 was a slam dunk against 1.b3... need I say more. I used all the sound opening principles from Reubin Fine.... both my e and d pawn were in the center, Knights before the bishops, castle early and often!