Ruminations of a Below Average Chess Player
I'm otherwise fairly bright and have outdone my peers academically and the like...socially a little awkward but insightful and verbally analytical. So then? I've decided to speculate on why I'm so bad at chess...despite my supposed deep desire to be great!
I've often run into a good quote by some grandmaster or other..."when you see a good move, wait and look for a better one"...looked like a real insider brilliancy at first. Well, kind sir...my brain doesn't often seem to have the capacity to hold TWO great moves/plans of action...as soon as I look for an alternative, I've already forgotten what the first plan was! This could possibly mean that I'm still not thoroughly fluent in the true language of chess and perhaps I'm rushing things...or my potential is just crap and I should dream of the days I'll be able to show off my unskilled play at my senior citizen retirement home.
Another really bad flaw I seem to have...I don't know what to call it... I play touch move, which isn't the problem. After I've moved my piece...while I'm still just casually looking at the board, BOOOOOM...I see so quickly where I've screwed up. It happens to me at least a quarter of the time. What's my hurry? I'm not playing blitz...I'm not late for a movie date...I have no idea. It's like speeding when you don't actually have to be anywhere on time. Furthermore, I wouldn't have seen the glitch if I had been looking...as sometimes my mind seems to go on autopilot. Patience, my child, patience.
Last but not least...I want to call it laziness, but I think it's not. A seemingly smart girl in my college Biology class told me she'd read the chapters 3 times and was still scoring below par. I remember thinking...if I had to do the amount of work she was describing, I'd just take a C instead. I noticed that kids who work harder sometimes get lower test scores and eventually find the effort too draining. What I suspect is...it takes me toooooo long to calculate possibilities on the board that I run out of steam and just opt for whatever "seems" best. Seems best? I laugh even admitting that.
I do occasionally have days when I feel fantastically alert and my calculations are surprisingly (err...relatively) fast and the puzzles on the board seem to be coming together and crazy but feasible plans fly and I feel maybe a tenth of a percent of what Miguel Najdorf described with Bobby Fischer, "the pieces just seem to fall on the right squares". I'm envious of that omnipotence and it saddens me not to have it. :)