Friday, November 27, 2020

Because I am still Passionate about Chess….

It’s been a few months since my poor performance at the Virtual WO this year. Life got busy and it was easy to put chess on the back shelf. We’re on the cusp of Holiday season and I realize I hadn’t posted anything since September!  Honestly, with all the training I was doing for the WO over the summer, I needed to take a break. 

As this crazy year comes to an end, my work life puts me in a position that really needs me to take time off. In that light, I am toying with the idea of playing in the 27th North American Open which will be on line:


  • The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. In that light this is my tentative structure for the next month building up to the event ( If I really decide).

  • Deep analysis of critical positions from my games at the WO taking note of the thought process that lead me in a different direction.

  • Not so frantic with the openings study  as I ALWAYS struggle with memorizing versus completely understanding.

  • Play more slower games for strengthening the positional understandings  and strategical elements  as this will be my GOAL… to develop a BETTER understanding in these during games.

  • Plan to play a section higher than my comfort zone.


When I approached the summer’s WO tournament, what was my main goal? Sure I wanted to win games but I started the year out taking off some rust and working on a thinking strategy after looking at Kotov’s and Silman’s ideas.  What I was trying to accomplish was using a consistent thinking strategy for my games and I failed because I’m finding thought strategies need to be more dynamic. I was too rigid, fell short and fumbled.

These are some ideas I think I’d like to build up to and may expand on my journey over the next few weeks.

  • On openings:  No deeper than Move 5 or 6 as variations and “anti” variations really deflect my understanding. If I can really understand why the first few moves are main-line and why early branches are made, I think I can play to favor the underlying line if minor variations are played instead.

  • Getting to a playable middle game: Barring opening traps, minor variations, and anti-variations, getting to a middle game strategy I can understand… or know enough to win or equalize. I’m starting to have a few positions I understand better than others ( ei. Minority attack).

  • Knowing R+P endgames is essential.  King and Pawn endgames as well and knowing when Minor piece endgames are meant to be played to win.

  • Intangibles: My physical health… I’m doing things to get heathier daily and it’s starting to pay off. Mental health, taking breaks between learning to allow the process to set in long term memory and challenge at the right frequency for deliberate learning, and Spiritual health, not beating myself up over a mistake, catching myself when I spiral into an “I’m an idiot” internal dialog ( don’t listen to the committee of idiots in my head).

Stay healthy and follow your passion.