Having a Strategy
My view on chess started to change last couple of months. Today I realize, I was spending my games reacting my opponents moves before this mind change. I was looking for some quick tactics, I was never missing a chance of check, and never caring if I had means to complete my attack. Most of these games were based on one motto: "Whoever blunders less wins"
Finally I accepted a change was needed. Getting better at tactics, learning couple more combinations was obviously not going to bring the change I was seeking. That of course, doesn't mean I neglect those areas of training, but the problem was more fundamental. The way I approached my games was wrong from it's foundation.
I came to this conclusion after listening the master's commentaries in videos on chess.com. The lectures were beneficial, but what became more important to me was their thought process. The way they see chess, the way they read the board.
I was taking chess lessons as a kid. Our teacher was showing us different openings, end game tactics, but had never explained us the mindset of strong players. If I didn't come back and said "OK I am starting from the very beginning, what do I have to learn here", I was never going to be able to realize it.
It is having a strategy, and reading the position. They go hand to hand, because without reading the position one can not have a valid strategy, and without strategy, reading the position is aimless. I have to admit it is not easy. Knowing I must have a strategy, I still can not come up with one, or execute it well enough in most of my games. I know which direction I need to go, but in most cases the path is in the dark.
Today I would like to share with you one of my very recent games. Perhaps it has not a significance compared to many other beautiful games you can witness. But it has a importance to me in terms of being the first game I was able to reflect things I have learned to my own game. I tried to end up in a decent position at the opening. When we reached the middle game, I was able to look at the position and came up with a plan. This is the very first game I can say that I made all my moves with a reason. One thing I notice is that I was very patient. I didn't go for quick tactics, I did not consider the moves that were not serving my final plan. I did not neglect defending my king for launching an attack.
The game ended earlier than I anticipated, because my opponent did not realize what my plan was. If he was aware of it, it may have been more difficult to reach the final position, yet I was trying to prepare myself to it. I still can say that I enjoyed this game very much. There is a lot more satisfaction in it than winning a game with aimless play.
Perhaps I wont be able to do it in my each, and every game yet, but I keep repeating to myself " Know your position, have your plan"