Secret Thinking

Sep 21, 2010, 1:52 PM |

I continue my quest to today to discover the secret thinking behind a successful chess player. I realize now that chess masters do not deliberately hide the way they think, it is just a natural consequence of being good at something. You are quite unable to relate anymore. The explanations provided make a lot of sense to the chess master, and some vague sense to the chess expert, but to the poor bloke like me, I am left wanting. 

But I will not let that thwart me, I will find a way to discover the hidden thinking that goes in the successful chess mind. Clearly my line of thinking is wrong as evidence by my rather amazing and stunning losses as of late. Every time I try to implement a concept from a chess master, I find myself mis-applied and worse leaving some other important concepts left unattended. 

However, in my morning chess study I think I found a way of thinking that may prove to be one of the secrets. Apparently when a great chess mind plays the game they are thinking completely opposite of my amateur mind (and before you tell me to go read the mind of the amateur, I already have).  You see, when I play a game of chess I think in a predictable pattern. Let me demonstrate. Taken from a game that I should have won, but lost miserably. When I say should have won, I could tell my instincts were better, but not enough to overcome blunders. 



This is the position after 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6.

Now what is my brain thinking at this point? "oh man, now what do I do. I don't remember the variation of d6. Was this philidoh or philidor or something like that? I have no clue what to do. I probably should memorize this at some point. Oh, my time is ticking too much in the opening, better move something, ok develop a piece yes that is it, develop a piece. Hmm. the white bishop can get out, ok what is a safe square that attacks the center. Ok."

3. Bc4



 Now as it turns out, this was not a crazy move after all. As it turns out this has been played successfully. Click Here to See

However, not your standard reply to the Philidor defense. Now, if a chess master were ever in my same predicament (which they would not, because I have been told, I am a complete dunce for not remembering that 3. d4 is the best response here). he or she would be thinking, in reality completely different then me. 

I am thinking, like a good little chess amateur, develop pieces, attack the center, keep the initiative etc....Of course this is after trying to rack my brain to remember the opening sequence and also make sure I did not just consider some grevious move that would lose a piece. As I think I have discovered, better chess players are instead thinking about how they can reduce the power (or influence) of the opponents pieces and at the same time increase the power (or influence) of my own pieces. 

I am always perplexed about what the "plan" is. However, I think I have come to the conclusion that there is no real concrete plans, just the desire to increase power of the pieces until there is an overwhelming advantage that propels the attack on one side or the other. 

You see my Bc4 move, although perhaps increasing the power of my Bishop slightly, actually does nothing, if not actually helping my opponent gain space and improve the influence of the his/her pieces. 

So here is already where I have lost the game. In just a few moves. Yep! Game over. Because if I were to take you down the game in further detail you would notice that my move ends up opening black's position considerably. Although I have some good attacks in the game, ultimately black's pieces are free to roam and wreck havoc on my position. Even though I win material during the game, I still make mistakes because black has way too much space. 

So today I played several games against an engine. As I did so, I played through several opening sequences with this one thought in my head. Reduce the influence of my opponents pieces. Prevent the development of the opponent pieces. After being slaughtered by Rybka 20 times, I began to get a feel for how to restrict the movements over the other pieces. Guess what? It started to work, I noticed that I could hold a even game for nearly 20 moves after a little practice.