Chess is not for the faint of playeheart.
My Long time Chess Friend

Chess is not for the faint of playeheart.

Jan 1, 2018, 2:39 PM |

I noticed I had a lot of errors in some of my previous blogs.  So I will check my posts afterward before I finalize them from now on.


Have you ever took a long break from chess and then all of a sudden see yourself playing good chess?  That happened to me, however, I still lost the games, because, they were 3-minute games, and as you guys, all know if you've been following my blog, I am not very good at blitz, nor am I good at classical.  I think to fast in slow chess and too slow in speed chess.  It's funny really.  I know a guy who is over 20 years older than me, and is taking medication that makes him "slower," and I still, can't outdo him on speed, most of the time.  So what's the problem?  This has now become my endeavor., to figure out, why I think too slow in speed chess.  


The casual reader might say, "It's because your stupid!"  However, there is a lot of evidence suggesting that I am not stupid,  Nor is a friend of mine, who thinks a lot slower when playing chess than I.  Let me tell you a story.  A long time ago, I was a "gunho born-again Christian," who "departed Babylon," and was on a mission to argue with people about biblical topics.  I never said I was smart, nor did I even hint it, yet after a lot of debate, people started to rather attack my intelligence rather than my writing.  Perhaps it was because I was able to argue myself out of anything, it seemed like, but that doesn't dismiss the fact that that both sides of the story must be displayed and argued.  To simply dismiss someone my argument as unsound without even arguing is giving up, and that is all great if you want to give up, but don't come here and tell me that I am stupid because you can't figure out a way to say in a complete sentence that what I said was in error.  Sure I have bad grammar, but everyone that isn't an English Teacher has bad grammar unless they correct what they write, and I didn't for a very long time.  I will strive to correct what I write as I am writing it from now on from here on out.


So if it is not stupidity then why do I think slowly?  I've noticed that I have been gradually thinking a lot slower in my games and had to increase the time controls of my blitz games so that I can still make good moves.  Why is that?  Am I getting old?  Perhaps, but I think it's also because I don't practice skills that I haven't used in ages combined with a bunch of other stuff up to and including that I don't read enough.  


"Playing games with longer time controls don't affect the speed at which you think."


I don't know why I thought the opposite of that statement to be true.  I once thought that people who play chess are either slow thinkers or fast thinkers, that is they have fast thinking algorithms or slow thinking algorithms.  For example:


There is a possible check threat that does nothing to improve my position and even weakens my pawn structure but I do it to gain time on my clock because my opponent has to react to the check first and thus possibly lose time thinking if that check is a merited check or not.  This is a speed chess tactic.  Not to be used when playing a slow game.  All of this is true to an extent.  I remember a time where I used to think a long time when all that was going on on the board was that I needed to conduct a simple trade, and that's it.  I don't even know what I was thinking about.  I just kind of sat there and wasted time might as well of been blowing air out of my mouth and running my finger up and down the center of my mouth.  I remember in each position I was thinking, "I don't really want this trade.  I mean he could win of this kind of thing keeps happening..."  Which brings me to my next topic, another bad thinking algorithm.  When your opponent makes a forcing move that there is no recovery from.  You where playing hope chess.  You lost, but what do you do, you spend 5 to 10 minutes thinking about it even though you know there is no way out of it.  Why do we do it?  Human nature we want to win, and when you see the move that you didn't see because you where playing hope chess, a part of you doesn't want to believe it, and most people in this position will think that there is counterplay only if you find it, but 9 times out of 10 there is no counterplay, and 7 times out of 10 it doesn't take 5-10 minutes to figure out, even for a slow thinker.  When you find yourself playing a lot of hope chess your opponent often makes moves that are very sharp and cause you to realize that you are not playing a dummy, and this causes you to spend more time on your clock.  So part of it is bad thinking algorithms, (all thinking algorithms and rules in chess are meant to be broken when the time calls for it.)  and also, playing too much hope chess.  Another part of it is ego.  I played a guy who said he used to be rated 1900 in USCF.  I'm like, WOW.  I beat him on occasion, however, he wasn't as good in blitz.  One time this guy played a chess hack that used to play with us at Starbucks, and he researched what is called the Halosor trap.  Before I get into this I want to share a story where I played against a high schooler who could not beat me and decided to see if he could win with the Halosor trap.  Needless to say, I knew about the trap, and that was the last time he and I ever played chess ever...Anyway, back to my story.  This chess hack plays this alleged 1900 rated player and gets him into the Halosar Trap.  After he played directly into the trap, where he had to choose from avoiding checkmate and making a material concession, he sat there and thought until his clock ran out.  Granted, he is not blitz player, but, part of it had to be ego don't you think?  


