Day 2 Info and Thoughts

Jan 24, 2013, 2:21 PM |

Day 2:

  • Mueller Endgame 1 DVD: Viewed K+P vs K endgame (Chap 2, vid 2), played through all Chapter 1 endgames against Hiarcs (K+Q vs K, K+R vs K, K+B+B vs K, K+B+N vs K) several times each for practice.
  • Polgar 5334: 31-48
  • Chess School 1a: 289-300

Now for some additional thoughts about my first lesson yesterday. The two big things that I took away from the lesson was the importance of establishing good study habits and from the brief analysis of one of my bullet game losses, not to bust open the center when my king is exposed and not able to castle. In the quick game, I was so eager to open it up to get to the other guys king that I wasn't thinking about how it would be effect my king's safety. A lot of times in quick games, I am so focused on attacking that I end up in big trouble if my attack peters out.

During my lesson with IM Attila Turzo, he stressed the need to develop good study habits. This really hit home for me as "habit" was one of the major lessons learned in my piano and music studies from my mentor, New Orleans Composer Roger Dickerson. What Dickerson taught me is that habit not just about practicing piano or music but about can be applied to just about everything in life. Dickerson's lessons were not necessarily about developing good practice habits but about playing the piano. Whenever you play or practice piano, you should have purpose and intent, play cleanly and precisely. Do not rush. Take your time and be in the moment mentally, not thinking about what's for dinner or going out later on. "Be here now, be here" is what he'd say.

Everytime you practice an excercise or play a tune, you are developing your habit. Dickerson personified Habit as a little guy sitting on your shoulder ready to take over when you are out on a gig playing and you don't have time to think, you just have time to play. If you did your due diligence and practiced precisely and unhurried, then when Habit takes over on a gig, you will be playing cleanly on that gig. If you practiced sloppy, starting and stopping tunes in the practice room, then when you are at a gig and focused on what you want to play musically, Habit takes over with your technique.

Habit was a recurring theme as I studied with Dickerson over the years and when IM Turzo brought it up in our lesson, it rung a bell. It makes a lot of sense and looking back I can see that with respect to chess things like playing a lot of blitz and bullet has created bad habits for me whenever I sit down to play an OTB game with normal time controls or a casual game at the coffee shop. All that fast chess got me in the habit of just thinking superficially about the game and not calculating much or developing a plan during a game. Also keeping sloppy notes when working on puzzle books has forced me many times just to stop working on the book since I couldn't remember where I was. Writing answers on random index cards, scraps of paper, envelopes and losing them was a bad practice habit. So with Turzo's suggestion, I will take what I've learned about Habit from Dickerson and apply it to chess study and playing.