How Much Is Too Much?

Sir_Gawain
Sir_Gawain
Aug 22, 2008, 12:00 AM |
3 | Chess Players

This was my response to the recent Chess.com survey question as to how many turn-table games we prefer to play at one time.  My answer became an article, which I thought I would post here, as such:

From my experience, there are players who have short attention spans and can do well in blitz or speed chess, while there are others who need time to think through the possibilities.

As I noted from watching Susan Polgar's biography video "My Brilliant Brain", players who are adept at responding quickly are actually responding from their experience by recognizing past patterns of play.  ( http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6378985927858479238 or Google Search "Susan Polgar 'My Brilliant Brain'".  It's 47 minutes long, but interesting, and to me, worth it.)

Based on Susan's video, the more games we play, the more experienced we become at recognizing and responding to patterns of moves.  Those who can recognize and recall past patterns don't have to ponder as much, as they are 'reacting' instinctively to their predicament.  Personally, I don't see how any rapid play can ever be as accurate as taking one's time to think.  If I go in for surgery one day, I don't want my surgeon to operate doing "speed surgery".  Hasty decisions are known to typically be more problematic in the long run. The same scenario applies when playing computer chess.  With a good chess engine, it takes more time for the computer to weigh the various options.

Now, for the rest of us who are still trying to get there... and for those of us who have reached the senior years who constantly battle 'senior moments', we may need even more time for our decision-making and recall.  I know I do.

I think it's a plus to enjoy all that chess offers.  My only real regret will be if I reach a point of saturation where chess is no longer fun, exciting, and challenging.  That is when I will have lost.  In my opinion, that's the only time we all really lose.

Interested readers, please note how much political heat Susan had to overcome on her path to fame.  She has earned my respect, and I also appreciate her dedication in promoting chess to children.  In my book, she has a lot of courage, and 'class'.  If we ever think we have a right to be tired of playing chess, we need to review Susan's record of continuous play, then let's consider our excuses.   ( http://www.chesscafe.com/text/polgar38.pdf )

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