Joining Exeter Chess Club - The Beginning

Joining Exeter Chess Club - The Beginning

Jan 23, 2018, 5:06 PM |

Tonight I popped into my local chess club. Exeter Chess Club has been around for over 100 years and I felt a tinge of excitement joining this piece of history.

It certainly was a humbling experience. I quickly learned that there was a very long road ahead of me if I wanted to play competitively.  However, everyone was extremely welcoming and encouraging. I even came away with somewhat of a study plan.

I wanted to learn some openings, so I'm going to focus my energy on the following:

  • As white focus learning on 1.e4 (Almost arbitrary but I feel a comfort zone here especially with having already encountered things like the Italian Game and Ruy Lopez)
  • Ruy Lopez (White and Black)
    • Dave Regis managed to demonstrate to me how the Ruy Lopez is preferable to the Italian Game and that in fact Bb3 isn't a problem. (I was concerned about ... a6, ... b5 and how that chased away my Bishop).
    • Ruy Lopez is an "opening for life" (DrDave)
  • IQP (Isolated Queen Pawn) (White when not Ruy Lopez and Black more for empathy)
    • Recommended to me as an antidote to feeling overwhelmed by tough pawn structures. 
    • I think one of the ideas here is to have a familiar scenario that I can fall back on if I'm not sure
    • If 1.e4 and response is not Ruy Lopez then hopefully I can try to achive this position and know it well.
  • Slav Defense (Black against 1.d4.)
    • My general purpose defense against 1.d4 
    • The Slav Defense is an "opening for life" (DrDave)
      • I am concerned that this theory might be more involved than a simple ...d5 ...c6  :/
  • 2 Knights Defense (Black Italian Game)
    • I already can't remember why but I think it maybe a response to the Italian game. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 with 3... Nf6
    • Expect Ng5 attacking pawn on f7 in combination with threat from Bc4
    • Paying special attention to Ulvestad variation.
      • Something to do with ...b5 (need to look this up)
  • DR highlighted that I might fall into some traps. I have forgotten them all so..... I need to be aware of the traps around all the above.

Stuff I learned from the games I played on the day:

  1. After attempting to develop my pieces against someone who knows the defense/opening they are playing I found myself without a plan.
  2. As white and black and despite supposedly knowing the theory of controlling the centre, I still lost the centre
  3. I would always find myself trapped by pawns or knight just on my side of the board
  4. With help if I survived the early game I could make some reasonable choices in the late/mid-game (There might be hope for me!)
  5. DR observed my tendency to not visualise the goal position of my play. I need to think about the position I wan't first and then look to see how that can be achieved. This will be a critical skill for non trivial (and non brute forced) mates. Also very useful for avoiding stalemates.

Other Stuff:

  • Don't worry about the fact that I'm struggling with K,B,K checkmate. It is so rare that I need not lose sleep over it!
  • I'm so crap that I need not bother with ECF membership for the first year happy.png