I used to have this theory that when one plays slow chess he might possibly develop other thinking algorithms that cause him to think slower in speed chess, but that is not true.  The more you play chess, regardless of what time control it is, the more you learn to avoid bad thinking algorithms.  However, you learn a lot more about everything there is to know about chess by playing long games and are severely limited when all you do is play blitz.  So why did this 1900 rated player think slow in speed chess?  


There is no easy answer to that question.  What I can gather is that speed chess is a very different skillset than slow chess, and to just jump right in to it, speed chess that is, from only playing slow chess, especially for a slow thinker, you tend to formulate conclusions just as long if not just a little faster in a speed game than you would have a slow game.  Thus, I believe, sometimes, if you are a slow thinker, and make the transition into speed chess, from only playing classical, then you will have to learn to be faster quick else you will lose a lot of games on time by people who are lower rated than you, or who just book up in a common chess trap that you don't know about...  I know a NM, who calls himself RogueKing here on, and I got him into a trap that is found in the Scotch Gambit, I'm sure some of you heard of it wink.png.  Of course, he knows about the trap now.wink.png  In his defense, he still beat me in that game, because I didn't see the tactics that I had available in that game, and I am nowhere near master level.  


So, the question hasn't been answered.  Why do some chess players think slower than others?  Why are some "slow thinkers?"  Perhaps it's a matter of introvert and extrovert.  An introvert is mainly passive when it comes to communicating with other people, while an extrovert is more spontaneous.  It might be, those fast thinkers, are extroverts, and just have a lot more practice at improvising than the poor "slow thinkers" (Introverts).  However, I'm not sure if this is true.  Don't quote me on this.  This is just a theory.  But anyway, I will end this part of the discussion by saying that I don't know the answer, and probably never will, but I will try to be informed on the matter.


Chess is not for the faint of heart.  I took a long break from chess and I am getting back into it, and my first games that I play are games I played with a long time friend who is a lot better than I am.  


The game started with a Rosselimo and I opted for an aggressive approach that obviously did not work with my opponents choice of moves.  I didn't bother to see who was winning or losing, but I wanted to show you this game so you can see that I am not just mindlessly making moves; that there was some thought put into it and I lost due to running out of time.  My new goal is to try and see if there are any ideas for black.  I know there are ideas for white, but I am not sure if there are ideas for black.
In this game, I remember my opponent making a threat to take my queen for a rook.  So the story goes as follows; if you can make a threat, even if it doesn't do anything or if there is a way out, and it's a speed chess game, do it, because it will make your opponent waste time on the clock.  This is what happened to me in this game.  I simply took too long just in one move and it caused me to lose with time when checkmate was imminent.  So in speed chess, there is a reason to just make a hasty move simply because you don't want to waste time on your clock.  I guess this is called time pressure.  I was definitely under time pressure in this game.
In this game, I lost a piece due to a fork and was down a whole piece for a few pawns.  It's funny how it works out.  The stronger player usually makes fewer mistakes than the weaker player, and sometimes it seems like it is just luck that he won.  I mean all that happened in this game was that in my theory in my head I forgot to consider the fork.  Such a minor mistake that cost me the game, but that is all it takes to lose when you are playing people just as good as you are.  Of course, my friend is a lot better than I, so I give myself some leeway, in that, I lost, because he was simply playing better because he is, better than me.  I do not know who would have won this game, however, I was out of time, again.
The moral of the story?  Start playing long games!  It's going to be a rough climb, but as long as I am putting forth the effort, and analyzing the games that I lose, I will improve, but only if I play games with longer time controls.