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A Chess Rant...

Perhaps, it was just the excessive heat of summer or a long day at work but plodding through a book on the Slav and Semi-Slav last night finally brought me to ask the question: Is this necessary? The underlying strategy for Black in the QG Declined is to develop your C8 bishop quickly and to a good post. That's the problem Black has to solved in the opening. Otherwise, there are no big surprises, and that's why the QGD is considered a very safe opening to adopt as Black. So, trying to understand and retain the exact lines involved in the Central Variation and the Meran Variation is quite a task especially for someone who is already half a century old with a not-so-great short-term memory. Heck, I forget most of the theory just 24 hours later! Basically, with just enough opening theory stored in my gray matter, I find myself  finding the best move in the opening that somehow controls or challenges the center, develop my pieces, maintain the initiative if I am playing White, minimize pawn moves as to minimize weak squares, and not lose a tempo. I find that this pans out to less mental work than memorizing specific lines of analysis that sooner or later escape my memory. Of course, the player with the better opening repertoire has the advantage over those who try to get through the opening sensibly. I reckon that the younger generation of players have a greater ability to retain this awesome load of opening theory, but for aging players like myself it has become a burden. I think the lesson learned here is to do all your work while you are young so that you can build the mental roadwork necessary to understand and retain chess knowledge with the minimum of labor. There is great wisdom in maximizing the benefits during the prime of your life. For me and in regards to chess, that's 30 years of age and below.

Comments


  • 8 years ago

    Chessbuff

    I actually enjoy clicking through Lasker's games which Bobby Fischer once charaterized as " smoke and mirrors. " Lasker sought weak points and attacked them, created greatly unbalanced positions ripe for tactical resolution, tempi and initiave used excitingly to win games. Even at a time increasingly punctuated by pre-pubescent GMs who are actually the exception than the norm, we still have to behold the great retentive power of a younger brain mano-a-mano compared to a relatively older one ( in my estimation, over 30) This is my point really, like time is of the essence. The younger generation must see to it to build the necessary mental roadwork in their minds so as to comprehend and retain the vast principles and techniques found in chess before it is too late. Of course, if not so, then one has to enjoy the game at a different level and make peace with the fact that one will never reach the stratosphere of chess. that's all i am saying...Wink good observations you made...

  • 8 years ago

    batgirl

    A lo depends on one's goals. In a world that is heading towards where pre-pubescent GMs is the norm, even age 15 is too old to start thinking about absorbing the almost infinite amount of book knowledge.  Almost none of us will achieve the level of master, let alone grandmaster, but that's ok since almost all of us play chess for enjoyment, not employment.  If one enjoys memorizing, opening theory is as good a thing to memorize as anything. If one lies to play.. then just figure out what you want to accomplish in the opening phase and sort it out OTB. In fact, sometimes NOTplaying the best move, even playing questionable moves, can add a pinch of spice game mixture and make a game far more exciting and enjoyable than rote, or robotic, moves.

    Lasker was a good example of a player who often reached less than optimal middle game positions but found ways to make it all work.  New positions can often translate into finding new ideas and finding new ideas makes you a stronger player overall.  

     

    Memory can be an important aspect of chess play, but it's not a defining one.

  • 8 years ago

    StacyBearden

    So at 35 I have no chance of being a GM...hmm. Okay. I would think that memorizing opening upon opening would become like schoolwork where we used to memorize facts at the last minute and not really learn the underlying information. Just vomitting opening moves can't be that fun. I'm enjoying memorizing practical end-game theory...that's fun and useful. After all, every game has to end somehow. I want to be on top then. Maybe that's short-sighted, but hey, I'm 35 and my mind is going. ;)
  • 8 years ago

    Don1

    i'm 2 score and 11 today, when i was in my early 20s i tried to memorize opening books but got lost in the complications quickly after the opening. And didn't enjoy the game as much as i should have. Now i just try to apply sound opening & strategic principles, and enjoy the game much more: W/D/or L!
  • 8 years ago

    Chessbuff

    yep, it's all over, man. i hate to say this but i don't think we'll be GMs anymore if up to now we are untitled.

  • 8 years ago

    SonofPearl

    Oh dear, I'm 36 so I must be over the hill now!  Laughing
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