The road to ELO 2000: Chess 'musings'

Feb 10, 2011, 8:15 AM |

The road to mastering any sport first starts with technique. Any sportsman will tell you of the countless hours they spent drilling a particular stroke or swing.

Whilst there's no physical technique to chess per-say, there is definitely a technical component with regards to the mental side of it.

Some basic principles of good chess thinking are.

1) Always assume your opponent will play the 'best' moves. Before making any move, it's imperative to at least see what's your opponents best reply.

2) Never slack off mentally until checkmate or resignation. I myself am guilty of this bad 'mental technique', losing or drawing many winnable games because I simply assumed that my opponent never had any counterplay, or overlooking a tactic. 

GM Kramnik once said that in essence, chess is a forced draw. That got me really thinking... Chess games are decisve because either White or Black overlooks the best move resulting in what was essentially a drawn position into a decisive one.

As a side note, I"m not quite sure whether it would ever be possible (and I could be wrong here) for computers to finally find a forced winning sequence for White from move 1.

Let me explain my reasoning: Any White move from the starting position creates an imbalance in the position, so Black has to make a move to address that imbalance, such that the resultant position would be a equal. The sequence is repeated over and over: White makes a move, creates an imbalance, Black replies and hopefully the balance is restored.The middlegame of chess is all about plans and ideas, and if White and Black plays moves to address the plans of his/her opponent, then again, the only conclusion would be a draw.

That would explain why at highest levels, Draw percentages are so high! GM's are able to restore parity of the chess board every time they play a move. So, in a way, draws are to be respected, because it means that both players played well.

Food for thought. =)